Since We Are Talking About Horror …

Ok, so here are a couple of horror movie posters that I’m not too fond of.

Prom Night Poster

First, the poster for the remake of Prom Night, which goes for the classic “girl in distress close-up.” Now, you can do some interesting posters with that basic concept, but this is not one of them. For starters, by cutting off most of the face and leaving us with just the mouth and nose visible this becomes a generic girl face unattached to any larger context. It’s hard to feel too bad for a generic girl face.

The cold blue and black colors also take away from the intensity of the image. This might be a fine color scheme in something more subtle, that hinted at coming horrors, but not here. The second poster for The Eye is somewhat like that, and although I wasn’t a big fan of the black and blue color scheme in that case it was still a better match than it is here.

And finally, the only reference to a prom we have is the tiara. I understand the fascination that some people might have with seeing the prom queen get slashed, but it shouldn’t have been too hard to come with some more subtle and at the same time more upsetting imagery that gets across the idea of a bloody prom more effectively.

Possession Poster

The second poster is for Possession. The basic story of the movie revolves around a man and his brother falling into comas after a car accident. Eventually one of the men wakes up, but he claims to actually be his brother who is still in a coma. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the wife of the man still in a coma.

The designers managed to represent the idea of a different soul/mind inhabiting a certain body by showing a man standing up and projecting two shadows. It’s a clever little image and if the poster had focused on it perhaps it would have resulted in an effective one-sheet. But no, they had to have the big floating semi-transparent head of Sarah Michelle Gellar in it too. Add to that the odd gray coloring of the background and suddenly you have a cheap and generic looking poster.

Just as a curiosity, Possession is based on a South Korean movie called Addicted. Below you can see the poster for that movie.

Addicted Poster

(Via IMPAwards and WorstPreviews)

The Horrors of 2007

Although there were a fair number of horror movies released during 2007, there was a definite lack of creative and economic success. Still, there were a few posters worth remembering.

Back to the Grindhouse

Grindhouse Poster

Looming large over all other 07 horror movies was Grindhouse, the Tarantino/Rodriguez collaboration that became a favorite topic of Internet conversation. Unfortunately all that virtual ink wasn’t enough to get people to go out and see the movie.

The Grindhouse posters were many people’s favorite posters of the year. Like I mentioned on my post highlighting 10 posters from actual grindhouse movies, they don’t really look like genuine grindhouse posters. They do incorporate some of the conventions, and go for a worn down look, but they are obviously much less cheap looking then any actual Grindhouse poster ever was.

Despite that lack of authenticity, or perhaps because of it, I really loved these posters. But I guess they do work better as pieces of art than as marketing tools.

Blood Red Night Forever

30 Days of Night Movie Poster

The posters for 30 Days of Night also managed to make it into quite a few horror fans’ top posters list. They are interesting to look at and do have a very unique, very recognizable visual identity. But I still think they could have done something more connected to the movie’s premise.

Much Blood, Much Gore

SAW IV Teaser Poster

Another year, another SAW, another bloody SAW poster. And despite the fact that I no longer think these posters are effective as they used to be, the SAW brand was still strong enough to make SAW IV one of the few economic highlights of last years’ crop of horror movie.

New Hostel Part II Poster

However, Hostel 2 went much farther with it’s posters than the people behind the SAW franchise were willing to go and ended up getting pie on it’s face. The dismal boxoffice returns of Hostel 2 proved that simply being the most graphic and gory kid in town is not enough to make people actually want to see the movie.

Much Ado About Nothing

Captivity Billboard

The captivity posters ended up generating a lot of controversy, due to the use of non MPAA billboards in public places. However the controversy never translated into an audience interested in seeing the movie.

From Enticing to Trash

Invasion Teaser Poster

The Invasion deserves a mention for starting with a good teaser poster and then following that with what was one of the very worst posters for any major motion picture from last year.

The Invasion Poster

Korea Represents

D-War Poster 2
The Host Poster 2

In 2007 we had two Korean monster movies opening stateside. And both D-Wars and The Host brought with then some excellent posters.

These posters made me curious, so I decided to seek out a few other Korean horror movie posters from 2007. To my delight there were a few very amusing ones.

Epitaph Poster

Having Some Fun With It

Teeth Poster

Sorely lacking in most of this years Horror movie posters is a sense of humor. One shining exception was this poster of teeth, which found a a comedic way to deal with the movie’s disturbing premise. Of course, now that they are positioning the film for actual distribution another poster has surfaced which takes itself much more seriously.

Another good one is this poster for Severance, which makes the most out of the title’s pun.

Severance Poster

Japan Comes Through

Japanese Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem Poster

The posters for Aliens Vs. Predator 2 were generally not bad, but they were a bit unexciting and obvious. But once again Japan managed to bring us some much needed weirdness.

Hazard Suits are in Again

28 Weeks Later PosterRight At Your Door Poster

Two different film posters featuring prominently hazard suits? What are the odds!

I do think the one for 28 Weeks Later looks much better tough.

Looking Forward

The Eye Poster

There were at least a couple of posters released last year for films that will open in 08 that really caught my attention. One is the poster for The Eye above, which manages to be both very creepy and very original.

Funny Games Poster

Another one is the first poster for Funny Games. Different, bold and still the most disturbing poster I have seen all year.

A Little History

Dead Silence Poster

I just have to mention this poster for Dead Silence, because it was the subject of the very first post in this blog. Ah, the memories.

Diary of the Dead Poster

Diary of the Dead Poster

Diary of the Dead is the newest zombie film from the genre’s master George Romero. One big difference between this film and Romero’s previous efforts is the use of handheld cameras operated by the character’s to tell the story, a style similar to the one used in Blair Witch and, more recently, in Cloverfield. The poster clearly incorporates that by showing a small camera still filming even tough it’s owner is gone.

