Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Colic: The Posters

Posters for what appears to be a gory new Thai horror film, Colic: The Movie are hanging in local cinemas. They're pretty sick, especially the one with the one handed baby looking askance at the bloody blender.

Twitch, of course, has been all over this one with posts about the synopsis and website and the flash trailer.

But for me, I'm wondering: Why do I have to see this stuff in the lobby of my local shopping mall multiplex?

Now, far be it from me to impose the kind of American moralist-conservative values on Thailand that are practiced in the US by the Motion Picture Association of America. That is what I love about living in Thailand, is that I don't have to put up with that, so much. But I still wonder: Aren't the posters a bit much?

I had them open here in the office and a couple of the guys passing by had to stop and look again. They were horrified and sickened. And these are hardened professional newspapermen who've seen war photos and the results of bloody demonstrations on their 20-inch monitors or composing-room tables day in and day out for the past three decades.

So there's something.

Then, last night, I was listening to the weekly podcast of The Business from KCRW, and one of the guests was an exec from Roadside Attractions, a distributor that handles all kinds of controversial films, like Super Size Me, Ladies in Lavender (well, not so controversial) and Michael Winterbottom's Road to Guantanamo (ah, there we go). The guest spoke about the struggle in getting poster art approved by the MPAA, which must be done before a film can be rated. The marketing materials are a "yes or no" kind of decision by the MPAA, meaning the materials can either be used or they can't. They are for general audiences only. So for Road to Guantanamo, they couldn't use any depictions of torture (What? there's torture going on at Gitmo?).

Which, if you're still with me here, brings me to the issue of establishing a new Film Code and possibly a ratings board in Thailand.

If the ratings system is to make any sense, then it means children and squeamish adults like myself might be able to go to their local shopping mall or multiplex without having to see a nightmarish image like a baby with his hand in the blender. Or someone having an eye sewn onto their forehead, like in posters for Art of the Devil 2 (a scene that apparently wasn't depicted in the film, so not only is it gross, it's false advertising).

But then, what sells and what's acceptable in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia is different than the West, so perhaps it's okay for regular folks to have images like this on general view on seven-foot-high posters and lobby displays.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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