Sometimes a simple image can be more effective than an intricate design. Last week saw the release of the teaser poster for Ridley Scott’s upcoming Prometheus sequel/Alien prequel Alien: Covenant and you sort of have to admire its simplicity. The straightforward image of the xenomorph’s head masked in shadow is certainly an imposing thing to see. It also lets you know immediately what kind of movie you’re in for (meaning: more Alien, less Prometheus). Do you need to see anything else in this poster? I think not. Many other recent horror movies have made the most of a simple image. Here are some of our favorites.
Breck Eisner’s underrated remake of George A. Romero’s 1973 film of the same name had a pretty great marketing team. The poster below was one of the first ones released to promote the remake and it’s quite disturbing. The welcome sign leading into the once peaceful town of Ogden Marsh has “Help Us” scratched into it with a bloody finger. It certainly inspires chills!
A lot of people don’t like Kevin Smith’s Tusk (I’m not one of them) but this minimalist poster foreshadowing Justin Long’s character’s transformation into a walrus. It’s subtle and quite pretty.
Another movie that people seem to love to hate on, Unfriended is actually a lot more fun than it’s generic title would have you believe. Mediocre tagline aside, the simple visual of a suggested search result is clever and tells you everything you need to know without spoiling much of the plot.
Paul Solet’s Grace is one of the best horror films from the 2000s. It’s also criminally underseen. Starring Jordan Ladd (whatever happened to her?), the film tells the story of a pregnant woman whose baby dies in the womb after a car crash. She decides to carry the fetus to term and miraculously gives birth to a living baby. There’s only one catch, and it involves the bottle shown on the poster.
The posters for the Saw sequels got creative with body parts, didn’t they? The poster for Saw II so creative is that, like so many other posters on this list, it tells you everything you need to know about the film. A) There will be blood. B) It’s the second one, as noted by the two decaying fingers. This is one of my personal favorite horror movie posters simply because listening to parents complain about it in a movie theater in 2005 was highly amusing.
Randy Moore’s bizarre horror film (well, the story behind it it more bizarre than the movie itself) takes place in Disney Land, so what better way to market it than to show a certain cartoon mouse’s bloody glove? Do you hear that? That’s the sound of childhoods being ruined.
Do you need this poster to show you anything else? The fact that it doesn’t even feature the name of the Adam Green-directed sequel is a bold move, but it works. You know that anyone who saw this poster and wasn’t familiar with Hatchet went to Google Victor Crowley immediately afterward.
As bad as the Black Christmas is, it does have it’s fans (our own Jess Hicks and John Squires are some of them). Before you start to get angry about how the trailer contained tons of footage that wasn’t in the actual movie though, think back to a time before the movie was released and we just had this simple poster to judge. A bloody Christmas ornament is all we had to go off of. It’s a sufficiently creepy image that makes for a great poster.
Infamously banned from movie theaters, the poster for Hostel: Part II is pretty self-explanatory. If you go see this movie, then you will see lots of gore. The film kept its promise.
You could argue that Buried is not a horror movie, but anyone with cleithrophobia would tell you otherwise. The poster for Rodrigo Cortés’s film pretty much shows the entire movie: Ryan Reynold’s in a coffin. That’s literally the whole movie. Job well done, marketing department!
And of course, here is that awesome Alien: Covenant poster.
What are some of your favorite simple horror movie posters? Let us know in the comments below!