Media Production Mentoring

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Why Movie Posters Lie

The DVD for Transporter 3 has a girl on the cover wearing a dress not in the movie and carrying two guns, which also never happens.

Transporter 3

I'm not big on horror flicks--even the comedic kind--but there is a similar disconnect with the poster for Slither. In the marketing materials, we see a girl in the tub descended upon by alien slugs. How the scene plays out is quite different:


Single Slug

I was surprised by how much I'd been led astray by the marketing materials for this campy horror flick. I shouldn't have been. We've been "lied" to for years. Consider the movie poster for Jaws:

Jaws Poster

In the film, we don't see the shark here and she's floating (not swimming) at night when attacked.

So why "lie" to us? Because movie posters and DVD jackets and trailers are all designed to give you a feel for what you're about to watch. It doesn't really matter if what we are shown is exactly what happens in the flick. Indeed, it's often better to be told what the film is about--and be shown something not in the film--than to be given a snapshot from the movie that doesn't communicate. Put another way:

Communication trumps reality.

This can be disappointing, however, when the part you're most looking forward to in a film is cut. Like the line from the Live Free or Die Hard trailer:

"What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to kill this guy and get my daughter. Or go get my daughter and kill this guy. Or kill all of 'em."

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

1 comment :

GB Posters said...

The poster is there to represent the things that the film is about (e.g. loneliness, mystery, horror). If it does these well, then it is doing it's job. The image from a poster should never really be expected to be seen, as it is not intended to be that way when being designed.