There are a few films from our nightmares. And we (millennials through gen X) remember the melting scene(s) from the Indiana Jones franchise and Large Marge from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. These were childhood horrors that followed us into adulthood until they were replaced with movies that were… much more horrifying. I watch movies differently now.
There are a few films from our nightmares. And we (millennials through gen X) remember the melting scene(s) from the Indiana Jones franchise and Large Marge from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. These were childhood horrors that followed us into adulthood until they were replaced with movies that were… much more horrifying.
I watch movies differently now. Streaming gives so much immediate access and it comes into your home. Straight to your couch. Or even into your bedroom. Yes, you can overcome anything by pressing pause or turning it off or leaving the room, but sometimes you don’t want those images in your nightmares at all – and you had no idea it was coming.
I know that bringing up MPAA ratings seems like a fix – but it is not. I used to look at ratings. I do not anymore.
I look at ratings when it comes to my kids, though! I go on commonsense.org and read about movies before I watch with my kids to see what issues we could have moving forward OR what conversations we should start before we watch a movie. Sometimes it’ll save us from the Pause and Convo.
But when I, an adult… a lazy spoiled adult, click on a movie – I don’t know what is happening in this movie. Netflix offers warnings, a decision they made. Streaming TV offers context to ratings, but not all platforms are requiring a content warning for older content.
And BELOW are some movies that filmmakers submitted to me when asked for their most horrific cinematic memories. These types of movies are the reason that platforms should uniformly consider a content warning for very very specific types of cinema.
This is not about war, violence, or rape in a broad sense, you can tell in a trailer you’re about to watch a WAR movie. War movies are inherently violent. You are likely prepared for a certain level of brutality. And a period piece with black characters could become a movie about SLAVERY. Slavery is the WORST, most traumatic cinema to watch, but – again – it’s rarely a surprise movie experience.
Cannibal Holocaust, Content Warning: Animal Cruelty
Bone Tomahawk, Content Warning: Violence & Gore
Irreversible, Content Warning: Rape
The Evil Dead, Content Warning: Rape
Requiem For A Dream, Content Warning: Severe Sex & Nudity, Drug Use
Kids, Content Warning: Severe Sex & Nudity
If you’ve seen any of these movies above, you know EXACTLY to what moment I am referring. These are just examples. These are movies that have adjusted in the public opinion over time. I don’t need movies to be tame, but you cannot unsee some things.
Today, when there is a serious issue on set or in a film with traumatic brutality, the system of movie goers and press accountability have assumed reasonable expectations that content warnings will spill into the marketing. But older movies do not have the same checks and balances that we have come to expect.
Maybe we can all take a step back and protect our mental health and peaceful sleep with “3 Helpful Websites with Movie and TV Trigger Warnings“:
Let’s collectively ask platforms to consider re-reviewing material under the lens that favors caution to the most horrific depictions in cinema that make my own couch no longer the safest place to be.
When you encounter a horrific moment in cinema – be loud online. Tag the filmmakers and ask them to consider a self-reported content warning wherever their film is available for streaming.