04 January 2010

Coming Attractions:DEADLINE's Bottom Line

We're still upset over Brittany Murphy's untimely passing last month, which ever since has become the source of speculation and controversy.  We're also a little upset about her last completed film,  Deadline --- just not for the same reasons a lot of other people are.  We agree with 'other people' that the movie's awkward title has proved unfortunate and eerily ironic considering the circumstances of Murphy's death.  We'd never disagree that the same could be said about the film's promotional artwork.  abbracadabbling has used that art at the top of our blog;  Deadline's  marketing department used that art for the box of the movie's recently released DVD.

No one can blame the film's promoters for what's only in retrospect poor taste, despite the fact that Deadline's  December 1st release was three weeks before Murphy's death.  Still, the imagery has disturbed so many people that Red Box, the company that operates those unmistakably ubiquitous dollar-a DVD rental kiosks you've undoubtedly seen,  has removed   Deadline DVDs from each of the 19,000 kiosks it operates nationwide  so that alternative imagery could be used.  Amazon.com is currently selling Deadline on DVD and Blu-ray, although they've pulled images of the box cover art from their site. [If you'd like to purchase a copy of Deadline on DVD, click HERE.  On Blu-ray, click HERE.]

Both Red Box and Amazon - of which abbracadabbling is a proud Affiliate - have shown Brittany Murphy respect, and for Red Box, doing so was a considerable effort on the company's part.  Our problem, what gets us upset, is that removing the box art isn't honoring Brittany Murphy.  It's dishonoring her, and we presume, dishonoring her wishes.

Murphy was Deadline's lead; it was her movie. And while we can't even presume to know her, it's hard to imagine Murphy posed for the now-removed pictures against her will. More than likely, she probably thought they were pretty cool, and probably a lot of other people did, too.  Certainly, no one found cause to object to them before she died. 

Of course,  it's the circumstances of her death that cast Deadline's DVD in such a negative and not-PC  light.  Given the timing, the two make for one very uncanny coincidence -- if indeed there really are such things as 'coincidences.'  And anyway, isn't that what this controversy is really about?

Deadline's artwork, in much the same way as Dubai's Burj Khalifa, isn't fiction anymore; it's fantasy become reality.  It's The Final Destination come to life.  Maybe it's coincidence, maybe it's some kind of message, or maybe it's even something more. It might not be anything at all.  There may not be an answer.  No matter how well Deadline succeeds as a psychological thriller and borderline horror on-screen, it's succeeded to be both off-screen amazingly well.  Horror movies might be scary, but nothing scares people more than the Unknown -- or reality.

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