Melon Farmers Original Version

The Woman in Black

Cut by the BBFC for a 12A


Update: A Questionable Decision...

Director of latest Woman in Black film criticises the BBFC for its new rule that anything scary has to be 15 rated

Link Here24th January 2015
Full story: The Woman in Black...Cut by the BBFC for a 12A
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is a 2015 UK horror thriller by Tom Harper.
Starring Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb
The film was passed 15 uncut by the BBFC for strong horror, threat for UK cinema release in 2014.

In the US it was rated PG-13 for some disturbing and frightening images, and for thematic elements.

Now the film's director, Tom Harper, has sharply criticised the BBFC over its decision to give his Hammer horror sequel a 15 certificate.

Harper questioned the grounds on which the classification for the horror sequel was made. Harper told Screen:

Personally, I was disappointed it ( Angel Of Death ) was a 15 There was no blood, no swearing. Obviously, there are some uncomfortable scenes within it. It was always intended to be a 12A.

The director said the filmmakers were presented by the BBFC with a whole long list of - to my opinion - questionable reasons as to why Angel Of Death was made a 15 rather than a 12A, eg one of the moments highlighted by the BBFC was a lady appears behind a door and a door slams .

The original The Woman In Black, directed by James Watkins and starring Daniel Radcliffe, was certificated 12A in 2011 and its success in attracting a young teenage audience contributed to its becoming the most successful UK horror movie ever at the British box office. The BBFC received a few complaints that it was a bit scary and so introduced a new rule that even if a film is not violent it can receive a 15 rating for being scary (for eg doors slamming).

The BBFC explained its 15 rating:

There is strong and sustained threat and horror throughout, as people are threatened and attacked by the title character. Much of the threat is towards children and there is sight of both dead children and children who are forced to harm themselves by the ghost. There are scenes of wartime threat, relating to the Blitz, and nightmare sequences featuring strong threat. There is some impression of blood on bodies and in medical contexts.

Even with the 15 certificate, The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death did strong business at the UK box office and has made an estimated $7m since its release at the start of the year.



Extract: Rated 15 for being scary...

An interview with The Woman in Black: Angel of Death director, Tom Harper

Link Here7th January 2015
Full story: The Woman in Black...Cut by the BBFC for a 12A
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is a 2015 UK horror thriller by Tom Harper.
Starring Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox. Youtube link IMDb

40 years after the first haunting at Eel Marsh House, a group of children evacuated from WWII London arrive, awakening the house's darkest inhabitant.

The National Student interviewed director Tom Harper in a conversation that briefly touched the topic of BBFC classification.

The National Student: This film has received the more restrictive 15 rating, whereas the first film the studio chose to cut in order to get a 12A and get younger audiences in there. Is this part of a deliberate aiming of the film to older audiences?

Tom Harper: I think the BBFC is slightly tighter now than it was then, partly in response to the first Woman in Black. Personally I think that's ridiculous as there is such immediate access to all sorts of content on the internet to anybody. Sure, I think the film is scarier, but compared to some there is no blood or gore or swearing or sex.

The National Student: I think the BBFC's approach is now to consider the overall tone of a film more than individual parts. Do you think that's an interesting way of viewing horror? Apparently it's Sustained threat that helped earn Angel of Death a 15 certificate.

Tom Harper: Sure, but I think it's an arbitrary thing to sit and make a decision about that with no specific criteria, I mean with sustained threat it's.... well, my feeling is that the American system is much better where if your parents say you can go and see it then you can go and see it. Personally I'm about empowering people to make their own decisions.

...Read the full interview



Update: The Woman in Black...

More details of the BBFC category cuts to the Woman in Black

Link Here17th July 2012
Full story: The Woman in Black...Cut by the BBFC for a 12A

The Woman in Black is a 2012 UK/Canada/Sweden ghost story by James Watkins.
With Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer and Ciarán Hinds. See IMDb

UK: Passed 12A after 6s of BBFC category cuts for intense supernatural threat and horror for:
  • UK 2012 Technicolor/Momentum RB Blu-ray
  • UK 2012 Technicolor/Momentum R2 DVD
  • UK 2012 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

Distributor chose to reduce moments of strong violence / horror in order to achieve a 12A classification. Cuts made in line with BBFC Guidelines and policy. A 15 classification without cuts was available.

In addition to the 6 seconds of visual cuts, substitutions were also made by darkening some shots and by reducing the sound levels on others.

From  Interview with David Cooke and Craig Lapper from . Senior BBFC examiner Craig Lapper explained:

  • When we make cuts, people think in terms of 'snip-snip’, but these days, with digital, there are so many other ways you can make a film more acceptable. You can suggest soundtrack changes and things like colour darkening, putting shadows in to obscure the more gory elements of a scene.” So in The Woman in Black, we didn’t hear the crack of the woman’s neck as she hung from a noose – and, thanks to the cunning use of shadows, neither did we see her face.

See  pictorial cuts from :

  • 4s of the hanging have been removed and details of the rest of the scene have been reduced via visual darkening, shadowing and muted sound
  • 3s of a young girl taking a step whilst engulfed in flames have been removed

Uncut Releases

UK: Passed 15 Uncut for strong supernatural threat and horror for:

  • UK 2012 Technicolor/Momentum video not yet released

US: Uncut and MPAA PG-13 rated for:


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