Great Movie Posters with Matt: First Installment
Time for some movie poster fun with the awesome, amazing and absolutely crazy…
Brief Explanation Of What This Is…
As I was hanging a few things on the walls of my new apartment, I finally started to hang up the movie posters that haven’t been on a wall since my undergrad days. The two that struck me in particular made me reflect on why I was hanging movie posters on my wall in the first place. Why do I do it? I didn’t make these movies and wasn’t a part of them in anyway shape or form (except in the distribution aspect as an audience member). The movie posters don’t necessarily “keep my dreams alive” by always being a symbol of “where I want to be” eventually. I want to soar above and beyond the movie posters hanging on my wall, so why do I allow them to take up precious wall space?
I finally came up with a solution after about 30 seconds of thinking (remember I’m greatness encased in a fabulous body). My solution was this: I simply like movie posters as artwork. They come in various shapes, sizes and arrangements, and even individual movies will have half a dozen to a dozen movie posters that span across the globe. They are kind of a forgotten art form in my mind. Nobody really appreciates or respects the hard work and precious time that goes into creating a GREAT movie poster; one that is extremely important in a movie’s success. I put them on my walls for this very reason. I respect what the poster does for the art medium I love and for the individual projects they represent.
When I walk into my apartment, I want to be reminded of what I love and why I love it. I see my poster of “Pulp Fiction” and think, “The greatest achievement in the film medium (honestly). I respect the simplicity and the provocativeness of the poster, which is only the initial fishing line pulling you into an incredibly deep experience.” I see my poster of “The Deer Hunter” and think, “Not one of my favorites, but the poster says it all about the film: violent, scary and harrowing. One simple image draws you in and makes you want to watch it, even if it’s not THAT great (in my mind).”
Next to trailers, movie posters are the first installments of a film we receive, so I thought it’d be awesome to start writing weekly, monthly or annually (haven’t decided yet) articles that celebrate great movie posters. Will the articles be biased? Oh absolutely. This is a blog, and I’m writing within it, so my personal opinion will make an appearance. I’ll do 10 movie posters at a time, and in no way is the order representative of my favoritism towards them. I’m simply going to choose 10 movie posters that I like and talk about them, especially focusing on how their initial impact affected me.
Once Upon A Time in The West
I’ve always liked the western genre with its troupes and surprisingly dark stories/characters, but in all honesty I haven’t seen too many. I had seen several DVD covers and movie posters for “Once Upon a Time in the West,” but none of them ever intrigued me enough to say, “Yeah! I want to watch THAT western.” That is until I saw the lovely poster that rests right above. When I first laid eyes on it, it hit me with a mysterious and daunting baseball bat of carnage. It depicts a shootout with one gunner against three others within a hazy, desert-like abyss. For some reason it made me do everything I could to see the movie. It’s a great piece of artwork that I would stick to my wall because it captures beauty, fear, violence and sin all within one frame. So wonderful.
The Deer Hunter
Remember that “Deer Hunter” poster I talked about above? The one that speaks for the film’s violent, scary and harrowing nature? Well, this is it. It’s not the classic poster you see on the DVD or Blu-ray now-a-days, but it’s the best and most impactful poster the movie has got. When I was still an undergrad, I was searching for movie posters to put on the walls of my apartment. I wanted to do all my favorite movies, but some of my favorites really do not have great posters. I ran across this one here (having already seen the film) and I immediately felt like I was hit with a dump truck. Here’s a movie that I’ve never been a big fan of, and yet this poster is making me feel every emotion that is encased within the three hour runtime. The contrast between the red bandana and the black and white exterior speaks volumes for the film and its themes. I wanted it immediately because I found it to be a great piece of art work that could hold its own even if it wasn’t connected to a movie.
I’ve always liked, what I call, the “Star Wars” style of poster, where characters, locations and items from the movie are mashed and fitted together to create a solid representation of what THIS MOVIE is going to have/be about. This “Blade Runner” poster does a great job of saying, “Hey! Here’s a wonderful noir set in a science fiction setting, including a rugged hero, gorgeous women, flying cars and a futuristic city.” Plus, back in the day, I’m pretty sure a lot of posters were done by hand, so this one right here is a masterpiece in my mind. Also, at first glance you might think this is another cheesy 80’s sci-fi flick, but then you see that R rating and know, “Oh… We’re not in Kansas anymore.” This is a great piece of artwork that will one day occupy my wall because of its capabilities of enticing an audience and evoking a strong feeling of wonder.
“The Exorcist” is still my favorite horror movie to date, but it’s not why the poster has been included today. My parents had this on VHS back in the day, so that’s how I came across this poster/cover. Even though I wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated movies when I was a kid (coming from the guy whose mom showed him “Stand By Me” when he was six), this poster struck me to my core. I wasn’t afraid to watch it; I didn’t even know what an “exorcist” was. There was something about the man standing in silhouette outside a large house with a bright light emitting from the window that made me say,”What’s up there?” The poster’s mysterious nature enticed my seven-year-old self and etched into my brain my infatuation with the horror genre before I knew what a horror movie was. When a piece of artwork can do that to a seven-year-old, then you know its something special, and that’s why it has been included today.
