Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Britain bans something.

(Parental alert: this post contains images which, according to certain watchdogs, may cause frail, scaredy-cat children to run screaming from the computer and back to the 19th century where they belong.) It has emerged that the British Advertising Standards Authority …

Wed, Nov 3, 2010, 20:57

   

(Parental alert: this post contains images which, according to certain watchdogs, may cause frail, scaredy-cat children to run screaming from the computer and back to the 19th century where they belong.)

It has emerged that the British Advertising Standards Authority has — sometime after such a decision had any practical worth — banned the poster for first-class horror film The Last Exorcism. The body claimed that the image, which shows a young girl in blood-soaked torment, had triggered 80 complaints from members of the public. Having glanced at the snap, the ASA agreed that it should not be let out in daylight, lest any infants suffer undue and unexpected distress. Here it comes. Escort the little darlings from the room. It’s a real vomit-maker.

Aaaaaaaaa! Bleurgh! Bleurgh! My eyes, my eyes!

I don’t know. I guess there are children who, after strolling past the poster, might feel a little unnerved. But I can’t say the odd scare does such delicate souls any serious harm. Anyway, it tends to be the case that over-protective parents simply assume (and rather hope) that their little ones have been shaken silly by such supposedly horrific images. From the horror comic fiasco of the 1950s through Mrs Whitehouse‘s objections to Dr Who to the banning of The Evil Dead, unimaginative, psychologically deadened parents have imposed all kinds of imaginary torment on largely unconcerned, entirely undamaged young people. A decade or so after each fuss, the general public ends up accepting the outrageous entity as a charming exercise in harmless provocation.

Like waving placards at suspected child-killers or campaigning for the execution of Russell Brand, such campaigns exist to make the campaigners feel better about themselves. Look at us. We’re taking care of the innocent. We’re whitewashing the foul charnel houses. Won’t somebody please think of the children!