I do love a good film poster. It seems to be something of a dying art, sadly; so many these days are just Photoshopped headshots of the cast looking serious/pensive/awestruck. They remind me of Joey’s acting class from Friends: in order to act like you’ve received some bad news, he tells his students, just try and divide 232 by 13 (cue prolonged quizzical expression). Where’s the excitement? Where’s the passion? Where’s the beautiful, swooning, scantily-clad woman being carried away by the monstrous creation?
Anyway, one of the best things about a poster is the tagline: a line of text that promises anything and everything in order to seduce us in to seeing whatever they are trying to sell. Some are memorable for good reasons (sci-fi and horror flicks tend to attract particularly enjoyable examples), others… not so much. Here are five slightly suspect attempts to sell a film:
Film: Alien vs Predator (2004)
Well, at least it was accurate – audiences were the ones who lost out if they handed over their hard-earned cash to see this disappointing intergalactic battle. Proof that honesty is not always the best policy.
Film: Forbidden Planet (1956)
To be honest, I’m rather fond of this one. Back in the 1950s it seems a single simple word was sufficient to dazzle punters (although there are plenty of examples of more hysterical efforts). Still, even by the standards of the time it’s a pretty lame effort to sell one of the best sci-fi films of its era. It’s got Robbie the Robot, for goodness’ sake!
Film: Independence Day (1996)
You can’t deny this didn’t work – it roped every man, woman and child in to cinemas in the summer of 1996. A bit later on we wondered what all the fuss was about. And then later still we realised it was all a big joke. One wonders if some advertising exec slipped this tagline in to a meeting for a laugh just to see if anyone bit. Of course, they did.
Film: Titanic (1997)
All in the best possible taste! Or not. Trivialising an infamous cruise ship disaster which cost hundreds of people their lives by carelessly throwing the word Collide around – could you be any less tasteful? Oh, wait – how about re-releasing the film in 3D to
profit from commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking?
Film: Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Nothing can beat the third Jaws sequel for sheer outright silliness. Leaving aside the absurdity of the plot (just how does a shark make things personal…?) and the cheap production values, if that’s possible, this tagline must have had people laughing all the way to the fleapit box office in 1987. Still, it delivered exactly what it promised – even if nobody wanted it.