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Censorship is a no-win situation. Nobody wants their six-year-old daughter exposed to interspecies gang bang porn, but everyone thinks the resulting censorship rules themselves are ridiculous. Some media simply can't be cleaned up exactly the way you want without turning it into a ridiculous clusterfuck. For example ...

5
Germany Makes Video Game Violence Ridiculous

Valve

Considering the country's somewhat shaky history with militarized violence, it's understandable that Germany would be stricter than other nations about regulating the amount of bloody, torturous brutality depicted in its media. The video game Doom, for example, was outright banned in Deutschland for 17 years (the horrific movie version, however, was released on an unwitting public without hesitation). It seems they only lifted the ban because they figured that anyone who would've been criminally influenced by bloody sprites of the children of Hell getting blasted apart by an Aryan superman would've grown out of it by then.

However, the German solution to the violence in Valve's legendary shooters Half-Life and Team Fortress 2 makes about as much sense as making a techno remix of "Jingle Bells" to remove any potentially offensive religious overtones.

While every monster in the original Half Life would essentially erupt into a bloody geyser when you heroically blasted it into nonexistence, in the German version, the enemies are as bloodless as a bunch of mummies in a shootout with the A-Team. Also, should you happen to hit a random bystander with an errant bullet or grenade (whether accidentally or because you are the exact person these censorship initiatives are targeting), they sort of crouch down in fear. You can pound them with every piece of ordinance in your arsenal, and they'll do nothing but sit on the ground shaking their heads as if a toddler's tattooing them with a plastic bat:

drivethehive/YouTube
Yeah, we're shaking our heads too.

In fact, looking at the changes Germany required for Valve's other games, it seems like the country has an irrational distrust of everything that developer produces. For example, in the German version of Counter-Strike, your character doesn't actually die when you get shot -- you just lie down on the ground and put your hands over your head in surrender. Another player can walk right up to you and unload their weapon into the back of your cowardly skull, and you'll keep lying there kissing the dirt like some kind of pacifist Kryptonian.

Killerschokolade/YouTube
"They can be a cowardly people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack a blubbering chickenshit to show them the way."

But Germany's squeamishness over Valve's games reached a true crescendo with Team Fortress 2. The game included a mode called "sillygibs," in which the usual splatter of gore and body parts unleashed when an enemy player is killed (called "giblets" or "gibbing") is replaced with dolls, gears, and other goofy shit normally found in a treasure chest at a family dentistry.

Valve
It's like you're leading an assault on Santa's Workshop.

The German version made "sillygibs" the default mode of the game, and you cannot deactivate it. There exists no other version of Team Fortress 2 in Germany apart from the one which has you reducing your foes to the toy section at a drug store with every blast from your rocket launcher. Because it's apparently fine and dandy to explode someone as long as they have confetti and rubber ducks for organs.

And while we're on the subject of game violence ...

4
A Metal Gear Solid Game Replaces A Torture Sequence With A Tickling Sequence

Konami

Solid Snake (or whatever the hell they're deciding to call him, depending on which game you're playing) being captured and tortured is a peculiar mainstay of the Metal Gear Solid series, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP was no exception. But this posed a problem for Metal Gear's publisher, Konami. You see, while the PSP was a portable console mainly owned by teenagers and adults in most of the world, in Japan, it was primarily used by children. So unless they wanted their new Metal Gear game to carry a restricted rating in Japan, which would seriously damage sales, they had to come up with some sort of workaround.

In the standard version of the game released in the U.S. and Europe, Snake is captured, chained up, and shocked with cattle prods like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, complete with thoroughly disturbing man-hoots of agony:

Now, removing the torture sequence altogether for the Japanese release was out of the question, because as we've previously discussed, Metal Gear series creator Hideo Kojima is a fucking lunatic. Kojima's solution was to alter the sequence so that Snake, rather than being electrocuted with cattle prods, is instead being poked with "laughing rods." That's right: The hero's villainous tormentors are torturing him with gigglin' sticks.

Konami
Not to be confused with the "laughing rod" you once discovered in your mom's nightstand.

If this clip of the scene in question from the game isn't the most preposterous thing you've seen today, you are clearly living a more charmed life than the rest of us:

When she puts the prods to him this time, he belts out a cackle that would make the Joker toss up his hands and apply for early retirement. We'll leave it to you to decide whether it's more disturbing to watch Snake be electrocuted or to see him have sensitive government intel chuckled out of him like he's some kind of toddler.

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3
Foreign Objects Become "International" Objects In World Championship Wrestling

World Wrestling Entertainment

Once upon a time, elderly billionaire cyborg Ted Turner had his own professional wrestling organization, called World Championship Wrestling -- or WCW to anyone who has ever needed to specify whether they were talking about Sting the musician or Sting the Great American Bash champion. WCW was merely one facet of a vast media empire under Turner's control, which also included cable channels (like CNN, TNT, and Cartoon Network) and more acres of American land than any other human being.

Peter Kramer/Getty Entertainment/Getty
"That's Turners of land, in metric units."

