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Sliding Scale / Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness

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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 Works from 0 to 10.

This is a measure of how severe and explicit the violence is, not the quantity of it.

The sadism of the violent acts are considered relative to how bloody or gory it is. For instance; a level 8 act of violence inflicted onscreen to a completely defenseless victim note  (human or animal of any age) who expresses related pain would rank at 9. This may also include and/or be compounded by real-world malicious intent that overtly aims to incite violence; such as propaganda works by hate groups (I.E. The Turner Diaries, Hunter (W. L. Pierce), etc.)

Slaughter of a comedic or cartoonish nature note  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 (be them real or fictitious animals, androids, other "alien" organisms) are factored into the decision of what level the piece of media will be rated, but usually it's ranking would be relative to how realistic the suffering of said being is. Animal cruelty towards real world species will be measured the same as a humans. Different cultures may view acts of violence against certain targets to be more repulsive than others. Some cultures, for example, may find violent deeds committed against humans to be more reprehensible than those inflicted on animals, extraterrestrials, or fantasy races. Documentaries/non-fiction are not included on the scale.

It's worth noting that "stacking" factors into a ranking to an extent. Such as a victim with multiple significant, and apparent level 8 acts inflicted upon them getting bumped to a 9 (i.e. ED-209's first victim in RoboCop), and so on.

In Live-Action works, practical effects may elevate a violent act somewhat (assuming they are competent/convincing enough); as oftentimes real animal gore is used for such effects.

Video games and other interactive works may be given a slightly higher rating than if they were simply films or television shows. For some games let the player enact violence to a greater extent; such as continuing to mutilate an enemy after they are dead or harming civilians (I.E. a level 7 gunshot wound may be repeated many times, applying the aforementioned "stacking" rule into effect, possibly bumping the work to an 8).

Outline of levels:

  • 0. The work contains no violence whatsoever, outside of the very mildest of slapstick.
  • 1. The work 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). Flynning is in full effect with violence and deaths involving edged weaponry. Shootings with real-world firearms usually fall into A-Team Firing, but, when bullets do strike somebody, there is no visible impacts or other details. Implied deaths in explosions start to show up. Fantastical artillery may be deployed (death rays turning somebody into dust, etc.). 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. Violence from real-world firearms may show tiny amounts of non-graphic blood in their aftermaths, but suffering is generally kept to a minimum. 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. Realistically painful reactions to injuries and villains engaging in sadistic violence with no blood or gore also appear here. Mild depictions of impalement (when an object protrudes from both ends of a person at the same time) generally start on this level.
  • 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/completely offscreen rape and Attempted Rape both start on this level. Non-graphic severed limbs also pop up on rare occasions.
  • 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; such as less severe onscreen mutilation of bare flesh by bullets, blades, or protruding bones. Mostly bloodless but onscreen and serious (shooting, stabbing, etc.) clothed genital trauma may appear. Mildly or cartoonishly bloody decapitations start here. Mild obliteration or "gibbing" (little to no graphic/discernible body parts) may appear. Slightly graphic Eye Scream (perhaps bloody but not explicit or brutal) and gorily burnt portions of skin start to show up on this level. Brief or partially obscured onscreen rape may appear.
  • 8. Explicit (noticable scattering/splattering, flesh or brain matter, grievous wounds) and/or profuse/explosive blood effects are a frequent sight. Perhaps some moderate gore can be seen. Such as a moderately graphic (realistically spurting blood, considerable amounts of exposed or gnarled flesh and bone) dismemberment, decapitation and/or head explosion (maybe a not-too-graphic, semi head obliteration, if brief or out of focus enough) and somewhat bloody, but not explicit genital trauma may appear. Use of real-life dead animals and people will always score at least here. Clear and discernable onscreen rape tends to appear at least here. Exceptionally brutal but non-gory violence against innocents is capable of creeping up here, such as Modern Warfare 2 or horrific acts kept mostly offscreen with aftermaths shown in a relatively discreet manner such as Se7en. Non-R rated works above this level are vanishingly rare.
  • 9. Gore really starts becoming common here. Exposed organs or muscle may be seen briefly. Gorily exploding body parts, graphically torn out eye balls, and significant amounts of torn flesh start showing up. Graphic semi-obliterated/decapitated heads appear here.
  • 10. Gorn territory. Nightmarish depictions of bodily harm such as victims being unrecognizably mutilated/sustaining many gruesome injuries, completely skinned corpses, explicitly mutilated genitals, as well as the most depraved sexual violence show up here; alongside realistic, prolonged sequences of genuinely brutal, sadistic, and/or gory mayhem. Use of footage of real-world graphic violence always ranks here, even if it would technically be lower if fictional. The very hardest of hard-R and even NC-17 make their appearances on this level.

Important Notes:

  • For editors going to add examples, please explain why it is placed on some level and in what year it was first released. This will help us avoid Zero-Content Examples.
  • For the sake of readability and keeping things concise, try to only describe the violence that got it placed on the level that it's at, although one can describe violence in it from one level lower (perhaps two levels lower at most) if it's important and necessary.
  • This is not the place to use hyperbolic, exaggerated, or "gushy" language to describe violence in works. Stick to the facts as much as possible. Works with higher levels of carnage are not inherently better or worse than works with lower levels.