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Silent Madness


  • BBFC 18
  • R-Rated
Release: Apr 27, 2021 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

When a short 3D trend emerged in the 80's, which was not very successful and was over shortly after, Silent Madness appeared as one of the few horror films of this phase. Director Simon Nuchtern's work doesn't look like a real slasher, even if it touches on the omnipresent motif of the time, that a lack of chastity leads to the loss of life and limbs. The film comes across more like a crime thriller, but because of its violent scenes, which were not excessive by genre standards, it ran into censorship problems in several countries.

In the US, Silent Madness was given an R-rating in its uncut form, but had to be cut for theatrical release in the UK in order to still receive the highest "18" rating from the BBFC. This version was then released there on VHS and DVD - to this day it is not available uncut there. According to IMDb, the film was also released in Canada and Norway only in a cut version, and not at all in Sweden due to a ban. And in Germany? There it also looked bleak for a long time, the FSK 18 version was cut and lingered on top of that from 1989 to 2014 on the index (a German youth protection measure that prevented films from being offered in regular sale and TV in the version that they deemed too unsuitable to circulate). It would take until February 2019, before the German distributor Castello released two limited DVD mediabooks, which had the uncut version on board for the first time. With the later released Amaray DVD, however, one had to watch out, there was again only the old FSK 18 version on board, flatteringly called "alternative version".

Then in November 2020, the US label Vinegar Syndrome lovingly remedied the situation, finally producing a Blu-ray and at the same time providing a long overdue leap in quality, because the picture detail of all previously available releases (whether cut or uncut), which were probably all based on the old US VHS by Video Treasures, defied description and was already strictly speaking somewhat censoring, because it withheld an enormous amount of picture information. See for yourself:

BBFC 18 US Blu-ray

The Blu-ray is also otherwise recommendable, as it contains for the first time, in addition to the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio, a new making-of and the 3D version with corresponding glasses. Initially, this release was only available in the Black Friday sale in the label's own store, but at the US Amazon is also the regular sales start in January 2021.

Compared the cut BBFC 18 DVD (by Divid 2000) with the uncut US Blu-ray (by Vinegar Syndrome).

9 cuts = 89.12 sec. or approx. 1 min. 30 sec.

0:00:00: For documentary purposes only: The opening credits are different on the Blu-ray than on the UK DVD (and consequently on the UK and US VHS). The Blu-ray shows a pipe and then fades in the credits over a still image of the steam, the UK DVD just shows a black background.

BBFC 18US Blu-ray

0:11:51: The blonde's head is crushed in the vice and blood flows from the top of the screaming woman's head.
3.44 sec.

0:11:56: Another shot showing the vice being squeezed shut further and more blood flowing. The woman's screaming quiets down.
5.04 sec.

0:43:48: Missing the beginning of the shot where the nail can be seen stuck bloodily in the chest.
2.16 sec.

1:01:49: It is missing how Jesse says he would put the syringe in Joan's "tight ass" and twist it around before he performs the injection. And if she already had her pants off by then.... A clear allusion to rape or sexual violence, which does not sit well with the BBFC at all.
16.68 Sec.

1:07:27: Howard pulls his knife out of Cheryl's back and she falls to the ground dead. Her back wound is bloody and shreds of her skin are stuck to the knife.
6.32 sec.

1:15:17: Jesse is telling Joan not to worry, he's not going to "give it to her" just yet.
9.64 sec.

1:16:25: In the BBFC 18 version, you don't completely see the drill milling into the back of Jesse's head. To shorten the shot to just the last part, they simply added a clip from a scene earlier where he is still on top of Joan and his mouth is clearly moving, but muted.
0.72 sec.

1:22:43: A rather absurd cut. The BBFC 18 version withholds from the viewer how Howard lowers some kind of metal claw on a rope down the shaft to Joan and turns it, like some kind of sharp propeller. He doesn't reach her with it, though. Was the BBFC afraid of copycats here?
36.12 Sec.

1:23:24: Another shot of him twirling the claw from above in a circle and Joan looking scared.
9 sec