We've all heard of horror movies being banned in certain countries, for being deemed too extreme. But did you know that more often than that, it's the posters for horror movies that inspire outrage, and are banned from display in public places?
It's true. And here are 10 posters that were banned from public display, for being either too graphic, or too sexually suggestive. Be forewarned; this gallery is not for the faint of heart!!!
...actually, none of these are all that graphic, or suggestive. But still. Be forewarned and shit.
This series of images was originally used to promote 2007's Captivity, that movie starring Elisha Cuthbert that nobody saw. Shortly after the billboards were posted in LA, as well as on taxi tops in New York City, both Lionsgate and the MPAA began receiving phone calls from up tight citizens, who didn't quite like the idea of being bombarded with torture and murder on their morning commute. Not only were all ads shortly thereafter removed, but the producers of the film went so far as to claim that they were put up by accident, and that the wrong art had been sent to the printer. Likely story!
Remember that piece of shit sequel to the incredibly awesome Hills Have Eyes remake? Don't worry, I don't either. Well this was supposed to be the poster sent out to promote the film, but the MPAA rejected it, for reasons that are completely lost on this particular blogger. Even more odd is the fact that pretty much the same poster was resubmitted to the MPAA, with legs dangling out of the mutant's death sack, rather than a hand, and it was approved and sent out to theaters. I shit you not.
Only explanation I can come up with for the second one being approved and the first one being rejected is that the victim in the first poster looks alive, while the one in the second looks dead. Perhaps the idea of a still living person being dragged to a brutal fate was too vicious to show, while an already dead body was a whole lot more tolerable? Who knows. That's the MPAA for ya!
Over in the UK, this Last Exorcism poster resulted in nearly 100 complaints from parents, who found the image "offensive and distressing", and that it was "unsuitable for public display because the girl appears to have suffered a sexual assault." As a result of the complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority had all of the posters taken down.
Interestingly,the US poster was exactly the same, only with a saturation filter run over the image, and it received no complaints around these parts.
We now travel to Australia, where this Dying Breed one sheet was deemed too gruesome, and banned from appearing on bus shelters over there. In this case, it was actually the ad agency responsible for putting up ads in bus shelters that decided it was too gross for mass consumption. Can't rightly say I disagree with that decision, because that art is pretty dang icky!
Park Chan-wook's exceptional vampire flick Thirst received some much deserved attention (any attention is good attention, in the movie world!) when South Korea's Media Ratings Board banned the original poster for the film, because of its depiction of a priest in a sexually suggestive pose with a hot young lady. A few strokes of a Photoshop paint brush cleverly hacked the girl's legs off...
... and voila, the new poster was approved. I don't know man, still looks like they're fucking to me!
Back in the UK, this Final Destination 5 poster allegedly corrupted the minds of several London children, which led to mass parental outrage. Thirteen parents in total issued complaints, and three of the thirteen claimed that their children were visibly upset by the imagery of a skull being shattered to pieces by iron rods. Though Warner Bros tried to throw water on the fire, by issuing a statement that the image "accurately reflected the content of the film, in an appropriate manner", the Advertising Standards Authority nevertheless issued a ban on the poster.
Though this poster probably doesn't strike you as one that would be on this list, the MPAA thought otherwise. Because of the depiction of a young child holding a large knife, the MPAA banned the poster outright, which led to the knife being Photoshopped out of the kid's hand, and into the adult's hand. Because adults are old enough to butcher people. Kids aren't.
As is always the case, the controversy did nothing but get more people to see a film that they probably otherwise wouldn't have even known about. I hear Bereavement is pretty awesome, though at the time of writing this I still have not seen it.
It's not all that hard to see why this UK poster for Teeth was banned, which visually depicts the entire plot of the gleefully twisted little film; a chick has teeth ... in her vagina. The X-rated X-ray poster was rejected before ever making it out into the public, and only surfaced when Empire Magazine got a hold of it, and spread it around. Vagina Dentata FTW!
As you can imagine, the folks at the MPAA aren't exactly the biggest supporters of the Saw films. This teaser image for Saw 2 originally slipped past the organization, though they eventually got a hold of it and deemed it "unacceptable", which forced Lionsgate to do away with it. The poster the MPAA approved for the film was pretty much the same, except the two fingers were seen a lot closer up, thereby not directly showing that they were in fact severed from the hand they used to belong to. Yeaaaa.
The original severed fingers art was eventually used for the official Saw 2 soundtrack.
And finally, we've got ourselves a poster that the MPAA actually approved, but the public didn't. Eli Roth was surprised and delighted when this poster was approved for theaters, taking to MySpace to express his excitement. Though the MPAA had no problem with it, the theater chain Century/Cinemark found it to be too "ruthless", and sent out an e-mail forbidding the staff from putting it up.
As for this Hostel 2 poster, which is one of my favorite posters of all time, the MPAA rejected it before it ever came even close to making its way into public spaces. Easy to see why, in this case. But goddamn, is that oddly beautiful, or is it just me?!
Funny enough, the controversial raw meat poster and the banned nude girl holding her own severed head poster were eventually fused together, creating this epic piece of offensive art. Not sure if the poster was ever actually used, but ya gotta love it!
And that concludes our journey through the world of banned horror movie poster art. If anyone knows of any that I missed, please do leave a comment and let me know!