The original audiences get eye-squinching, skin-prickling images of horror. Japan gets a poster befitting a zany comedy.

As the nights grow long and the atmosphere cools down to an earthy chill, there’s no better time of year to settle in with a good horror movie. Japan has plenty of home-grown horrors of its own, but occasionally will import fiendish frights from across the ocean.

There’s a problem when it comes to converting creepy classics for different countries: localization. What works as a horrifying poster in one country may just gets blank stares in another, and deciding on what to change and what to keep is a delicate but important job to master. Just like how Kirby gets a gruff facelift when showing up on game covers in America, Japanese covers also omit and edit in an attempt to better appeal to their audiences.

But sometimes… mistakes are made. And when it came to localizing the 2015 horror flick Stung, the Japanese poster left a strong impression for all the wrong reasons.

▼ Here’s the striking American theatrical poster

▼ And the American DVD cover


Alright, brace yourself.

Here’s Japan’s poster for Stung.

“Aghhhhhh it hurrrrrrrrrts” screams this unfortunate fellow

Instead of the artistic shot of an eye poised to be pierced by a stinger, pregnant with possibility and potential terror, we have… a very fake looking wasp that’s mostly out of shot, with its stinger piercing through this hapless man’s torso. The man himself doesn’t seem especially fazed by the ordeal, even though he’s yelling “Aghhhhhh it hurrrrrrrrrts”. I might expect to see someone with this expression if they’d just dropped a coffee over their lap, but shouldn’t a stabbing from a carnivorous hornet warrant a bit more emotion?

As the tweet itself reads, “Stung is a pretty decent and fun movie, but I wouldn’t blame someone for seeing this poster and immediately dismissing it with “I don’t even need to watch this to know it blows”.”

The thread continued “Stung is actually a panicky horror film with a great aesthetic and sense of atmosphere.” “Of course,” the thread concluded, “this poster conveys absolutely none of that.


Other netizens were similarly unimpressed with this abysmal re-imagining of the cover, mocking everything from the movie itself to the cartoonish wail written out in elongated text.

“Looks like it really hurts.”
“I regret looking at this tweet while eating.”
“Reminds me how T*rmin*t*r X billed itself as an addition to the series but had a plot more like a D*vil M*y C*y game. You can’t trust any promotional materials when it comes to B-movies.”
“He looks carefree for a stabbed guy screaming out death agonies.”

In the poster’s defence, the movie itself is very obviously shlocky B-movie fare.

It seems like a great movie to watch while downing a few beers with pals, rather than the next Ring. Still, this wouldn’t be the first time Japanese localization has failed a movie that looked pretty cool in its native country. Or the second, come to think of it.

Source: Twitter/@itsukayomu via Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter/@itsukayomu