Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monsters in the Woods FLASHBACK: F*&@ and MPAA

Way back when, I wrote a series of posts regarding the pre/pro/and post-production of Monsters in the Woods. With the movie just now being released, I thought I'd repost some of the better ones.

So, there's been a concern amongst some of our production team about the overuse of the word "fuck" in Monsters in the Woods. That it will cause us problems with the MPAA.

I at first dismissed this as ridiculous. I even started counting fucks. Tonight me and my pal counted 65 give or take in the 1st half. (it was not fun). Double that for the 90-minute run time and you get 130. Which is well under acceptable MPPA R Rating standards.

Casino had 422
Summer of Sam 326
Born on the 4th of July 289
Pulp Fiction 252
Jarhead 251
Big Lebowski 281
*although we did beat out Glengarry Glen Ross which had only 138. Woah!

Shit you could straight double my estimate and still be under the top 3.

But it keeps coming up and then a producer brought up a more artistic concern, that the overuse of the word takes away its power when you do need it. Now this I can agree with. It’s a valid point. So I looked back over the cut with friend tonight and I have to admit, that yes, it is overused. The actors took what was in the script, which was a lot of “fucks” and added another 15%. If I had the whole production to do over, I’d have had a full time script supervisor and I’d have reigned in the improv a little more.

But I didn’t. There aren’t alternate takes and without cutting whole scenes or making really awkward cuts to existing scenes, there isn’t much that I can do about it now. And really when it comes down to it, I don’t have a problem with it. I personally use expletives that way myself, as do many people I know, and I enjoy hearing it onscreen. To me it feels authentic.

It definitely can be off-putting to some. But, it’s not to me. And I have to ask myself, even if I could, would I want to cut them down, would I want to neuter my movie, because of what some may find offensive? Because it might limit the movie commercially?

Wait a minute! One of the characters refers to another Hispanic character as a spic. Might the Hispanic community be offended? I better take that out too. Then there’s the whole Jesus action hero thing (That’s gotta offend someone). Then there’s characters committing adultery, nudity, monsters, blood, a character wearing white after Labor Day… Damn, who won’t be offended?

I made a micro-budget horror flick. It’s not a 4-quadrant Pixar movie. It’s a gritty, no holds barred splattery horror movie. That’s what I set out to make and that’s what it is.
So be it.
But, I am cutting the Michael Bay, Donald Duck stuff…
Sorry Lee, there are legalities to be considered.

post-mortem-one year later.
I still think my above argument is valid. However, I do think I probably over-did the profanity a bit. I recently watched the movie again with an audience and have to admit there were a few instances where I was a bit embarrassed by the overuse of the F@#! word. But it's not because of it's profane nature. It's simply because of the repetitive nature in which it's used.  


  1. Out of everything wrong with this movie, the cursing is what embarrassed you? Not the horrible acting, the fact that the character development, plot, and dialogue seems to have been written by someone who has never read a book or experienced human contact, or the laughable monster costumes? If you want to see how to cut scenes to increase the the suspense while revealing little of the monster makeup may I suggest Alien? Darkness, snap cuts and shadows are your friends if your costume designer is still in their High School drama club days. I will never make the mistake of watching one of your movies again, and if I see any of those actors in a casting call I may just burst out laughing!

  2. Never take criticism seriously by anyone who doesn't have the balls to post non-anonymously.