See The Poster For “The Strain” That’s Too Much For L.A. Commuters (And Probably You)

Guillermo del Toro’s new vampire show promises lots of gore, and its L.A. billboard delivers enough to get banned. Let’s take a look anyway!

Some schlocky action and horror movie auteurs employ a clever method for sneaking more violence, gore, and sex past the MPAA. They film a version of certain scenes that goes way too far, with an eye toward being told in response to scale it back (to exactly the level of grossness they’d actually prefer). Looking at the poster for Guillermo del Toro’s new vampire show, The Strain, however, one gets the sense that perhaps the director asked for too much here and the powers that be said: whatevs.


Even in the age of incredibly graphic shows like Breaking Bad airing on non-premium cable channel AMC, people might still worry that someone with del Toro’s Grand Guignol sensibilities would be watered down on television. A recent billboard, however, has been aggressively disabusing onlookers of the idea that The Strain won’t go far enough. The billboard features a close-up shot of a worm coming out of a presumably female eye. (Those lashes!) Now, eye-trauma is something filmmakers usually reserved for the most heightened of moments, as it’s universally feared in a way that other injuries are not. Commuters were not ready for this particular example in full daylight, though, which is why FX is apparently “in the process of replacing the key art for The Strain on outdoor media in several locations.”

Of course, the knowledge that a billboard is being replaced because it’s too disturbing is way better publicity for a horror show than the eye-worm billboard itself could possibly offer.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.