Crash Discussion: Horror Movie Posters

The Last KnockEver wonder about the nuances behind the colors and composition of horror movie posters? If not, THE LAST KNOCK will fill you in,  as we also focus on iconic posters such as THE EXORCIST, JAWS, and ALIEN Рand much more, of course.

6 Replies to “Crash Discussion: Horror Movie Posters”

  1. As a man, (yes, I’m in human form) of graphics design and a maker of mock-up movie posters. I couldn’t agree more with your partner, Crash. He is spot on with the “over-baked” movie poster especially with the “Avengers” series. Too overwhelming and a brilliant idea you brought up about, “The Watchmen.” Splashing great actors and actresses as brought up there is another element is “Over-Exposure.”

    People, the mob mentality form of a mind set would be losing interest quickly in seeing a certain actress or actors. So, there is a demon-balance, Hollywood like corporate radio can make a star as you mentioned a hit and burnout all in one day — Hollywood does go over the top as you guys brought out. Case in point, Eva Green (who was once my friend, no lie) in the “Sin City; A Dame to Die For” which I thought was a little edgy and that is okay.

    But looking at the photoshop and artistic value I began looking at it another way as I was turning my head, I began seeing why other countries banned the poster of her and looking at it, I began to see that she is being over-exposed and from some of the women I asked directly. Their opinions were hard and straight with a glance — “Exploiting a woman. Is this a porn you movie?”

    Some times, as you know, as an artists of work, it is great to lay the project down, let the digital ink or the digital brush down, and coming back to it with fresh set of eyes helps extremely.

    I am not trying to be cruel, but I began seeing things through their lenses. I know sex sells in America, but fear out-sells sex here 2 to 1.

    Looking at why in certain countries in this world what works and doesn’t work for me is an obvious one, the demographics research. There as you all aware, what works in one culture doesn’t work in another. Here in America we have way too many hypocrisies, moralities, and man, let’s face it — From the eyes from those over seas as in the rest of the world must see us as some kind of schizoid mind of a country.

    The study of colors, the company is right on!

    1. This is one rocking commentary, Douglas. And I can’t disagree with any of your statements. I spent a lot of years in marketing, and five officially in graphic design. I always had two goals with advertising: Be honest and keep it simple. And nothing works like a brevity of words and images that convey meaning and theme instead of a ludicrous assault on the senses.

      In regard to your overseas comment, you are so right. I worked for a Swiss company that couldn’t understand why they couldn’t have an ad in American publications with a naked woman. Needless to say, they didn’t get our Puritanical approach to magazine ads when our movies say something so different.

      As for that Eva Green story, I won’t pry, but DAMN!

      Thank you so much for listening to the show and sharing your knowledge, experience, and opinion. That’s one heartfelt commentary.

  2. Douglas and Bill this is a fascinating discussion on so many levels for me. As a movie-devouring product or creature from the 50s, who was and remains no less voracious than a piranha the day after Lent, I’ve always been fascinated with those wonderful movie posters and lobby cards that lined the theaters. It seems they achieved their intended purpose while drawing me like a young/old zombie into the popcorn lines pre-previews. Lately, some of the older ones in marvelous black and white pique my interest more…my old schooling is showing.
    I would love nothing better than to see you guys show your top movie (horror or otherwise) posters with an explanation as to why they are great. The worst examples might be even more fun or an added delight. I know you’ve mentioned a few, but a picture is worth 1K words or more. So, pix-up, please.
    In that I attempt to write books, it would be my take that movie posters and book covers belong in the same room, if not cozying up beside each other within the same discussion.
    I’ve been fascinated by this one, of late. It was a horribly poor movie, but the poster is kind of da bomb-ish, to me at least with an untrained eye and elementary shade tree knowledge of things such as art. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
    Thanks again, Bill and Douglas…great stuff guys!

    1. Thanks, Ron! I agree about how movie posters and book covers share the same foundations. Unfortunately, due to the self-publishing craze, most book covers are completely abysmal.

      CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON: The poster works thanks to the font, and the intrigue by showing the cool beast before it’s revealed on screen. Even more so, the three inserts let audiences know with still shots what adventures await.

      And this should be the goal of any movie poster: to capture one’s imagination. That’s why the ALIEN movie poster, with a cracking egg is so potent as it hovers above a grid. What’s coming out? Where the hell are we? And will we survive to tell the tale.

      So many movie posters outside of horror either feature a stars face or showcase an action scene, but give us little more than that. However, they must work as they appeal to the lowest common denominator that doesn’t know any better. At least horror movie posters continue to do their damnedest to get everyone’s attention.

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