'31' Has Been Rated NC-17 And Rob Zombie Is None Too Happy About That

We can say a lot of things, both good and bad, about Rob Zombie as a director, but at least he has a voice. While many filmmakers are happy to color within the lines and deliver something approachable and easy to sell, Zombie's particular brand of foul, brutal, throwback horror is always interesting, even when the movie is a total stinker. I'd sooner watch the feverish, fascinating, and totally awful The Lords of Salem again before I revisit many horror movies. For better and worse, his movies stand out. They're so filthy that you can practically smell them.

And since a major component of Zombie's aesthetic involves finding unique and special ways to portray human pain and suffering, it shouldn't be surprising that his latest movie, 31, has been slapped with an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. And while this is a weird badge of honor for any horror filmmaker, it's not one that you want to wear all the time – as Zombie himself is quick to point out, this rating can spell certain doom for any movie.

Hit the jump for more on the latest Rob Zombie 31 news.

Zombie revealed the news of 31's ongoing battle with the MPAA over on his Facebook page, where aired some personal grievances with his fans. After all, they're the people who partially crowdfunded 31 via crowdfunding a few years ago, so they certainly care very strongly about what's going on with this thing. In his post, Zombie says that he's currently working on another cut of the film to secure an R-rating:

Well, after two tries through the MPAA our rating on 31 remains NC-17. Maybe three is the charm to get an R rating. Why R you ask? Well, because your local theater will not show an NC-17. Even though you are a fucking adult... things much be censored for your enjoyment.

He's right about one thing: an NC-17 rating is doom for just about any movie. It's not (necessarily) that people will not go see a movie given this rating, but that the vast majority of theaters will refuse to book it. Stories of filmmakers trimming shots by a couple of frames and reconfiguring certain sequences to chip away at their movie until they get that R-rating are nothing new. Appeasing this group can be a serious pain in the butt.

Then again, it's not like Zombie set out to make an easy movie. Anyone who has endured The Devil's Rejects and his Halloween movies knows this guy is big on being unpleasant. 31 was always going to rub the MPAA the wrong way. That's just how he operates. In fact, Zombie included this rating description in his Facebook post, although it's unclear if this is official MPAA language or something of his own creation:

Sadistic Graphic Violence, Bizarre Sexuality/Nudity, Pervasive Disturbing Images and Some Strong Language

In other words, Zombie is proud of his brutal content. He just wants to make sure his movie has a chance to make some money. Whatever ends up happening, expect to find the "uncut" version on Blu-ray and DVD in the future.

And anyone who looks in the general direction of 31 should have known this thing was going to court controversy from frame one. Set in 1975, 31 follows five carnival workers who are abducted and dropped into "Murder World," where they must survive for 12 hours while being hunted by a gang of murderous clowns. And since this is a Rob Zombie movie, you just know that at least a few characters will have long, greasy beards and everyone will say "fuck" a whole bunch. If someone asked us to pitch a parody of Zombie film, this is probably what we would have cooked up. That basic synopsis alone is now the most indulgent thing Zombie has ever been involved in, beating out that never-ending "Free Bird" sequence from The Devil's Rejects:

31 will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016. But which cut will play?