EDITORIALS

Clive Barker Puts a Rusty Knife in PG-13 Horror

by
September 3, 2008
Source: MTV

Clive Barker

For a horror fan, holier words have never been spoken. In a recent interview with MTV, genre icon Clive Barker commented on the upcoming visits back to the Hellraiser and Candyman franchises and the speculation that these remakes might go soft. "It's one of the most disgusting developments in the last few years. The whole notion of a PG-13 horror movie to me is a contradiction in terms. It's like having a XXX Disney picture. It doesn't work. I realize why the studios do this," Barker added. "They do it because they want to bring in younger audiences and make more money. But they don't make better movies."

While Barker's comments instigate a rousing "Here! Here!" inside me, I'm not exactly convinced his remarks will actually influence the final products. The guy didn't exactly make any gains in the success of Midnight Meatrain, despite his passionate pleading. However, Hellraiser and Candyman are obviously some of the more disturbing tales to be told so how could they not go R? Friday the 13th remake is apparently scheduled for an R rating, and that's the latest word on the upcoming Punisher reboot as well. And let's not forget Alex's recent pondering that R ratings might not be box office doom nowadays.

Since traditionally violent movies started going PG-13 (e.g. Live Free or Die Hard) and horror-specific installments (e.g. Prom Night), there's now a reflexive groundswell of skepticism that studios will go the soft route to attract a broader audience. I don't think there's much to worry about here, personally, but it's always good to summon support for a sharp, bloody R rating, especially when you're talking about remakes to franchises that largely depend on the presentation of disturbing material. Spot on, as well, Barker adds, "To me, you don't have to throw blood around in every scene, but there has to be a sense — and this is not my quote, it's Wes Craven's quote. Wes says that 'When you go into a horror movie, you need to feel that you're in the hands of a madman.' Now what madman makes a PG-13 picture, right? Your horror-movie madman… doesn't neaten up all the edges and make it all nice for mommy."

And for naysayers of rehashing old stories, Barker proclaims "I never get tired of revisiting [characters] if there is a good story to be told." Are you scared of a PG-13 rating?

