In news that we assure you we’re absolutely shocked—shocked, we say!—to report this evening, the professional no-funyuns at the MPAA are pissed off at Danish film provocateur Lars von Trier over his latest offering, the bloody, stylized serial killer thriller The House That Jack Built. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the MPAA is threatening to sanction von Trier and the movie’s publisher, IFC Films, over a series of unrated upcoming screenings of the movie.
Amazingly, the tireless moral watchdogs aren’t mad at von Trier for the content of his film—which sees Matt Dillon systematically murder a bunch of women as some sort of semi-contrite, mostly puerile reflection on the various accusations of misogyny that have been pointed at his director over the years—but its timing. The film’s one-night unrated release, scheduled in more than 100 cities, apparently falls too close to the debut of its rated version, which is a big no-no as far as the MPAA is concerned. After all, they seem to be asking, what if the world’s worst parents got confused and took their adorable tots to see the unrated cut of the serial murder movie, rather than the safely sanitized R version that the organization signed off on? Society might collapse, and we can’t be having with that.
Our own A.A. Dowd caught von Trier’s latest at Cannes earlier this year, and came away slightly shocked, but not especially impressed. “One is left wondering,” he wrote at the time, “Whether any of von Trier’s endless, agonizing self-reflection justifies the often tediously unpleasant experience of watching The House That Jack Built.” On the other hand, we’re always happy to see the MPAA get annoyed, so, you know, we’re feeling kind of torn on this one.