Captivity Billboards the most offensive things EVAR!!!1

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Are you still with me? That image didn’t disgust you so much that you were forced to instantly turn off your computer and run down the street screaming for your life did it? Wow. Imagine that, as that’s pretty much the reaction some people are basically having which has caused the studio to yank the ads because they are just far too offensive or something. I hadn’t noticed myself and after looking at this can’t see what the issue is. Surely posters for movies like SAW 2 or HOSTEL II(NSFW) which show hacked off body parts are far more offensive than just a close up of some pretty blonde’s face right? Apparently not. Kathy Bakken brought this to my attention and writes:

“Right next to the spot where the CAPTIVITY art used to be is an billboard showing a woman laying across a car in a skimpy outfit and hooker heels selling some other product. To be honest, I find this just as offensive. Who do I complain to? Who do I write to?”

If you need more on this gut wrenching story, there’s more over on Defamer and CineFile. [photo by Donnyph, used with permission]

19 Replies to “Captivity Billboards the most offensive things EVAR!!!1”

  1. Sheesh….I am certain they had sensors and it was approved. I have seen much worse,much of it real life. Nice publicity stunt? Maybe, most likely, then I am too jaded to think otherwise.

  2. What’s interesting about this to me is the confusion between being offended by the actual billboard vs. being offended by what the billboard’s ABOUT. I think the film looks like it’s in terribly poor taste, possibly even offensive, and as a horror film fan I’m disappointed to see the genre descending into plotless toture-porn, but that has nothing to do with the specifics of that billboard art.

  3. It’s a Michael Jackson type marketing ploy.

    Remember all the outcry after MJ’s “Dangerous” video aired. MJ, pulled the video, apologized for it’s violent content and a week later we find out no one complained.

    Pretty sneaky sis.

  4. Well, I gotta say, when I first saw the billboards I thought they were gross and instantly decided to skip that flick. But then again, I don’t like horror movies, never did. Nevertheless, they were pretty tasteless and I’m glad they are being yanked.

  5. I’d say that’s pretty disgusting–the tube suggesting blood and other fluids jammed into a woman’s nose. The comparison to a woman with a skimpy outfit is ridiculous, and sounds like one the Christian right would make: sexually-suggestive (not even overtly sexual) imagery= BAD; violent images= just fine, thanks.

    A more apt comparison would be a goatse billboard with someone’s anus stretched open.

  6. Do I like it? No.

    Are there worse things in the world to be upset about? Hell yes.

    I wonder if there were any homeless people around where the offending billboards were. Undoubtedly people were disgusted by the billboards but would probably felt perfectly fine looking the other way and pretending not to notice a homeless person. There’s better ways to focus your energy instead of being outraged over a horror flick billboard.

  7. “This film was done in association with After Dark Films. The nature of the association allows After Dark autonomy over their marketing materials, and therefore we neither saw nor approved this billboard before it was posted,” said Peter Wilkes, head of investor relations at the studio’s parent company, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

    I don’t buy this for a second. I doubt After Dark is big enough to have the freedom to post expensive ads without some oversight from a parent company, at least as matter of courtesy.

    Courtney Solomon, who runs After Dark… said the billboards were a mistake. That ad was one of 50 or 60 concepts under consideration, he said, and before any were approved, this one ended up at a printing plant and up on billboards in L.A., as well as on New York taxicabs. “To be honest with you, I don’t know where the confusion happened and who’s responsible,” Solomon said.

    Please. The movie looks stupid enough. Don’t insult my intelligence, unless you really are that incompetent. A billboard company doesn’t just receive artwork and print it, especially for a national campaign. They would have sent proofs back to the studio for approval, and I doubt that After Dark’s marketing or PR department is large enough to allow for some random exec to accidentally approve.

    As for a backlash of phone calls… I’ve only found one online mention (between Technorati and Blogger) of anyone being bothered by these billboards before the weekend, yet the MPAA and Lionsgate received a rash of phone calls. The whole thing is fishy.

  8. I could go off on this forever.

    The conflation of female sexuality with violence–specifically, torture–has gotten to such a fever pitch in our mass media these days that these billboards should surprise no one.

    If it’s a kink Western society grooves on, we should fucking acknowledge it–we dig a little S&M, pretty girls getting hurt gets us off. Yes? Right? Because that sure as hell seems to be what’s selling.

    Are we punishing her for being pretty? For arousing desire? It it satisfying for women to see her get hurt because they’re jealous (“That skinny bitch”)? Is it satisfying for men to see her get hurt because they’re angry (“She’d never go out with me”)?

    Or is society just getting its rocks off by battering around the very object that embodies American pop culture at its most plastic and overwrought–the hyper-sexual pretty young thing?

    I’m not grinding an axe here so much as asking questions I’ve personally wondered a lot about over the last decade, as the “beautiful sexy young woman being tortured” thing has appeared again & again, and more often.

    It’s a kind of porn, but while IMHO there’s a lot of nifty porn out there, this sort seems…unwell. Conflating violence & sex in this particular way seems a very sick symptom to me. It’s one thing to go out to Miss Kitty’s and get your rocks off or tie your girlfriend to the bedpost and wake the neighbors; it’s another thing to have this sort of sexuality=punishment pervading pop culture.

