Film posters are designed to tease. To tempt. Dare we say, to titillate.
Every once and while, however, in the eyes of certain censors, these works overstep the mark.
From the bold to the brilliant, we've picked 8 great banned film posters of recent memory.
Oh, and Ali G Indahouse because we felt like it.
Rules of Attraction
See, even film studios can appreciate the small joy of positioning lifeless toys into rude positions in order to ring laughs. Not just us. Which made it all the more of a shame when US censors opted to ban this fluffy Kamasutra, promoting mirthful 2002 black comedy Rules Of Attraction. Talk about picky. Imagine how they’d have reacted to the inclusion of the longer-lasting Duracell Bunny.
The Zero Theorem
Those prudes at the MPAA went even further in absurdity by banning this smashing poster for The Zero Theorem. The poster perfectly encapsulates the themes of Terry Gillam’s comical sci-fi oddity - space, time, pale naked bodies – though it seems Christoph Waltz’s own pale blue backside was deemed too much for US audiences to handle. The cheek of it...
Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For
‘I’ve been especially bad.’ Too bloody right you have, Eva Green. Mere days before Robert Rodriguez’s recent Sin City sequel was released in cinemas across the world, the accompanying noir-like poster of Eva Green’s titular dame was banned for showing too much flesh – specifically the ‘curve of under breast and dark nipple areola circle visible through sheer gown’. Still, all press is good press and all that...
When Steve McQueen’s sex drama did the rounds at European film festivals, Michael Fassbender's handsome mug was pasted up on most posters. Not in Hungary, where this risqué effort was, ahem, erected across various cinemas before being swiftly taken down due to its gooey choice of font. Such was the vitriol it whipped up, you might think they'd used Comic Sans.
Zack And Miri Make A Porno
But they didn’t. Not really. That’s the joke .One which US censors, believing this insinuation of simulated oral sex could have been misrepresented as the real stuff, didn't quite grasp. Just look at the goofy faces of Rogen and Banks – the only thing being blown there are raspberries at most.
Question: how do you explain the synopsis of a horror film in which a young woman has a pair of fangs hiding in her lady parts? The simple answer is you don’t, or at least not conventionally, which is why we heartily applaud the marketing team who just ruddy well went for it with this highly original, transparent and roundly wincing concept to sell Teeth.
Sometimes a film poster is just far too clever for its own good. This, for Park Chan-wook’s Thirst, concerning a priest-turned vampire, was just that, merging the iconography of a hanging bat with the drama of a partly naked woman choking the beast, incurring the wrath of South Korean censors. Then again, it was batshit crazy idea to begin with.
Ali G Indahouse
Perhaps an early precursor for things to come, Sacha Baron Cohen got on the wrong side of the UK censors with this crude effort to promote his 2002 comedy. While we've nothing against the design itself, we would've banned it for some wayward grammar.