This question sounds pretty juvenile, I’ll admit. I know a lot of you guys are hardcore rating hounds, and it’s something I don’t always agree with. I don’t think the quality of a film lives and dies based on whether it gets a PG13 or an R rating. Hell, even Jaws – one of the best horror films of all time – is PG (though it would likely get a PG13 today). A good movie is a good movie regardless of its MPAA designation, horror or otherwise.
That being said, there’s something about seeing your very first R-rated movie. If you look back to when you were a kid, it was probably a total rush. I remember being nervous, “are these things ‘R’ for a reason? Am I going to see something that will seriously f*ck me up?” Strangely enough, that movie for me was Down And Out In Beverly Hills which isn’t even remotely horror (though Nick Nolte and Bette Midler having sex is fairly scary). But, a few months later, my first R-rated horror experience came to me in the form of Aliens. I suppose my Mom (a psychotherapist) could be considered fairly liberal by taking me to these movies at such a young age, and I remember the thrill of walking in that theater not knowing what to expect. Not only had I never seen Alien, I didn’t even know what atrocities “adult cinema” (obviously not the kind of “adult cinema” I would come to discover later) was capable of! My mom had warned me about the chest-bursting in the original, but I had no way to really conceive how it might play out visually! Of course I had a blast, and I was temporarily spoiled on movies that didn’t kick as much ass as that one did.
A strong second place for me was A Nightmare On Elm Street, which I had to sneak a viewing of on cable sometime after that. That was something my mother would not allow me to see, it was an actual slasher movie with none of the blockbuster/James Cameron/Sigourney Weaver safety nets of “legitimacy” that Aliens benefitted from. I snuck downstairs, nervous as hell (I had seen a TV Spot with Freddy’s gloves scraping against the pipes of the boiler room) – and steeled myself for the experience. Needless to say, I was fine. But I was never the same.
What’s YOUR first R-rated horror experience?