5 Brilliant Modern Movie Posters

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A great majority of movie posters are uninspiring. You know it’s true. They are, by and large, utterly routine and photoshopped affairs with little more to say than “Come and see this new film!” They all look the same too.

However, a few lucky ones break away from the unadventurous monotony and stand in their own right as pieces of graphic art worthy of a place on any cinephiles’ bedroom or office wall. Some of them are actually released and others exist as “alternatives” that, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we can still get to view and admire.

Top: “Prometheus” movie wallpaper.
“Black Rock” (2012). poster
Poster design by Ignition Print.

Black Rock

There are a couple of excellent reasons why this minimalist style “Black Rock” poster is cool. It pays quirky homage to Jaws’ poster artwork, replacing a shark with a big Bowie knife. Indeed, the phallic symbolism of that big knife ties with the movie’s theme very well. Three gal pals return to a childhood haunt for a weekend of nostalgia and come across a trio of dudes out hunting who get fresh then turn very nasty. An occasionally gory battle of the sexes ensues in Kate Aselton’s mumblegore thriller, which is way better than reviews would have you believe.

"Prometheus" (2012).
Design by BLT Communications, LLC.


Ridley Scott’s sci-fi saga was a loose prequel to his own classic picture, “Alien” (1979). The artwork needed to convey this very message while delivering something new. Renowned crackpot artist, H.R. Giger, worked again with the director on conceptual designs but his involvement was pretty limited.

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The giant Space Engineer head, which looks like Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now” (1979) crossed with Pinhead from “Hellraiser” (1987), makes for a suitably gloomy and mysterious image. It reminds me of William Blake or even the weirder imaginings of Goya, a little bit. The light flare of the astronaut’s torch refers back to a similar effect seen in Alien’s iconic one-sheet.

"Argo" (2012). poster
Poster by AV Squad


This alternative one-sheet for “Argo” is far more visually creative than the one they actually used to widely promote the Oscar-winning flick. It resonates well because of the contemporary graffiti styling that sits with the political storyline. Ben Affleck’s serious-looking big head is stencilled in a way that recalls the works of Banksy. Affleck’s eyes are covered with an Iranian flag. What’s interesting is that this brand of street art is often used for satirical purposes. Here it lacks such an amusing motive and borrows the aesthetic without making a particularly strong point. The ultimate message of the film, anyway, is that America is totally rad at everything.

"The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears" (2013). poster
Film poster art by Gilles Vranckx.

The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears

The clear inspiration is the Art Nouveau movement and its crazed and dreamy association with Absinthe, probably the most famous drink associated with La Belle Époque. However, “The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears” (2013) is a neo-giallo and the art noveau grandeur also cleverly references the famed work of Dario Argento, the Italian maestro behind “Suspiria” (1977) and “Inferno” (1980) as well as classic giallo tropes. This is a very beautiful piece of artwork that captures the allure and shattering surrealism of the movie.

“Post Tenebras Lux” (2013) poster).
Design by Sam Smith.

Post Tenebras Lux

Carlos Reygadas’ excellent and unique fourth film, “Post Tenebras Lux” (2013), boasted a supremely inventive and playful UK poster that married bright colours with sinister allusions. The vibe American artist Sam Smith appeared to have gone for is Picasso via Saul Bass. The central image of a head separated from its body refers to a scene in the movie that is one of the most audacious and jaw-dropping in recent cinema history.

Images © respective designers and film studios

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Martyn is a freelance film writer. He has had work published by Little White Lies, The Guardian, Total Film, Sight & Sound, British Film Institute among others. He is the author of a monograph on Mario Bava's classic horror film "Black Sunday" and a forthcoming book on "Mad Max." Follow the author @ Instagram , Twitter, and view more articles.

November 28, 2013 Design Movies Posters