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The Lost Art of Quality Horror Movie Posters

Perhaps I'm just being nostalgic here, but I think the quality of horror movie posters have been going downhill for many years now. Actually, the same could be said about almost all movie posters, but since it's Halloween season, I'm focusing on the horror posters at the moment. If there's anything I blame for the decline of modern horror posters, it's gotta be Photoshop. See, back in the day, many of the posters were hand-painted masterpieces that made you want to see the movie that much more. These days, however, you can often recognize typical Photoshop filters being used in most posters. A lens flare here, a motion blur there... and don't even get me started on those annoying "collage" posters where you have a group of 5 teenagers looking right into your eyes with very serious looks on their faces while a larger photo of their stalker is in the background. It's kind of disheartening seeing that shit all the time. Of course, I am making a broad generalization here about modern horror posters, and there are always exceptions to the rule.

I guess the main difference about old horror posters is that it seemed like people had more fun making them back then. It wasn't just about marketing the movie in the most cost-effective manner, it was about creating a tribute to the movie that the fans would want to hang on their walls years after it was released. I don't know about you guys, but I'd be willing to bet that there are more people with the original "Halloween" poster hanging on their walls as opposed to "Scream".

So today I'd like to hear what some of your all-time favorite horror movie posters are - old or new. I might eventually put together a big list of the best horror movie posters sometime... not making any promises though since I already have more than enough material to cover for this Halloween season and probably the '08 season too! But yeah, share with us some of your favorite horror movie posters. Feel free to post links to said posters so we can check 'em out.

I'll get things started by sharing one of my all-time favorite classic horror posters:

Orgy of the Dead - John Austin Frazier became a mental patient after watching it. True story...

On an unrelated note, is anybody else as excited as I am about season two of Dexter starting up soon? I swear, it's the best show I've seen in years.



Ian (Guest) on 09/17/2007 2:22 pm

Hey ROG my fav Horror Posters are Dawn of The Dead Night of the Living Dead, Halloween, Alien, Land of the Dead, Day of the Dead and Zombie Lake. i think u might know these no need for links


-RoG- (Guest) on 09/17/2007 2:27 pm

Ian, good call man. All great choices indeed, but the links aren't for my benefit as you're right, I have seen them all, but for the benefit of the other people who read the blog and might not be familiar with 'em heheh.


Chainsaw Luke (Guest) on 09/17/2007 2:40 pm

Evil Dead 2. Just a great, simple poster that is still effective and cool-looking 20 years later.


Ian (Guest) on 09/17/2007 3:07 pm


i-mock-you- (Guest) on 09/17/2007 3:16 pm

That Night of the Living Dead Poster rules.

Brings back great memories of watching that movie.
I wish all movie posters looked like that, it would be freakin' awesome!

I can't say about Dexter -RoG-,
We don't get showtime- but the Wiki on it looks pretty cool.

I saw the neatest Halloween candy packaging ever- you can collect the peices of a plastic skeleton to make your own. It's avaliable at Joann Fabrics and Michaels- but I cant remember the name. Dang it.


BC (Guest) on 09/17/2007 4:13 pm


Mighty Pinto (Guest) on 09/17/2007 4:36 pm

RoG, you're not the only one excited about Dexter's Triumphant Return. Also, this isn't a poster but a DVD cover, but I think my favorite horror movie art has to go to The Beast Must Die


Sean (Guest) on 09/17/2007 5:09 pm

Zombie Lake, maybe here?


Brittany (Guest) on 09/17/2007 5:24 pm

I would have to go with Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster. It's just a well painted poster.


Bobby (Guest) on 09/17/2007 5:44 pm

Does Army of Darkness count? If it does, its definitely one of the most awesome posters ever.


doctor dumbass (Guest) on 09/17/2007 6:04 pm

I've always liked this one, even though I never saw the actual movie:
Creature From The Black Lagoon


spoonman (Guest) on 09/17/2007 6:38 pm

RoG, there's good ol' fashioned nostalgia, which this site is based off of, then there's just this meandering whining that been omnipresent on the site since around the release of transformers.

All anyone hears about on this site nowadays is how much right now sucks and in what capacity the sucking is taking place. There's nothing that you're whining about the good old days of the 80's that the previous generation isnt whining that the 80's destroyed or desacrated, so for all our sakes, just give it a rest for a damned minute.


adam martin (Guest) on 09/17/2007 6:46 pm

No matter what you think about his movies M. Night Shamalan (sp) has some of the best posters in recent memory, remember the one for the sixth sense?
My favorites are The Shining:
The original Texas Chansaw Massacre:
and Return of the Living Dead:
Lets not forget Phantasm:
Also not a horror movie but the posters for The Punisher (new one) was hand drawn by the comic book artist.


James (Guest) on 09/17/2007 7:32 pm

I wrote a similar article about the decline of poster art, I hear ya man. My favorite poster of all time has got to be Return of the Living Dead, ah man just a great poster. Punk-Zombies tagging a tombstone? Priceless!


