Paramount Pictures Corp. says it has pulled television ads for the upcoming horror movie "Body Parts" in the Milwaukee region after this week's gruesome discovery of at least 11 dismembered bodies in a local apartment.
In addition, Wisconsin's largest chain of movie theaters was said to be pulling the movie that is scheduled to open nationwide next Friday.
"We pulled our TV ads out of sensitivity to the tragedy in Milwaukee, even though the storyline is not related at all to what happened," Paramount spokesman Harry Anderson said on Thursday.
"Body Parts," based on the novel "Choice Cuts," is described by Paramount as the story of a criminal psychologist who loses an arm in an automobile accident and then has an experimental operation in which he receives an arm through grafting. But as time goes on, he discovers the arm was that of a murderer. The film features Jeff Fahey and Brad Dourif in lead roles and was directed by Eric Red.
Aside from its name, "Body Parts" bears no resemblance to the case of Jeffrey L. Dahmer, 31, of Milwaukee, who police say has admitted killing and dismembering at least 11 men. But film industry observers point out that the Milwaukee case does loosely parallel "The Silence of the Lambs," the hit thriller from last winter starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in which a deranged killer captures and dismembers women.
Sources in the movie exhibition industry said that the Marcus Corp., a large chain of theaters in Wisconsin, would pull "Body Parts" from its scheduled run because of a longstanding company policy regarding sensitivity to community issues. A Marcus spokesman was unavailable for comment.
"There is some concern, naturally, over the subject," said Larry Widen, an account executive with the National Assn. of Theater Owners Wisconsin chapter. "It's unfortunate, but it's really bad timing."
Widen suggested that some theater operators in the Milwaukee area might fear a negative reaction from the community if they showed the film.
According to wire reports, Milwaukee police have discovered body parts of at least 11 people in the apartment of former chocolate factory worker Dahmer, and they said he may also be responsible for six other killings stretching back 10 years.
Three of the bodies found in Dahmer's fly-ridden apartment have been identified and the others from the apartment were expected to be identified by today.
Dahmer is said to have told police that he often met his victims, all young men, in bars or shopping centers, lured them to his home with promises of money for taking their pictures, then drugged them before killing them.
He would dismember the bodies and sometimes boil the heads to remove the flesh and retain their skulls, according to investigators.