Yesterday, news came that the new version of Black Christmas would be rated PG-13, and predictably, the internet got mad largely in part to a pervasive and ever-growing argument that anything less than an R-rating on a horror film makes it bad or “not real horror.”
You gotta love those gatekeepers, right?
After a while, April Wolfe, the new film’s screenwriter took to Twitter herself to explain the process for the film.
Here’s the deal: We wrote it with an R in mind. When they did the test screenings, was clear that this movie needed to be available to a younger female audience because the subject matter is timely. Also I want to indoctrinate girls into horror. Doesn’t make it any less vicious! https://t.co/UMOdU3HQ4E
— April Wolfe (@AWolfeful) November 13, 2019
Unfortunately, the use of the phrase “test screenings” sent the people already upset about the film’s rating over the edge.
Irish YouTuber Dino Reacts popped in with the following:
The original movie tackled extremely serious issues and also showed us kickass female characters that took on their attacker head on. I was excited to see this movie but when a movie is looking to “target” an age group they’re not really thinking about the horror movie at all 🤷♂️
— Dino Reacts (@DinoReacts) November 13, 2019
Here’s the thing. EVERYTHING released by a studio undergoes test-screenings nowadays. That’s just part of the process. Yes, it can be a pain, but it can also be a refining process for a filmmaker and studio to help them create the best possible version of their film.
It’s also healthy to remember in a situation like this that almost all films, and especially the horror genre, have been made for target audiences. In the case of horror, that has generally meant young men in their teens to early 20s which is why, as Wolfe pointed out later in the Twitter thread, T&A has almost seemed mandatory in genre filmmaking.
“The new Black Christmas movie coming out is rated PG-13??? Did NOT see that coming,” Twitter user @TeaWithJT posted, “I wish these movie studios would stop pandering to the teen generation. Like c’mon. Give me blood and gore! I thought they were going to go all out with this! Disappointed..”
For the generation that grew up on horror films in the 80s, and that would include myself, the toughest pill to swallow often seems to be that we are no longer that target audience. When we were teens they made horror movies for us, but now there are new teens with new ideas about the world and so the films are written, made, and edited with them in mind.
Wolfe spent quite a lot of time defending her film on Twitter yesterday. Fortunately she was not the only one. Phil Nobile, Jr., Editor-in-Chief of Fangoria, got in the game.
So now we have a gory BLACK CHRISTMAS, a trauma-inducing BLACK CHRISTMAS with Margot Kidder and the C-word, and a BLACK CHRISTMAS to indoctrinate tweens into horror. Who loses? pic.twitter.com/hcNbtFtmCl
— Phil Nobile Jr. (@PhilNobileJr) November 13, 2019
Twitter use Chris Bumbray offered this point of view.
Buckets of blood and F-bombs never made the difference between a good movie and a bad one. I’m sure if it was good at R it’ll be just as good at PG-13, and then further down the line an unrated cut if need be.
— Chris Bumbray (@cbumbray) November 13, 2019
And this is something else to remember.
Horror is horror. No rating can dictate what is terrifying and what isn’t. I can name a few kid friendly things from my childhood that haunt me to this day.
Also, I am really excited about this film. I want to see it as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/U4dI28AJsd
— ferdosa, femme fatale (@atomicwick) November 13, 2019
The original and previous remake of Black Christmas were both R-rated.
This Twitter battle will probably go on for days, but Black Christmas 2019 will hit theaters December 13, 2019. Will you be watching?