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Richard Wolstencroft On Australia Banning The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

Movie poster featuring a human spine distorted to look like a centipede

(Below is a letter we received from Richard Wolstencroft, founder and director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival.)

Dear Underground Film Journal,

The Australian Censors have got me mad. They have really pissed me off this time.

Not only do they ban LA Zombie in 2010, harass me personally as a Fest Director and haul me before a judge to fine me, but then they ban A Serbian Film in a cut format (though the uncut is available online everywhere as a torrent!) hurting my friends at Accent Films who spent a lot to promote and buy it.

They then ban what I consider to be one of the greatest Horror films of the last ten years: The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence). A profound reflection of child abuse and its consequences in adult life that is both ethical, daring and brilliantly executed. It is dark, nuanced, confronting, moody, meta and disturbing, the way a good new Horror should be. Tom Six should be congratulated as should Laurence R. Harvey for his stunning Peter Lorre-esque turn as Martin.

After all this, I’ve had enough!

With friends and associates, we are looking at starting a Free Speech Advocacy Group to get our voices heard in Canberra that Censorship in Australia is a no go. We have a generally great country here, as close to a Utopia as you will find on Planet Earth. But there is a disturbing trend in Australia towards a Nanny State and there are Lobbyists (of the painful U.S. variety) taking poisonous hold in our ranks at Canberra. This is both undemocratic and pushing radical agendas most easygoing Australians would strongly object to.

Allow me to tell you about one, a Melinda Tankard Reist, who was instrumental in the HC2 and Serbian Film bans and who must be countered with all our collective might and will as artists and filmmakers:

Melinda Tankard Reist of Collective Shout is using her dark powers as a Lobbyist to control and manipulate Australian Censorship (apropos the recent HC2 ban) to suit her conservative Christian, anti-choice, anti-secular, pro-censorship agenda. It’s a National Disgrace how one radical Lobbyist could so control the debate of public opinion on Censorship in this country today!

I have just read a Discussion Paper from Melinda Tankard Reist’s Collective Shout — her pro-Censorship Lobby Group disguised as a Human Rights Organization. In it, she advocates the banning of all X-rated films altogether (even in Canberra) and making them illegal across all media. So, if you have ever seen porn on the net that would now be illegal under what she proposes.

Here is a quote from the Collective Shout Discussion Paper: “The X18 classification for films should be abolished and all films that have been or would be classified X18+ be classified as Refused Classification;” i.e. a total ban on all legal Pornography in Australia.

Not enough? She also wants net filters for some Classified Material online including R-rated material! That’s like half the internet! Taking us back to pre-1950’s, even Victorian Censorship days! This document is a scandal as Reist appears to have the ear of Oz Labour Minister Brendan O’Connor and others.

Resist Reist!

Resist this atrocious attack upon Free Speech with HC2 and other works of art and entertainment being banned. Fight back!

Reist’s Discussion Paper is here. Read and be shocked:

Melinda Tankard Reist is Australia’s new Mary Whitehouse it seems.

Thanks for letting me vent a little here and to get this information out there about Censorship in Australia and for supporting Free Speech yourself.

Best Regards

Richard Wolstencroft
and MUFF Fest Director

Underground Film Feedback (8 comments)

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  • shaun says:

    I agree with you 100% its our choice and right what we choose to do it watch not some christianity bullshit! There must be some thing that the public can do to overturn this crap and stop it from continuing?

  • Martin says:

    I have to wonder if making swill like this film isn’t a direct provocation to provoke censorship. Even in a free society, there is such a thing as too far (namely making a film like this). Give me a break.

  • Calum says:

    I’ve liked and shared on Facebook, i hope all my friends read this. Reist will go down in glorious, bright-red flames. She’s fighting a losing war, but what she’s fighting for is ridiculous and would turn Australia into a country reminiscent of 1984. People need to know there’s this woman walking this country and that what we are fighting for is simple entertainment rights for adults. That’s all. We’re not fighting to free all pedophiles, we’re not fighting to legalise murder. We’re fighting for a fucking MOVIE. It’s sad that it’s come to this.

  • Scott says:

    Do we need a Free Speech Advocacy Group? Why not just get behind the Australian Sex Party? They are the best chance we have of getting an anti-censorship voice heard. It may take a while, but one day they will be elected in one of the State Parliaments. Even if they do not, their preferences can help swing results.

    Apart from that, I agree with everything you wrote.

  • Dave says:

    I just so happened to hire the censored cut of A Serbian Film on the same day it was re-banned. On hearing the news, and needing to write a news article for one of my Journalism courses at uni, contacted George Papadopoulos of Accent Films, and Melinda Tankard Reist.

    Mr. Papadopoulos was very generous, allowing me time to ask a few questions, and gave thoughtful, intellectual responses that acknowledged both sides of the debate but stoof to his own stance.

    Ms. Reist took weeks to respond, and only replied with belligerent rhetoric, never acknowledging the film itself to a point where I highly doubt she’s seen it herself.

    It’s clear that she’s using the banning of this films as notches on her belt for what I’m sure will result in a move as a political candidate. I regard her as foolish and obstinate, her manner condescending and offensive, whereas Mr Papadopoulos, the supposed purveyor-of-harmful-filth to be reasonable and insightful, and respectful to a divisive issue.

    I’ll also point out the double standard that Collective Shout, her pet army of angry voices, rail against the exploitation of women and children in a film that has a central narrative of exploiting one man, which itself received no mention. Men can be victims too, though it seems hypocrites are reluctant to see it that way.

    The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is a film that I don’t personally hold dear, but it’s ridiculous to have it witheld from an audience who will (and upon checking – can) download it in an instant through torrent sites. The only thing censorship does is provide grievances to the distributors.

  • I do firmly believe films like THC2 is repulsive garbage through and through. But having said that, I do believe people are entitled to watch repulsive garbage if they want to. Who are you protecting by passing these laws?
    The people who would see this stuff, WANT TO.
    And they WILL. One way, or the other.
    Don’t force them to resort to illegal ways of aquiring it.
    Cause they will. And its as easy as clicking a button.
    So what exactly are you acomplishing here?
    Censorship laws are bullshit 100%. More offensive than anything in THC2 you can believe that.

    • Martin says:

      I guess there are semantic differences between your usage of the word “offensive” in these given contexts.

      • I have a great idea: Why don’t you write down all the guidelines that society should follow that you deem appropriate and then we’ll all follow them and we’ll live in a happy, wonderful place?

        Oh, right, that’s not what you mean when free societies should “have limits.” You want there to be limits, but you don’t want to be the one to make them up. You just know what’s good that everybody should go follow.