Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mondo Magic - Intermedia/Woodhaven vs De Laurentiis Ricordi

Upon the 2004 Intermedia Video/Woodhaven Entertainment DVD release* of Mondo Magic (aka Magia nuda aka Naked Magic aka Shocking Cannibals) (1975), various mentions of the DVD being heavily cut surfaced online, though it seems that there were few details as to precisely which scenes were cut, and while there have been some brief discussions of the disparities between the cut/uncut versions, we couldn't locate a comprehensive listing of cuts. With this in mind, we thus decided to do a comparison between the Intermedia/Woodhaven DVD release (narrated in English) and the earlier Italian De Laurentiis Ricordi Video VHS release (narrated in Italian), which presents a longer cut of the film.

*Woodhaven Entertainment also released Mondo Magic on VHS in 1999, but alas we do not have a copy of the tape release to see if it is identical to the later DVD release (though the runtime written on the back cover of the VHS--"Approx. 85 Minutes"--does seem to indicate that it is the same length as the DVD).


Our findings, presented in full in Appendix 1, are that the Intermedia/Woodhaven DVD is indeed heavily cut in numerous scenes. The cuts are mostly towards the last third of the film, and include not only scenes related to sexuality and/or genitalia--though these indeed formulate the bulk of the cut scenes--but notably also encompass scenes of various Christian rituals from the Philippines. The Intermedia/Woodhaven disc also includes absolutely no alternate scenes of its own, and as such is simply a cut-down, heavily censored version of the film cutting out more than 15 minutes of footage.

Appendix 1. Scenes present in the Italian De Laurentiis Ricordi VHS Release of Mondo Magic but cut from the US Intermedia/Woodhaven DVD Release.

Format: Number. Start Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)-End Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) Informal Scene Title: Scene Description/Comments.

Nota bene: Scene times are given with respect to the De Laurentiis Ricordi release of the film, and as always timings may not be precise (assume a +/- two-second deviation at best).

  1. 00:05:55-00:07:20 Mundari Cattle Rituals: Tribesmen puffing into cow cunt, and later a cow defecating. This is in fact one of two scenes depicting a vaginal puffing exorcism; the other one (No. 4 below), this time depicting the ritual on a human, is also cut out from the Intermedia/Woodhaven release.

  2. 00:09:00-00:09:13 Cow Ass: An extended shot of a tribesman reaching his arm shoulder-deep into a cow's rectum is missing. Most, though notably not all, of the scenes cut from the Intermedia/Woodhaven DVD release involve penetration of one sort or another. This and the previous cut are also the only two cuts in the first hour of the movie; the bulk of the cuts occur during the last third of the film.

  3. 01:01:01-01:01:36 Child Dick-Wrenching Exorcism: A string is tied around a small boy's penis and then pulled repeatedly by the presiding witch doctor while the child cries out in anguish.

  4. 01:02:53-01:05:13 More Ritual Exorcism: Yet another exorcism scene which the narrator first situates in Ethiopia but in less than a minute seemingly changes his mind and says, in fact, that the scene occurs in a small village in Cameroon; this is curious seeing as how the two countries are more than a thousand miles apart. A nude woman is shown writhing on a bed as smoke is blown into her vaginal/anal openings using a horn and a long pipe, respectively; she then vomits to expel the evil spirit.

  5. 01:09:15-01:11:05 Philippine Christian Scarification/Flagellation: What's striking about this scene is that not only does it constitute the first cut sequence that has nothing to do with the genitals (unlike all previous cuts which revolved around genitalia in one way or another), but that the scene right before it of African flagellation remains uncut; therefore it is not the whipping in and of itself that someone found objectionable but the particular circumstances thereof. Given these peculiar conditions, one could therefore surmise that whoever was making this cut wasn't too comfortable with the narrative parallels here being explicitly drawn between Christianity and the various African tribal customs and thus opted to excise the scene entirely, in which case this cut constitutes a particularly egregious act of censorship.

  6. 01:16:08-01:19:48 Fertility Rite: A Muslim couple porks on camera while a female marabout rubs them with verses from the Koran. Confirmation of Virginity: the marabout sticks a "short, spiral-tipped metal rod" into the girl's cooch to test for premarital virginity. Sexual Hygiene: a "fetishist mother" stretches a girl's labia minora.

    Note that Mark Goodall, in describing this scene in his book Sweet and Savage: The World Through The Shockumentary Film Lens, "[m]eanwhile the film's devotion to 'Naked Magic' is the climax and is exhibited through Islamic sexual rituals (vaginal examinations by a Marabou fetishist mother, the brushing of the bodies of a couple having intercourse with aphrodisiac leaves)" (2006, p. 135), appears to confound the term marabou (a multiracial Haitian) with marabout (a Muslim teacher and spiritualist), the latter being who the woman in the scene likely is, given the narrative context. Furthermore, the marabout caresses the fucking couple with verses from the Koran (albeit ones admittedly written on 'leaves' of paper), thus the term "aphrodisiac leaves" is 'creative' at best.

  7. 01:22:16-01:24:39 Legba Ritual: Extended footage of the festive ritual, including a child unwillingly undergoing "symbolic ritual sodomy" and close-ups of a dying goat.

  8. 01:25:06-01:25:41 Twins: The footage of the twins is slightly extended, and there are a few shots of the father playing with his dick while visitors come to congratulate him that are also missing from the Intermedia/Woodhaven disc.

  9. 01:27:11-01:27:49 Fetishist Fertility Convent Initiation: A novice is initiated into the convent by having sex, which is all conveniently caught on camera, natch (albeit with inconveniently poor lighting).

  10. 01:28:10-01:28:26 - The Sacred Phallus: A quick scene of symbolic penetration with a large wooden phallus of the aforementioned initiate ("to remind her that she has now been penetrated by the spirit of fertility") followed by said initiate cleaning her despoiler's dick with water.

  11. 01:29:38-01:30:40 Ceremonial Masturbation: Convent members ride a lubed-up dildo in a darkened room.

  12. 01:31:55-01:32:20 End Sequence: After the parting shot of canoes silhouetted against the sunset, The De Laurentiis Ricordi Release ends with a wider shot of the setting sun and finally fades to black with the sound of crickets chirping. This is quite a tranquil ending, especially when compared to the Intermedia/Woodhaven release which cuts to black after the canoes and then plays a soundless clip of a tribesman screaming alongside the words 'Mondo Magic' on the screen, thus omitting the calming lead-out of the sunset and cricket chirping.

Total amount of cuts: 00:15:22.

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