New Freddy Krueger movie promo seems to take notes from War on Terror

"Caffeine pills, self mutilation, a cold shower - what will you do to keep her awake?" That was the entirety of a promotional email I received from Warner Brothers this morning. Interactive marketing, in this case, means a Flash website where you get to make a young woman cut or burn herself. It's like the studio marketing team is either trying to make Freddy Krueger more Saw or more Xe. Maybe they picked up tips from American black ops torturers, waterboarding detainees and forcing "stress positions" to "keep them awake" in the name of liberty. It's odd that some producers of material intended to ring this particular psychological bell get federal obsenity charges, while others get theatrical distribution. The intersection of porn, torture, and horrorshow: this is America. / Update: Susannah Breslin's take on this is here, at True/Slant. / Update 2: The site doesn't seem to have any age-verification. (thanks, @propylae) / Update 3, 9pm PT: The interactive game is gone, replaced by the Nightmare on Elm Street movie trailer.


    1. Unfortunately. self water boarding has that unfortunate cliff between the space where it is as ridiculously unconvincing as self-tickling and the space where it is as horrifically dangerous as any other form of self-asphyxiation.

  1. An uninventive attempted recreation of the Subservient Chicken. IMO, if they were going to go this route, they should have really gone for it and made it disturbing to watch.

    Not that I like that kind of stuff — which I don’t — but it just seems like the way to go if that was the target audience you wanted to reach to make it go viral.

  2. I think you have this all backwards – the whole torture porn genre stemmed from these original, gory, and ridiculous horror movies. Saw is an extension of the ridiculous gore for no real reason genre from the ’80s slasher flicks – but instead of the quick cuts and abundant blood that B-movies of old relied on, even many of the lowliest of filmmakers now have the technical capabilities to show the most disturbing things possible in a slow tortured manner. If the directors of 20-30 years ago could have pulled it off back then, they would.

    This isn’t a genre unique to the US, mind you (we’re quick to interject American politics into everything these days) – sure maybe there’s a bit more of a torture aspect (which really solely comes from Saw and copycats) – but we’ve always had Japanese movies like Machine Girl are way over the top when compared to the average American horror flick. You want to see controversy? Give one of those films a wide release in the US.

    There is interest here, as you stated – in the prosecution of the material that is actually pornographic versus this kind of torture porn; it’s absolutely silly to censor one and mass-market another. I honestly don’t understand why I can see someone get decapitated in full display on screen, yet anything beyond the vague dark sex-scenes is thrown in front of the bus. Why is violence so much more acceptable than sex?

  3. There’s a bigger problem with not making it disturbing to watch. It IS disturbing and it’s not good to give the subliminal impression that it is not disturbing.

  4. Welcome one and all to the greatest freak show on Earth! The people in it call it ‘America’, but we all know what is it don’t we?!

    Doesn’t surprise me that something like this can exist and not get called out. After all isn’t the golden rule of arts and science “who ever has the gold makes the rules”?

  5. I was once watching a Dolph Lundgren movie 25 years ago with my aunt, uncle and their family. I was the oldest child at 18. The others ranged from 7 to just below my own age. This movie featured bloody decapitations and eviscerations. My aunt & uncle had no problem with their young children watching this violence. Then a sex scene comes on. The TV immediately goes off and the children are sent to bed. This is pretty common in this country. Death and violence are acceptable for children to consume, but insert a little human tenderness and they have suddenly gone too far. Wonder why teen pregnancies are a problem here?

    1. Was the the Punisher movie where the Yakuza make that girl smoke ice and then cut her head off with a sword after she takes a hit? That’s the only scene I remember from that thing.

  6. What’s most disturbing about this is its interactivity. You click the knife button and a real girl cuts herself. You click the lighter button and a real girl burns herself. WTF kind of advertising is this?!

    1. That’s freaking awesome! I thought it was all fake!

      Can I switch the girl out for my mom? I could help keep her awake instead . . .no, I wouldn’t click the shower icon you, you think I’m some kind of sicko?

      1. It is faked obviously, but the girl is a real human being rather than CGI. A real person acts out the torture of your choice. She isn’t a representation of a girl, she is a girl. I find it disturbing that advertising has become interactive depictions of torture.

          1. I would find it less disturbing were it CGI. Conceptually though, I can’t get around being disturbed by a torture simulator as advertising.

          2. I think calling it a “torture simulator” is a bit hyperbolic, but it’s obvious this type of advertising isn’t grabbing you.

            It’s not doing anything for me either, but that’s based on my disinterest in any sort of Freddy remake.

            They should have been more creative with it. Maybe replace the actress with Jane Krakowski and have an option to upload friend and family faces, similar to the smooth and dreamy campaign for Breyers?

          3. I’m not sure if this is ironic or not but I was just talking with my girlfriend a few weeks ago about loving the Nightmare on Elmstreet movies as a child.
            I’m not sure what sort of advertising would appeal to me but this is a movie I would possibly watch.

  7. Anyone who doesn’t hurt the woman is a monster.

    If she sleeps, she dies.

    Of course she has to sleep, ’cause no one escapes Freddy.. unless of course she’s a virgin, the last character standing or the long lost daughter of the killer, revealed at the final moment.

  8. Call me jaded but I don’t get what’s wrong with it. I played it. It’s meh. It’s no torture simulator. They exist: this isn’t one.

    It’s not even a computer game. It’s a movie with options. That’s all. Are you sure you people aren’t reading more into it? Something about your own desires or something? Because it’s infinitely milder than watching a slasher movie. It’s fake. Not real. Not going to turn people into the kind of people who ask people on webcams to hurt themselves (that’s /b/, not this).

    What’s got me worried – and I mean seriously concerned – is the apparent inability to distinguish reality from fiction in some of the answers here. How is this button-mashing dross “more real” than a movie?

    To me, this looks like some really successful advertising. It’s got mentioned on here. It’s got the soccer moms to get their panties in a twist. And it’s got people who might actually enjoy the movie to giggle at them for being uptight.

    And it’s just got me a bit confused at the response it got.

  9. #6 — I wouldn’t trace Torture Porn origins to the ’80s, where there was more of a narrative and even ethical context for the violence (even if one we might find objectionable). Rather I think it’s a descent from the more openly exploitive ’70s “grindhouse” stuff like Herschel Gordon Lewis films.

    I think the ’80s films kept more of a “distance” from the violence, however hypocritically.

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