The list of victims in the aftermath of After Dark Film's decision to grab some easy publicity by erecting offensive billboards to advertise thinking man's snuff film Captivity is a long and tragic one. Among them: the countless impressionable children involuntarily subjected to the graphic, psyche-scarring images looming dangerously close to their schools, After Dark CEO Courtney Solomon, whose more toned-down promotional ideas were ignored by a renegade printer bent on destroying him, and star Elisha Cuthbert, who is suffering from unprecedented levels of awareness about how disappointingly a once-promising career has developed. In the latest chapter of the Captivity billboard story, Slate's Kim Masters talks to a representative of a previously silent class of innocents who will be adversely affected by the MPAA's unprecedented sanctions against the movie: the producers:
Mark Damon, who produced Captivity, says nervously that he hopes the MPAA will keep in mind that the ones who will suffer for After Dark's transgressions (which he believes to be inadvertent) are the innocents involved in making the film.
"We had nothing to do with what happened," he says. He adds that Captivity is a deeper work than Saw or Hostel. "Does it have exploitation elements? Yes, it does, but it's a different kind of movie," he says. "Saw and Hostel are all about new forms of torture. Here the torture is as much mental as anything else.
If the blameless independent producers of the aspirational exploitation film hope to escape further suffering, they might want to talk After Dark down from its planned, escalated retaliation against the MPAA oppressors trying to cripple the project by withholding a rating: replacing its toned-down "Captivity Was Here" billboards with photographs of adorable dogs underneath the threat, "For every day we don't get our R, we kill a puppy. Your move, MPAA."