‘Psycho’ Sex Scene Slashed

The only thing scarier than a serial-killer movie is a serial-killer movie with an NC-17 rating. Scary to distributors, anyhow.

American Psycho” So Lions Gate Entertainment and director Mary Harron have snipped part of a supposedly explicit sex scene from “American Psycho,” the forthcoming big-screen version of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel about decadence, murder and rich young New York types. The editing did the trick: The Motion Picture Association of America will withdraw the taboo NC-17 rating it had slapped on the picture in January, and give it an R instead.

A spokesman for the distributor told Reuters that just “a few seconds” were snipped from a sexual tryst between the titular psycho-killer, played by Christian Bale, and two prostitutes. There was no word on what was entailed in the excised naughty portions.

An NC-17 rating prohibits anyone under the age of 17 from buying a movie ticket; an R rating allows kiddies to slip into the theater, provided they’re in the company of an adult who doesn’t care if they warp their fragile little minds watching trash.

The ratings controversy is just the latest, and one of the smallest, of the many controversies that have dogged “American Psycho” since the book was first published in 1991. The novel stoked the debate (launched in 1985 with the publication of “Less than Zero”) over whether Ellis was the voice of his generation and a satirist dismayed by shallow materialism and drug use, or a cynical master of exploitation.

Director Harron takes major creative liberties with the “American Psycho” story line, which follows a wealthy New Yorker who uses his stature to cover up a string of killings.

American Psycho” is slated for an April 14 release in approximately 1,200 theaters.