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
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.