Ian (Guest) on 09/17/2007 8:11 pm

hey ROG is that movie poster u posted real


Rynan (Guest) on 09/17/2007 8:34 pm

The Legend of Hell House.


-RoG- (Guest) on 09/17/2007 9:31 pm

Chainsaw Luke, haha yeah I always loved the ED2 poster because of how cheesy it was. Though, when it comes to cheesy posters of that style, I'd probably have to go with Dead Alive as the best of 'em. The girl whose lips are being stretched out to reveal a skull inside is just pure greatness.

Ian, ah yeah I always forget about the Dawn of the Dead poster. It's so simple but I really love the style of it. Day of the Dead isn't too shabby either...

i-mock-you, yes Dexter is amazing and should not be missed. If you don't get Showtime, fret not, the first season just came out on DVD this past month and it should be a part of everybody's collection. Trust me, you'll love it.

And I know exactly what candy skeleton you're talking about... I already have it and it'll be in the big '07 Halloween candy feature for sure.

BC, yeah I really liked the whole 28 Days Later campaign actually... I just think too many movies are ripping off that style now. Definitely one of the better modern horror posters though, good call. Hadn't seen the one for The Mist yet, not too shabby.

Mighty Pinto, hrm, haven't even seen that movie before. Is it any good? It's hard to tell how good the DVD cover is there cuz the image quality is pretty shitty, but it still looks alright.

Sean, yeah that's always been one of the better zombie posters. I always liked the art for City Of The Living Dead too.

Brittany, yeah now that one is true old school style. Can't go wrong with posters like that heheh.

Bobby, of course it counts, anything counts. This is about what your favorite posters are, old or new. I personally dig all the posters from the Ash trilogy.

doctor dumbass, never saw it? Wow, you definitely should, simply because the costume looks so good. They also did a great job on the Creature costume in Monster Squad. I'm actually surprised they haven't done a more recent remake of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Eh, I'm sure they will in a few years or so.

spoonman, who pissed in your wheaties, corky? I gave very specific reasons as to what's wrong with a lot of horror stuff these days, but also specified that there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. And at the end of my post I talked about Dexter, a NEW show that has some of the best writing I've ever seen in a TV series old or new. This isn't blind nostalgia, chum, this is simple logic.

adam martin, the Phantasm posters were excellent. Those are also some of the downright creepiest horror flicks you'll ever see (even though they do have some great laughs here 'n there). Didn't think much of the Sixth Sense poster, but he definitely could've gone with something far worse.

Ian, yes that's a real promotional poster for Orgy of the Living Dead. Look it up if ya like.

I'd also like to throw this DVD cover into the mix:

The Video Dead!
This was one of those pieces of art that made me want to see the movie without knowing a thing about it. And after seeing the movie, you quickly realize that 99% of the budget probably went into getting that fine piece of artwork created. But damned if it wasn't worth it... that thing looks like it came straight from an old Iron Maiden album or somethin...


Mighty Pinto (Guest) on 09/17/2007 9:45 pm


My apologies for the shitty image quality. It's actually a decent piece of cheese; bascially a whodunnit with werewolves. The reason I like it so much is because it stars Calvin Lockhart as a big game hunter...Ironic, because he's the same actor who plays King Willie, the ill-fated druglord who gets decapitated by the Predator in part II!


Ryan (Guest) on 09/17/2007 9:56 pm

I think that one of the best recent horror film posters is the Descent, with the women forming the skull. It was based off some art piece, but I really liked that one.


JoeyJoJo. JR (Guest) on 09/17/2007 11:18 pm

Cant go wrong with Creepshow.

And this still scares the hell out of me.


Ramian (Guest) on 09/17/2007 11:50 pm

I feel like a bit of a moron since the only poster I own is the weakest of the Near Dark set.

It's like pre-photoshop stiffness. Though, I'm liking that they are probably all actually there. Seriously though, look at the others under it. Much better.


Captain PirateFace (Guest) on 09/18/2007 12:30 am


-RoG- (Guest) on 09/18/2007 1:44 am

Mighty Pinto, haha wow, I'm not sure I've even seen that guy in another movie... I'll have to try checking it out sometime.

Ryan, YES. Now that is one modern poster I totally agree with. That one stopped me in my tracks as I was walkin down the street. Definitely a good call man.

JoeyJoJo. JR, yeah I love both of the original Creepshow covers. Did you see the pathetic one for the recently released Creepshow 3 though? I've heard how awful the DVD itself is, but man, they really dropped the ball on continuing the fantastic cover art.

Ramian, heh, I'm not sure yours is the weakest, but the foreign version is absolutely badass. I mean really, look at it... perfection.


Amanda (Guest) on 09/18/2007 2:28 am

The ladies-as-skull image comes from In Voluptate Mors...


-RoG- (Guest) on 09/18/2007 2:41 am

Thank you resident art historian, Amanda. Any idea if Dali was ever given credit for that Descent poster concept in any way?


GRUMPYNZ (Guest) on 09/18/2007 6:21 am

I really like Visiting Hours:
It's really 80s, and different.

