My parents disregarded MPAA film ratings to a shocking degree. It wasn't some political statement or conscious act of transgression; they were just in over their heads and largely unconcerned with the niceties of committee-approved child-rearing. As a result, R-rated horror wasn't anything particularly taboo to me growing up. I saw The Exorcist during its theatrical release; AMA.
PG horror, on the other hand, gets a bad rap from horror fans. Toothless, studio-made family-friendly crap, right? Mainstream product aimed at taking teens' money, obviously! And the surprise (to me, at any rate) PG-13 rating given by the MPAA to the upcoming Christmas horror film Krampus must mean shit's dialed way back from the mean, nasty thrills of director Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat, yeah?
Not so fast. As I was reminded on Twitter, Joe Dante's Gremlins snuck in under the PG wire when it was released in 1984 (and got a ration of shit from critics and parents' groups for doing so, I seem to remember). And since the MPAA assigns ratings based on a really arbitrary, slippery slope of sexual content, F-bombs, and what parent company is releasing the film in question, is it possible Dougherty is playing the MPAA, pulling a Gremlins, and releasing a legit horror flick that shrewdly skips the MPAA pitfalls in order to scare the living piss out of some little kids this Christmas? A guy can dream. But the arrival of a Christmas-themed horror flick that's NOT a slasher film, with just the right level of Hollywood polish, with a rating that won't get you reported to social services, is too good an opportunity to pass up. This Christmas, bring the children in your life to Krampus and make a potentially lifelong impression.
Here's the new spot. Krampus opens on December 4th.