Clive Barker Puts a Rusty Knife in PG-13 Horror
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?