Halloween is Nearly Here!
Since the earliest days of film, movie-makers have had us cowering behind our popcorn and jumping from our seats. The earliest horror movie dates to the late nineteenth century (1896) and pioneering Georges Melies' "Le Manoir du Diable" (The Haunted Castle), three minutes of bats, witches and ghosts!
So, as Halloween is only a couple of weeks away, we thought we would get you in the ‘trick or treat’ mood with a few of our favourite scary movie posters!
Which is your favourite film for the witching hour?
Revolt of the Zombies (1936)
First up, (a long time before Shaun and Dawn) one of the earliest zombie films, 1936’s ‘Revolt of the Zombies’ starring Dorothy Stone and Dean Jagger. Set during World War I, a romantic love-triangle and a secret formula for creating zombies is a recipe for spurned lover madness…
Parts of the film were shot in Angkor, Cambodia, with an archaeological expert providing technical advice to the movie's producers. The film shares several elements with "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and may well have been an inspiration to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
The Unearthly (1957)
Released in 1957 and based on an original story by Jane Mann, Boris Petroff's horror thriller "The Unearthly", sees psychiatric doctor 'Dr. Charles Conway' (played by John Carradine) secretly experimenting on patients, using artificial glands to try and create immortality!
The poster shows Alison Hayes as 'Grace Thomas', a new patient seeking treatment for depression. Can she be saved before the horrific experimental surgery...?
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
Any post on horror films would be incomplete without a reference to the great British horror studio, Hammer Film Productions.
The 1973 release "The Satanic Rites of Dracula" was the eighth Hammer Dracula film and the seventh and final to feature Christopher Lee as the evil vampire. It was also the third to star Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.
This superb Gothic poster is from the 1978 U.S. release of the film, which was renamed "Count Dracula and his Vampire Bride".
The Shining (1980)
In 1980, Stanley Kubrick redefined the horror genre with his masterpiece "The Shining", based on Stephen King's 1977 novel.
Kubrick's direction produced outstanding performances by Jack Nicholson ("Here's Johnny!") and Shelley Duvall as the parents of a psychic son who taps in to the evil past of a hotel. The film is now considered one of the greatest horror films of all time.
The movie poster is as iconic as the film itself, with a deceptively simple design by the legendary Saul Bass.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
A beautiful movie poster from 2006 for Guillermo del Toro's astonishing fantasy "El Laberinto Del Fauno", released in English as "Pan's Labyrinth".
Starring Sergi Lopez, Maribel Verdu and Ivana Baquero (as the innocent 'Ofelia'), this amazing film is set in the midst of Franco's Spain. It is 1944 and the country is ravaged by war, with rebels fighting against the army of the Falange. The young Ofelia travels with her weak mother to join her stepfather at a farm house in the wooded foothills of mountains. Amidst the evil, she finds a fairy and a labyrinth that hides a faun...
In the book 'The Art of Drew Struzan', Drew tells how he and Guillermo watched an early edit of the film, all in Spanish. Next day Drew showed him a quick sketch of this poster and Guillermo showed his approval by drawing a picture of himself on the bottom. However, the studio would not use the poster. Why not? "... Because it looks too much like art."
Unbelievable. However, the poster was used once. At a special screening in 2006, in London.
The Curse of The Were-Rabbit (2005)
Finally, Steve Box and Nick Park's animated adventure "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit", starring the voice talents of Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Peter Kay and Helena Bonham-Carter.
Produced by Aardman Animations using labour intensive 'stop-motion' animation, the 85 minutes of film took 15 months and $30M to make, with the film winning the "Best Animated Film" Oscar at the 78th Academy Awards.
Having previously won for "The Wrong Trousers" and "A Close Shave", this film gave Wallace and Gromit their 3rd Oscar. (They had also been nominated for "A Grand Day Out".)
Whatever you do this Halloween, have a great time (and don’t look under the bed…)
If you are planning your own Halloween party, why not take a look at all of our horror movie posters.
Adam and the Art of the Movies team