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9 Horror Movies That Began With Cool Custom Studio Logos

It’s the little things in life that make me happy.

Every movie begins with a small handful of company logos, and most of those production/distribution companies have logos that are by now instantly recognizable to most anyone who spends a decent amount of time watching films. The logos for Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Universal probably just flashed in your head the very moment your eyes scanned past this sentence, and us horror fans are as familiar with the logos for companies like Lionsgate and Blumhouse.

But not every movie plays by the rules.

Some movies, often in the hopes of immediately setting a tone, play around with their studio logos in a way that makes them totally unique to those movies, and it’s those movies that I personally have a whole lot of respect for. There’s something about seeing an iconic logo get tinkered with that always makes me smile, and a handful of horror films have done it over the years.

Here are 9 of them that come to mind!

1) THE RING (2002)

Gore Verbinski’s 2002 version of The Ring is one of the best horror remakes ever made, and it won me over almost immediately with a modified DreamWorks logo that evoked the feeling of watching an old VHS tape. The ominous opening logo sequence featured distortions and those familiar tracking lines, and if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the iconic “ring” appears just before the moon turns into the “D” in DreamWorks. As we spotted in the official trailer, it looks like next year’s Rings will feature a similar custom logo, this time courtesy of Paramount.

2) ORPHAN

Before bringing a terrifying shark to the screen in The Shallows, Jaume Collet-Serra shocked audiences with a creepy little girl who wasn’t quite a little girl. The 2009 film Orphan ended with one hell of a twist, and it began with a nice little bit of foreshadowing. The Warner Bros. logo that begins Orphan is splattered with glowing paint, which later pops up as a crucial plot element in the film. As it turns out, Esther has been painting violent and sexual images on her bedroom walls that can only be seen under a black light, and the clever logo teased what was to come.

3) GREMLINS 2

No film has ever changed its studio logo more than Gremlins 2, which featured a brand spankin’ new “Looney Tunes” animation from the legendary Chuck Jones. Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck (both voiced by Jeff Bergman) appeared in the fun animated sequence, which led into the Gremlins 2 logo and an establishing shot of New York City. Director Joe Dante has said that he commissioned the highly unique opening to “set the anarchic tone,” and a longer version of the Warner Bros. cartoon short can be found on the film’s DVD and Blu-ray releases.

4) THE GRUDGE 2 (2006)

You may not remember much about the 2006 American film The Grudge 2, but if you’ve seen it, you probably do at least remember the way it cleverly played around with that iconic Columbia Pictures logo. The opening sequence starts off normal enough, but then the woman holding the torch grows long hair and literally transforms into franchise villain Kayako. The logo then glitches and the text “Columbia” briefly turns into “Grudge 2.” Props to whoever came up with that!

5) THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS

One year prior to Rosemary’s Baby, Roman Polanski released horror-comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers, which took the liberty of turning the MGM lion into a vampire. Just as the lion roars, it transforms into a cartoony vampire, and a droplet of blood falls out of its mouth and drips down across the hand-drawn opening credits – the blood eventually becomes a flying bat.

6) JURASSIC PARK 3

We wouldn’t exactly classify the Jurassic Park films as horror movies, but this bit of clever logo manipulation was just too cool to not share – besides, we feel that any movie that features dinosaurs attacking humans is worth being covered here on BD. The Universal and Amblin logos at the start of Jurassic Park 3 were cleverly modified to reference a memorable moment from the original film – the logos both ripple and distort as if they’re being reflected in puddles of water, and the loud stomps of an approaching dinosaur can be heard. Talk about setting the mood early!

7) CONSTANTINE

As you’ve surely gathered by now, Warner Bros. is pretty cool with filmmakers messing with their logo, and the 2005 film Constantine took that liberty one step further by, well, completely destroying the studio’s logo. A hellish, post-apocalyptic wind sweeps in and totally decimates the logo, subsequently crumbling the logos for Village Roadshow Pictures and Vertigo.

8) ALIEN 3

This one is a little bit different, but deserves to be on the list all the same. The 20th Century Fox logo at the start of Alien 3 wasn’t visually changed at all by David Fincher, but he did modify the studio’s signature theme in a creative way. The tune starts to slow down to a crawl and then takes on a sinister tone, leading right into the film itself. Subtle but incredibly effective.

