ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Censorship is always a thorny issue. I'm generally of the opinion that context is everything: Let's not post scary teething vaginal canals in schools, but let 'em rip in a video store for adults. However, a common sense approach is not always in style when it comes to censoring, banning, and altering movie posters in general.

Censorship in American movies is carried out by the MPAA, the only public service organization apart from the CIA to operate in total secrecy. More than anything else, it's a fascinating reflection of current moral codes to see what did and did not draw outrage from this secretive group.

Check out 10 horror movie posters that have been banned in the last 10 years, and the altered versions that passed the censors.

1. Teeth

Offending Image: Vaginal Teeth

Released: 2007

This terrifying chompin' chocha was a little too much for the MPAA, who decreed that a foof full of fangs was an infringement on public decency. The posters below, in keeping with the campiness of the movie, managed to beat around the bush enough to bypass more moral outcry.

2. The Last Exorcism

Offending Image: Violence against a child

Released: 2010

Many parents complained about the above image for The Last Exorcism, claiming that the placement of the blood on the girl's dress indicated some form of sexual violence. The image in the poster below however, showing a bloodless, possessed kid climbing a wall backwards, raised no concerns.

3. Bereavement

Offending Image: Violence by a child

Released: 2011

Blink and you'll miss it, but the banned poster above shows the knife in the kid's hand, and the altered poster below moves the blade into the adult's hand. Personally, I find the image of an armed adult leading an unarmed child into the darkness far more disturbing!

4. Saw II

Offending Image: Finger stumps

Released: 2006

This is another odd choice from the MPAA, who were clearly more troubled by stumps than a close up of the repellent fingers themselves. I guess, the fingers above being very clearly severed makes a kind of sense.

5. Thirst

Offending Image: Calf 'n' Cleave Confusion

Released: 2009

Park Chan-wook's bloodthirsty vampire horror may spill pints of the red stuff, but it was the artsy poster that caused concern for the censors. The lady vamp's cleavage was reduced by a few millimeters, and her legs edited out before the poster reached its widely distributed form below. Weird.

7. Captivity

Offending Image: Cruel Quartet

Released: 2007

A quartet of posters for grubby thriller Captivity caused outcry when they made it onto a billboard in full force. Perhaps seeing Jack Bauer's daughter in every stage of Abduction-Confinement-Torture-Termination was too much for the nice motorists in the area. The posters in their individual forms were deemed acceptable for theaters nationwide.

8. Hostel II

Offending Image: Meat

Released: 2007

OK, how's this for funny: Hostel 2 shows a man's nuts getting cut out, a naked lady bathing in fresh virgin blood and a whole host of other tortures — but the poster gets banned for bearing a picture of some meat. It's literally just a lump of meat bought from a store. In contrast, the poster below — showing a naked woman hung upside down, screaming and crying - was accepted by the MPAA with no hesitation.

9. Dying Breed

Offending Image: Person Pie

Released: 2008

I suppose the gristle and teeth in the above poster are a bit gross, but the jokey cartoon eye? Surely the censors can't object to something so ridiculous? Nope. The comedic cannibalistic snack was swiftly banned and replaced by the more traditionalist poster below.

10. The Hills Have Eyes II

Offending Image: Sack Captive

Released: 2007

This is another of those blink-and-you'll-miss-it swaps: The poster above was banned by the MPAA, while the poster below was not. I guess the MPAA finds the idea of a live captive more repugnant than that of a dead body in a sack? Who even knows anymore.

Do you think that horror movie posters should ever be banned?

Source: Youtube, IMDB


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