Silent Night Deadly Night has a really cool poster:


i-mock-you- (Guest) on 09/18/2007 8:50 am

RoG- awesome that the skeleton has earned a spot in Halloween Candypalooza '07. It definetly deserves it- I'm still trying to find all the pieces. Have you seen the new caramel candy corn from Brachs? Looks really good.

How about the creature from the black lagoon movie poster? that was always one of my favorites.


DanK (Guest) on 09/18/2007 9:28 am

The poster for house is jsut simple and you knew what the point was. I remember seeing it in the video store and it had one of the best tag lines "Ding, Dong, Your DEAD". good stuff.

This one just scared the poop outta me.


Jessie (Guest) on 09/18/2007 9:35 am

The poster for Death Proof is pretty awesome, although that's probably because the whole point is for it to look vintage


J. Tithonus Pednaud (Guest) on 09/18/2007 9:37 am

I am a sucker for the old universal posters as well as their overseas versions. The French posters were awesome in their stylization:
Horror of Frankenstein

As for more 'modern' film posters, let us not forget the Japanese:
House of 1000 Corpses


Mickey (Guest) on 09/18/2007 10:28 am

I was always a big fan of this flick. It actually scared me until I found out that the same guy starred in "Just 18 and Ghey"..


DSB (Guest) on 09/18/2007 1:54 pm

I don't know if anyone else gets Comcast OnDemand, but just recently on one of their stations (Something Weird) they had a brief 15 minute segment that showed previews for all kinds of old horror movies, Orgy of the Living Dead among them. If you have OnDemand and haven't checked that station out, you should. It has all kinds of 1950's scare films and such.


Juanfer (Guest) on 09/18/2007 3:05 pm


Jomb (Guest) on 09/18/2007 6:43 pm

When I saw the poster of John Austin Frazier, the very first thought that came into my head was "Brand Max Burbank!"


Mike (Guest) on 09/18/2007 7:58 pm

Oh, man... I SO need to catch up on horror movies. For example, the only movie in the Nightmare on Elm Street series I've ever seen is the first one... which coincidentally has a bitching poster, so why not link it?

A Nightmare on Elm Street poster

Nancy's expression is effin' priceless. That's the type of poster that makes you say "What the hell is this movie all about?!" and causes you to go see it as a result. :D


Macabre Jester (Guest) on 09/18/2007 11:09 pm

My favorite was always the Creepshow posters. I also liked the "I Spit On Your Grave" poster.


Dan (Guest) on 09/19/2007 5:32 am

I always think you'll be hard pushed to beat The Thing for a classic poster. It's eerie, it doesn't give much away about the film and it's a beautiful piece of hand-drawn art to boot. You just know that if it was done today it would be a picture with crudely photoshopped floating heads of Jack Burton and Benjamin Luckett hovering front and center!


BonnyCrane (Guest) on 09/19/2007 7:44 am

i liked this polish poster for the birds so much i got it tattooed on me, minus the text.

found it in This Book which is awesome, tons of amazing posters in it


JoeyJoJo. JR (Guest) on 09/19/2007 8:25 pm

Holy crap that covers sucks. I don't know why they wanted to take to comic books style. Looks like I wont be watching that this Halloween. This isint the best cove but I love the little Zuni guy and the sounds he makes are awesome.


Juanfer (Guest) on 09/19/2007 10:48 pm

There's a great book with full color prints of selected film posters. One of their selections is HORROR MOVIES. It's great, it has really beautiful old films posters and like some of the 90s I think. Dunno.

If you count it as horror not crime/thriller, Psycho is a good option.


Ian (Guest) on 09/20/2007 11:40 am

hey ROG u forget a couple of scary video games Manhunt and the Suffering


Spruce (Guest) on 09/20/2007 2:43 pm

Here's the Polish movie poster for the original Alien.

And this is something I found while searching for the above poster:


Ian (Guest) on 09/20/2007 6:24 pm


Rob Britton (Guest) on 09/21/2007 6:34 am

I'm never quite sure if this Japanese effort for An American Werewolf In London makes me laugh or cry...


Zorkus (Guest) on 09/21/2007 7:34 am

My favourite has to be The Last House on the Left poster just for the sheer brutality of it. You know you're in for something serious when you see this poster, followed by the "It's only a movie..." tagline. I would have loved to have been old enough to see this poster pasted onto a theatre wall.


Dutch (Guest) on 09/21/2007 8:27 am

My favorite posters were 'Return of the Living Dead 2', 'Sleepawy Camp', and the breakfast club version of 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2'.

On an unrelated note; Dexter rocks! Got Sept. 30th cirles on the calender.


Dutch (Guest) on 09/21/2007 8:30 am

On an unrelated note; Dexter rocks! Got Sept. 30th circled on the calender.

Seesaw the Booey!!!

User avatar

mitchmcmichael on 01/05/2008 7:24 pm

My favorite poster has to be the movie poster for Return of the Living Dead. It is quite clear the poster designer had loads of fun. He needs to be leader of everyting...or -RoG-. -RoG- rules.

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