LIST: 10 Great Horror Movie Posters 3 236

Thoughts On Film - 10 Great Horror Movie Posters

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 poster

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 poster

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 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 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 poster

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 poster

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 poster

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.

Reanimator poster

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 poster

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 poster

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.

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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

3 Comments

  1. I like the tagline on the Alien poster,”in space no one can hear you scream”.If it is not a poster list,I would like to replace the poster of Eyes Without a Face with the Criterion Collection cover.Also how about the poster of Shining,with Jack with an axe and Wendy hide besides the door like a frightened lamb.

    1. It’s a terrific tagline for Alien, that’s for sure. Of course there are lots of different covers for films that could be on a list like this, but I wanted to limit it to theatrical posters. Do you know, I actually considered putting The Shining in there but wanted to highlight something a bit less known (A Tale of Two Sisters).

      Thanks for reading the post and taking the time to comment!

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Movie Review: Home Again 0 420

This review was previously published at The National.

Despite an obviously talented leading lady in Reese Witherspoon and a family pedigree behind the camera in making this sort of rom-com flutter sweetly off the screen, Home Again struggles to finds its way out of cloying cliché and narrative contrivance.

This is the directorial debut of Hallie Myers-Shyer, daughter of genre stalwart Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, What Women Want). It focuses on the life of Alice Kinney (Witherspoon), a single mum who has just turned 40 and tries her best to raise her two daughters Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield) in Los Angeles with her job as an interior decorator.

Freshly separated from her British music mogul husband Austen (Michael Sheen), she embarks on a drunken birthday night celebration that leads to her meeting a trio of 20-something lads – Harry (Pico Alexander), George (Jon Rudnitsky) and Teddy (Nat Wolff) – who are trying their best to break into the Hollywood movie business.

The young men improbably end up staying in Alice’s guest house while they work on finishing the script for their first film. Before long they become an integral part of her life, from Alice embarking on a romantic relationship with Harry to George helping out Isabel with her school play. To quote the title of the director’s mother’s 2009 film – it’s complicated.

Except the film mistakes the kind of enjoyably frothy complexity exemplified by the best of the genre for skin-clawing convolution that renders much of the romantic and comedically-tinged drama of Alice’s life lacking in authenticity. Not that it needs the ring of truth that comes with, say, a Ken Loach picture but you need to be able to invest and believe in these characters’ lives as presented.

The approach to gender and generational relationships is simplistic which, of course, is nothing new to a genre that, at least in its Hollywoodized state, so often throws up films meant to be taken as easy-going fluff. But it’s particularly frustrating here when it squanders the potential thrown up with the initial concept of a woman trying to find herself again once she’s out of a stale relationship by entering into one with a much younger man.

It strangely seems far more interested in the plight of the three young men working as three cogs of one creative machine – director/producer, writer and actor – to get ahead in the movie business.  But even then it smacks of implausibility, like a cheap rom-com version of the bromance found in Entourage but without any of the snarky wit or Hollywood satire. Despite decent chemistry between a likeable assembled cast, Home Again is a tough pill to swallow as it rings false through and through.

3.5 out of 10

Movie Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin 0 452

This review was previously published at The National.

The world of celebrated children’s author A. A. Milne and the creation of his beloved Winnie the Pooh stories are chronicled in this frightfully polite biopic from director Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) that flirts with dipping its toes into darker waters but steadfastly clings to safe tropes and always with its top button firmly fastened.

We start off in 1941 where we find an ageing Milne (Domhnall Gleeson in questionable make-up and greyed hair) and his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) living on their secluded East Sussex farm. They receive a telegram informing them that their son, C.R. Milne, is missing presumed dead after heading off to fight in World War Two.

We then jump back in time to Milne on the front lines of the First World War. He returns from the fighting a changed man; suffering from PTSD (popped balloons evoking sudden gunfire et al.), becoming increasingly sick of just making people laugh with his West End plays and the general hustle-bustle that comes with big city life.

He convinces his reluctant wife to move to the country for some peace and quiet and where his infant son, Christopher Robin (played by Will Tilston at the younger age, Alex Lawther as he gets older), can go on the childhood adventures he deserves with the support of loving nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald).

Settling into the kind of serene life he craves, he is inspired to create Winnie the Pooh and the rest of his soon-to-be-beloved friends inspired by the stuffed animals with which his young son has become so enamoured. Unfortunately for Christopher – referred to by everyone as “Billy Moon” – his father uses his real name in the stories, turning him into one of the most famous boys in the nation.

Despite the obvious attraction of it exploring the world famous Pooh stories, it’s a film much more interested in the effect it has on a fractured family clinging on to peacefulness, not least the unwanted attention thrust upon a young boy who simply isn’t equipped to handle it and how his parents carry on oblivious.

If anything it takes a curiously bleak outlook on what these stories mean to the world once they’ve been put out there, conveying a somewhat confusing message for a film that ultimately wants us to celebrate these stories as immortally cherished tales; that the Winnie the Pooh embraced immediately by the public and has now stood the test of time for almost a century is in some way missing the point of what it truly means to the author and a son who, inadvertently or not, was used as a tool of innocence to sell the idea of an idyllic childhood in Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood.

It’s bolstered by almost uniformly moving performances; Gleeson plays Milne with a kind of damaged empathy that makes you feel like you get to know the author beyond the public persona. Macdonald is oftentimes heart-breaking as Christopher’s devoted caregiver and Tilston walks away with the film as the adorably sweet-natured young Christopher. It’s only with Robbie that the film makes a misstep; she’s miscast as Milne’s wife and never stepping out of the shadow of cold motherly cliché.

In spite of its darker leanings, the film remains too buttoned up to properly wrestle with those themes in any sort of lasting way, far too polite to ever dive head first into the murky waters into which the drama intermittently peers.

Wrapped in Ben Smithard’s handsomely old-fashioned cinematography and soaked in Carter Burwell’s perpetually swelling score, it’s an aesthetically and emotionally appealing but nevertheless fairly vanilla period biopic best suited to being enjoyed on a rainy Sunday afternoon with tea and biscuits.

6.5 out of 10