Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness

Inspired by the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness, this similar scale is used to measure how graphically or gruesomely violence is depicted in cinema, television, video games, comic books, etc. from 0 to 10.

This is a measure of how detailed or graphic the violence is, not the quantity of it (the brutality, cruelty, intensity, and sadism of the violent acts are also taken into consideration somewhat, but not as much as how bloody or gory it is). A film's rating is determined by its peak level of violence, not the average level of it (for example, a movie with generally level 5 mayhem will get a level 7 rating if it has any level 7 barbarity in it). T.V. shows, on the other hand, will be rated by the level of bodily destructiveness for an average episode. Slaughter of a comedic or cartoonish nature may have the "edge" taken off of it, resulting in it being placed at a lower level than if the carnage was played seriously. How realistic the violence looks is taken into consideration somewhat. Violence and gore related to non-sapient beings (like real-world animals) are factored into the decision of what level the piece of media will be rated, but usually it will be a level or two lower than if it was directed at a sentient person. Documentaries are not included.

Outline of levels:

  • 0. Movie, series, game, etc. contains no violence whatsoever, outside of the very mildest of slapstick.

  • 1. Film, T.V. program, etc. may contain some non-fatal (to sentient beings, at least) slapstick-style violence, but there's no blood or anything like that.

  • 2. Fatal violence starts to appear here, but it is, for all intents and purposes, bloodless (well, except for the most minor of nicks and scratches). Harsh slapstick that might be fatal in real life but isn't in the piece of media's universe might show up here.

  • 3. Blood may show up in small quantities (and it never splatters). Films, T.V. episodes, games, etc. with fatal or near-fatal violence that's a tad rough, yet essentially bloodless, may show up here. People whose clothes are on fire and are presumably wounded or killed by said flames may appear here if there's no gruesome detail. No gore.

  • 4. Relatively small amounts of blood may be a fairly frequent sight on this level. Violence that may be too intense for level 3 may be found here.

  • 5. Blood is a frequent sight during acts of violence. A few blood squibs note  may or may not be seen, but none of the liquid from them explicitly spurts or splatters. Movies, T.V. shows, etc. with harsh, yet basically bloodless, acts of violence committed against defenseless civilians may appear here, if brutal enough. Maybe a puff or two of blood in vapor form can be found here. Somewhat cartoonish burned flesh may appear on level 5. Implied/offscreen or Attempted Rape appears on this level.

  • 6. Blood squibs frequently make an appearance, but the fake blood from them doesn't exactly spurt or splatter in an explicit way. Puffs of blood in vapor form may be seen on numerous occasions. If handled the right way, a bloodless/goreless decapitation or two may show up on this level, as well as some charred flesh that's not exactly hideous. Some blood-covered bodies may be shown, but nothing truly gory.

  • 7. Blood splatters/spurts start to become noticeable. Mild gore may be seen. Onscreen acts of mutilation of bare flesh by bullets or blades generally start here. Graphically and gorily burnt skin starts to show up on this level. Onscreen rape will always rate at least a level 7.

  • 8. Explicit blood splatters are a frequent sight. Perhaps some moderate gore can be seen.

  • 9. Gore really starts becoming common here. Exposed organs, bone, or muscle may be seen briefly. Bloodily exploding body parts really start showing up.

  • 10. Gorefest territory. Nightmarish depictions of bodily harm such as being reduced to pulp, skinned corpses, etc. show up here, as do realistic, prolonged, brutal sequences of genuinely gory mayhem. The very hardest of hard-R and even NC-17 make their appearances on this level.

While how much violence a work has isn't necessarily representative of how adult the rest of the work is in terms of language or themes, if one were to give an MPAA rating to these works based solely off of the violence, this is guideline for what they would generally get:

  • G: 0
  • PG: 1-3
  • PG-13: 2-7
  • R: 6-10
  • NC-17: 10

This isn't exact, of course: Movies with violence levels as high as an 8 have gotten away with a PG-13 rating, and even being a Level 10 is no guarantee of an NC-17 ranking. By and large, though, Level 5 is about as high as something can get while still being considered "for kids"

Examples

    open/close all folders 

Anime and Manga

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Comic Books

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Films

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Literature

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 
  • Harry Potter (Book 1-3) note 
  • Warrior Cats

    Level 5 
  • Harry Potter (Book 4 and 5) note 

    Level 6 
  • And Then There Were None note 
  • Harry Potter (Book 6 and 7) note 

    Level 7 
  • Animal Farm note 
  • Carrie

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Manhwa

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Television

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Theatre

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 
  • Oedipus Rex note 
  • Macbeth note 
  • Bluebeard’s Castle (Bela Bartok) note 
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street note 

    Level 8 
  • King Lear note 
  • Edward II (Marlowe) note 
  • The Spanish Tragedy (Kyd) note 

    Level 9 
  • Titus Andronicus note 
  • Phaedra's Love (Sarah Kane) note 

    Level 10 
  • Blasted (Sarah Kane) note 
  • Cleansed (Sarah Kane) note 

Video Games

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Visual Novels

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Web Comics

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 

Western Animation (and Film)

    Level 0 

    Level 1 

    Level 2 

    Level 3 

    Level 4 

    Level 5 

    Level 6 

    Level 7 

    Level 8 

    Level 9 

    Level 10 
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MohsScaleOfViolenceHardness