“…proud of scoring a NC17 when submitted! But we had to cut stuff out to get an R and get the film into theaters." Director of The Evil Dead Remake Fede Alvarez tweeted this on January 28th. Due to the simple realities of a studio film and contractual obligations the film will be cut down to what the MPAA deems to be acceptable for an R rating. There is no serious reason for these actions to take place.
If we were truly serious about sheltering kids from this type of violent content we would as a society demand the film keep its NC-17 rating. This would reduce the number of kids from seeing the film. Instead we go through the predictable motions of feigning concern. The NC-17 version will be available as ‘unrated’ when The Evil Dead remake comes to DVD and streaming digital, so why bother? Hell, check out the red band trailer that any kids can see. (No really, its intense.) The system does not protect kids from content, and it no longer serves its original purpose of allowing an indicator that a film contains adult content, so that content does not have to be cut. Yet we keep the system, and the reason is simple.
It comes down to money, most theatre chains refuse to carry NC-17 films, and most networks and media outlets won’t sell advertisements for NC-17 films. Beyond seeing artists’ actual work and vision, utilization of the NC-17 would allow me personally to have better experiences when I go to the movies.
I really enjoy and still get excited about seeing movies on the big screen, in a dark room with my phone turned off. It is like a sanctuary where I can forget about everything outside for two hours and watch a story unfold. The only distraction should be the need to pee as the third act begins, though outside forces often seem hell-bent to ruin this for me. Like the three twelve year old girls, that based on their attire came straight from cheerleading practice when I went to see Rob Zombie’s Halloween. Or the parents that brought a kid in a carrier to the showing of Saw IV, or the parent who brought a kid to The Cell and when the raped, mutilated corpse was dragged out of the water asked, “Mommy, what’s that?” The R rating is not serving any purpose.
I will not be afforded an opportunity to see Fede Alvarez’s preferred vision of The Evil Dead in theatres, because a group of strangers based on secret criteria will not allow it. I have a problem with this because I was raised to think for myself, in a house where censorship, in whatever the form was considered the true obscenity. And a movie with demons possessing the living and needing to be hacked to pieces, is not appropriate for younger kids, regardless of how much blood is on screen.
*Bonus fun fact, the average 12 year old has seen video of an un-simulated sex act.