BUNGLING cinema bosses left Scots children petrified after showing a 15-certificate horror movie trailer at a 12-rated film.
Families settling down to watch the new Daniel Radcliffe movie have been shown graphic scenes from exorcism horror flick The Devil Inside.
Young children were frightened out of their wits by close-ups of a demon-eyed woman covered in cuts and shots of a girl with dislocated limbs writhing on a bed.
The Vue Omni in Edinburgh mixed up the explicit 15 trailer with the heavily-edited 12A version that should have been shown.
The cinema chain today (wed) apologised for the blunder, which it blamed on “human error”.
Jonathan Ley, a film editor from Edinburgh, was at the screening. He complained to Vue after finding the trailer “wholly inappropriate”.
Mr Ley, 30, said: “Last Monday I went to see The Woman in Black which is rated 12A at the Vue Omni.
“It was during mid-term so the cinema was packed with young teenagers and children accompanied by adults.
“It really surprised me to see the trailer as I had seen the same trailer play before the 18-rated Shame the week before.
“The trailer was really intense and scary featuring scenes of possession and exorcism, it seemed really inappropriate.
“There were children younger than 12 at the screening, and a lot of them seemed really upset, some parents looked completely horrified.”
He added: “It was wholly inappropriate for the feature it was supporting.
“It’s the sort of trailer that would have scared the life out of me as 12 year old.”
Ian Hoey, a former manager of the Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh, also witnessed the trailer mix-up.
He said: “Woman in Black is the number one film in the UK this week, undoubtedly due to the Harry Potter fans, and they’re all being exposed to this trailer at the Vue.
“I find it absolutely incredible and I can’t comprehend how that’s acceptable.”
A spokeswoman for Vue said: “It was concerning to learn of the incident at our venue at Edinburgh Omni last week and we obviously take such incidents extremely seriously and have conducted a full investigation into this matter.
“We can confirm that the 15 certificate trailer was shown due to a human error during the screening of The Woman in Black – a subject which is still part of our ongoing review.
“Trailers for forthcoming films are produced and supplied to exhibitors by film distributors and given certification by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in order to be shown before appropriate films.
“While The Devil Inside is indeed classified a 15 certificate film, there are two versions of the trailer available – a full version suitable for 15 certificate films and a shorter, cut down version with a 12A certificate which can be shown at screenings of other 12A certified films.
“Finally, and most importantly we apologise for any distress this may have caused to customers who were in the cinema at the time and please be assured that we have since removed the trailer from future screenings.”
The BBFC’s consumer advice for The Devil Inside warns of “strong supernatural horror and bloody images”.
A spokeswoman for the BBFC said it had notified the Cinema Exhibitors Association about the incident.
She said: “Cinemas require a license from the local authority in which they operate. The license must include a condition requiring the admission of children under 18 to any work, including trailers, to be restricted
in accordance with the recommendations of the BBFC or the licensing authority.
“It is a matter for the local authority to enforce the conditions of the licence and decide what to when a cinema is in breach of their license.”
Earlier in the week the same trailer was shown south of the border at a Cineworld screening of children’s movie Puss in Boots in Wandsworth, London.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Council said: “The cinema operator appear to have taken this matter very seriously and taken swift action to deal with the issue. If a complaint is received then council will investigate as appropriate.”