It’s not easy being a horror film director. The genre still isn’t totally accepted by the mainstream, and many horror helmers have had to do battle with the ratings board over gore and violence.
In a way, it’s a badge of honor to have to battle the MPAA, and once again it looks like Evil Dead caught some heat from the ratings board.
As Collider reports, the remake of the Sam Raimi classic Evil Dead took several trips to the ratings board, because the MPAA gave it their scarlet letter, the NC-17. Even if you’ve got a hardcore horror film, you still have to bring it in with an R rating to get theatrical distribution and newspaper advertising.
The red-band trailer for Evil Dead is pretty nasty stuff, and this isn’t the first time the Dead films went to battle with the MPAA. The first two Deads directed by Raimi were released unrated, and the ratings board held a grudge when he came back with Army of Darkness, which he hoped would get a PG-13, but the board wouldn’t back down from giving it an R. (Funny enough, Evil Dead 2, which was unrated, which is the equivalent of an NC-17, played uncut on the Sci-Fi Channel).
Raimi’s Dead films were often goofy enough to where they weren’t totally horrifying, and by today’s standards they’re probably pretty tame. This where I’ve been concerned with the new Evil Dead, which has some hideous scenes in it, but the trailer I saw didn’t feel anywhere near as fresh or innovative as the originals, which came along at the right time in the genre’s history. By 1983, when Evil Dead was unleashed, the mad slasher films were already getting old, and Raimi’s innovative terror tale was a real breath of fresh air.
While Raimi is producing the new Evil Dead, you don’t get the impression this is the MPAA holding a grudge like before, because Sam’s now the family friendly director of the first three Spider-Man films and the upcoming Oz the Great and Powerful.
Indeed, many horror films have to take a few trips to the MPAA before finally securing the R, and it’s not surprising the new Evil Dead got an NC-17 its first time out. Whether the movie succeeds or fails won’t be over ten to thirty seconds getting removed, but whether the movie is actually a worthwhile reboot, or just another pointless exercise in cinema karaoke.