Violent scenes in one of the year’s blockbuster movies triggered the highest number of complaints to film censors in 2015.
Some 40 viewers complained to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) about scenes of brutality in the James Bond movie Spectre making it the fourth most complained-about film of the decade so far.
One scene involving an eye-gouging was edited before the spy thriller was released in order to comply with a 12A classification, but a brief implication of what happened remained in the final cut.
Fans were also disturbed by a torture scene, with the BBFC writing in its annual report: “Although the idea is unpleasant there is limited detail depicted. Given the lack of detail in the scene and the context of an action film featuring a larger-than-life hero character who always defeats his enemies, this moderate violence is acceptable at 12A.
“Another scene, showing the bloody aftermath of a suicide, was similarly reduced.”
Daniel Craig’s first Bond film, Casino Royale in 2006, garnered 82 complaints, while Quantum of Solace in 2008 prompted just six.
The Woman in Black from 2012 is the most complained about film of this decade, receiving 134 complaints.
Men in Black 3, from the same year, earned 50 while The Hunger Games, also from 2012, got 43.
Black Swan, from 2011, garnered 40 complaints, to tie with Spectre.
Spy film Kingsman: The Secret Service, prompted 38 complaints in 2015, mainly about the violence in the 15-rated movie.
A fight scene in a church was considered particularly extreme, even though the film was edited down to achieve the 15 certificate.
Other complaints about the film concerned an unexpected and crude sex reference, which was intended to be funny, and the fact the film released had been edited down to achieve a 15 rating.
The U-rated animated comedy Minions, a spin-off from the Despicable Me franchise, garnered 16 complaints, primarily about a scene set in a medieval-style torture dungeon.
The scene shows the Minions stretched on a rack, where they remain uninjured, before they slip unharmed through a noose and play with gallows.
The report said: “The scene takes place in an unrealistic, comic and slapstick manner which is likely to be familiar to young viewers, who expect the Minions to survive. The realistic risk of harmful imitation is very low indeed.”
Other complaints concerned a chase scene involving a pale-faced man holding a chainsaw, and a clown juggling bombs.
The BBFC responded: “At U, scary or potentially unsettling sequences should be mild, brief and unlikely to cause undue anxiety to young children. The outcome should be reassuring.
Sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything, which was rated 12A, attracted 22 complaints because of strong language and sex references.
There were 21 complaints about violence in The Maze Runner sequel The Scorch Trials, in which gangs of people operate in a lawless environment, and infected zombie-like people attack other characters.
The classification board also recently began a programme to give age ratings to music videos after research found more than two thirds (70%) of parents of children under 12 were concerned about exposure to inappropriate content.
Dizzee Rascal’s single Couple Of Stacks was the only video to be rated 18 during 2015 because of “strong bloody violence, gore and very strong language”.
Ellie Goulding’s song Love Me Like You Do, which featured in the film Fifty Shades of Grey, was rated 15 for strong sex references, as was U2’s Every Breaking Wave, for strong bloody injury detail.
Among the music videos to receive a 12 classification in 2015 were DC Breaks’ This Is Love, for moderate drug use, Foxes’ Better Love, for moderate sex references, The Vaccines’ Dream Lover, for moderate violence and threat, and Florence + the Machine’s Queen of Peace/Long & Lost, for moderate violence and nudity.