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IntroductionMany Movie Posters follow a set code of conventions to the layout andcomposition in order to achieve their marketing goal of promoting thefilm, these conventions may twist slightly dependent upon genre and plot ofthe film; but the core beliefs and traits will always stay the same. Due to mychosen genre of horror I will base the conventions on existing Horror genreproducts but use a wide array of horror genre from ‘slasher’ to ‘Ghost House’traits to insure I have seen a wide array of techniques and approaches to thefactors and conventions of a movie poster.
The TitleArguably the most important feature to a product, the Title will say the most about afilm and is far from mistakable upon a poster as will always be of the largest textpresent. The title will commonly be of a unique font that is eye catching, boasts boldcolours that will work in sync with the genre of the production, for instanceconventions insist dark colours for horror, with light blues and pinks for rom com.These conventions are perfectly shown in the poster below, from the production ‘TheLast House On The Left’, as you can see the title is the main feature, accompanied withbold, eye catching text and the word ‘House’ in an extremely unique font with a bloodeffect that connects it to the horror genre.
Main, Representative ImageAnother vital part for the movie poster, themain image normally features an action still ofthe film, usually focused upon a maincharacter, location or plot key; or sometimesall of the options. The image will usually beinviting to the viewer that suggest a mysterywithout revealing the answer; for instance lookto the ‘Halloween 2’ poster featured and notehow it features the villain holding a knife(automatically adding action and horror to theproduct), but other features to the image addsa sense of mystery that makes you want towatch the product to find out what they are,such as why the mask, why that remote fieldbackground and more importantly what’s thevillains left hand grasping hold of??
Simplistic ReviewMany modern day movie posters will contain a simplistic critics review of the movie, this willnormally consist of a few words that ‘big’ the movie up to add hype, followed by a star rating outof 5. these reviews can be film and genre related such as “Scream Out loud Scary” that is featuredupon the movie poster below from ‘The Pact’ or general review such as “One of the MostBreathlessly Entertaining movies youll see all Year” which is featured on ‘The Cabin In theWoods’ poster below. Another rare review that will sometimes be seen upon a poster is awardsthat the film has won in nominations and film festivals for instance ones seen on the ‘Hate Crime’poster below. Either technique will have the same impact to ‘hype’ the movie up, and haveothers trust the review and watch the film.
StraplineStraplines often referred to as advertisement slogans are short, memorable phasesused on the movie poster that will address the viewer with rhetorical questions,factual knowledge etc. based around the films genre and plot. Straplines areextremely common and very effective within the marketing of a film product and canvary a lot, an example of a strap line would be seen below on the ‘sinister’ poster ofwhich says ‘Once you see him, Nothing can save you’; in which directs the audience byusing words such as you, while also adding mystery to whom this ‘him’ character is;resulting in the strapline playing on your mind un till you watch the film and find out.
Age RatingA factor to the poster that is extremely important to the viewer when debating towatch the product for a number of reasons, obviously with a Disney film youknow what to expect, but in the horror genre the age classification can tell you alot about the film for instance; rating 12 will suggest the product is more suited toyounger teens and will have limited ‘scary parts’, rating 15 will suggest that theproduction will contain moderate language, gore, torture (not sexual orsadistic), this would be the favourable age classification for a ghost movie such asparanormal activity; rating 18 will suggest the movie is horror filled willtorture, gore, and everything else that could possibly be featured, this is favouredas horrors revenge slasher/torture films such as ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ or ‘SAW’. Asyou can see from the poster featured below from the production ‘WolfCreek’, there is the number ‘18’ featured to the right of the title to indicate theage classification.
CreditsFeatured at the bottom of the poster, the credits are the text that simplycredit the key individuals involved with the production of the feature such asthe listing of the distributors, directors, producers, actors etc. the rule ofthumb is usually the more important the credit, the bigger the font size andvice versa. The typography is to be set normally in a white colour format andof a font called ‘Steel Tongs’, to give a professional look. As well as text, thecredits will also show logos and corporate images with companies that haveworked on the production or distribution of the product. These credittechniques can be seen below from a cropped shot of the ‘Edge of Darkness’poster.
Release DateSimply what it says on the tin, the release date is to indicate when the featurewill be open for screening to the public in cinemas and theatres across thecountry, this is usually positioned at the bottom below or just above thecredit field and to a more larger, bolder font to grab attention.
Other factorsThere are many other factors andconventions to the film poster, that can bedependent upon a lot of factors such asthe genre of the feature, the targetaudience and the plot etc. some of theseless common/important conventions canconsist of website details or the infamous‘inspired on true events’. Theseconventions or factors may not be asimportant as others but they do addanother point of interest of a real scare tothe thought of the plot.