Although there had been rumours that Venom: Let There Be Carnage would be rated R, the sequel arrived in theaters with a PG-13 rating. While the film does push the limits of that rating on occasion, there was at least one scene that had to be toned down quite a bit.
While speaking with Variety, Venom: Let There Be Carnage VFX Supervisor Sheena Duggal explained that Carnage’s prison breakout included a scene that wound up being too gruesome. The scene in question involved Carnage killing a guard by shoving his tongue down their throat.
We had to tone that back a bit. He does it with a tentacle [in the comics], but I thought it would be fun to have him use his tongue to add that extra gruesome element.
Variety added that the sequence was ultimately “toned down considerably” in the final cut. Duggal also said that she went through Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites to see what fans wanted from Carnage. “I wanted to see what they wanted from this character and what behavior and look was important to them,” Duggal said. “We wanted fans to be very happy with this.” Duggal added that one aspect she wanted to include was a more brutal transformation when Carnage took over Cletus’ (Woody Harrelson) body. Duggal said that she was inspired by birth and had “birthing goo made up of amniotic fluid and membranes as Carnage transforms and is breaking the anatomy of that shared DNA, violently breaking the bones and tearing the skin as his body takes over.“
Tom Hardy recently confirmed that an R-rating was considered for Venom: Let There Be Carnage before they decided to make the film more accessible. “100% we considered it. With all of these symbiotes, you know, you consider it,” Hardy said. “You read the comic books and it is extreme, but that’s not what we’re here to do. We came here to make a movie which, and correct me if I’m wrong, I mean, there’s a law and a rule into creating a movie that’s accessible to a lot of people, as well as that caters for everybody, including the hardcore fans. So I hope the hardcore fans at least take home that they look at Carnage and go, “Yeah, I recognize Carnage from the comic books. I’m happy with that.” And yeah, no, we didn’t bite everybody’s head off, but we did stick a tongue down someone’s throat pretty… and managed to come in at a level of rating which is reputable so that grandma can come but also I’ll come watch it too.“