Why Do Some Labels Go to 'Extremities'? Movie Warning Labels, Especially Those Indicating Rape, May Have Gone Overboard

Article excerpt

Byline: Dann Gire Daily Herald Film Critic

"Warning: Rape."

The words jumped out on the page in my Total TV cable guide, right there in the capsule summary for the movie "Extremities."

Something didn't jibe.

I had seen "Extremities" many years earlier and didn't remember any rape scene. That's because no rape ever happens.

In fact, when the movie came to theaters in 1986, local Paramount Pictures officials, fearful the public would be put off by a rape scene, issued a statement to the press. They even underlined the words: "No rape occurs in this movie."

I decided to watch "Extremities" on a premium movie channel. Before the movie started, the standard R rating symbol appeared, followed by the table-of-objectionable-contents disclaimer. (You know, the one that says "The following movie contains ...," then lists potentially objectionable elements such as sex or violence.)

The "Extremities" televised warning stated "The following movie contains rape."

In the movie, Farrah Fawcett plays Marjorie, a woman who, after being accosted by a would-be rapist (played with lip-smacking relish by James Russo), turns the tables on her attacker by blinding him, tying him up and tormenting him the way he tormented her.

But rape? Never happens.

Did the people who put together the ratings for Total TV and the cable programming goof? Could be. Anyone can make a mistake.

Maybe cable TV has discovered a crude and sensational bait-and-switch tactic to lure viewers to its adult programming.

Consider the following movies I've viewed so far on cable:

- "Best of the Best 3" - A gang of right-wing goons throws Gina Gershon on a table. The thugs rip her dress, but before they can assault her further, the hero shows up and rescues her.

"Warning: Rape!" cried Total TV.

- "Castle Freak" - Jeffrey Combs makes love to a prostitute and kisses her forcefully on the neck. The title freak - a deformed and animalistic man who doesn't understand the subtleties of kissing - later abducts the prostitute, removes her top and repeatedly bites her on the neck until she dies. …