The Legion Of Decency was an organization founded in 1933 to prevent Catholics from being exposed to morally offensive films; protecting the souls of nearly a billion people around the world. The National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures, the group that took over for the LOD until it was dissolved in 1980, would watch all the newly released films throughout the year. After compiling their reviews, they would either decide to approve it or condemn it. Certain U.S. films were warned that they were headed towards being on the condemned label, and would often oblige and change things to meet the Catholic approval. They didn’t want the negative publicity associated with condemnation.
Oftentimes, however, seemingly wholesome movies ended up banned by the Catholic church. Movies like Grease and The Odd Couple were considered morally reprehensible. Would you like to know what other films the Catholic church banned? Here are 10 more films the church does not want you to see:
10. And God Created Woman
And God Created Woman is a 1956 film starring Brigitte Bardot. The Catholic church was not fond of the promiscuity and adulterous behavior in the film. When the film was released in the U.S. it was considered nearly taboo by the entertainment industry as a whole, so it was no surprise that the church came down hard on it.
Brigitte stars as a very sexual teenage girl who is very confident and free in her own skin. She gets involved with multiple men and has many affairs. She displays a careless attitude and a sexual addiction. Men are drawn to her and seem to become addicted to her despite knowing that she is just using them. The men she abuses keep coming back to her.
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic Psycho, was not well received by the Catholic church. Janet Leigh plays the quiet secretary who steals money from her employer. She gets out of town and finds herself staying overnight at the Bates Motel. The Bates Motel is run by Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins, and his mother.
Initially Norman comes across as a shy, mama’s boy but his true self is revealed as he peeps on his guest. Then, things escalate and he breaks into her motel room while dressed as his mother. As Marion is in the shower, Norman sneaks into the bathroom and stabs her in the infamous shower scene. Psycho is a true horror film masterpiece (insert shower scene screeching music).
8. Valley of the Dolls
Valley of the Dolls stars Sharon Tate, Patty Duke and Barbara Perkins. It is a 1967 soap opera of sorts, but with way more sex and vulgarity than any soap opera around today. It’s still as risque today as it was 50 years ago.
There are lots of drugs, crying, laughing, romance and tragedy. It’s one heck of a rollercoaster ride of emotion. The scene of Jennifer North, played by Ms. Tate, doing her chest exercises is one of the more notable scenes in the film. The film was banned by the church due to its potential to morally corrupt those that were to view such vulgarity.
7. Rosemary’s Baby
Rosemary’s Baby stars Mia Farrow as an expecting newlywed. She is married to a wannabe actor and they move into a very strange apartment building. The tenants of the building are creepy. It is only later in the 1968 film that you find out Rosemary’s suspicions were right all along and they were all devil worshipers trying to make her believe she was the crazy one.
The climax at the end is when Rosemary sees the newborn for the first time and begins screaming while those in the room treat her like some sort of goddess for giving birth to some evil incarnation of the devil. The Library of Congress elected to have Rosemary’s Baby put into the prestigious National Film Registry. The Catholic church said “no way!” to this Roman Polanski film and banned it for the grotesque and sinful subject matter.
6. The Exorcist
The Exorcist is a 1973 film about a little girl being possessed by a demon and a Catholic priest performing an exorcism on her to get rid of the demon. It’s based on a true story and must reveal a little too much about the behind the scenes of the Catholic church because the church banned the film.
In 1949, a series of newspaper articles were published revealing an exorcism that had taken place on a young boy known by the pseudonym Roland Doe. There were 48 witnesses to the exorcism. The 2010 movie Possession, was also based on The Exorcist and would’ve been banned by the Catholic church had the National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures still been in existence.
5. The Wicker Man
The Wicker Man is about a detective that is searching for a missing girl and goes to an island to search for her. He comes across the inhabitants of the island and finds out that they are very strange. They are Celtic pagans and have horrifying religious practices. He gets sucked into their world and begins to believe the girl is alive.
The final scenes of The Wicker Man reveal a terrifying plot twist. The Catholic church definitely didn’t find the Pagan theme or the human sacrifice morally appealing. The film was banned along with several other classic horror films that were released in 1973.
Carrie addresses subjects such as the occult, witchcraft and evil. It’s definitely a very controversial film that the Catholic church didn’t want any part of. One of the most famous horror movie scenes of all-time comes from the film Carrie.
When Carrie gets invited to the prom under false pretenses and then gets voted Prom Queen, jealous mean girls dump a huge bucket of pig’s blood directly on top of her. This incident sets Carrie off into an epic rage in which the consequences for everyone involved are horrific. No one escapes Carrie’s wrath. There have been plenty of remakes but none come close to terrifying the audience like the original 1976 Carrie.
3. The Omen
Ever since The Omen was released in 1976, the name Damien has become somewhat synonymous with the devil. An adopted child of a diplomat is also the Antichrist. A series of misfortunes surrounds Damien. His parents start growing suspicious of their son. Damien’s nanny ends up hanging herself and a new nanny replaces her. The new nanny is evil and collaborates with her charge to kill anyone that gets in their way.
With a horror film involving Satan, the Antichrist, and the Catholic church, the film was an obvious choice for the Catholic church to ban. The installments up until 1980 were also banned. Remakes of the original have never come close to emulating the terror of the original.
2. Friday the 13th
In 1980, Friday the 13th was one of the last films to get banned by the Catholic church. The horror film revolved around Camp Crystal Lake and the drowning of a young boy named Jason. Jason drowned while his camp counselors were occupied with their own extracurricular activities.
Jason came back from the dead to get revenge on Camp Crystal Lake, especially the promiscuous teenage camp counselors. After his death the Camp was closed for many years until the memory of Jason’s death had faded. It was reopened and in doing so awakened Jason Voorhees from the depths of Crystal Lake. Jason’s hockey mask is one of the most recognizable horror film memorabilia.
1. Dressed to Kill
Dressed to Kill was one of the last films banned by the Catholic church’s National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures before the department was dismantled.
Dressed to Kill stars Michael Caine and Angie Dickinson. The 1980 film is a horror-thriller masterpiece. It covers pretty much everything the Catholic church would detest: transgenders, erotica, and plenty of murder. The film is psychotic and deranged but a true psychological thriller that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat the entire time.