New Horror Film Guidelines Over Content Fears
The British Board of Film Classification is to look more closely at the psychological impact of horror films under new guidelines to decide on movie ratings.
It will also be tougher on language allowed at U-level (suitable for all) and more flexible about allowing very strong language in 15 films.
Context, not just the counting of swear words, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public, the BBFC said.
It said greater weight will be given to the theme and tone of a film or video around the 12/12A and 15 ratings - particularly the "psychological impact of horror" and "strong visual detail such as gore".
The BBFC said it will also pay more attention to sexual content after a public consultation - involving 10,000 people - showed there was concern about "the sexualisation of girls and pornography".
The content of music videos and access to online porn were "special worries," it said.
During the research, people were shown 60 films and videos and were asked how issues such as sex, violence and bad language should be handled.
The vast majority backed the classification levels of films they had seen recently.
Nine out of 10 believed that The Woman In Black - which has brought the most complaints of the past four years - had been correctly issued with a 12A certificate.
Only 11% thought it should have received a higher rating.
The BBFC's director David Cooke said: "Our new classification guidelines reflect explicitly concerns raised by the public during the 2013 consultation and will, I believe, ensure that we continue to be in step with what the public wants and expects in order to make sensible and informed viewing decisions."
The new guidelines will come into force on February 24.
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