Analysis of a Horror Film Poster I have chosen to analyse the film poster for the horror film ‘Prom Night’. I was attracted to this poster because it is simple yet really effective. There are a lot of mise-en-scene elements, such as props, that instantly connote to the target audience that this is a horror film. The target audience for this film are teenagers and young adults because the title shows that it contains characters of the same age and events that they may have or will experience, for example, a prom.
Firstly, there are only 4 noticeable colours of red, white, grey and black in the poster. This makes the poster more effective because bright and colourful elements do not draw the target audiences attention away from the raw image. The colour palette is another signal of the horror genre to the target audience because it is very dark and therefore the audience has a sense of not seeing the whole picture in its true light.
The title is in red which has connotations of blood, passion and evil. The colouring makes the title stand out against the dark setting without stealing the focus from the main picture because it is neatly sized and in a basic font. The edges of the writing blur into the picture which gives a sense that the writing is glowing or it is written in blood which is now dripping down. This once again establishes the genre to the target audience by implying that violence and harm will be inflicted upon the victims such as the character on the poster.
The tiara is one of the main focuses of the poster and is cleverly used as the glamour is juxtaposed with fear. It is a stereotypical element of a high school prom which reinforces the setting of the title. The placement of the tiara on the characters head as well as the untidiness of the hair suggests that she is distressed and has been involved in some sort of violent struggle as the prop has become displaced and her hair (which would look professional at a prom) is messy. The headpiece covers the character’s eyes which makes the target audience focus on her mouth and the connotations of fear that are associated with this expression.
This expression is the other main focus of the poster as it portrays pure terror and fear. These 2 elements are common to horror films and therefore this factor of the poster displays the genre to the target audience. The mouth takes up around one third of the poster which highlights the importance and presence of the fear that will surround events in the movie. Also, the size of the picture represents the size of the scream which this expression would cause and thus involves the target audience as they imagine the noise this would make when they see the poster.
The poster has a worn and damaged look to it. This reflects the possible struggle that the character in the poster has experienced. It also means that the poster doesn’t have a glossy effect to it. This once again mirrors the action that is suggested in the film as a prom suggests gloss and grace but here this is obviously not the case. The target audience would have to watch the film to see why this elegance has been disrupted.
The tagline of ‘A NIGHT TO DIE FOR’ is a play on words as it is a phrase generally used by the target audience but in this context the word ‘die’ suggests that this will actually happen in the film. The tagline is placed under the title so it is the second thing the target audience reads after the name of the production. The text fits in with the colour palette as it is in white and this also helps it to stand out from the main title as well as the background.
At the very bottom of the poster is an indication of the release date. This is obviously a teaser poster as the specific date is not stated. This tactic of teaser elements captures the target audience’s interest and curiosity in the film from an early stage and also involves them in the distribution process as they are forced to look out for the exact dates of the release. Under the indication of release, the official website for the film is shown. This is some of the smallest text on the poster so it does not steal attention away from any of the bigger factors such as the film’s title or the posters picture. The official website is included because people who are interested in the film can go on there to find out more about information, such as the official release date as well as being able to view teaser trailers .
At the bottom right-hand corner of the poster is the logo of the company that produced the film which in this case is ‘Screen Gems’. The production logo is displayed because it wants to receive recognition if the film does well plus the fact that some people are attracted to the film because a certain company has been involved in it’s production. In the bottom left-hand corner there are a few details about people involved in production. This is the smallest writing on the poster because it is only a teaser poster and therefore this information is not as important as when the film is officially released because its purpose is just to create interest in it. The function of these details are to inform the audience of who was involved in the production and thus give credit to them. In the official poster the credits are much more detailed and at the bottom, underneath the tagline and title.
There are obviously no big celebrities in this film as their names have not been used as a main focus to attract the target audience. If the poster were to contain celebrity names for the ‘star factor’, they would stereotypically be at the top of the poster as it is where the audience’s eyes would be drawn to. This film has followed the conventions of the horror genre as the victim is female. Females are often chosen as victims in horror as they are classed as weaker than men and therefore they are more vulnerable to the actions of the villain.