Movie posters, when done right, can work wonders to get people interested in seeing a movie. A big proportion of posters, especially these days, are plain bad but there are still those which come along and are so good they turn out even better than the movies they’re trying to sell you.
Horror movies have one of the best track records of great movie poster regardless of whether the actual movies are good or not. Today we have a look at a selection of 10 great movie posters from over the years. The posters aren’t in any particular order, nor from any era or sub-genre of horror in particular. These are just a selection of posters from the overall genre that stand out for me.
Check out all 10 of them below (in no particular order):
The Descent (2005) – This is one of my all-time favourite horror movies, masterfully mixing claustrophobic suspense and dread with amazing creature-feature scares. This is the poster for the American release which is not only striking when you first look at it but when your eyes settle you realize the women’s bodies are forming the shape of a skull. Brilliantly done.
Scream 4 (2011) – This is one of those cases where the movie isn’t fantastic (though I enjoyed it) but the poster sure is. The shape of the Ghost Face mask from the series is embedded in pop culture and this poster plays around with that image by blending it with the iconic style of knife the killer(s) has used throughout the franchise. Couple that with the suggestion of the black hood and cloak and you have yourself a great horror poster.
Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula. 1958) – Now we jump back in time to the late ’50s and arguably the best Dracula film of them all. This is akin to the style of a lot of posters from back then but this one stands out for me in particular, not only because of the image of Dracula himself (aka THE vampire) but also no-nonsense style; it says “This is Dracula, he sucks the blood of beautiful women, be very afraid.” And the film itself lives up to this fantastic poster.
The Eye (2008) – This is one of those cases which proves that a great poster doesn’t equal a great movie. The movie was just another tired remake of a truly frightening Asian original but the poster does wonders to grab your attention. A giant, detailed view of a scared person’s eye is enough but adding the hand crawling out of it takes it to a whole other level.
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) – This masterful film from South Korean director Kim Jee-Woon is a chilling mix of horror, family drama and intriguing mystery that is well worth seeking out (please skip the terrible American remake entitled The Uninvited). This poster is all sorts of awesome, from the blood stained girls sitting complacent to the adults (father and step-mother) standing behind them. If you’ve seen the film you can read into the poster in several different ways but even if you haven’t it stands as a striking poster to truly grab (and keep) your attention.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – I couldn’t compile a list of great horror posters without including this one for Roman Polanski’s 1968 masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby. An amazing use of silhouette mixed with a oddly muted green colour, and of course there’s the expressionless face of Mia Farrow fading into the green. A memorable poster for a classic horror movie.
Eyes Without A Face (1960) – Released in the same year as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, this French-language film – about a father and plastic surgeon who kidnaps women and tries to transplant their faces onto his facially disfigured daughter – serves as a great companion piece to those two movies. This is fantastic poster for the film as it both shocks and intrigues in equal measure, with its striking use of the colour red (signifying blood, of course) and painted style.
Re-Animator (1985) – The poster for this classically ridiculous ’80s horror is just wonderful, with genuinely gorgeous artwork and creepy sense of the uncanny. And, of course, we have a frickin head lying on the table! ‘Nuff said.
Alien (1979) – What list like this would be complete without this classic poster for Ridley Scott’s brilliant 1979 sci-fi horror Alien? Fantastic use of black to evoke the vastness and isolation of space so key to the film, one sinister-looking egg above what appears to be the place where many more should go and one of the greatest taglines in movie history. Perfect.
Fright Night (1985) – I’ve saved my favourite of the bunch till last. This campy 1980s horror might not hold up as well today (though it’s still fun in a way only ’80s horrors can be) but this poster sure does. The creepy suburban house, the lone figure standing ominously in the window and demonic faces that seem to have escaped from the house just to scare you for the time you’re staring at the poster. Wonderful.
So those are some of my favourite horror movies posters. Which is your favourite? And which ones not highlighted do you love? Leave your thoughts below.