Is that, the handheld camera in the image, enough for people to understand the style that the film uses? Probably not. I understand that the camera is a reference to that only because I already knew what the film was like. If I didn’t know anything about the movie the partially shattered and abandoned camera would probably look like just another sign of the apocalyptic chaos presented in the whole image.

I’m not sure how far they should have gone to get the movie’s style across in the poster tough. This is one thing that is specifically hard to convey with a still image, and I think the current approach is a decent compromise. People who are already “in the known” get the reference and are reminded of what the movie is like. Everyone else get that this is an apocalyptic zombie movie with some modern elements.

That said, the poster’s execution in general is very meh. The sense of ongoing chaos and doom is obvious, but the image lacks any strong and memorable elements. With the exception of the camera it’s a very generic looking zombie laden landscape. And the choice of colors is rather dull. In the end, there is not enough in the poster that could make this film stand out from every other zombie movie out there, nothing that makes it look truly special or unique.

It’s just one of those things. Not a bad poster, but a very forgettable one.

(Via IMPAwards)

New The Midnight Meat Train Poster

The Midnight Meat Train Poster
(click for a very large version)

I really liked the very creepy first poster for Midnight Meat Train, but I guess they thought that having a bunch of bloody hooks in a subway train was too gory. Or perhaps too literal an interpretation of the title (although I must remind people that no actual meat was shown). So now we have a much more subtle poster in which we can only see a blurry figure in the other train, ominously holding a very large hammer.

It is still a creepy image, and it hits the same “danger in the subway” theme that the first poster hit. I like that theme. I think people can relate to it. And it gets to me. But this image is much less visceral than the previous one, which I thought had just the right level of gore to get me upset. Not enough to make it look silly, certainly less than what we have seen in the posters for the Hostel and SAW series. But enough to get us to imagine the terrors that happened in that train.

The second poster is still a lot better than the trailer, which was very disappointing. I hope the film is more like the posters than the trailer, although that seems like a vain hope.

The Life Before Her Eyes Poster

Update2: New poster is here.

Update: I was asked to take down this poster. I’m not sure what happened. Perhaps they sent out the wrong version? Perhaps it shouldn’t have been released yet? Anyway, this is a rare enough occurrence that I’m happy to oblige the marketing team. I’ll update as soon as a new poster is released.

On the good side, this poster does a better job of making Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood look like the same person at different ages (which they are in the movie) than I would have expected. It is also very flowery.

On the other hand, it’s VERY Flowery.

I think the problem here is that the movie’s premise is impossible to distill in a few simple lines or in a clear image. I quote, from the publicity materials:

Based on the best-selling novel by Laura Kasischke, Life Before Her Eyes is a dramatic thriller about Diana (Oscar-nominee Uma Thurman), a suburban wife and mother who begins to question her seemingly perfect life–and perhaps her sanity–on the 15th anniversary of a tragic high school shooting that took the life of her best friend. In flashbacks, Diana is a vibrant high schooler (played by Evan Rachel Wood of THIRTEEN and THE UPSIDE OF ANGER) who, with her shy best friend Maureen, plot typical teenage strategies–cutting class, fantasizing about boys–and vow to leave their sleepy suburb at the first opportunity. The older Diana, however, is haunted by the increasingly strained relationship she had with Maureen as day of the school shooting approached. These memories disrupt the idyllic life she’s now leading with her professor husband Paul and their young daughter Emma. As older Diana’s life begins to unravel and younger Diana gets closer and closer to the fatal day, a deeper mystery slowly unravels.

Interesting, but you can’t really put that in a poster. So what do you do? You use your well known actresses to fill most of the available space. And then you fill the rest of the image with things that evoke the basic tone of the film, or that help to build a certain visual identity. Or at least that is what you do if you are going for the safe choice.

But in this case the execution of this strategy, which doesn’t tend to lead to great posters in the best cases, leaves much to be desired. I’m not sure exactly what they are trying to do with all the flowers. The only thing they evoke for me is a sort of lightness that seems to be at odds with what I saw in the trailer and with the description I pasted above.

The flowers also appear in the trailer, although no quite as prominently, and they are used more wisely there. In here they are overused and the overall visual effect is overwhelming and obnoxious.

Maybe if I see the film I will understand it better. But posters tend to be more effective if they work before you actually go to see the film.

Sex and the City Movie Poster

Sex and the City Movie Poster

One of the things that you have to do whenever you have a film that is based on a TV series is to convince people that this is more than simply an extra long episode and that the movie really is worth the trip to the theater. And I think that’s a bit of what they are trying to do with the big, shiny letters against the black background. It screams “This is an event! It will be bigger and more glamorous than the TV version! You must be there!”

But even if that is not enough to really make the movie seem different than the series, the poster still should be successful in getting the Sex and the City audience interested in the film, as it signals that the movie will have many of the things that made the show interesting. The glamor, the glitz, the fashion, the class, the fun. Missing is the friendship between the ladies, but that is harder to convey in a poster and I understand their choice to go for a more clean image that doesn’t hit on it. And since the film only opens in may it’s quite possible that we will get posters featuring the other main characters and highlighting their comradery later on.

I also like the combination of the bright pink with the black background. It fits with the shows aesthetic and it’s distinctive enough and loud enough to get attention. And, as a bonus, it looks good.

Overall I think it’s a fine poster for this particular movie, as long as they are not interested in reaching a much broader audience than they used to reach with the show.

(Via Yahoo Movies)