Catching Up With the Restricted Cougar

We thought he was a goner, but he just couldn’t stay away. The “restricted cougar” logo, first introduced in the 1960s by the B.C. Film Classification Board to denote R-rated films, will be prowling back on to West coast screens soon. Beloved by Canadian exploitation fans for its iconic, simple design that served as a promise of lurid sex and violence to come, the cougar appeared in several animated bumpers (such as the one below) that played in theatres and became a cult figure of its own, even recently popping up in Tarantino and Rodriguez’s GRINDHOUSE collaboration.

Largely killed in 1997 due to a standardized “18A” rating system, the cat’s comeback is being engineered by Consumer Protection BC, the group that rates films in BC and Saskatchewan. To help the public get reacquainted with this sleazy symbol of our cultural heritage, they have created an interactive timeline and a YouTube channel that collects the cougar’s animated shorts.

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  1. Robert says:

    Happy to see it back! The first of the films I can recall seeing was the one with the live-action kittens, running before trailers to R-rated films like CARRIE and THE ENFORCER. By time I saw my first Restricted film in 1979 (ALIEN) it was the first animated cougar. British Columbia had a rather lenient Censor, and subsequently a great many films that carried R ratings in the U.S. (or equivalent adult certificates in other Provinces) were shown bearing a “Mature” rating which still permitted all-ages admission. On occasion there were inexplicable missteps – movies that carried PG ratings int he U.S. were hit with the R in BC (the 1979 film PROPHECY springs immediately to mind), but such occasions were vastly outnumbered by the titles escaping with a “Mature” branding. A few examples of films that played as “Mature”: THE SAILOR WHO FELL FROM GRACE WITH THE SEA, DEATH RACE 2000, THE GAUNTLET, ANIMAL HOUSE, THE END, THE HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS, THE STUNT MAN, USED CARS, THE OCTAGON, CADDYSHACK, THE BLUES BROTHERS, STIR CRAZY and STRIPES.

  2. Thank you for the mention and the link to one of the trailers!