When Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror class Alien was released in the UK it was slapped with an X-rating, but not for what you might think. For the time I could see why they might give it a rating like that due to the awesomely intense horror content. You've got to admit that the scene where the alien Xenomorph bloodily bursts out of John Hurt's chest was pretty terrifying. But that's not why it got the rating! It wasn't the violence at all.
In 1979 the British Board of Film Classification gave it the X rating because the movie offered a "perverse view of the reproductive function." So what in the hell does that mean? Well, remember the scene in which Hurt's character Kane inspects the pulsating eggs? That's it... yeah, I know. In the movie's file, the censor explains what about the scene made them uncomfortable:
I feel uneasy about passing for 14-year-olds a film which uses sexual imagery in a horror context. The images are not always explicit but run like a dark undercurrent throughout suggesting a powerful, threatening, unnamed force. Occasionally the image is explicit as when the leathery egg opens up to reveal a glistening pulsating membrane which erupts into a squid-like creature.
Really?! The fact they saw that tells me those censors must have had some pretty sick minds themselves. Who in their right mind would watch that scene and think anything sexual about it? The censor went on to say that these feelings might be confusing to younger teens...
I don't want to flash ideas like this to teenagers who might not have come to terms with the normal sexual functions. The early teens are a troublesome time with physical changes making terrific demands on emotional stability. I don't myself want to pass for this age-group a film which might be disturbing in a non-specific way to a significant proportion of them.
Personally, I think the censor is the one that was confused. And then there's the comment he makes about being "disturbing in a non-specific way," that's just a good way to describe going through puberty in general. Did any of you think about sex when watching Alien for the first time?
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