THE LAST OMEN Director Says Film Almost Landed an NC-17 Rating Over a Graphic Birth Scene — GeekTyrant

The upcoming horror movie, The Last Omen received an R for “violent content, grisly/disturbing images, and brief graphic nudity,” but according to director Arkasha Stevenson, she was forced to make some cuts because the original cut of the film would have landed an NC-17 rating.

During an interview with Fangoria, first-time feature director Arkasha Stevenson said that she ended up in a “long battle” with the MPA to push the movie through with an R-rating due to one particularly graphic scene of a woman giving birth gave them cause for concern. When talking about this, the filmmaker said:

“The horror in that situation is how dehumanized that woman is. This has been my life for a year and a half, fighting for the shot. It’s the theme of our film. It’s the female body being violated from the inside outwards. If we were going to talk about female body horror, we were going to talk about forced reproduction, and we have to be able to show the female body in a non-sexualized light. I’m very proud of this shot.”

Producers David Goyer and Keith Levine (Hellraiser, The Night House) helped the director in the fight to convince the MPA to allow them to keep a shorter version of this scene in the movie. It was apparently a lot of work to for the team. Levine said:

“We had to go back and forth with the ratings board five times. Weirdly, avoiding the NC-17 made it more intense.”

Goyer went on to talk about the “double standard” that became clear while they were pushing back against the NC-17 rating, saying:

“The movie, by its nature, deals with female body horror, and I do think there’s a double standard. That was really interesting when we were negotiating with the ratings board. I think there is more permissiveness when dealing with male protagonists, particularly in body horror. That birthing scene is super intense, I also have three kids and have been at their births. It’s intense!”

In The First Omen, “When a young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, she encounters a darkness that causes her to question her own faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate.”

The First Omen stars Nell Tiger Free (Servant), Tawfeek Barhom (Mary Magdalene), Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Ralph Ineson (The Northman), and Bill Nighy (Living).

This film is a prequel to The Omen and it will be released in theaters on April 5th.

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