Turner is known for his incandescent flares of brilliant insanity, and in 1990, he handed down a proclamation that the word "foreign" carried a negative connotation, and that every media property he owned was henceforth forbidden to use it in any context. They were instead instructed to use the word "international" in its place, because the only offensive thing associated with the word "international" is a house of pancakes.

Presumably, this directive was aimed at CNN anchors, who may have previously introduced segments focusing on "foreign" news. But at the time, WCW was a struggling wrestling promotion that had recently been purchased by Turner Broadcasting, so the last thing any WCW employee wanted to do was disobey one of Ted Turner's commands. Now, when an object such as a chair, ladder, sleeping audience member, or Zamboni is introduced into a wrestling match (as they frequently are), they are traditionally referred to as "foreign objects." Consequently, the WCW announcers were forced to refer to every stray table, ladder, and chair tossed into the ring as "international objects."

The absurdity didn't stop at make-believe sports, either. Shortly after Turner's overzealous memo, Skip Caray, announcer for the Atlanta Braves (who were also owned by Turner at the time), announced that a player had stepped off the field to "remove an international object from his eye." Turner got a good chuckle out of it, but not enough to reevaluate his moratorium on the word.

2
The Chinese Version Of 21 & Over Becomes A Somber Warning About The Evils Of Western Culture

Relativity Media

As the Chinese box office gradually becomes a greater source of revenue for Hollywood than domestic ticket sales, adjusting films to please Chinese audiences is getting more widespread. For example, Chinese audiences watching Iron Man 3 were treated to four entirely extraneous minutes starring some famous Chinese actors, because someone felt it would be impossible for them to enjoy the film otherwise.


There are no subtitles, so imagine all the dialogue as cash register sound effects.

But adding a few throwaway scenes to appeal to a certain demographic is one thing; fundamentally changing a movie's plot is a whole other deal. Such was the case with the raunchy 2013 sex comedy 21 & Over, which received a goodly chunk of its $12 million budget from Chinese investors. However, the movie was written and directed by the guys who wrote The Hangover, and as such, it was basically The Hangover, only about a college-aged Asian guy about to take his medical school exams instead of a guy about to get married. Otherwise, it's the same story -- his friends take him out for a night of fun, and predictable R-rated wackiness ensues.

The film's Chinese investors were super not-okay with this depiction of a Chinese person (even though both the actor and the character are Chinese-American), so they added a scene at the beginning that recast him as a Chinese exchange student traveling to America and being corrupted by the abyss of Western excess. It's all good, though, because the addition of yet another scene at the end of the movie had him returning to his homeland after renouncing the vile Western ways that had led him astray. Again, the rest of the movie is a cheap knockoff of The Hangover, written by people who had actually made The Hangover. The Chinese version is just inexplicably bookended by scenes attempting to recontextualize it as a sober warning against the dangers of American hedonism and the importance of remaining true to your Chinese roots.

It's such a huge change to the plot that we can't help but wonder if 21 & Over is even a comedy in China. Were audiences awash in horror the entire time? Do they have nightmares about going to America and getting into shenanigans?

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1
Showgirls Gets Cleaned Up For Television With Hilariously Bad CGI Underwear

United Artists

Preparing an R-rated film to be shown on regular television can be a daunting task. It requires a multitude of time-consuming edits to filter out all the swearing, violence, and (most especially) nudity in order to protect the helpless populace watching television in the safety of their own homes. So what do you do when something like Showgirls, an overlong B-movie about Jessie from Saved By The Bell's nipples, needs to get cleaned up for airing on network television? Why even bother? The movie is terrible and full of more bizarrely unappealing nudity than an H.R. Giger coffee table book.

Regardless of the reasoning behind needing to show this piece of shit on TV, the solution to the problem was, of course, CGI clothing.

United Artists
Note that we're being generous with our definition of "CGI" here.

To create the ghastly abomination that is the TV-friendly, nudity-free version of Showgirls, every single frame of naked person (in a movie about strippers) was digitally altered to add cartoonish underwear that looks like it was drawn with Microsoft Paint. Let us repeat: Somewhere, a group of video editors painstakingly drew clothing on every single frame of film that contained a bare boob or butt so that children and grandchildren across America could safely watch Showgirls with the whole family.

If you don't have time to watch the entire highlight reel, at least skip to the end to see the piece de resistance of cartoon censorship: In the scene in which Elizabeth Berkley's character confronts a rapist, the camera cuts away right as she's removing her leopard print top to distract him with her bare breasts (obviously). A split second later, she's kicking the dude's ass while wearing the very same leopard print top we just saw her remove. And it looks totally real, you guys.

Logo
As does the choreography.

Truly, no five-year-old at home with his or her parents would ever know that they had been spared seeing Elizabeth Berkley's breasts angrily bouncing around while she defeats a hideous sexual criminal in single combat.

Scott Elizabeth Baird can be found gushing over Highlander 2 on his Twitter page.

Censorship rarely ever works out. Check out The 5 Most Ridiculous Attempts To Censor Popular Cartoons to see which superhero was forbidden from throwing punches in his own show. Or see why William Shatner said 'Damn the man' and made television history in 6 Sneaky Ways Movies And TV Shows Outsmarted The Censors.

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