BBFC received 40 complaints about 12A rating for James Bond film featuring eye gouging and head drilling
A gruesome eye-gouging scene in Spectre helped make the latest instalment in the James Bond franchise the most complained about film of 2015, British film censors have said.
The offending scene, set in a villains conference room, shows a henchman banging his victims head on a table before getting to work on his eyes, and had been toned down before the films release on the advice of the British Board of Film Classification.
But that did not stop the arrival of 40 complaints about the films age rating, the highest number for any film last year, the BBFC said.
The chief executive of the BBFC, David Austin, said: By our standards it is quite a lot of complaints but the box office for Spectre is 94m so in context it is a tiny proportion.
Complainants also thought the torture scene, when Christoph Waltzs Blofeld inserts a micro-drill into Bonds head, was too much for the movies 12A rating.
The BBFCs annual report points out that there was no blood and no sign of injury and the film instead uses sound and Bonds facial expressions to suggest his pain.
Given the lack of detail, and the audience expectation that Bond will inevitably escape and survive such threats, the scene is within the BBFC guidelines allowance for depictions of violence at 12A, it says.
Austin admitted he was surprised that Spectre was the most complained about film and said the BBFC had worked with the films distributors on what would make it a 12A, rather than 15, film. That included taking out bloody detail in the eye-gouging scene.
Once the edits had been made we didnt really think Spectre pushed the boundary of 12A. It was solidly in the category and not borderline.
After Spectre, the teenage spy caper Kingsman: The Secret Service was second with 38 complaints, mostly relating to violence in the church fight scene.
The BBFC report said, as with Spectre, censors had advised the films distributors on toning down scenes in order for it to get a 15, not 18 rating.
Other film ratings which people complained about included that for Minions, which received 16 complaints because of a scene set in a medieval-style torture dungeon.
The annual report defends its U rating. 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.
In total, the BBFC classified 983 films for theatrical distribution in 2015, a rise of 2.7%. For the second year in a row, more films were classified at 15 (383) than at 12A (321).
Austin said the most striking trend in 2015 was the growth of non-statutory work being carried out by the BBFC, providing age ratings to mobile networks and online streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.