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Old 01-15-2021, 04:14 PM   #1
KManX89 KManX89 is online now
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Default Movies that are rated R for being "too disturbing"

As we all know, R-rated movies usually have some combination (or sometimes all) of graphic violence, gore, nudity, sex, and/or language. However, there have been some films, primarily horror films that have had none of these things and gotten an R rating simply for being too scary/intense. Can anyone name any more besides the ones off the top of my head?
  • The Conjuring franchise-Perhaps the most notable example. Every single one of these films has little, if any blood/gore, no nudity and no F-bombs and yet a producer on the first movie was literally told by the MPAA that it got an R simply for being too scary and that there was nothing they could cut to make it PG-13.
  • Texas Chain Saw Massacre-Tobe Hooper shot the movie with minimal blood and onscreen violence in hopes of getting a PG rating, but it got an R because of its disturbing tone.
  • Don't Be Afraid of the Dark-No graphic violence, minimal blood and swearing, no nudity and yet it was given an R.
  • Dead Silence-I was under the impression that this was a gory horror flick in theaters after watching the unrated cut 'cuz that's the one I saw, having rented it from Blockbuster back when those were still around in '07, but nope. Apparently, all deaths were offscreen, there was no nudity/sex and one kinda F-bomb and it got an R simply for its disturbing content/tone (which it deserves BTW).
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:16 PM   #2
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The Conjuring films are the safest horror films out there. I’m still perplexed at the rating. The last movie had no deaths, outside of an offscreen death of a chicken.
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:17 PM   #3
Chaotic Chaotic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KManX89 View Post
As we all know, R-rated movies usually have some combination (or sometimes all) of graphic violence, gore, nudity, sex, and/or language. However, there have been some films, primarily horror films that have had none of these things and gotten an R rating simply for being too scary/intense. Can anyone name any more besides the ones off the top of my head?
  • The Conjuring franchise-Perhaps the most notable example. Every single one of these films has little, if any blood/gore, no nudity and no F-bombs and yet a producer on the first movie was literally told by the MPAA that it got an R simply for being too scary and that there was nothing they could cut to make it PG-13.
  • Texas Chain Saw Massacre-Tobe Hooper shot the movie with minimal blood and onscreen violence in hopes of getting a PG rating, but it got an R because of its disturbing tone.
  • Don't Be Afraid of the Dark-No graphic violence, minimal blood and swearing, no nudity and yet it was given an R.
  • Dead Silence-I was under the impression that this was a gory horror flick in theaters after watching the unrated cut 'cuz that's the one I saw, having rented it from Blockbuster back when those were still around in '07, but nope. Apparently, all deaths were offscreen, there was no nudity/sex and one kinda F-bomb and it got an R simply for its disturbing content/tone (which it deserves BTW).
Strangest R rating. Didnt even show the woman get her teeth knocked out.
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:22 PM   #4
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If you want to go one better, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was initially given an 'X'-rating due to its "tone", and was one of the two films which spurred the creation of the NC-17.

Funnily enough, that very-much respectable rating for adult films is usually viewed with the same distain as the 'X' or something released unrated.
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:42 PM   #5
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Directors have said that when the MPA gives them a rating for “tone” they know they are screwed. But, while standards have of course changed over the years, I fully agree with the R for Texas Chainsaw Massacre
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:02 PM   #6
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I honestly believe that the serial killer villains and their huge importance to the story of The Frighteners (1996) was why it kept getting slapped with an R rating (despite being filmed fully with the intention of PG-13), this was before Peter Jackson added in the exploding head death to make the R rating feel somewhat earned, the original death was a non-graphic shot to the chest. This included the MPAA saying a door was getting shot too many times as one of the reasons it was getting an R. Because most of the deaths are bloodless, there's no f bombs, sex content is minimal (the worst being Judge in the museum [which isn't graphic and just a quick crude joke]), no drug use, and most of the movie is a comedy.

Last edited by CrazyBlu-RayFan; 01-15-2021 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyBlu-RayFan View Post
I honestly believe that the serial killer villains and their huge importance to the story of The Frighteners (1996) was why it kept getting slapped with an R rating (despite being filmed fully with the intention of PG-13), this was before Peter Jackson added in the exploding head death to make the R rating feel somewhat earned, the original death was a non-graphic shot to the chest. This included the MPAA saying a door was getting shot too many times as one of the reasons it was getting an R. Because most of the deaths are bloodless, there's no f bombs, sex content is minimal (the worst being Judge in the museum [which isn't graphic and just a quick crude joke]), no drug use, and most of the movie is a comedy.
I remember going to see The Frighteners in the theater and being disappointed that it was more graphic. I mean, Dead Alive (Braindead) and Bad Taste (I hadn't seen Meet the Feebles when I saw The Frighteners) were splatter classics, but The Frighteners was way too tame for an R-rating. I still love the film, though.
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Old 01-15-2021, 10:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xbs2034 View Post
Directors have said that when the MPA gives them a rating for “tone” they know they are screwed. But, while standards have of course changed over the years, I fully agree with the R for Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Because at that point, they know there's nothing they can cut from the movie to get a PG-13, but it worked well for The Conjuring's marketing. James Wan was proud of it earning an R simply for being too scary despite him trying to get a PG-13 rating and it no doubt piqued interest.

