“Lesbians, Martial Arts, High Heels and Science”: More Marketing Madness from the Home-Viewing Industry

As a former editor, I am annoyed that the items listed in the tagline above are not parallel: After all, it should be “Lesbians, Martial Arts, High Heels and Sciences.” But, then again, that is the least of the problems on the sellsheet for Minty the Assassin, a title offered by Cinema Epoch, which specializes in straight-to-DVD releases.

I work at Facets Multi-media, and part of the “multi-media” part is a vast video rentals service, which includes thousands of foreign, indie, documentary, and classic films. We regularly receive sellsheets from all manner of straight-to-DVD production companies, who want us to buy their titles for our rentals service or to sell via our online catalogue. While most major studios and DVD companies tend to announce and promote their offerings online, the companies that sell low-budget, exploitation titles still mail slick-looking sellsheets printed on nice paper stock. Periodically, I leaf through these sellsheets because they never cease to amuse—and amaze—me. Either the films are ludicrous, the taglines shameless, or the sell copy incomprehensible. I am simultaneously appalled by the poor grammar and punctuation and impressed by the cheekiness involved in promoting these movies.

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“Terror Has a New Face”–It’s Called Straight-to-DVD Marketing

Earlier this week, I found myself leafing through the sellsheets for those outrageous productions that straight-to-DVD companies market to Facets, hoping that we will carry them for our online rent-by-mail service or in our videotheque. I like to poke through these sheets every so often, because they are truly good for a laugh. Either the films themselves are unbelievably bad, or the sell copy is so poorly written, it was surely spit out by a committee of marketing illiterates. Since, I like sharing a good chuckle, I thought I would let my readers in on the fun.

My new favorite bad movie, which I probably will never watch, but I am amused that it even exists, is a horror film called Squeal. From what I can gather from the sellsheet, which is short on storyline but heavy with taglines, it’s a monster movie about a man-pig whose face has porcine features, including a snout for a nose. For all those women who have dating histories similar to mine, a plethora of jokes are probably running through your head, as they did for me. But, I won’t go there; just know that I can relate. Anyway, the tagline at the top of the sellsheet blares, “Terror Has a New Face,” while the tagline on the actual DVD case reads, “Meat Is Murder.” The sellsheet swears that this film is not just any bad horror flick, because it has credentials. After all, it was the official selection for the Severed Head Film Festival.

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