If you ever want to completely distract me, to make me forget the topic at hand and turn into a preoccupied and ranting mess, bring up the topic of movie marketing. I've written about it often, from DVD covers that don't adequately describe films to bad Photoshopping and title swapping. As the handshake that introduces masses to a film, it drives me nuts how much gets morphed in an attempt to "appeal" to audiences.

Sometimes it's just irksome changes that don't truly affect the outcome (a la Harry Potter's Philosopher's Stone and Sorcerer's Stone), and sometimes changes suggest a whole other project entirely. The 2009 Canadian film Leslie, My Name is Evil has got a new name and description. It's now Manson, My Name is Evil.
DVDActive has shared the details and DVD cover for the film, which stars Valemont's Kristen Hager as Leslie Van Houten, one of Charlie Manson's loyal followers who became infamous for being the good girl homecoming queen of the bunch. Reginald Harkema's film outlines how she became part of Manson's gang, and what happened during the trial once Manson and his followers were caught and prosecuted. As a darkly comedic twist, a young, purely fictional Christian man named Perry joins the jury and starts to fall for the beautiful and troubled Leslie.

Now, just as Leslie's name is but a footnote to the man with a Swastika on his forehead, her story is completely dwarfed by the new, pro-Manson marketing. It's Manson's name now leading the title. The cover of the release is nothing more than a close-up of his face. Even the synopsis kicks things off with Charlie's name:
Charles Manson's lust for blood left not only a trail of victims across Los Angeles, but also his minion's lives shattered. Leslie (Hager), a former cheerleader and prom queen, is one such follower of the serial killer. During her murder trial, one of the jury members, Perry (Smith), a sheltered chemical engineer, finds himself falling in love with the dangerous woman charged.
I understand that Manson is more of a pull than the disciple no one remembers anymore, but still, at the very least, the film's star, Kristen Hager, should get some play on the front. At the very, very least -- her name. It brings to mind the DVD cover for John Sayles' Silver City, where star Danny Huston's name was on the second tier of names on the cover, and he didn't even get his picture on the front, although even bit players Tim Roth and Billy freaking Zane did. (Note: I love the Zane, but it's not like his face was essential to the movie marketing in any way, shape, or form.)

There are times where a movie purist has to face reality and stomach some changes in order to get a film out to as many people as possible, but there should also be a lower limit to marketing ridiculousness. We shouldn't allow for the dumbing down of titles that will be inevitably popular either way (Philosopher v. Sorcerer). We should respect the stars of any film, no matter how new to the scene they are. Perhaps their face won't launch the film, but it should have fair representation. Finally, we should respect the story and not portray it as the polar opposite of what it really is (A Single Man).

Does this drive you nuts as well? Weigh in with your list of worst offenders.
categories Movies, Cinematical