PLEASE LEAVE THE THEATER: THE DAY OF THE ONE SHEET IS GONE

Well it’s been officially 20 years or so since an American one sheet of any artistic or audaciously exploitative value has graced the surroundings of a cinema or its walls. It was probably “Reform School Girls” or “Hell Camp” that closed out this most wonderful era. Sad really, the movie poster used to be a magnificent piece of work that would sometimes even eclipse the very film it was promoting. Movie one sheets were an important part of the ballyhoo involved in luring patrons into the theater.

As of late, Hollywood has taken to using photos – or worse yet – “doctored” photos. These kinds of soulless adverts began creeping onto the scene as the drive-in movie era was creeping out. Given the ungodly amounts of money that Hollywood squanders on their pictures you’d think that they’d want to employ a more assertive fashion to advertising. However, Tinsel Town has chosen a softer and safer approach over the years. They’ll tell you that it is “arty,” but I’ll tell you that it is down-right dull. Take for instance David Cronenberg’s “Crash.” What a fantastic movie off set by a fantastically uninspiring one sheet. “Crash” didn’t do so well at the box office either. Could it have been the advertising? Want something earlier, eh? Well, how ‘bout “Alien” or even “The Exorcist.”

Hell, “The Exorcist”, to my way of thinking, is the ultimate Hollywood shock machine and yet its promotional poster was hovering in the area of pretension if not just altogether boring. I know they’re trying to be secretive about the film and what it contains, but couldn’t they have changed the graphics for the re-release? Everyone knows what lil’ old possessed Regan looks like with her hideously vomit-caked-and-scarred face.

What’s more is that the alien from “Alien” was plastered all over that “Alien Vs. Predator” abomination and still upon the re-release of “Alien” I’m again looking at that silly egg. Yeah, it was mysterious as hell in 1979 but the cat’s outta the bag and I say let’s liven this shit up a bit. I want a poster that I can buy off of Ebay and hang on my wall. Besides, “Alien” came out about the same time that Mork came from Ork…in an egg, and I’m not the least bit interested in finding out that the alien in question is actually Mork. Nor am I interested in watching Robin Williams and Pam Dauber get it on in outer space, so I steered clear of the film for many years.

As far as I’m concerned, these movies need a shot in the arm in the advertising department and I’m here to offer up a few suggestions. However, as much as I’d like to, I won’t steer clear of using photos as Hollywood continues to be obsessed with this form of exhibition. For “Crash” we’ll use a nice close up shot of Rosanna Arquette’s leg with that vagina-like gash in it.

It would work, folks. Most fans of Hollywood and its watered-down fare haven’t seen a good Cronenberg movie since his remake of “The Fly.” “Dead Ringers” was just weird and then “M. Butterfly” was… well, just too damned weird. A nice big picture of a vagina-leg would have them lined up around the block.

For “The Exorcist” we’re gonna go a bit of a different route and we’re going to use a sexy shot of Linda Blair from the 80′s.

Yeah, I know it’s a little misleading, but if you haven’t seen “The Exorcist” by now then you deserve to be the victim of some good old fashioned hype and huckstering. We could use an image of Regan MacNeil copulating with a bloodied crucifix, but then we’d probably alienate a large portion of our market, most likely Christian conservatives. And of course if you listen to left wing liberals they’ll tell you that the conservatives have all the money, so I’m not gonna leave them out of the equation. They may be “conservative” but rest assured that a tightly bound set of Linda Blair ta-ta’s is going to bring them outta the churches and into the theaters.

Lastly, for “Alien” I suggest that we step outside of the sexual angle for a moment and have that hand puppet alien thing tearing itself from the stomach of that very unlucky astronaut. Not only will it be more telling of the film, but it will also remind moviegoers of a time when special effects were wonderfully organic as opposed to today’s woefully charmless CGI horseshit. But that, my friends, is getting off topic a bit and will most assuredly be a point of worth mentioning at a later date.

Writer Christopher Curry has spent 29 years relentlessly trolling the underbelly of Horror, Sci-Fi and Exploitation cinema. He was first hooked by a made-for-TV zombie picture entitled “The Dead Don’t Die” and his recollections of Reggie Nalder have yet to peacefully leave his psyche. There is seemingly no benchmark of quality for Curry as he will watch and write about any damned thing. Curry has not only spent 10 years contributing to MK Magazine but is also the author of A Taste Of Blood: The Films Of Herschell Gordon Lewis and is presently hard at work on a book chronicling the films and career of Ted V. Mikels




Posted on February 22, 2005 in Features by

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