Spoilers or no Spoilers?

I hate spoilers. I avoid them where ever possible but sometimes it can’t be helped no matter how hard you try.

Yeah, talking of tries. A few years back I was unavoidably busy on Challenge Cup weekend. Rugby League, I’m from t’North. Traveling home, recorded game (VHS, no CDs yet let alone DVD, Blu-Ray, etc) waiting for me. I heard the result five times, on one bus. I heard who scored last. Game spoiled.

Schultz spoiled Citizen Kane for me years before I watched it. Yes, Peanuts, or Snoopy as it is often better known as in the UK to those that read it, Charlie Brown to those that watch it. I had been told I ‘must watch this film!’ by a friend. I settled down,alone, to watch in silence. The whole thing was about the search to find ‘Rosebud’, the final word spoken by Charles Foster Kane. Half way through the movie a memory popped up, unbidden: Linus was watching TV and his sister Lucy asked him ‘What are you watching?’ he told her and she told him ‘Rosebud was his sled.’

Peanuts…

Dredd 3D, I had to be really careful. I wanted news… but not spoilers. So as not everyone respects spoiler tags and one person’s idea of a spoiler is different to another person’s I had to be particularly careful on the 2000AD Forum (most are careful to tag correctly on there). But I avoided magazines and other internet sites such as IMDB.

You see some people think because something is printed in a magazine or on a website that repeating it isn’t a spoiler. But it can be. Readers choose what magazines to read, what sites to visit on the internet, etc. I avoid previews in magazines very often because often too much is given away. People choose to read these things, with that choice they can determine what spoils their enjoyment of a film, book, comic, etc and steer clear of spoilers.

Some people crave knowledge before hand. Look at how many magazines give out the tiny details from Soaps. You don’t need to watch, just read the cover and you know who dies, has an affair or has a secret love-child turn up on their doorstep next week. Soaps used to guard their secrets closely, now they give the details out in advance and people watch. Viewing figures apparently go up when a ‘leaked’ story-line comes to a climax.

Film magazines aren’t quite so bad, they also tend to warn about major spoilers. They still give out more than is in the trailer. Though some trailers these days give out too much in my opinion. In my opinion the Dredd trailer gave out just enough, mostly to say ‘look, this is different’.

My reviews are always tagged and I’ve been told my spoiler ratings are over stated. One friend read my spoiler tagged Judge Minty review and told me the spoilers were almost nil. He had however seen the film before reading the review; he watched it with me at Leeds Film Festival. So I take his opinion in this with a pinch of salt.

My two reviews though of the Judge Minty fan film suggest my fellow fans dislike spoilers. the Spoiler Free review has been read 511 times as I write this article (shared on Facebook 62 times and Twitter 10 times). The Spoiler version, published 13 days later, has been read 176 times (shared on Facebook 3 times and Twitter 8 times). If I ignore the 13 days before publishing the second review there have been 184 views of the Spoiler Free versus 176 of the Spoiler version. That sounds close. But ignore the first three days of publication of the second, let the viewing figures settle a little and it is Spoiler Free 160 vs 130. The difference is growing as more people tend to read the Spoiler Free version.

I like this, my son finds it amusing that when I look at my site stats I seem happy people are not reading one of my reviews much (don’t be fooled, the Judge Minty Spoiler Review is my 2nd highest read individual article, beaten otherwise by 437 views of my Homepage). But it is the contented feeling that people want to see Judge Minty with some news but without the story being spoiled for them.

So my readers seem to agree with me. Spoilers are not fun, though after watching you can read a spoiler riddled review (I haven’t written one yet but my upcoming Dredd Retrospective will be oozing with spoilers) to full contentment. Interesting to sometimes find out you missed something in the cinema.

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