Making the Cut
Lionsgate has released the Saw 2 teaser poster for the upcoming horror sequel Saw 2. The Saw 2 poster is a sequel in itself, following the look of a previous series of one-sheets from the first film. For such a gory concept (digits as digits), there isn’t much blood to be seen in this horror film poster. Why?
One thing you may not know about movie posters (and film trailers) is that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has approval over them. The film industry trade group, which assigns film ratings to all U.S. domestic films bound for a theatrical release, also has control over the content of one-sheets and trailers sent to movie theaters. As with all matters involving the MPAA, this involves some de facto censorship on the part of film studio marketing departments in an effort to comply with undefined and arbitrary rules imposed on advertising.
For example: Blood.
The MPAA hates blood, and doesn’t want to see much of it on one-sheets and in film trailers. Have you ever wondered why Miramax spent countless dollars to digitally removed all of the red blood (changing it to black “dirt”) on Uma Thurman’s yellow jumpsuit in trailers for Kill Bill: Vol 1?
To avoid a “red band” trailer label from the MPAA, Uma goes from being a bloody mess to just a mess.
The MPAA also isn’t a fan of guns. Sometimes they choose to impose a rule that a character cannot be holding more than one gun at a time. (Example: One of Lara Croft’s trademark dual pistols conveniently falls under a shadow in the Tomb Raider poster to meet this requirement.) But like all oversight by the MPAA, these rules are not consistent. (Example: Is Niboe free to hold two guns in The Matrix Reloaded?)
But getting back to films like Saw 2, it’s interesting to note that the (literal) life blood of horror films is largely absent in recent horror film movie poster artwork.