A Bloodier, Gorier, Version Of M3GAN Is Out There

M3GAN writer Akela Cooper gave an interview explaining that the horror film was originally intended to be rated R, with a bloody, gore-filled cut a possibility as a later release.

By Mark McKee | Updated

jason blum m3gan

The horror genre is full of films from all categories like thrillers, supernatural, true-crime, and psychological, and within those categories lay movies rated G all the way up to R. Of course, one of the most classic horror genres is the slasher, where our heroes run from a sinister villain who is hell-bent on killing them in any way they can, and these are almost always rated R due to the gore that comes along with them. The newest entry into the slasher film canon, M3GAN, hits theaters this weekend with a surprising rating of PG-13, which according to Comic Book, causes writer Akela Cooper to suggest a director’s cut in the future. 

Akela Cooper (Malignant and American Horror Story) wrote the screenplay along with horror legend James Wan (SawInsidiousThe Conjuring) and reportedly went all-in on the gore and the killing of characters. The studio, however, decided that due to the viral nature of the trailer and the response from the teenage crowd, lessening the gore and getting the movie to a PG-13 rating would allow more people to see it. While Cooper understands the business aspect of the decision, she posits that there is a director’s cut on the books that will allow M3GAN to kill in all her glory, the way the writer intended. 

Horror movies don’t have to be rated R to be among some of the best in the genre’s history; there is a long list of films that are PG-13, like M3GAN, that were able to resonate with audiences by the use of other tricks. The Sixth SenseThe RingA Quiet Place, and the criminally underrated Harrison Ford thriller What Lies Beneath are all Rated PG-13 and still managed to be some of the best horror films of their time. Monster HouseBeetlejuice, and The Nightmare Before Christmas also accomplished the feat by coming in even lower on the rating scale with PG or even G ratings. 

The titular killer from M3GAN

M3GAN director Gerard Johnstone added to the conversation by saying the film was already so close to PG-13 anyway, and that it seemed like a mistake not to embrace it. He even addresses that they could have reshot the film to be PG-13 early on before the studio announced they wanted them to do it in post-production, which excited him because one of his favorite horror films, Drag Me to Hell, is rated PG-13. He even doubles down on those feelings by saying that when they reshot the scenes to be less violent, they were more effective, relying on sound instead of gore. 

Slasher films like HalloweenFriday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street rely on the gore their villains create to instill fear. However, movies like The Exorcism of Emily RoseSplit, and The Mothman Prophesies utilize sound and tension to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. M3GAN seems to be looking to bridge the gap between the slashers of old and the more creative version of horror with their more accessible PG-13.