Deathgasm, Jason Lei Howden’s horror/comedy from Down Under-ish, hit home video this week from Dark Sky Films, and we highly recommend you pick up a copy for your next family movie night. It’s a sweet and funny tale of friendship, music, and dildo violence, and it’s not to be missed. The Blu-ray and DVD are available at all of the expected retailers both online and in the real world, but one place you won’t see it is on the shelves at Wal-Mart.
Well, they are selling the DVD in their stores, but they requested some minor changes to the cover art from the distributor presumably to protect their customers’ very souls. Here’s the normal cover available everywhere outside of Wal-Mart.
I’m an admitted heathen and probably not the best person to judge, but it actually looks pretty tame to my eyes. Sure there’s a pentagram, a big-winged demon, wood-cutting tools, and some cleavage, but none of it seems too extreme for kids or impressionable adults.
Now here’s the sanitized Wal-Mart cover.
Heavy Metal Apocalypse? I’ll get to the picture changes in a minute, but it sure looks like the entirety of Wal-Mart’s issue rests with the title, Deathgasm.
We know “death” isn’t the problem as Wal-Mart still carry titles like Death Wish, Death Spa, and ‐ inexplicably ‐ a Faces of Death collection in stores. Instead, the issue appears to be that the title features two-thirds of the word “orgasm.” Lord knows we can’t have the women-folk learning about sexual pleasure! And just imagine if customers’ daughters discovered an interest in carnal relations and started getting knocked up before their 13th birthday. America’s biggest retailer certainly can’t afford to be associated with that degree of immorality.
So they lose the pentagram and demon, minimize the cleavage, keep a bladed-weapon, and… add a pump-action shotgun? This is where I point out that there isn’t a gun in the movie itself.
It’s not clear if the image is Photoshopped or if it’s a publicity photo supplied by Dark Sky Films ‐ I lean toward the latter ‐ but either way the unsurprising takeaway is that while Wal-Mart seems adverse to certain imagery they’re completely comfortable displaying pictures of guns to the kiddies.
I say “seems adverse to certain imagery” because everything they apparently wanted removed from the original Deathgasm cover ‐ demons, cleavage, pentagrams ‐ is visible on other DVDs in their stores.
So really, the only element Wal-Mart actually wanted and needed excised was the naughty title. Right? Except, that doesn’t explain this, and now I don’t know what the hell to think.
So fine, instead of mislabeling this as true censorship ‐ it’s not as the movie is available from numerous other sources ‐ and instead of poking more fun at Wal-Mart and their customers for being the gun-loving prudes we’ve always known them to be, let’s just be happy that a scrappy little horror film is now available to an incredibly large customer base.