Monday, April 23, 2007

Rated R for mild controversy

The US trailer for Severance is now up on the Apple trailers site - that means it's a proper movie and everything.

And it now has a US rating: Rated R, for "strong bloody violence, language, drug content and some sexuality/nudity." Nice. What better advert for a horror movie??

But with the rating, comes the unwanted attention of the MPAA, who according to this report from Fangoria have told the US distributors to remove certain "elements" from the official Severance site - mainly, the gushing neck stump, the escort girls' boobs (well, cleavage really), and anything relating to torture and blood. This is quite farcical, considering they allowed the Saw 3 posters last year - actual posters on billboards, no less, whereas the Severance images are only on its website. I've just had a look at the updated site - they've removed the gushing neck stump (which doesn't even look that real, for fuck's sake), the wallpaper download of Jill tied up, and cropped the pic of the two escort girls so that the one with more cleavage on display is no longer shown. Apparently, if they hadn't done this, they might have lost their R rating. Crazy.

Now I look around online, this is getting reported all over the place, and the general consensus is that it was a really stupid thing to do. Obviously the distributors have no choice in the matter if they don't want to lose their rating, which means hardly any cinemas would take the movie, and no newspapers would run ads for it - so I don't hold them responsible. But it's pretty dumb of the MPAA to pull this sort of stunt, considering that you can easily find plenty of websites with much gorier content online, surely the web is not in their jurisdiction? Yes, a five year old kid could go online, see the site and be traumatised. They could also go online and see people getting run over, having open heart surgery, or having sex with donkeys. A five year old kid isn't allowed to watch the movie, and that is the only decision a film ratings board should make. Fine, don't allow gory posters in public places, I have no problem with that. But get your stinking paws off the internet, you damn dirty apes. More reaction on the story at CinemaBlend, Twitch, and JoBlo. And if you're a US horror fan looking for the actual pumping blood graphic - IF YOU CAN HANDLE IT OMG IT TEH GOREEY - you can always have a look at the UK website here, which thankfully isn't subject to the whims of of the MPAA. Update: Chris' comment on the whole thing is here.

On the other hand - thanks MPAA, for all the free publicity! Good job!

Speaking of Fangoria, I picked up issue 262, which has a big spread on the movie - it's spoiler-tastic though, if you haven't seen the movie don't look. It was so exciting to see the name on the cover, I allowed myself a slightly insane giggle in the shop. It's in most branches of Borders now, if you want to have a look.

The list of US cinemas that will be showing Severance is updated, so if you live over there, have a look and see where it's playing near you. They're adding more cinemas all the time, so keep checking.

Some US reviews are coming in, to add to the already excellent Variety and Hollywood Reporter ones:

Rolling Stone - 'Watch out for that rocket launcher. I'm not going to tell you anything else.' - Cool little spoiler-free review.

Film Threat - '"Severance” is how “Office Space” would’ve turned out had Michael Bolton and Samir not been able to take their frustrations out on the office printer.' - Blimey, I wouldn't go that far myself, but cheers.

And finally, Film Journal - 'If anyone involved in this sloppy, inexplicable slasher flick had a notion of what they were doing or why, they've kept it to themselves. Severance is a murky quagmire from start to finish.' - hey, hang on a minute, that's a bad one, ignore it...

6 comments:

Martin said...

I bought Severance last night, and watched it today. Really enjoyed it.

The MPAA have way too much power and too many people listen to them. Also, they don't seem capable of taking any blame.

When movie sales went down, they blamed downloading. Not the high cost of cinema tickets and the endless streams of sequels and remakes.

Cindy said...

I have question: is the varying sound quality and loudness of the film on purpose? Because, really, that was the only thing I didn't really like about it.

The variance in quality and volume was too big to my ears. If it was on purpose, I guess it was to give the whole thing the pseudo-documentary feel. But it didn't quite work out. It came across as bad sound engineering.

If it wasn't on purpose, my DVD is damaged and I want a new one, dammit :)

But yeah, that's really the only point of criticism I have...

James Moran said...

Martin: Cheers! You're right about movie sales, although I think a big part of it is people getting fed up of talkers, chavs on their mobile phones, and general bad behaviour like that.

Cindy: There isn't supposed to be a massive variance, although it is meant to be very loud in places - like the bit in Richard's dream where it suddenly goes bang. We had problems with the volume not being high enough, so the final mix is incredibly loud - sometimes that doesn't come across well, depending on the TV, but it sounds fine in the cinema. My TV has a volume varation thing, where it softens loud noises, but it just makes things sound weird...

Lucy said...

Nah, I have to say I agree with Film Journal James. SEVERANCE is completely inexplicable: why, it's not apparent to me at all why anyone is doing the things they're doing! Couldn't you made it clearer these yuppies were being killed by those forest blokes for working at the bomb company? I mean ffs, you only showed all that backstory then blew them up, hacked them to bits, blasted them with fire, shot them, carved them up... We needed more, damn you! MORE!! I've half a mind to kick you in the nuts when I see you I'm that mad at you...

soulmining said...

No scenes of "minge-quivering ferocity" then? Damn shame.

Lauren said...

SEVERANCE ROCKS, LAURA HARRIS ROCKS, so go see it, its the best!!!