Rob Zombie movies can get, for lack of a better word, intense. With blood, gore, and sex ruling the day, his love for the days of grindhouse films has rubbed off on each film he's made, with the same level of intensity throughout. So the fact that his latest film, 31, has been rated NC-17 isn't a surprise. It's the fact that it's gone through two separate evaluations with the same result that's frustrating.
Zombie broke the news on his Facebook page, during an update on the film's on-going march to its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month. As you can read in his status update below, this film does not have an easy ride from post-production to the silver screen:
Well, after two tries through the MPAA our rating on 31 remains NC-17. Maybe three is the charm to get an R rating. Why R you ask? Well, because your local theater will not show an NC-17. Even though you are a fucking adult... things much be censored for your enjoyment.
If an NC-17 film could be shown as widely as an R rated film, you could tell that Rob Zombie would release the film into theaters in a heartbeat. But the cold, hard reality is, like the man himself said, if a movie lands the infamous rating of NC-17, it has pretty much no chance at wide distribution. Just ask anyone involved with the release of horror indie Lucky Bastard, as well as Blue Is The Warmest Color, and they'll tell you that if a film is unrated or slapped with the most restrictive rating on the scale, it's probably better of going onto VOD.
So what's so bad about 31 that's cursed it with the worst rating possible? Well, according to Zombie's post, the following descriptors were attached to the MPAA's decision.
For sadistic graphic violence, bizarre sexuality / nudity, pervasive disturbing images and some strong language.
Basically, the film sounds like the usual fare that accompanies a Rob Zombie film, and he hasn't had too many problems getting films like Halloween or even the original House Of 1000 Corpses through the censors without making too many cuts. It's hard to put our finger on just what could be so different about 31 that sets it apart from all of the other Zombie films. If we were to venture a guess, we'd say that the personal politics of the MPAA are what is dictating this specific decision.
While violence in the media isn't any more widespread than usual, the fact that active shooting incidents were outnumbering the days in the year at one point might have convinced the MPAA to obliquely shut down 31's chances of being seen by audiences. Those in power may feel that having a film showcasing, and in some viewpoints glorifying, the lives of vicious criminals could only add fuel to the fire. In any case, we're hoping that the MPAA and Rob Zombie somehow strike an accord that has the film seen by the audiences, and with the least amount of drama possible.