When one considers the apocalyptic, flesh-eating subject matter of AMC's The Walking Dead, it makes perfect sense that lots of extreme violence would be on the menu. After all, George Romero's zombie films - the granddaddies of the genre - were often celebrated by horror fans for their amazing practical gore effects. Sure enough, TWD has ended up being pretty easily the most gruesome series on basic cable, routinely pushing the envelope when it comes to what has been previously allowed on ad-supported TV.
In the eyes of many though, Walking Dead took things to an entirely new, uncomfortable level with Negan's head-smashing kills in the series' season 7 premiere episode. Both murders were drawn out, and nauseatingly explicit, showcasing copious amounts of blood, brain matter, and other disgusting viscera. Some people were so outraged that they filed complaints regarding the episode with their cable companies, saying that they were uncomfortable paying for a cable package that played host to such horrors.
When it came time to air TWD's season 7 premiere in the UK, censorship boards took steps to edit Negan's kills into versions they deemed more palatable for general audiences. The censored UK cuts of both deaths can be seen below, both of which attempt to shift the focus away from the actual demise of Negan's victim and onto the pained reactions of Rick and his close knit group of survivors. While it's obviously up to the individual viewer as to whether these edits improve or ruin the scenes, they definitely don't have the same story impact, as some key character moments are removed along with the violence.
The most notable removal is likely Glenn's heartbreaking "Maggie, I will find you" line, excised along with several lingering shots of his destroyed face and popped-out eyeball. While one can argue that exactly what line meant - or if Glenn even still had the mental faculties left at that point for it to even have a logical meaning - it was still a great character moment for Glenn, who remained concerned about his wife even as he himself was in the process of suffering a brutal demise.
It wasn't just all heroic final moments that were unfortunately excised either, as Negan's "You guys! Look at my dirty girl!" line was also removed, along with the final shot of Abraham's smashed-in head. As crass as that line no doubt is, moments like this were clearly included to help establish just how much of a remorseless psychopath Negan is, and to remove them risks viewers not getting the full picture in that respect. Whether one finds the decreased violence preferable or not, it can't be argued that these edited scenes don't drastically alter the intended effect.
The Walking Dead season 7 returns on Sunday, February 12.
Source: AMC (via Comic Book)