Universal Pictures pulls torture film promotional game from Seesmic site

Universal Pictures has been forced to pull part of its campaign for serial killer film, Untraceable, after a member of a video blogging community threatened to call the police.

The “alternate reality game”, which included clips of a mocked-up abduction, torture and electrocution, was posted on the Seesmic community. However, Universal was forced to pull it after a site moderator thought the clips, which were supposedly of a Seesmic site member, were real.

Universal is defiant about having to pull the game and Neil Wirashina, director of international advertising media at Universal, says that this part of the campaign was intended to be provocative.

He adds: “We were looking to promote a reaction, and we have definitely achieved this.”

It is ramping up efforts to support the film, which opens on February 29, with the launch of a dedicated page on Facebook. Kill With Me will show members clips from the film, as more people sign up a more extended torture sequence is available to viewers.

The page reflects the film, which tells the story of a serial killer who tortures his victims to death live on the internet. The more viewers who tune in, the more quickly the victim dies and is put out of his or her misery.

The Picture Production Company, which created the game, say it is now in discussion with Seesmic about broadening the activity into a conversation with its members around the issues of moderating disturbing user-submitted content.

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