Comparisone between the R-Rated DVD by 20th Century Fox/Fortune Star
and the BBFC 18 DVD by Hong Kong Legends
, which contains the uncensored and uncut version of the movie.
are missing, summing up to 5 minutes and 27 seconds
The release history of Naked Killer, the probably most famous of the Cat III movies, is more or less comparable to the one of Jet Li's Black Mask, which is also very confusing. There are really many astonishing parallels: Naked Killer was also precensored in HK, there are different export versions, exclusive plot scenes and no single version featuring all of the known footage. This comparison and a line of related ones aims to make things more clear and possibly close the chapter Naked Killer in that aspect, although most of the contained information will be aimed at hardcore HK fans with a general interest in the version history of the movie.
The Individual Versions in Detail:
Original HK Theatrical Version:
Releases: HK Theatres/ HK DVD First Issue, VHS, Video CD and LD (all by Mei Ah) / UK VHS (Cantonese with English subtitles)
There were already some problems before the first release in Hong Kong: Despite the highest possible rating, Cat III, several violent and erotic scenes as well as others that referred to genitalia had to be removed. Some words (usually penis) were also beeped in the original Cantonese audio track. This version was released to HK cinemas and was also used for all of the HK first issues, e.g. the DVD release by Mei Ah, which was heavily imported by fans but is by now out of print and very rare.
However, the HK theatrical version was also released in the UK on VHS with the original sound track and subtitles, as was then still common practice for HK movies. At the same time, there was also a second VHS available, which contained the Western export version (see further down).
Asian Export Version/ German VHS:
Releases: Malaysia and other Asian countries, Germam VHS (SPIO/JK)
It is not uncommon for HK movies that there are special export versions for other Asian markets like Malaysia, China, Thailand or Taiwan. These are always adapted to the specific countries, which may have even stricter rules regarding nudity or the depiction of corrupt policemen and state officials. Sometimes a movie is not only cut but there are also new scenes alternate dialog in it in order to mellow or soften some aspects, e.g. a hero might be more law-abiding than in the original version.
The same happened to Naked Killer, there was a seperate export version produced for the Asian market. This version is based on the already pre-censored HK theatrical version, however, some additional scenes (mostly of erotic nature) were removed and others inserted. As a result, the protagonist (Kitty) is now actually a policewoman which even gets promoted in the end. This version was certainly released in Malaysia, but probably in other Asian countries as well. Surprisingly, this version was also exported to Germany where it was used for the old VHS release that received the SPIO/JK rating. This version was further censored in order to achieve the FSK 16 rating in Germany and is even still to be found on the FSK 16 DVD. The result, certainly not to be recommended, does not even reach 70 minutes of running time (69:28 min.).
Western Export Version:
Releases: UK VHS (English dubbed edition)
It is common practice to specially produce export versions of HK movies for the Western market, too. Equal to the export versions for the Asian market, they are adapted to the special conditions and needs of the Western market. The maybe commonest category of cuts is the removal of humoristic actions, because the Asian slapstick humor is often rather perceived as silly tomfoolery in Western countries. But there are other reasons for cuts and shortenings to be found in several Western export versions, as for example general cuts in order to tighten the movie up, the cutting out of cameos of stars especially known in Asia and the removal of scenes which contain deeper references to the Asian culture and hence are seen as too hard to comprehend for the average Western viewer. On the other hand, story sequences which were exclusively inserted for the Western market are quite usual in Western export versions.
A special export version of Naked Killer was also produced for the Western market - but it’s apparently not that widespread. The only release we know of is the UK VHS dubbed in English. Further releases in other European countries or the USA are nevertheless possible. The Western export version is clearly based on the old, already pre-censored HK theatrical version. This means that it contains all the cuts and censorings which had been made in Hong Kong before the first release. Furthermore, it generally contains the same censorings as the Asian export version, but it’s not completely equal to the latter. On the one hand, the exclusive story sequences of the Asian export version (=German VHS) are NOT contained in the Western export version. This is quite clear for, as already mentioned, these scenes were mostly inserted for Asian countries in order to provide an increased political correctness, hence are superfluous in the Western area. Moreover, additional cuts had been made for the Western export version, of which a few could be counted as censorings. In exchange, the Western export version contains a plot scene which runs 44 seconds and which can ONLY be found there. So, for hardcore fans or completists this version is probably worth a look. The separate report should be sufficient for everyone else. Due to the fact that the Western export version has the same cuts as the Asian export version, it can be assumed that, at first, all of the shortenings had been made for the general export in Hong Kong, and then the exclusive plot sequences were added to the basic version.
Uncut HK Reissue:
Releases: HK DVD by Mega Star / UK and NL DVD by Hong Kong Legends / US DVD and VHS by Tai Seng (not rated)
Together with the quick rise of the DVD, a DVD reissue had been put on the market in Hong Kong by Mega Star. They took special trouble to release the completely uncut and uncensored version of the movie for the first time. Not only does it contain all the scenes which were censored for the Asian export version, but it also contains those scenes which were already removed for the HK theatrical version. The HK rating stayed the same (Cat.III). This version should by now be the most frequent among movie fans, for it also can be found in good quality and with a lot of bonus material on the UK and NL DVD by the label Hong Kong Legends, which is very popular with HK fans.
But this version also doesn‘t have all the known scenes. The exclusive plot scenes of the Asian export version as well as the exclusive scene of the Western export version aren’t contained. These certainly are no cuts or shortenings, if anything they are rather the opposite, because said plot scenes, at least those from the Asian export version, were mostly just added to make the movie more politically correct and positive in its general tone for certain countries, as already mentioned above. Nevertheless, there are also missing some plot scenes in comparison to the German VHS, which those who know this version might notice.
US R-Rated Version:
Releases: US DVD by 20th Century Fox
Finally, the R-rated version, which was released on DVD in the USA by 20th Century Fox, has to be mentioned. This version is based on the uncensored HK reissue, but the nude scenes had been specially censored for the R-rating. In doing so, some longer parts instead of just short shots were shortened. Apart from the R-rated version there was before also released a DVD by Tai Seng in the USA, which contains the uncensored HK version (not rated).
Notes on the Report:
- The pre-censored HK theatrical version (see intro) is called “old HK version” in the report for a better understanding.
- Exclusive and alternative scenes which can only be found in the Western or Asian export versions are highlighted in color.
- Finally, it must be pointed out that in the reports the cut or censored version is, if possible, always compared with the version it is based on, as is usual for this site now for years. This is the only way to illustrate in the respective comparison the cuts and changes which were specially made for this version, without having confusing mixed and double mentions. But this also means that not every report shows all the scenes that were cut. The reader has to keep that “in mind“. An Example: the Asian export version was compared with the old, already pre-censored HK theatrical version. NOT with the completely uncensored HK reissue. This is because the Asian export version is based on the old HK version, as mentioned before. Hence, in the respective report are missing all the scenes which were before removed for the HK version. These can be looked up in the report comparing the old HK version with the HK reissue.
The comparison Western Export Version - Old HK Version breaks with this principle in a way: for the Western export version contains the censorings of the old HK version as well as those of the Asian export version, the latter would rather be the “fitting” counterpart. But the exclusive scenes of the Asian export version would then also lead to double mentions, so it was just compared with the old HK version.
(Intro by Glogcke)