New York-based unscripted production Magilla Entertainment (Moonshiners, Redemption from prison) is teaming up with heavy metal singer/songwriter and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider to develop a new documentary series, The Filthy Fifteen: Censorship & the War on Dirty Lyrics (p/t).
The series will explore the bitter censorship battle between the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) and a wide range of musicians in the mid-1908s that culminated in hearings before the US Senate.
In 1985, Tipper Gore, wife of then US Senator Al Gore, along with a group of other prominent wives of politicians established the PMRC with the aim of increasing parental awareness of music with explicit content. The band identified 15 songs they found most objectionable, and among “The Filthy Fifteen” was Snider and Twisted Sister’s anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, alongside Mötley’s hits of the day. Crüe, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Prince, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.
The PMRC sought to create a music rating system, like the MPAA, to warn consumers about lyrical content featuring sex, violence or “the occult”. At eventual congressional hearings in Washington DC, the unlikely trio of Snider, Frank Zappa and John Denver would testify on behalf of the music industry.
The docuseries features never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews with artists, politicians and others, examining the musicians and songs that ended up included in PMRC’s “Filthy Fifteen” – a playlist of what the band considered the most offensive music at the time — and reflect on the lasting impact of ratings on music, pop culture and free speech.
Executive production The Filthy Fifteen: Censorship & the War on Dirty Lyrics for Magilla Entertainment will be Magilla co-founder Matthew Ostrom, Laura Palumbo Johnson and Jason Fox, alongside Snider and Ron Starrantino. Magilla and Snider are currently buying the project.