Us horror fans have always hated the MPAA. It’s easy to just stand by and watch as they arbitrarily give a genre film its rating, but what carries the illusion of protocol actually borderlines censorship. The ratings have always been said to be providing “guidance” to parents, but ultimately what they’re doing is creating a heavy rift that affects ticket prices, print, radio, and online ad sales, while also taking away a parent’s own right to decide what their kid can, or can’t watch. The fact of the matter is: they know what’s best for us, and that’s a form of censorship. With independent directors like Adam Green (Hatchet) being forced into constant battle the MPAA (because they don’t carry the same power studios have), and the Weinstein Co.’s recent battle over the NC-17 rating for Blue Valentine, the MPAA has been under rapid fire by the entire industry – nothing all too new. While it may have appeared that things were looking up for the horror genre, and their relationship with the MPAA, get ready for a decade of fury. More inside.
In an article detailing the recent Blue Valentine war, Variety’s Andrew Stewart stumbled across some troubling news: the MPAA has targeted our genre for “change”.
“The board also contends with charges that it has a double standard when it comes to violence.
[Ratings board chair Joan] Graves says the org is taking steps to correct some of those issues. For instance, the MPAA plans to revisit its stance on horror pics, which have evolved considerably from spooky frights to torture porn.
“I do think the R has a very big envelope for that genre,” Graves admits.”
Does this mean we should expect more severity on their part, or will they loosen their grip? What they decide to do can drastically change the course for horror over the next decade.
What the public doesn’t know is that there are various rules regarding advertising an R-rated or NC-17 film that range from the times they are allowed to show the trailer on the Web all the way to not being able to advertise in local newspapers. The ramifications are extreme, and the studios know that every eyeball blocked from seeing an ad is another $15 out of their pocket.
The result is a domino effect that forces the studio’s hands into editing an R-rated feature down to a PG-13, or putting pressure on the filmmakers to actually film a PG-13 film rather than the intended R.
CENSORSHIP. Changing art to be applicable to “The Man’s” standards.
Whether you’re 13-years-old or 50, the MPAA clearly affects your entertainment.
Now, TALK BELOW.