Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Poltergeist remake is rated PG-13, which is no reason to freak out

If you're a horror fan on the Internet, I'm sure you've heard the news that the Poltergeist remake has been given a PG-13 rating by the MPAA, for "intense frightening sequences, brief suggestive material and some language."

And, despite the fact that the rating description seems appropriate for the material in the 1982 original, several websites are framing this as another less-frightening Hollywood remake, thanks to the lack of the coveted R-rating that denotes a "true" horror film.

But, should you be up in arms about the remakes rating, I suggest you calm down and remember that the original was rated PG.  Yes, back then, the PG-13 rating had yet to be created.  Poltergeist, as well as Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, were films that pushed the Motion Picture Associate of America to create the PG-13 rating, a way to designated a film was fine for teens, but might not be suitable for younger children.

Yeah, this scene won't give toddlers nightmares.

And I won't deny that, since it's inception, the PG-13 rating has become both a marketing ploy and a joke.  Films that should be PG (like The Avengers) add enough of certain element to gain the rating as a way to imply this film is too intense for kids, attracting the teen crowd.  Meanwhile, other films cut back on the blood sprays (Expendables 3, I'm looking at you) to make the action sanitized enough for a PG-13 rating, aiming gain a few extra box office bucks from a younger demographic.

It's silly, to say the least, when a film featuring the murder of countless people can earn a PG-13, while a movie like The King's Speech earns an R rating because someone uses the F-word a few too many times.

And it's rather silly that I have to use the term "F-word" in order to not be listed as an explicit blog, but that's our current state of the nation.  Mowing down rows of evil soldiers is okay, but saying the F-word is bad.  Or showing too much nudity, regardless of the content.

But I digress.  Let's get back to Poltergeist.

The original film proves that buckets of blood and topless women aren't needed to scare you.  Hell, I still get chills from the originals, while many of the slasher films I saw in the 80s are little more than fond memories.  Sure, the effects are awesome, but the combination of boobs and blood isn't really scary.

Now, the creepy clown doll freaks me out.  Even more than 30 years later.

If this scene doesn't send chills down your spine, you can't be human.

Which is why I'm going to see the remake of Poltergeist.  If it's a bomb, it's a bomb.  But, as Spielberg and Hooper proved, it's not the rating that makes a movie scary, it's what the filmmakers do with the material.  Hell, I sat through 2013's Evil Dead and, despite some amazing practical effects, my mood went from boredom to annoyance by the final reel.

Though I doubt this remake will be as good as the original, I'll give it a chance, regardless of the rating, as should fellow horror fans.

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