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  • Mike 8
    The Ring was rated PG-13 and its one of the scariest flicks in recent memory... Rated R allows more gore, nudity, and cussing which doesnt mean the movie will be scarier.
  • Jesse
    The Ring is scary if your afraid of paint drying on the wall.
  • Edward
    I don't agree. Jaws is one of the classic scary movies and that is rated a plain old PG (of course PG-13 wasn't around when it was released).
  • Edward
    I should add that The Ring is one of my favorites so I agree with Mike 8. You don't need lots of gore, nudity and cussing for effective scares. You need a good script and good actors first of all.
  • Derrick
    I believe that thriller/suspense movies can be PG-13 and pull it off very well, but I agree with Clive that true Horror movies need that extra push of gore (not as much the nudity and cussing...even though they can help too).
  • There's definitely a difference between a scary movie and a horror movie. I would venture to say that most fans would argue that it's hard to have real horror without the necessary visuals. Scariness can be achieved with subtleties and such, but horror really needs some eye-searing violation, I think, to rise to the necessary level of disturbing to be truly called horrific. Those violations don't have to be dumb, however, as with the Saw's of the world.
  • Cody
    But having a pg 13 totalyy ruins the experience of a good scary movie, you see a guy with knife stand over a girl and scream and o the scenes over no blood or anything just the noise of the knife cutting. That was a big waste of time, But an R movie, I mean cmon R movies just own....usually
  • Why dont we just get every 80's movie that was ever made and remake it. Or Reboot it. http://www.youtube.com/AllmightyKeim
  • I think a horror movie can be PG 13, but not these horror movies. Not horror movies that concern the grotesque.
  • SlashBeast
    The reason a horror movie would be rated R is for blood, gore, swearing or nudity but these also don't make a great film. If a film is toned down for a PG-13 rating then it will lose quality but the same can be said when you upscale it to an R rating. I find that the best horror films rely very little on shock tactics involving gore or nudity. The best horror works on a psychological level and screws with your mind, that doesn't mean it needs to have an R rating.
  • Viper
    Thriller = emotional (The Day After*, Cloverfield, Deliverance, Silence of the Lambs) Scary = mental (Signs, Arachnophobia, Cujo, Alien) Gore = visual (Feast, Saw, Apocalypto, Slither) Horror = mental + visual (The Descent, Night of the Living Dead, Jaws, The Thing) * Not "The Day After Tomorrow" I'm wondering if there's about to be a huge upheaval in the movie industry. Directors and writers are increasingly getting fed up with production companies who do it for money only. Fans have always been fed up and just dealt with it because the creators did. But now the creators are starting to speak out more and more. I'm picturing something like the 7 comic book creators who ditched Marvel and DC to create their own company called Image where they could make whatever they damn well pleased and didn't care about how much money they brought in. Imagine if a group of directors and writers ditched Hollywood and all the big production companies like Fox, WB, and Universal, and made their own production company or even a new Hollywood that has no central leader or owner and they made movies the way they envisioned them. It would have to be some rich people of course, or else it won't go anywhere.
  • Viper
    That's what Pixar did, by the way. They ditched companies like Disney that tried to control the things they were doing and created their own group where each person did exactly what they wanted to do. The rich part came in when Steve Jobs invested in their company. Look where it got them - not a single flop yet.
  • Jeep-Fu
    I agree with Clive Barker. In order for a movie be PG-13 the movie makers have to place limits on the film. What they can say, what they can show, and what they can do is limited with PG-13. If they don't want such limitations they have to go rated R. If someone sets out from the start to make a PG-13 horror/scary/suspense movie that's fine. There are movies that don't need the R rating to be awesome (Poltergeist, The Ring, Jaws, The original Night of the Living Dead, etc.). If they don't and try to make a PG-13 movie (when they have an R rated film "in the can") they're gonna lose parts of the soul and intent of the movie. After all, why else do they release an "unrated" version of most movies now days? But if they don't want any limits on the movie they want to do, they need to go rated R. The kiddies can wait till they're old enough or they can sneak into the theater if they really want to see the movie. Oh yeah...one final thing...Clive Barker fuckin' rules!
  • Sorry, but there are plenty of great PG-13 horrors, THE RING, THE GRUDGE (the 1st one, kind of), SIXTH SENSE, SIGNS (until the end) and maybe WAR OF THE WORLDS and PG there is JAWS! Horror can be PG-13 or PG! BUT it must be good with a good plot and story and characters,c ast and crew. But I am for R-horror.
  • Matt
    "The whole notion of a PG-13 horror movie to me is a contradiction in terms. It's like having a XXX Disney picture." Actually....
  • Viper
    @ #14 Jaws would definitely not be PG by today's standards... From imdb... Chrissie goes skinny-dipping during the opening scene (we see her naked silhouette as she runs along the beach and while she is in the water,) although no actual nudity is visible. A severed leg is shown. Showing a lot of blood in the water. A severed arm is shown. Not much blood though. Two shots of a severed head is shown through a hole of a sunken boat for a couple of seconds. Not much blood though. A kid is pulled underwater. While the kid is splashing, blood is seen in the water. A man is bitten by the shark in this movie then spews blood. Strong language (e.g. "sh-t," "g-ddamn," "b-tch") is frequently used throughout the film, as well as several instances of mild profanity and one mild drug reference. Drinking and smoking are shown throughout the film. The scenes with the shark are usually very intense, the shark looks frightening. The sudden appearance of a severed head is done for shock value and may upset younger viewers. The opening scene is very frightening. Other scenes are also frightening like the severed leg in the water, the Kitner boy's death, and Quint's death.
  • Nicc
    If The Ring and The Grudge are movies of the "horror" genre you call great(i don't consider them horror at all)then you are exactly the people that keep the movie studios making these crap movies... The sixth Sense and Signs are NOT horror films...i'd suggest most people need to actually look up the word and then look at the movies they watch... HORROR by definition is as follows: 1. an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear: to shrink back from a mutilated corpse in horror. 2. anything that causes such a feeling: killing, looting, and other horrors of war. 3. such a feeling as a quality or condition: to have known the horror of slow starvation. Now Horror doesn't need gallons of blood or naked hot chicks to be considered horror...but the large majority of movies only vaguely follow this definition... I'd love to see what Clive Barker could do with a 150 million dollar budget and his creativity...you want horror?, go read his books, then you might get the jist of what that man is getting at... All the movies mentioned here are cool movies to watch and eat popcorn, but if you get scared from The Ring, then you obviously have never seen a true horror flick...Children of the Corn easily beats those in the sense of horror and it's not even that scary... The Ring and movies like that are beasically like 99% of the music you hear on the radio, they all claim to either be Rock, Rap, Alternative, Country or whatever, when it's nothing more than glorified pop music...these movies are the exact same, it's generic watered down crap ment to fill seats and take your money...without the common decency of a reach around...
  • moldybread
    "They do it because they want to bring in younger audiences and make more money. But they don't make better movies." I think that statement says it all as far explaing why the quality of movies coming out of Hollywood today are so lacking in entertainment value.
  • amaranthisasin
    All this meddling the studios do to try to ensure that they make their money is just amusing. They force these movies into ratings that don't allow the story to be told and then wonder why no one wants to see the garbage. It takes a talented filmmaker and the right material to make action and horror work at PG-13. Its just too easy to end up with watered down crap.
  • Midnight Meat Train wasn't bad at all, especially considering it opened in second-run theaters at discounted pricing. :) I'll go see a PG-13 horror film. It's just unfortunate that no one's made a good one yet. I enjoyed The Ring (the first one. the second one blew) but it's borderline horror at best. How about this? How about instead of just whining about The System like the British twat* he is, Barker redefine the genre (is "PG-13 horror" its own genre) and make the best one ever? Like how Wes Craven revamped the standard horror genre with Scream. Although one could argue that Sream is the cause of all this. heh * - this is not a slur against all Brits. Clive just happens to be British and just happens to be a twat.
  • Bob
    Candyman will probably still be good PG-13 but the blood was like another character in the movie.
  • stevemac
    "Midnight Meat Train wasn't bad at all, especially considering it opened in second-run theaters at discounted pricing. :) I'll go see a PG-13 horror film. It's just unfortunate that no one's made a good one yet. I enjoyed The Ring (the first one. the second one blew) but it's borderline horror at best. How about this? How about instead of just whining about The System like the British twat* he is, Barker redefine the genre (is "PG-13 horror" its own genre) and make the best one ever? Like how Wes Craven revamped the standard horror genre with Scream. Although one could argue that Sream is the cause of all this. heh * - this is not a slur against all Brits. Clive just happens to be British and just happens to be a twat." I agree fully with Clive Barker....Twat you say, shows how much of a true horror fan you are, Clive in my opinion (and many others im sure) is a LEGEND...one of the real MASTERS OF HORROR .why dont you keep supporting watered down pg13 horror and ruin the genre completely...

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