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The Director Behind The First Omen that Confronted the MPAA over a Vagina Shot

A Still From The First Omen (Photo: The First Omen)

Arkasha Stevenson, the director of the upcoming horror movie “The First Omen,” recently shared her experience with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in an interview. According to Stevenson, the film’s depiction of graphic violence and body horror did not raise any concerns with the rating board, but a single shot of a vagina was deemed too explicit, earning the film an initial NC-17 rating. The shot in question showed a frontal image of a hand emerging from a vagina, and it was not the act itself that was the problem, but rather the image of the vagina.

Stevenson emphasized that the team’s goal was to humanize female anatomy and avoid romanticizing violence, rather than fetishizing or sexualizing the female body. However, the MPAA refused to budge, forcing Stevenson and her team to revisit the scene multiple times before finding a compromise that would satisfy the rating board. This experience, Stevenson noted, was “quite telling about where we are right now, and where we need to get to” in terms of representing the female body in horror movies.

A Still From The First Omen (Photo: The First Omen)

The fact that the film’s depiction of violence and body horror did not trigger an NC-17 rating, while a shot of a female vagina did, highlights the need for greater sensitivity and understanding in the way that the female body is represented in media. Stevenson stressed the importance of rewriting the rules when it comes to horror movies and the female body, stating that it is crucial to humanize the image and not shy away from intense topics such as birth, forced reproduction, and sexual assault.

Stevenson and her team made compromises in the film’s editing process, ultimately securing an R rating for “The First Omen.” The film follows a young American woman as she unravels a terrifying conspiracy in Rome and is set to premiere in theaters on April 5, 2024.

Rollie D. Eldred
Written By

Rollie is a film aficionado from LA, USA. He loves exploring international cinema and writing insightful reviews. He also looks like Chuck Norris, he gets that a lot. Get in touch with him at [email protected].

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