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November 03 2010

The Last Exorcism poster banned

ASA says it received complaints that the promotional images showed a girl who appeared to have suffered a sexual assault

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a graphic poster for the Eli Roth-produced horror film The Last Exorcism following complaints that it was distressing and unsuitable for public display.

One promotional display for the film featured a young woman doubled over backwards with her dress covered in blood, while another showed her dishevelled and filthy in the top corner of a room. The movie, which is directed by Daniel Stamm and stars Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell, depicts a faithless evangelical minister who agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew, only to discover that this time, the subject may be genuinely possessed. It was released here in September.

The ASA said most complainants found the images promoting the 15-rated film offensive, distressing and unsuitable for public display because the girl appeared to have suffered a sexual assault. The images appeared on buses and in the Cineworld's cinema chain's Unlimited film magazine. There was concern that the posters were likely to upset children because some posters were placed near schools and because the magazine was freely available.

The film's distributor, Optimum Releasing, said it did not intend the posters to cause distress and had instructed its media agency to remove any ads displayed near schools once it learned of the complaints. The ASA ruled that the first ad was likely to cause offence and distress and agreed that the image of the young girl covered in blood was unsuitable to be seen by children.

However, it said that because young children visiting the cinema were likely to be accompanied by an adult to see a 15-rated film, they were unlikely to see and be distressed by the ad in that context. The ASA ruled that the first ad must not appear again in its current form. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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