MPAA Respond to Horror Rating Worries


A quick refresher, a few days ago the film Blue Valentine won an appeal to go from NC-17 to R which touched off a firestorm from parent's groups over what they viewed as a wishy-washy stance.  Variety did a report on the matter and stated that the MPAA is planning on revisiting the horror genre because the genre (to quote Variety): "...evolved considerably from spooky frights to torture porn."  A statement that is wrong on numerous levels, but coupled with their posting of Ratings Board Chair Joan Graves stating: "I do think the R has a very big envelope for that genre." understandably set horror fans affray that the MPAA was going to come like the horsemen of the apocalypse upon our genre.  

Well, I emailed the MPAA asking them if they intended to be harsher on horror films or simply that Graves meant that more than most genres, Horror has a lot of more material in it.  

Vice President of Corporate Communications at the MPAA Elizabeth Kaltman responded with:

"Because filmmakers dont' want to accept the NC-17 they are squeezing as much as they can into the R.  The Ratings Board does not treat genres differently.  Ratings are assigned based on the content of a particular movie and taken on a case-by-case basis.

As far as any plans to change policy regarding horror films, we are always looking at ways to ensure the system evolves and responds to the biggest concerns of the day for parents.  We have no changes in the works but are talking to parents about what matters to them."

A big thanks to Ms. Kaltman for the prompt response.  Walking away from it, it's obvious to me that Graves' quote is more angled at the latter of my question to them.  Yes parents are the important base the MPAA caters to, but if I may mine Variety one more time for a clear quote from Ms. Graves: "We get more complaints from parents about language than any other element."  

Tarantino has something to fear, but I don't think we do.  When you think about it, considering what certain comedians have gotten away in their films with I don't think I can criticize the MPAA for singling out horror films.  Personally, I think Variety's poorly written statement prior to Graves' quote helped spark the horror fan backlash.

Got it straight from the MPAA folks.  There is also no plan to crush our genre in the future and currently the ratings system will stay as is.  Hope this calms some folks down. 

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