By Chris Kavan - 07/03/19 at 11:36 AM CT
I thought that the MPAA Ratings Board would phone it in with the 4th of July holiday coming up, but this week's update is actually pretty impressive. Granted, I still have only two movies to talk about - and both are horror films - but the rest of the list is good on its own. If you like scary stories - good news - we're getting a horror film based on Scary Stories (a favorite of mine from back in the day) and, coming quite a ways down the road, yet another take on the classic horror Turn of the Screw. The rest of grist, but at least most of it is at least worthy grist.
As I said, I have a special place in my heart for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It was probably one of the first "horror" books I read, and while I don't know if it was directly responsible, certainly it helped shape (or warp) my imagination and my continuing love of horror both in novel and film form. Written by Alvin Schwartz and featuring some amazing art by Stephen Gammell, there are a collection of three books featuring a variety of short stories - many based on folklore and urban legend. The film, directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter and The Autopsy of Jane Doe), spins the tale of the small town of Mill Valley, where the dark shadow of the Bellow's family hangs over the town. Terror and abuse led to Sarah Bellows writing a chilling collection of stories based on her experiences - a book that has fallen into its own legend. A group of teens are about to find out this book is all too real - and so are the stories that suddenly haunt their own lives. The tales included in this (based on the posters and trailers releases thus far) include the bone-chilling The Red Spot (hope you don't have arachnophobia), Harold (as in the scarecrow), The Big Toe and the harrowing image of The Pale Lady. There may be more - as there are plenty of tales to draw upon, but those are enough to get me interested. Our group of terrorized teens include Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush and Austin Zajur with Dean Norris, Gil Bellows and Lorraine Toussaint along for the ride - and, new horror icon Javier Botet is on hand to portray, apparently the Toe Monster himself. Rated PG-13 for terror/violence, disturbing images, thematic elements, language including racial epithets, and brief sexual references.
While Scary Stories to Tel in the Dark is a more modern approach to some well-known horror tales, our next film, The Turning is based on one of the most iconic gothic/ghost stories of our time, Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. The story is the same, but looks to be updated for more modern times - a young governess (Mackenzie Davis) finds herself taking charge of a young niece and nephew (Florida Project standout Brooklynn Prince and Stranger Things/It star Finn Wolfhard) following the death of their parents. But it soon becomes apparent that something is off - and soon the governess becomes convinced that the country estate is being haunted by Peter Quint (Niall Greig Fulton) and Miss Jessel (Denna Thomsen) former employees (and lovers) who had a connection with the two children. But is there something truly supernatural going on, or is it all in the head of our young governess? Modern adaptations of classic works don't always fly with me - but the film has a solid base, at least. Horror films tend to do somewhat well in January, so we'll see if this follows that trend or gets glossed over. Rated PG-13 for terror, violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive content.
Those are the two big films getting their ratings due, but the MPAA Ratings Board has a whole lot more in store in the full bulletin below:
A CINDERELLA STORY: CHRISTMAS WISH
Rated PG for rude and suggestive material.
Rated R for bloody violence, language, sexual content and brief drug use.
Rated R for violence and some language.
Rated R for some language/sexual references.
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, nudity and some drug use.
Rated R for bloody violence, language throughout, and sexual content.
MY ADVENTURES WITH SANTA
Rated PG for some rude humor.
PAIN AND GLORY
Rated R for drug use, some graphic nudity and language.
THE PILGRIM'S PROMISE
Rated PG for mild thematic elements, action violence, and scary images.
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
Rated PG-13 for terror/violence, disturbing images, thematic elements, language including racial epithets and brief sexual references.
SEA OF SHADOWS
Rated PG-13 for thematic material, language and some violence.
THE TURKEY BOWL
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout.
Rated PG-13 for terror, violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive content.
VIENA AND THE FANTOMES
Rated R for some disturbing behavior, language throughout, sexuality and drug use.
Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content/nudity and brief drug use.