Never Trust a Movie’s Marketing

I’m not sure what’s worse–publishing fake quotes from a critic who doesn’t exist, or completely distorting actual quotes from a brilliant, real-life critic.

While I was putting together a list of new DVD releases today, I came across the website for Chaos, a recent horror flick that Roger Ebert gave zero stars, and a thorough tongue-lashing. And yet, right there on the homepage, there’s a quote attributed to Ebert that reads “Affected me strongly… the movie works.”

On the one hand, I get it. The filmmakers feel that Ebert admitted (briefly) that their film was good, and they want to attach his name to their marketing effort, even if it means pulling his words completely out of context. He is, after all, probably the most well-known, well-respected film critic in North America. But personally, if an indie film like this were MY baby, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable bending the truth quite that much. Especially for a film that is most certainly never going to reach (and was probably never intended to reach) a popular audience. Why bother sinking to those sleazy, dishonest depths? Does a horror audience really care what Ebert thinks?

In any event, it’s got me wondering how critics can combat this trend. And the only strategy I can come up with is to write pre-ellipsized reviews with any potentially positive words cut out. “Awful… revolting… a waste of time.”

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