Which '90s R-rated movies did you see too young? Children from that era, compared to the previous generation, had a big advantage when it came to accessing films that were above their age level. Sure, they could still take the old-fashioned approach, buying a ticket to a PG or PG-13 movie and then sneaking into an auditorium showing something rated R. But it didn't need to be that difficult.
Cable TV channels like HBO and Cinemax were in millions of American homes by that time, making mature content easily accessible. VHS and DVD formats thrived, and rental stores were notoriously less strict about enforcing age restrictions than cinemas were. Renting an R-rated film to watch at a sleepover became a common activity. And, of course, some kids just benefited from having clueless parents who didn't pay too much attention to what they were viewing. However it happened, a whole generation had the chance to experience cinematic pleasures they probably weren't psychologically or emotionally ready for.
Vote up the R-rated movies from the 1990s that you remember seeing long before you should have.
- Photo: Paramount Pictures
Why You Saw It: South Park was already forbidden fruit as an edgy TV show, so the movie version, Bigger, Longer & Uncut, had built-in appeal for kids with a taste for slightly naughty stuff. Parents, meanwhile, undoubtedly let some children watch it, not realizing the animated feature was rated R, or thinking it would just be more of what their offspring were already watching on the tube.
Why You Shouldn't Have Seen It: Bigger, Longer & Uncut goes way beyond what Trey Parker and Matt Stone were doing on TV. The movie literally broke the Guinness World Record for onscreen swearing, as it racked up an astonishing 399 profanities - none of which were censored, as they often were on television. Tons of crude humor, most notably a bit involving actress Winona Ryder and some ping pong balls, also helped the movie push its R rating to the limit.11454Were you too young to watch?
- Photo: Universal Pictures
Why You Saw It: American Pie represents one of those weird cases in which a movie is fundamentally made for young people, yet the R rating generally restricts them from seeing it. What adolescent wouldn't want to see a racy comedy about other adolescents dealing with basic teenage issues like sexual curiosity? That made the film a prime sneak-in candidate at theaters. Failing that, you could pretty easily get your hands on the DVD when the parental units weren't around.
Why You Shouldn't Have Seen It: The film works hard to get that R rating. There's sexual activity, nudity, and, of course, a scene in which Jason Biggs ruins the desert his mother made in a very humiliating way. The dialogue tends to be crude, as well, with one notorious line about a character's experience at band camp proving especially vulgar.12465Were you too young to watch?
- Photo: Orion Pictures
Why You Saw It: Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs fired on a lot of counts. It won five Oscars, including Best Picture. Anthony Hopkins's Oscar-winning performance as serial killer Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter immediately became a pop culture sensation. There was also the fact that the film was infamous for being no-sleep-tonight scary. For whatever psychological reason, young people naturally gravitate toward horror, so the allure of seeing what was obviously a hall-of-fame chiller proved hard for kids to resist.
Why You Shouldn't Have Seen It: For starters, it's about a guy who kidnaps women, peels off their skin, and makes an outfit for himself. That's an uncommonly grisly idea for children. And let's not forget the shocking scene in which Lecter escapes his shackles and bites off part of a cop's face - or later in the same scene, when he escapes by wearing another slain cop's face. It was enough to mess up a lot of adults, to say nothing of young kids.11460Were you too young to watch?
- Photo: Dimension Films
Why You Saw It: Wes Craven's Scream starred a group of hot young stars who were undoubtedly appealing to young audiences. Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette were just a few of them. It was a dream cast for anyone 17 and under.
Why You Shouldn't Have Seen It: Scream has been eclipsed by movies like the Saw series, so it's easy to forget how bloody it was for its day. The slayings that "Ghostface" carries out are quite gruesome, and Craven didn't shy away from showing them. We should also consider that the flick, despite its humor, is often legitimately scary, especially the opening scene in which Ghostface stalks Barrymore's character, who is home alone. It's pure nightmare fuel.6742Were you too young to watch?