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May 16, 2013

Killer Portraits: Iconography of the Horror Film Poster

Horror film posters have provide viewers with some of the most iconic images of the genre to date and, over the years, many have become collectible art pieces in their own right. But since the earliest entries in the Universal horror cycle, the primary purpose of the film poster has been to sell a film to the public. Herein lies the paradox of the film poster: marketing for the sake of selling versus marketing material as art. While a new insurgence of contemporary artists are renegotiating the purpose of the film poster with reimagined artwork for special screenings and festivals, moviegoers are always kept in mind during the poster’s creation, suggesting a greater connection between audience and poster than between poster and film. Through an examination of poster art from some of horror’s most revered, and not so revered films, a more complete portrait of horror, madness, and violence is born, one that is inextricably linked to the rise and fall of the Hollywood star system, the dissolution of the Hays Code in the late 1960s, and the rise of the Hollywood independent filmmakers of the 1970s and ’80s.

Films and posters to be discussed include early works like Frankenstein, Cat People, and Psycho to later offerings such as Kingdom of the Spiders, Don’t Go in the Woods Alone, Carrie, and Maniac. Posters for horror films from contemporary artists such as Ken Taylor, Jason Edmiston, Olly Moss, Gary Pullin, Justin Erickson, and Daniel Danger will be discussed, alongside the film’s original key art and its international counterparts.

May 16, 2013 at 8pm
Big Picture, 1035 Gerrard Steet East, Toronto
Cost: $15 at the door

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Instructor: Andrea Butler

Andrea Butler is currently completing her MA in Cinema and Media Studies at Toronto’s York University where she is researching the evolution of the killer in horror film poster art. Recently, she was published in Cinephile film journal’s latest issue on New Extremism in cinema, with particular focus on its links with France’s Grand Guignol Theatre and early 20th century theatrics. In the fall, Andrea will begin her PhD at the University of Toronto, where she will continue her research into horror and science fiction films in an attempt to chart an alternative history of film as it uncannily represents itself within the films/images it produces.

4 Responses

  1. [...] horror film poster art, including the new trend for collectible pieces by contemporary artists, in Killer Portraits: Iconography of the Horror Film Poster on May 16, 2013, and Primate Panic, a history of Bigfoot on film which will include a screening of [...]

  2. mike orlando says:

    Hello Andrea…I own the hollywood canteen in toronto and am good friends with John at Big Picture show….he has passed this info onto me…I have a huge selction of posters on horror…I may be able to be of some assisstance withyour lecture on the 16th of may…please get in touch with me at your convenience….I am very knowledgable in this area as well and I am good friends with many of the poster people who have put out books on horror posters….hope to hear from you soon…Mike

    • Andrea Butler says:

      Hello Mike,

      Thank you for contacting me and expressing interest in my project! I have done quite a lot of research to date, seeing as this has been a long-term project for me, but there is ALWAYS room for more and I’d very much be interested in seeing what kind of information you have to share. Being that I am still relatively new to Toronto, I have not had time yet to explore some of the great resources available and your Canteen, which I checked out online, looks like it harbors a wealth of relevant information that I may not have come across thus far. I’d love to meet up with you at some point before the lecture to discuss…Andrea.

  3. [...] Any Horror fans out there might want to consider checking this out! There are also some really great upcoming lectures on Ken Russell’s The Devils and Horror poster art. [...]

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