Don’t Cross the Red Cross
Red Cross nixes Saw III nurse posters
One of the most popular promotions for the Saw movie franchise has been the annual Saw Halloween Blood Drive. This event seems to be a sly nod to the 1950s exploitation film era practice (pioneered by director William Castle) of warning the audience of the dangers of said horror film, complete with costumed medical personnel hired to appear at theaters to handle any audience medical emergencies that may arise from the “terror” depicted onscreen.
For the Saw and Saw II film releases, Lionsgate invoked their own image of medical personnel, in the form of a “Saw Nurse” appearing on the Halloween Saw Blood Drive poster and Saw II Blood Drive poster. Both promo posters were created in-house at Lionsgate, featuring the photography of Lionsgate President of Marketing Tim Palen. Keeping things in the studio family, Senior VP Erika Schimik appears as the nurse in both of Palen’s first two blood drive posters.
For the 2006 3rd Annual Saw 3 Blood Drive, the studio released a set of Saw nurse promotional posters featuring new photography by Tim Palen of several different “Saw Nurses” (including Erika Schimik making her third appearance). The five Saw III Nurse posters each feature various poses and groupings of gothic Saw nurses, ready to handle all the bloodletting needs.
Unlike the 1950s exploitation counterparts, these posters actually promoted something helpful: a real life blood drive that encourages fans to donate blood. For the 2004 1st Annual Saw Halloween Blood Drive, the blood drive collected 4,200 pints of blood. The 2005 2nd Annual Saw II Blood Drive garnered 10,000 liters of blood. The upcoming blood drive hopes to top the previous two in the amounts of blood “taken”.
Speaking of bloodletting, despite the good work of the annual Halloween promotion for blood donations, it seems the American Red Cross may not have appreciated the Saw nurses wearing the iconic (and trademarked by international treaty) Red Cross logo on their sexy uniforms. In response, Lionsgate has removed all the red crosses from the uniforms in a revised set of Saw III Blood Drive posters, with the creepy nurses no longer appearing to be working for the Red Cross, but still wanting your blood. For some reason, Lionsgate has a knack for creating banned Saw posters. Apparently having a movie poster banned or “censored” is a modern badge of honor.
The International Red Cross is fairly aggressive about stopping outside parties from using the red cross logo beyond use as a protection symbol established by the Geneva Convention. Some companies are allowed to use the red cross logo if their products existed before 1905, such as products produced by Johnson & Johnson. Since most people identify the logo as a universal symbol relating to medical care and aid, the red cross logo has appeared in everything from video games to lifeguard t-shirts — but in this modern age of intellectual property litigation, companies have been removing the red cross logo to avoid possible infringement:
A red cross symbol is not a generic symbol for first-aid, emergency, hospitals, healthcare or medical services, products or personnel. The red cross symbol is a trademark owned by the American Red Cross and protected by federal and state trademark law, unfair competition law and anti-dilution law, and it is also protected by federal criminal law (See 18 U.S.C. 706, 917). The American Red Cross vigorously pursues those who infringe American Red Cross trademarks.
Red cross logos aside, don’t forget to donate blood: “This Halloween, Give ‘Til It Hurts.”