Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pulp Censored

Hey y'all... we're sitting here in Arkansas at the end of the Buffy conference (I'll have LOTS to report on that later) and we're watching Pulp Fiction on VH1... this is the WORST censoring job I've ever seen on a movie. If you'd never seen it before, you would have no clue what is going on. There's dubbing, and then there's, well, this. Examples.

We tuned in during the scene where Bruce Willis runs into Ving Rhames and they begin their fight. Most of it is cut out, and then Bruce runs into Zed's. At one point one of them yells out, "You motherf*ckin'" something-or-other, and it was overdubbed to "you pipe-fittin'" something-or-other. Pipe-fittin'? WTF?!

Butch and Marcellus are tied to the chairs with the red balls in their mouths, and as Zed enters the basement, my friend Sue and I started saying, "Bring out the gimp."

But the line never happens. THE GIMP never happens. Instead a bunch of lines are removed, and Zed is suddenly sitting in a chair, drumming his fingers on the leather hood of the gimp. You can't SEE the gimp (they've zoomed in on the scene and are using pan and scan in the most invasive way possible) and we just knew he was there. They grab Marcellus and pull him into the other room. Butch gets out of his binds and runs upstairs (a bunch of the scene is removed so you don't hear too much yelling) and then goes back downstairs. I say to Sue, "How the hell are they going to deal with the scene with the backdoor action?" (OK, in my original post I put a phrase that rhymes with "maynal mape" but someone posted the very good observation that I might be deluged with the wrong sort of people googling my blog). Butch throws the door open, and there is no maynal mape scene. Instead, we have a closeup of the one post and the back wall, and you can hear some sounds, but you see NOTHING. We were screaming (literally). Butch impales the one guy on the sword -- mostly off-camera, of course -- and then Marcellus gets the gun. He shoots Zed in the groin... not that you'd know that if you hadn't already seen the movie.

But WAY better. In the Bonnie Situation segment, Vincent turns around in the car and asks Marvin what he thinks about divine intervention, and the gun goes off. The screen goes BLACK (seriously!) and we hear a voiceover of Vincent saying, 'I shot Marvin in the face.' The rest of the scene is completely gone. Cut to Marcellus saying he'll deal with it, and then Wolf showing up. Wolf goes out to the car with Vincent and Jules, and the camera zooms in on Keitel so that we never see any blood in the car.

At that point, we turned it off.

Why censor a movie that badly? There's overdubbing, and then there's this. Why show it at all? If you don't want to show it either in its entirety or in an overdub, then show Steel Magnolias instead.

I wish we'd been able to stick around and watch it... it was worth it for the shock value. Pulp Fiction in 90 minutes, with no swearing or graphic violence. Fun.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to America, where one network is threatened with fines because a singer uses the F-word during a live broadcast and another gets hit with big fines because for just a split second, Janet Jackson's nipple is exposed, causing great , great irreversable damage to the psyche of millions of members of the Republican Party, yelling nipple, nipple, nipple! Obscene, profane, pornographic.
BTW, I live in a state where a legislator wanted to prosecute cable TV executives at Showtime and HBO because they show nude bodies and sex.

MC said...

So I take it you've seen what happens when you meet a stranger in the alps then dude.

I've actually seen that cut of Pulp Fiction back in the pre-CW UPN days... it was awful, awful stuff... worse than Scarface networktized.

Nikki Stafford said...

He's Lebowski: I've definitely seen dubbed movies before... usually motherf*cker becomes motherlover, one of my favourite words, but I've never seen outright censoring like this. It's like those old letters sent home during the war from the soldiers, with large sections blacked out. I couldn't believe it when the screen went black and we just heard Vincent blandly say that he'd shot Marvin in the face. It's the funniest scene in the entire movie!

MC: I can't even imagine Scarface on a network.

Am I missing something? I didn't see VH1 as a network that would do this, are they a really bland network? We get a lot of VH1 programming in Canada on MuchMoreMusic (yet another music station that rarely plays music) and I guess the shows are pretty milquetoast, but I didn't realize they were so sanitized.

Ryan said...

Hey Nikki -

Ian and I got a kick out of how I'm "Mark" in your previous post. In fact, I'm in his phone as Ryan "Mark" Warden. I may make a legal change...

Hope you guys find something entertaining to do today (I hear the Wal-Mart's open...) -

Have a good trip home-


Corey said...

I refer you to the last word on cernsoring -

Now, get outta here, you mother-father chinese dentist!

poppedculture said...

Perhaps you've stumbled upon an Arkansas euphemism and "pipe-fittin'" is quite salacious.

In any case, including the phrase "anal rape" in your post ought to bring all sorts of interesting queries to you site.

Anonymous said...

Erm, do you have any pictures you could post of anal rape. Not sure what your site is about, but I do love me some ass bangin'!

Nikki Stafford said...

Ryan my darling! I have no excuse for calling you Mark, other than the cheesy goopy enchiladas went straight to my head. Er... yeah. That's my story.

I went back and changed it. Sort of. :) Have a good trip home!

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

I was watching the Man Who Knew Too Little episode of due South the other day. It struck me how similar the dialogue of the Canadian hitmen in that episode is to some of that in Pulp Fiction. But then I recalled that Pulp Fiction (and the work of Tarantino generally) is heavily indebted to pulp fiction, the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard and European art cinema (a cinema most on side of the pond know little about these days thanks to Hollywood control of production, distribution, and exhibition and the juvenilisation of movies), and Hong Kong cinema. The American cinema as simulacrum. But what is fascinating is that virtually no American realises just how much of a simulation Hollywood movies are. Hollywood rather eerily parallels the American tendency towards parochialism in general.