Dr. Feelgood Goes SubliminalLarry Armstrong
REMEMBER THE 1950S FUSS over subliminal messages in movies? They supposedly whiz past your eyes, beguiling you to buy a soda. Audio and visual versions are showing up in a new CD-ROM puzzle game and movie--along with fears of mind control.
The $30 Endorfun puzzle, due out in November, has a music soundtrack with more than 100 subliminal messages meant to make players feel good about themselves--even if they can't solve the puzzle. Example: "I am a winner." In the movie Jade, director William Friedkin flashes clues to upcoming plot twists.
Subliminal messages aren't illegal. In 1974, the Federal Communications Commission denounced subliminals in broadcasting as deceptive. Now, Britain's Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Assn. is eyeing a ban. Time Warner Interactive's Endorfun says it discloses its use of subliminals and has instructions to turn off the soundtrack.
Oddly, no one is sure whether they really work. Jade, which stars Linda Fiorentino and David Caruso, has fizzled, taking in only $7.7 million since its Oct. 13 release.