The Evil Dead
Not much too say about this one other than that it’s AWESOME! Its simplicity and violent theme draws you in immediately. I consider this poster to be on the same level of the poster for “Jaws.” You know exactly what’s going on and you know exactly what’s going to happen next, but you’re dying to see it. It says everything it needs to about the film: “This one is going to be an unforgiving chokehold the entire time… be prepared.” It’s almost like a “Warning” sign, rather than a movie poster.
First time I saw this, I honestly wanted to own the poster more than watch the movie. I just admired how a simple image like this can evoke so many repressed emotions and yet inflict you with the need for more.
The R rating is very important for this movie poster. I consider “Akira” to be the greatest animated movie of all time, but this poster doesn’t necessarily represent that very well. This piece of artwork is a mystery more than anything. For the most part, when a drama or “serious” or “action-packed” R-rated movie has a poster, there’s something about it that screams “RATED R!!!” Whether that’s guns, sensual images, violences, gloominess, creatures, etc. This one right here has none of those things. There’s a cool-looking motorcycle, a man with a red jacket that has a pill on it and a bright blue road beneath him. It’s almost kind of misleading, but then you see the R rating and your senses take a wide turn. You become confused, but in an intrigued kind of way, making you want to see why this brightly colored movie has received such an adult rating. That’s how I felt when I first saw it, and I love it every time someone looks at my “Akira” poster and asks, “What’s this?” At first glance it’s just another brightly colored animated film, but then that R rating hits them and makes them ask such a wonderful question.
This is quite possibly one of the greatest movie posters of all time. Without seeing the movie, it draws you in with it’s cool hero/villain on the front in perfectly contrasted black and white and red letters up above. After watching the movie, it means a great deal more, especially when you perceive the contrast of colors as the “thin, broken line” between heroism and madness. It’s completely simple but speaks extreme volumes that can be heard around the world. Show this to someone in Kenya, England, Russia and India and I bet everyone will have similar reactions of infatuation and wonder. I could go on and on about this one, down to the reason why the gun is on the dark side and his fist is on the light side, but that’s for another article at another time. Right now, take in this poster whether you’ve seen or haven’t seen the movie. How does it make you feel?
That’s what I thought.
“Lo” is a rather unknown indie film with a poster that did its job wonderfully. When I was scrolling through Netflix, I ran across this image and immediately asked, “What the hell is this?” There’s some kind of creature holding what looks like strings that connect to a stone heart with an arrow through it. While the design of the poster has a gorgeous gloom, the contrast of images is what enticed me the most. An ugly creature emits beautiful strings from its hands that connects to a bleeding stone heart. I don’t know if its because I’m a dark person, but I was immediately hooked into watching this movie 20 seconds after examining the poster. Plus the “Love is Hell” slogan seemed perfectly fitting at the time, which helped me press play in the end, and I was pleasantly surprised with how this movie turned out. The poster was the perfect introduction to this low-budget project, and it’s also an interesting piece of artwork to examine for hours on end.
This is the most current of all the movies posters on this list. It has a lot going for it: an a-list actor, a bland but deep color palette, excellent composition and an unconventional placement of the movie’s title. When I first saw this, I knew it was going to be a great war film. Reason number one: Brad Pitt is in it, which was confusing at first, but he usually knows what he’s doing when it comes to picking roles, so that raised my exceptions. Reason number two: I know “Fury” is written on the barrel of a tank, and there really hasn’t been too many war movies about the tank divisions. That in itself raised my intrigue 100 points, especially since I have family members that were in the tank division during World War II. Add all of that to the color palette that’s mixed with an unconventional structure, and you’ve got something that invigorates disturbing and pondering emotions, which is everything a great piece of artwork needs to do.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
I surely do love all of the classic/default Harry Potter posters. I wish they didn’t veer away from the “Star Wars” mash-up style, but the others are okay. This one here wasn’t one of the marketing favorites, but it is the perfect representation of the film itself and how far the series had come at that point in time. As an audience looking at this poster, we know we’re not in Kansas anymore, where the bright, loving Hogwarts once lived. We’ve moved into the final chapter of a wonderful epic… a very dark and violent final chapter (think about it; the final two chapters of Harry Potter were pretty violent). This poster initially intrigued me because the series, after getting darker and darker after the fourth installment, hit the depths of the abyss where the final showdown would finally take place. With the slogan “The End Begins” up at the top, my excitement level went up 1000 points, which is more than any of the other Harry Potter posters ever did for me. Its a great piece of artwork because it represents the final tunnel the three kids I grew up with are going to travel down. Putting this on my wall brings a somber essence to my apartment, but it also brings artistic perfection when you lay all the cards out on the table. It catches your eye when you walk in and keeps you looking until the wonder makes you re-watch the entire series.
I do hope you enjoyed this article today. It was a blast looking through all the posters I love and selecting the choice few for the list you just read through. I don’t believe this will be a weekly thing for me, so every month I’ll take on another 10 great movie posters. If you got this far and are reading this right now, then I know I did my job right, so stay tuned for the next adventure down the yellow brick road of posters, and please feel free to discuss any of these and/or any of your favorite posters.