Wednesday, April 29, 2009



I used to love that movie, it scared me off of anything I considered deep enough to hold water-life (read: anything that was more than knee deep, and I wouldn’t have been in the least surprised had a great white attacked me in a swimming pool; sure shocked but not surprised).
After reading Carl Gottlieb’s The Jaws Log the movie fell immediately from my best of list, hell it doesn’t appear much on any list anymore (the ‘Movies that really scared me’ list is one of the few still holding it).
The reason?
The fact that they’ve slain a real shark just to hang it on that damn pier. According to Gottlieb Fred Zendar and Teddy Grossman of Universal flew down to Florida and hired a bunch of sports fishers to hunt down a real shark, a tiger shark of 4.5m length to be exact, to be subsequently shipped on to Matha’s Vineyard.
I do not condone the slaying of animals for entertainment purposes; that’s barbaric, inhuman, just outright ethically wrong!

Still, I love that poster artwork. It’s a clever play on expectations and an instant reminder of one of movie history’s most shocking sequences:
the opening shark attack.
There are gorier scenes in the movie and it has moments that made me jump higher, but no other scene burned itself as thoroughly in my mind as this one; and it still doesn’t fail to scare me. There’s also a undeniable sexual component to the way this picture is build up, that even as a child you would pick up on, but for the main part, the part our mind instantly translates into a corresponding fear, it is about terror rising unseen from the depths to strike when we least expect it. You could put the twin towers on top and have Osama rise up to devour them; the metaphor would work much the same way (only the sexual component of the metaphor would change, considerably).

The movie became a huge success, and the poster motive became so iconic that still today you will see artists copying it, although mostly to use it as an analogy to the rise of Hollywood’s blockbuster system or more broadly to the aggressive nature of the capitalistic system in general. And back then, its influence on the market was such one that it became mandatory for every conceivable sea creature to attack rising from below like some kind of aquatic SS-20 preying on another nubile victim (not that the SS-20 was actually known for that kind of behaviour). Needless to say that none of them managed to capture the same sense of dread.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


More often than not modern movie posters seem to aim for a What the heck? factor to catch viewer attention. That’s exactly the first thought that went trough my head seeing the artwork for Wanted the first time.

What the heck, indeed.

I’m not sure if it is intention on the artists side or simple lack of talent/imagination that makes this poster so God awful to look at. Angelina looks like she’s meant to model for an anorexia awareness ad and whoever is doing a fly-by in the background there is either meant for comic relief or the worst case of edited in picture I’ve seen in quite awhile.
Prize question: what is Angelina supposed to be looking at?

What’s more, Wanted stands as the anti-thesis to what I said about printing women and guns on a poster, when neither the gal nor the weapon (and could they have possibly found a more butt ugly exemplary?*) strikes you as beautiful to behold (or menacing, or awe inducing … in short as anything but bland) you could have gone with a smurf and a flower for your poster far as effectiveness goes.

Given, it is a image that stays with you and that is half the rent in advertising but I’m going to lean out the window here and claim that this is not the way you want your product to be remembered. I might be wrong though, it happens they say.

*No, not Angelina, she’s a hottie nonetheless, I’m speaking about that gun of course.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jopog manura

We men are easy.

Actually I have this hunch that humans in general are easy, but I'm not arrogant enough to dare speak for the female half of the population.

So, men.

It doesn't take much to gain our interest. Any old poster that features a woman with big guns (if you find a reason* to feature her half naked, toting some serious weaponry that could be a plus), will sway us in your favour. What brought forth this admittedly not to deep insight into human nature, I hear you ask?

Stumbling over the poster for the movie Jopog manura (My wife is a Gangster) did.

You gotta admit she's hot as hell. And sex sells, always!

Interestingly enough movie poster history lets one come to the conclusion that half naked muscular men have much the same effect on us. Hell, it might even be enough to prominently feature some bad-ass looking weapon, to get us all buttered up.
Sex & Violence that is what men are interested in. If you can combine these two into one motive you have a winner.

*Fool! Who needs a reason long as she has a hot body**?
**Heck, who needs a hot body long as she's half (or better yet bare) naked?

Ah, guys? You start to scare me!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Basic Instinkt

Today, advancing my movie poster calendar, I stumbled over the Poster Artwork for Basic Instinct 2 and I had to notice that it’s a formidable piece of work, far outweighing that for the first. I didn’t give the movie any notice due to the fact that I have yet to see a so called erotic-thriller that manages to be either, so I never noticed the poster when the movie came out.

However, I thought it would be nice to talk a little about poster art (how I miss the days when they made posters to sell a movie to the audience, these days there seems to go too little effort in most posters I see).
Too unfortunate that Basic Instinct proved to be such a disappointmnet, that poster would sure have sold the sequel to me.

The most eyecatching feature about that poster was to me that it's obviously heavily inspired by this famous Femme Fatal of artist Boris Vallejo, who is also known for creating some amazing movie artworks himself (the poster for the movie Razorback springs instantly to mind, or the posters to the Deathstalker movies).

There are other artworks out aswell, naturally, but those didn't catch my interest that much.

We have a poster that directly connects to the first part, but lacks something to me:

I can't place my finger on it, but same as with the poster artwork for the first movie this adavance motive didn't really catch my interest or stand out as remarkable in any way to me.
But that might simply be founded on my personal bias towards the first movie.

And the Christine Keeler version, one of the most copied motives it seems .


Now, that’s what I call a movie poster!
Honestly, this is the first poster in too long a time that had me go:
Gosh! I have to see that movie!

Yep, a poster like that and you already won me over (* in spite of me * Hit it!)

It sparks such an old fashioned sense of romance that you can’t help but instantly think of such classics as From here to Eternity (actually a movie that will never manage to live up to the overgrown expectations I have build out regarding it, but that’s another story).
Curiously my first thoughts when I first saw this poster were in order:
  1. Here’s been someone at work that remembers the old classics, either that or he/she suffers from a healthy overdose of romance novels.
  2. This must be what Pearl Harbor wanted to look like.

Shame on me, I know, when in the face of such perfect beauty the first other motive that comes to mind is Pearl Harbor you should go and put yourself out of your misery.
Just kidding! Pearl Harbor was a fine poster, not in the same league, in my not so humble opinion, but it had me tempted to watch the movie in spite of what I thought about the trailer.

What pulled me instantly to Australia is this open sense of passion the likes of which we remember from Gone with the Wind (you do remember that one don't you? Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh in a tigh embrace close to kissing each other, cast against the red sky above a burning Atlanta; it's the perfectly metaphor for their love), where Pearl Harbor rather opt's for a chaste love scene.
America's loss of innocence.

And in the best Hollywood tradition there's naturally always someone that says nothing's so beautiful that we wouldn't dare to come up with something, ah, let's stay friendly and just say: Simpler!

Really, I would at best dare to print that one on the cover of a Wal-Mart romance novel. I got this hunch that Canadian lumberjacks could have come up with a more romantic alternative.