How Rob Zombie Helped Saw III Get Its R Rating

Horror movies have long had a bad time battling the Motion Picture Association of America, who hand out the ratings for films. Like the slasher era before them in the 1980s, the glut of "torture" movies in the 2000s found themselves in similar territory as movies like the Saw sequels, Hostel, and Wolf Creek came under an even more intense level of scrutiny with regard to violence and tone. Speaking about his behind-the-scenes work for Saw III, director Darren Lynn Bousman opened up about the problems he was having with the 2006 sequel and how another filmmaker who butted heads with the MPAA at the time helped him out.

"Saw III trivia. I had to call @RobZombie and ask for help with the MPAA," Bousman tweeted. "Saw III received the NC-17 half a dozen times. Rob gave me advice on how to get that R. The only movie I had more trouble getting the R on was... SPIRAL. #SAWathon" Bloody Disgusting caught up with Bousman later to get a little more context on how Zombie, who had already fought the MPAA with House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects by that point, had helped him out with Saw III. Specifically Bousman revealed that the sequence with a naked, frozen woman was the big hang-up for the MPAA at the time.

"I became so frustrated that I reached out to Zombie because he had always been given the 'R' on his films, which I felt were more intense and violent," Bousman told the outlet, revealing he utilized the strategy Zombie had come up with for his movies. "By trying to hide the violence, torture and nudity, the more the scene became exploitative. By inserting wide shots, the scene became sad and tragic. It also took away all sexuality – the very last thing I wanted was that scene to feel sexual in any way! I ended up writing an email to the MPAA stating my case, and eventually, they allowed it to stay. I've reached out to Rob a couple of times throughout the years and he has always been helpful and such a great dude."


Bousman's latest entry in the franchise, and which he claims had just as much trouble getting an R rating, is Spiral: From the Book of Saw, only in theaters on May 14th.