Saturday’s Six: Movie Poster Ideas That Should Be Shelved [Retro Feature]

It’s no surprise that Hollywood has kind of been running out of ideas. There’s the rare jewel here and there but that generally just turns out to be a re-imagining of a story we’ve already heard. Even the famous Wizard of Oz, made in 1939, was a remake. It’s inescapable, really.

A lot of times the only thing a movie ever had going for it was its poster. Some are amazing pieces of art: intriguing, captivating, thought-provoking and piquing our curiosity to the point that there is no way we will not see what awesome piece of celluloid could have inspired such stunning beauty.

This article is not about those posters.

Frequently I peruse the aisles of the local video store or Netflix list and sigh in exasperation at some of the ridiculous move poster ideas that long should have been shelved, such as:

The Poster: Disembodied heads in the top half, boring bit of “action” in the bottom half.

Offending Genre: Drama, usually.

Why This Has To Go: I get it. Really, I do. If you’ve got a drama on your hands then basically you’re going to have a make a poster about a movie that focuses solely on one person and his/her life and struggles. I can see how sometimes there’s really nothing else to do but stick the protagonist on the front, but…can’t we have something a little less like a Rolling Stone spread?

See, This is How We Do It:


…like a Rolling Stone cover! Simple. Beautiful. Eye-catching. Still just the protagonist of our story, but at least the titular guitar is in there, and in a very beautiful shot.

The Poster: The back-to-back shot

Offending Genre: Romantic comedies and buddy flicks

Why This Has To Go: Pretty much any romantic comedy flick has boring posters, and this one bugs me almost more than the disembodied heads. The romantic comedy poster is rife with just pictures of the loving couple being in wuuuuve, hating each other’s guts, or somewhere in the middle like this latest Matthew McConaughey vehicle. Honestly, is this guy contractually obligated to make 3.5 horrible “rom-coms” a year?

See, This Is How We Do It:

Pancake pillows! A lot more people would watch romantic comedies if they were advertising pancake pillows!

The Poster: Moody and reflective, a la gun pointed up, head tilted down, resting on barrel.

Offending Genre: Action, thrillers.

Why This Has To Go: Honestly, what is the deal with these things? Action fans want awesomeness, a smokin’ cast and lots of deaths and ’splosions. Not: “Oh no. I blew someone away. With this gun. Again. Life is so hard *sigh*.”

See, This Is How We Do It:

Mmm……*ahem* sorry. I, uh…posted the wrong pic.

Not a poster, but I’m cheating because I can.

You know your image screams “action” when you’re afraid to turn your back on it.

The Poster: A dark, empty house on a hill on a dark, empty night.

Offending Genre: Horror

Why This Has To Go: Oh come on, Hollywood! This movie isn’t even about the house! You know you’re overusing your already tired idea when you just slap it on anything with the subject in the title.

See, This Is How We Do It:

Sure, skulls are really overused in the horror genre and sure, this reference to Salvador Dali’s image was done more discreetly in the Silence of the Lambs poster, but how can you not say that this is awesome?

The Poster: Character or group of characters looking at us through a woman’s legs or out from behind them.

Offending Genre: Comedy

Why This Has To Go: At least half of all college comedies use this idea for their poster. In fact, offhand I know of two more National Lampoon movies that used it. And buddy flicks? Don’t even get me started on buddy flicks. They’re the predictable, cliched “rom-coms” of the male world and 90% of them use this for their poster.

See, This Is How We Do It!

Most of us haven’t been covered in Post-Its (Though if you have, you know, I’m not judging….) but we can definitely identify with the feeling we get looking at this poor schmuck. The tagline is simple and great.

The Poster: Our brooding hero/heroine standing menacingly, preferably overlooking the city he/she has sworn to protect

Hullo, Kate. Batman called and he wants his everything back. Also a date, but I refuse to relay that exact message as it got rather creepy.

Offending Genre Superhero flicks

Why This Has To Go: Superhero movies have some of the best posters out there (*cough*DarkKnight*cough*), but time to time even they succumb to just sticking the protagonist on the front, looking “cool”.

See, This Is How We Do It:

Beautiful. It couldn’t get much better than this.

Mmm……..sorry. Had to. Don’t deny that you have a man crush for him, guys.


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