Parents in Australia complain that 'It: Chapter Two' billboard is terrorising their children

Ben Arnold
Contributor
BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller "IT CHAPTER TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Parents in Brisbane are saying that billboards for new horror sequel It: Chapter Two are giving their children nightmares.

Huge posters for the movie, featuring Pennywise the clown, appear on roadside hoardings in the city, but there are now calls for them to be banned.

One mother, Kellie, told Brisbane's 9News: “It just totally freaks them out.”

Her daughter Piper added: “I get really scared because it's hard to go to bed when you have a scary picture in your mind.

Read more: Cinema to host ‘clown-only’ screening of It: Chapter Two

“Before I go to bed, I have to check the whole room. "And when I finally go to bed I will wake up after a nightmare.”

Another mother, Jane Swan, told 9news that her child is 'terrified' by the ad.

“Some people do enjoy going to horror movies and that's fine and that's their choice, and I understand that but we're not choosing to see this poster,” she said.

After complaining to the Australian advertising watchdog about the ad, she says she was told that 'Ad Standards generally has no jurisdiction over the placement or timing of advertisements, except when considering the use of language or sex, sexuality or nudity in advertising'.

It's not the first time that a clown-based horror movie poster has fallen foul of the public, but failed to banned.

Stacey Snider and Jim Gianopulos beneath an image from the upcoming film "Poltergeist" during the 20th Century Fox presentation at CinemaCon 2015. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

In 2015, the Advertising Standards Authority found that a poster for the remake of Poltergeist, featuring a clown doll, did not breach rules, despite more than 70 complaints.

Read more: It sequel de-ages its child stars

“Although we acknowledged that some distress had been caused, because we did not consider that the overall impression of the ads was such that they were likely to cause excessive fear or distress, particularly in the context of an ad for a horror film, we concluded that they were not irresponsibly targeted in outdoor media,” it said.

“The ASA acknowledged that some children and adults considered that the ad was distressing especially in an untargeted, outdoor medium and that consumers with colrophobia could find the ad distressing.

“We noted that the ad had a dark format and the image of the clown stared out from the poster and had a scruffy appearance.

“However, we considered the image was not menacing and noted the ad included no other images that were likely to contribute to such an impression.”

IT: Chapter Two lands in cinemas on Friday, 6 September.