9) POLTERGEIST (2015)

The most recent logo modification I can think of came courtesy of last year’s Poltergeist remake. The film, which didn’t bother to bring anything new to the table, was forgettable at best, though we’ve certainly seen way worse remakes. In any event, the opening MGM logo was creepily distorted for the modern day revamp, so there’s that. Nothing special, but worth mentioning.

Can you think of any other horror movies with custom studio logos? Let us know!


32 Comments
  • Paul Robinson

    This is actually found at the end credits, not the beginning but is probably one of the first times this idea of modifying the studio logo occured. Strait-Jacket

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RGSzxwqwAnE/U1iqR1wbHiI/AAAAAAAANVg/1oI357f6zI4/s1600/Strait-Jacket-1964-columbia+logo.JPG

    • John Squires

      Oh wow that is awesome. Had never seen it before!

    • Yeah that was pretty amazing. Gotta love Castle.

  • Rick-Taylor

    Fearless Vampire Killers by Roman Polanski. Is it really as good as it sounds?

    • David Andrew Baros

      Absolutely!

  • McGilli

    The Poltergeist one was great because it let me know before the actual movie started that the filmmakers were going to rely on jump scares using loud suddens sounds and quick visual edits – which i personally didn’t like. DIdn’t make it far into the movie exactly because of this reasons.

  • Redsam6

    One that not a lot of people seem to have noticed was the Sunshine Fox Searchlight logo is reversed so it ends on the sun.
    And I love the Crimson Peak one.

    • PsychoMantis18

      CP one is sweet.

      • Redsam6

        Yea man that song is perfect, I’ve literally watched this film maybe 13 times now, carn’t wait for The Shape of Water to come out!

  • Redsam6
  • Redsam6
  • umaneo

    Cool article.

  • James England

    I always thought Friday the 13th part 8 had an awesome sounding “Jasonjasonjasonjason” in the beginning!

  • Chris Taylor

    It’s not a horror movie but still love the opening for 20th Century Fox for “The Simpsons Movie”, with Ralph Wiggum coming out

  • Darren Kerr

    The intro for Event Horizon was pretty cool as well

  • Glad the Ring one is on here, I remember thinking that was really awesome when I first saw it. The Poltergeist one is pretty cool too.

    The Grudge one I find really cringey for some reason. It’s like they made a special effort because they thought the film was going to be something special or something.

  • Benjamin Priest

    Glad to see Alien 3 up there.. Event Horizon is another fantastic example.

    • Doktor Wunderbar

      I clicked this link specifically looking for Alien 3. That opening was one of the things the movie got right.

  • diapers

    The beginning of Sunshine was pretty cool. Subtle, but cool.

  • Lirabelle

    I appreciate them all, but my personal favorites that I have seen are the ones for The Ring, The Grudge 2, and Crimson Peak.

  • DarkBree

    I love when they do these things!!

    • khail19

      who doesn’t? especially if it’s as clever as the one from orphan. thought nothing of it when i saw it for the first time, i was like “Oh! Oh! Oh!” when i watched it again.

  • Nick Sousa

    I love the Krampus variant for Universal/Legendary. The fact that Doom got a Universal logo with Mars in place of Earth was pretty cool too.

  • David Andrew Baros

    Not a horror film but I couldn’t resist adding this to the feed: Columbia Pictures THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY.

    https://youtu.be/AQRN4ltBvg4

    • Evan3

      Wow, that was awesome!

  • David Andrew Baros

    Also, not a horror film… COMING TO AMERICA had one of these great studio intros:

    https://youtu.be/qFGUosjk8Lk

  • Event Horizon was another good one

    https://youtu.be/I_io3auloUA

  • Evan3

    What a fantastically unique list. Thanks for sharing, I never noticed any of these. I especially like the one for the Grudge 2.

  • Evan3

    Not horror, but once again, Spielberg proves himself a master. What a transition!

  • Actually, Ghostbusters (1984) subtlety modified the Columbia logo with rays of supernatural energy coming out of the torch similar to when the ghost escape at the climax of the film. Combined with Elmer Bernstein’s ethereal music cue, it made for an effective opening.

  • Bouncy X

    i always liked the one Universal did for Serenity..having the logo earth turn into a planet as we zoom in between the letters of the company name.

  • Knicole Cox

    Universal did a pretty cool, distorted opening for Unfriended.

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