The Hijinx Ensue
As a former teenaged, pimply-faced usher at a movie theater, I’m well aware of how important a movie poster is to it’s success. I don’t have any solid data for this, but there’s something about a good poster for a bad movie (even a movie with such promise!) that seems to be worth the investment: once you get people in the door, it doesn’t matter that your story sucks and the acting is atrocious. You already have their 10 bucks!
Posters, like other design media, go through trends, and few are more mysterious or distinctive to me than the painterly, heavily-caricatured movie posters of the mid-70s through late 1980′s. Fallen out of favor now, the movies they advertised regularly occupied one of two catagories, either the multi- cast-adventure-movie, or the Animal-House-inspired wacky comedy.
A little digging around (on my new favorite site) found that a likely progenator of this style is Drew Struzan. His site is kinda off the hook, because he seems to have had a hand in every famous movie on the planet. And this, folks, is why I love illustration. While the gallery artist makes a name for himself above all, the workhorse illustrator slyly burrows himself into the popular consciousness, a covert operative of style and aesthetic. At a certain point, if an illustrator is good enough, his or her style is almost taken for granted, like it’s own school, so ubiquitous as to have imitators who don’t even know who they’re imitating. And when, like I did just now, one does finally find the creator behind so much of what you see before, it’s like the ultimate reveal: you see, finally, the man at the controls, and are so much more awed by it.