    It’s almost like we raise up Britney or Paris as some overinflated sex goddess, then tear her down for being BAAAAAAD–the conflicted Western mind in action, with our screwy Puritan attitudes towards sex.

  9. I guess Bilbao doesn’t know sarcasm when he/she sees it.

    The complaint about the Captivity billboard was thus, ‘Demeaning to women.’ If that’s the complaint you want to make about it, fine. But, take another look around and I can show you about 100 other examples of the same thing. These are considered ‘acceptable’ examples of exploitation (which often prove to be demeaning) as proven by Bilbao’s post so they remain. Hypocrisy reigns.

    I am not serious when I said I wanted to write and complain about the hooker heels billboard. Just like I wouldn’t complain about a horror movie ad that was doing its job.

    Its a horror movie. Its supposed to be disturbing. That’s the point. Not your cup of tea, okay – don’t go see it. There’s no reason to make it a larger issue and wrap it up in a PC argument about how its a larger issue about society demeaning women blah blah blah.

    As for torture of pretty girls… well to be fair, SAW and HOSTEL tortured male and female alike. And not all pretty. Does that make it less of an issue? Or do most of us understand that its all fake and nothing more?

    bilbao wrote:”I’d say that’s pretty disgusting–the tube suggesting blood and other fluids jammed into a woman’s nose. The comparison to a woman with a skimpy outfit is ridiculous, and sounds like one the Christian right would make: sexually-suggestive (not even overtly sexual) imagery= BAD; violent images= just fine, thanks.”

  10. I was horrified when I saw these billboards. True, I may be hypersensitive- but this is something I just don’t want to see when walking home alone at night. Does that make me a PC, worked-up freak? I don’t think so. I think it makes me a woman who is f*cking tired of seeing women tortured for adolescent male masturbatory fodder.
    I agree with Lucinda’s opinion.

    And to equate a gruesome image of a woman undergoing surgical torture with a lady in high heels on the hood of a car is just plain stupid. Sure, they’re both exploitative, but at least the latter lady has her skull intact. I mean really. That’s like saying strippers and rape victims are exploited equally.

    I’m glad the billboards were pulled. You want to see the movie- go see the movie. I don’t want those images forced on me.

  11. Whether this was contrived as a publicity stunt or not, it certainly succeeded in generating interest. If you think this ad is in bad taste, wait until they produce the sequel with Chloe Sevigny: “The Brown Bunny vs. Captivity: Giant Monsters All Out Attack!”

  12. Why dosen’t anybody make a public stink when they look at the freakin’ gas station signs directly under these billboards and see how much they are being “tortured” by the oil companies?

    It was $3.31 on Olympic and La Brea today!

    Talk about horror!

  13. Is there a reason why my first comment didn’t make it onto the boards here? It send it was “pending approval” and then never posted. . .

    It can’t be because I said that I agreed with Lucinda and found the billboards truly disgusting and offensive, can it?

  14. Allison, comment requiring approval notices get sent to the author, and we’re not all sitting around in front of the computer waiting for emails all day. Sometimes it takes more time than others, and sometimes they even slip through, but contrary to what everybody says when they have to wait more than five minutes for their comment to be approved, there’s no secret conspiracy to silence commenters.

  15. Oh, I was being sarcastic, 5000! I know you guys aren’t trying to deny people their voices. My only concern was that I posted my comment in the a.m., but I still hadn’t seen it by the afternoon, so i guess it got lost somewhere in the inter nets.

  16. I don’t think it is the worst thing an adult may see in his life time. yet as a mum i can tell you that i have been wanting to do something about all of these billboards. My 3 year old boy asked me after he saw the first “Hills have eyes” billboard. “Why is this man pushing this woman’s face down like this. i think she is hurt? ” I can regulate what he sees at home. But how am i suppose to shield him from this on our way to preschool?

    no wonder the kids are becoming more agressive as well as desensetized. So no i don’t think it’s a publicity stunt. it is simply lack of decency to shove these images in peoples faces.
    there is enough things we can’t do so much to change. like the homeless guy. i can’t fix his problems. But i sure don’t have to see more sh^t so a movie gets more viewers.
    And by the way i am a pretty hip mum that works in the movie industry on movies including “300” yet i choose to not have my 3 year old see that either.

  17. All I can say is I am glad this is a free country.

    It’s just another example of hypocrisy to call me ‘stupid’ for equating one example of the degradation of women to another. One is a-okay to most people because we’re so damn used to it. Never mind the millions of women who have to look at their sexualized images over and over again whether they like it or not. Or just forget about the millions of girls suffering from eating disorders and body image issues due to these same images. Yay for us.

    You made my point.

    And another thing – children are not made violent by violent images. There is zero evidence of this and believe me, researches have been doing their damndest to make this connection. It’s just not there despite much dedicated effort. I am so tired of that unsupported argument.

    Outside of America, advetising for many things, movies included, often have nudity or other disturbing imagery. Yet the USA remains the more’ violent’ country despite parents everywhere protecting their precious angels’ eyes from scary pictures… hmm.. Could be its not the posted advertising in our country that’s causing this. I guess we have to go elsewhere to solve this problem. Surprise.

    Anyway, there’s a new billboard in town that the filmmakers posted for Captivity. All clean and safe for 3 year olds everywhere. Yay.

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