There is a time when every adolescent thinks they are old enough to watch what they like and shouldn’t be impeded by parents or censors. I think I was about 12. At that age I started watching a lot of horror movies ranging from classic Hammer Horror to contemporary 80’s horror. In truth, I didn’t see much in the way of so called “video nasties” as I couldn’t get my hands on them. This leads me to the thought, why are we still restricting cinema going in a time when all content is so freely available in the home. Why not make all films 12A (or lower where appropriate) and let parents decide what they can watch in cinemas the way they do at home. The BBFC (The British Board of Film Classification) would still have a place for guidance.
For those outside the UK, 12A is the rating that appears to be most commonly used rating by the BBFC. The category was launched in 2002 and replaced the 12 certificate. 12A (A for adult) films are considered to be unsuitable for young children and cinema’s can only sell a ticket for a 12A film if they are accompanied by an adult (18 years or older). 12A films may contain “mature themes”, soft drug use, infrequent strong language and moderate violence (this often means “comic book” violence with little or no blood), sex references and some nudity. Sexual activity must be brief and discreetly portrayed. Sexual violence may not be shown, but may be “implied or briefly indicated”. The standard 12 certificate remains for the DVD release stating you must be over 12 to buy or rent the movie. To give a little prospective, recent films that have revived 12A ratings include: Skyfall, The Hunger Games, Guardians of the Galaxy, Godzilla, The Fault in Our Stars.
My random thought goes back to all the 18 certificate films I watched at home between the ages of 12 and 18. For example I was about 13 when Die Hard came out (now re-classified as 15). The curmudgeon in me suggests all horror movies should have a special 25 rating to keep out all the gangs of kids who talk through the lower rated horror films. But the film lover in me suggests that many 15 year old are mature enough to appropriate Gone Girl and The Wolf of Wall Street in the cinema, they are probably watching them in their bedrooms, if they are not busy watching similarly rated TV The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones or playing 18 rated games. So give the power back to parents and boost cinema attendances and stop depriving kids the chance to see these films where intended on the big screen and not streamed (legally or illegally) on an ipad or laptop.
My view on censorship and classification has softened since I was a teenager, but find it increasingly difficult to see how relevant or practice they are in a multi media age. Although I choose to watch films in the best possible environment, in the cinema on a giant screen, I know how easily I can access things online. I am not sure I really want this to happen, but why have a blog if you can’t use it to express random thoughts!