Oh and There Will Be Blood is another movie that got an R simply for its tone. There's no graphic violence, no blood/gore until the very end, no nudity, no f-bombs and it was R.
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Old 01-15-2021, 11:13 PM   #9
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:53 AM   #10
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John Carpenter's The Fog

I always have been surprised in knowing that movie has an R-rating despite it well being within the boundaries of early-80s PG. I do understand though why getting an R-rating was the goal behind-the-scenes, but hardly anything on-screen actually warranted it, even with the "violence" Carpenter appended before release.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucasGodzilla View Post
John Carpenter's The Fog
Hell, even Carpenter's Halloween would barely justify an R rating today (and mainly just for the fleeting glimpses of P.J. Soles' breasts). There's almost ZERO blood in it, and no real swearing. Carpenter also had to go for broke in terms of profanity in Christine to insure it'd have an R rating, as the violence in the film is very tame.
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monterey Jack View Post
Hell, even Carpenter's Halloween would barely justify an R rating today (and mainly just for the fleeting glimpses of P.J. Soles' breasts). There's almost ZERO blood in it, and no real swearing. Carpenter also had to go for broke in terms of profanity in Christine to insure it'd have an R rating, as the violence in the film is very tame.
I doubt PJ's breasts had anything to do with the R rating. Airplane! had a longer topless shot in it two years later and was rated PG. But it's hard to read the ratings board mind. Maybe topless glimpse + sexual situation + violent film got an R every time back then.
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyBlu-RayFan View Post
I honestly believe that the serial killer villains and their huge importance to the story of The Frighteners (1996) was why it kept getting slapped with an R rating (despite being filmed fully with the intention of PG-13), this was before Peter Jackson added in the exploding head death to make the R rating feel somewhat earned, the original death was a non-graphic shot to the chest. This included the MPAA saying a door was getting shot too many times as one of the reasons it was getting an R. Because most of the deaths are bloodless, there's no f bombs, sex content is minimal (the worst being Judge in the museum [which isn't graphic and just a quick crude joke]), no drug use, and most of the movie is a comedy.
Which was subsequently cut in the UK for its '15' certificate.

(It's uncut now).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CompleteCount View Post
If you want to go one better, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was initially given an 'X'-rating due to its "tone", and was one of the two films which spurred the creation of the NC-17.
I agree with the NC-17 for Henry. It's a very disturbing piece.
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Old 01-16-2021, 07:49 AM   #14
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'Prometheus' is another film that comes to mind that never felt like it genuinely earned its R-rating.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
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'Prometheus' is another film that comes to mind that never felt like it genuinely earned its R-rating.
The difference was literally some CGI blood in the med-pod C-section scene.
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:04 PM   #16
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The difference was literally some CGI blood in the med-pod C-section scene.
I mean a character is burned alive, an arm is broken with some on screen bone protrusion, crew members that are killed by a mutated Fifield spit blood out of their mouths, and even with without the blood the C-section scene is still R levels due to the on screen depiction of the entire graphic procedure (you don't need just blood to show something graphic). It may not be the most violent R rated movie of the franchise, but what it has is absolutely R rated material.

Last edited by CrazyBlu-RayFan; 01-16-2021 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyBlu-RayFan View Post
I mean a character is burned alive, an arm is broken with some on screen bone protrusion, crew members that are killed by a mutated Fifield spit blood out of their mouths, and even with without the blood the C-section scene is still R levels due to the on screen depiction of the entire graphic procedure (you don't need just blood to show something graphic). It may not be the most violent R rated movie of the franchise, but what it has is absolutely R rated material.
From what I recall, Fox was unsure if they would let the film be R, so Scott shot both PG-13 and R versions, and when the film came together in post they could work together to look and decide (same thing happened with Robin Hood which ended up being PG-13 in theaters with R cut for home release). Obviously the R rated version won out, and I agree that it deserves an R, but it was never gonna be a hardcore R because of the way it was planned.
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Old 01-16-2021, 05:11 PM   #18
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I think Prometheus went out with an R due to intense fanboy backlash about the first Alien vs. Predator movie going out with a "wimpy" P3-13.
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Old 01-17-2021, 05:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyBlu-RayFan View Post
I mean a character is burned alive, an arm is broken with some on screen bone protrusion, crew members that are killed by a mutated Fifield spit blood out of their mouths, and even with without the blood the C-section scene is still R levels due to the on screen depiction of the entire graphic procedure (you don't need just blood to show something graphic). It may not be the most violent R rated movie of the franchise, but what it has is absolutely R rated material.
This. Even bloodless mutilations can't be shown too much as the theatrical cut of The Wolverine shows (most of the ninja fight and a bunch of other shots had to be removed to score the PG-13 despite there being no blood from the onscreen stabbings).

And I repeat, the theatrical cut of Dead Silence may not explicitly show tongues getting ripped out, but stuff like this will naturally get you an R regardless, and this, also this. And basically the whole church scene, and the hill shot, which I'm not even gonna attempt to find vids/stills off for just that reason (notice how I only linked stuff I could easily find time stamps of?).
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Old 01-17-2021, 06:13 PM   #20
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If you're interested in the MPAA's rating system, you may want to check out "This Film is Not Yet Rated," a 2006 documentary about it.
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