The Last Exorcism poster banned
Published 03/11/2010 | 00:09
A graphic poster for the film The Last Exorcism has been banned following 77 complaints that it was distressing and unsuitable for public display.
The poster, that appeared on bus stops and telephone boxes, showed a young girl doubled over backwards, her dress covered in blood and a crucifix hanging above her with the words "Believe in Him".
Another poster for the 15-rated film that appeared on buses showed the same girl dishevelled and filthy in the top corner of a room, while the first ad also appeared in Cineworld's Unlimited film magazine.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said most complainants found the images offensive, distressing and unsuitable for public display.
Some questioned whether they were likely to cause fear and distress to children, especially because some posters were placed near schools and the film magazine was freely available.
Two people found the banned ad offensive and upsetting because they believed it appeared that the girl had suffered a sexual assault.
The film's distributor, Optimum Releasing, said the ad was aimed at a broad audience to position The Last Exorcism as a mainstream horror release. It did not intend the posters to cause distress and instructed its media agency to remove any ads displayed near schools after learning of the complaints.
The ASA said the first ad was likely to cause offence and distress when displayed in an untargeted medium such as a poster and ruled that the image of the young girl covered in blood was unsuitable to be seen by children.
However, because young children visiting the cinema were likely to be accompanied by an adult, they were unlikely to see and be distressed by the ad in that context.
It ruled that the first ad must not appear again in its current form.