ASA raps horror film poster after 18 complaints

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a poster ad for the Pathe horror film 'The Descent 2' breached its codes on social responsibility, decency and fear and distress.

The Descent Part 2: poster breached ASA codes
The Descent Part 2: poster breached ASA codes

The Empire Design-created poster featured an image of a screaming girl's face covered in blood, with a monster behind her, baring his teeth. At the bottom of the ad text quoting a review stated: "The feel sh*t scared film of the decade'.

It promoted the sequel to the critically acclaimed 2005 horror film 'The Descent', which was released in cinemas in the UK on 2 December, 2009. 

The poster received 18 complaints on the grounds that the language and imagery used could be offensive and that it could cause fear or distress. There was also the issue that because it was on public display, children were likely to see it.

Pathe Distribution Ltd (Pathe) said it believed the image and text accurately reflected the content of the film, which, as well as enticing horror fans, would also act as a warning to those who would not be interested in the film.

Pathe argued that the image and text were not used gratuitously, but were necessary components of what it was trying to achieve. The company also said the review accurately described the film.

The ASA upheld the complaints on the grounds that the language was likely to cause widespread offence and that it was unacceptable, because it could be seen by a general audience including children, who would also be scared by the image of the monster.