A film poster is a poster which contains elements of
the film through an image in order to give the reader a
taster of what the film is like whilst also encouraging
to watch it when it is released.
In order to make people aware
of the film, film posters are put
in many places such as:
- On buses.
- At bus stops.
- At train
- At the cinema.
Film posters are used to promote. A film
company that has produced a film will
make a film poster in order to advertise
and make people aware of the film.
Posters are easy to place in several
locations and therefore, making a
film poster allows a film company to
reach their target audience on a large
Film posters need to be eye catching in order to attract the interest of people so that
they are encouraged to read the information on the poster. The posters are likely to
be extreme in order to be memorable in the minds of the viewers in the same way
as ‘The Eye’ & ‘The Broken’ in which effects have been used to enhance the image.
Image links to the
title. Visually the
actress looks as
though she is
The hand coming out
of the eye is ‘eye
catching’ for the
viewer and would
make people think
about what the film
could be about.
I will be analysing psychological thriller film posters as it’s appropriate for my genre.
From my research, I will try to understand the conventions of a psychological thriller
film poster in order to make sure that my final product compliments these
From a film poster, the genre is made very obvious to the viewer.
The fire in the background
gives the viewer the idea
that the film is action
The use of a gun as a prop
also gives the viewer an
insight into the genre.
The use of a gun as a prop also gives the
viewer an insight into the genre but the
flag which is hanging from it shows a slight
comedic nature that is evident in the film.
All film posters have some type of image on
them. It could be an image of the protagonist or
the setting. That solely depends on the genre
and what’s appropriate. BUT the image is always
appropriate to the film and often compliments
the film title.
In side effects, the film
company have decided to
include 4 images. Each image is
linked by the expression on the
faces of the actors . E.g. The
female in the bottom right hand
corner seems as though she is
peering up at the woman in the
top right hand corner. Simply
choices in expression allow the
viewer to gain an insight into
the emotion of the characters
in the film.
There is also the
image of the
cross which is
into the poster, it
faces of each
actor and could
seem that this
‘side effect’ has
an effect on each
The use of this cross, and the
colour red (which could
represent love, pain, hate)gives
the viewer the idea that
a focal point of the film whilst
other themes such as love, hate
and pain may also be
Frozen is a
thriller. In thrillers,
the scenery is more
often the focal
The setting shown in the
image gives viewers an idea
of the characters
surroundings within the film.
In the background, snow is
visible and this theme of
snow, ice, coldness links into
the title ‘Frozen’.
Almost every film poster has a title on it
unless it is a teaser trailer for a well known
film that doesn’t require a title as it is
popular. For low budget films , that are not
sequels of internationally known films it is
necessary for them to make a film poster, this
allows for people that view the poster to
know the name of the film which can often
be a deciding point for whether someone will
go to watch a film or not depending on
whether the title intrigues them or not. If
people were unaware of the name of the film
then they wouldn’t be able to find out more
information about it.
My film will not be well known in the run
up to it’s production and neither will it be
part of a series of films which means that
I will have to include a film title in order
to raise awareness of my film effectively.
The title can be placed anywhere as
long as it stands out.
The font is also thought into to make
sure its relevant to the film. E.G.
Machinist is a person that operates
machinery. Machinery is equipment,
hardware. It can be heavy machinery
etc and therefore this could be the
reason for the boldness of the title.
One of the most important parts of a film poster is all the small print information which contains
the production company name, director, producers, actors, soundtrack, screenplay, and much
more, as well as a bbfc rating and often an indent for the production company involved.
It is never in a large font as it is not the focal point of the advertisement as people are not going
to be more inclined to watch a film because of all of the people involved in the making of it. The
small print (credit block) is there for legal reasons in which people have to be mentioned
somewhere for their involvement throughout the production.
For identity, it is visible that this film is a KONRAD
PICTURES which has been released by
COLUMBIA PICTURES. There is a break down of
all the people involved such as the costume
designer Arianne Phillips and they screen play by
If the film is still being produced then the
production company will simply leave it as
‘coming soon’ as they are not sure of the
precise release date yet.
This can mean that a company will may have
to make the film poster more memorable for
the viewer and intrigue them enough to
research into it and keep an eye out for its
A release date is necessary in order to make sure that the target audience are
aware of when the film will be released and as a result people will be aware of
when the film will be screening at the cinema.
Another that views this film poster will
be made aware that the film will be
released on February 18th.
Film companies often reveal the season
that the film will be coming out in
instead of the precise release date.
A film poster includes the director and of a line which makes a reference to another film that they
directed which will encourage people that have watched ‘The wrestler’ and ‘Requiem for a dream’
and enjoyed them to consider watching Black swan. Including the directors name in film posters
can also encourage people to watch. E.g. A film poster that says the film has been directed by
‘Steven Spielberg’ will automatically be considered to be a potentially amazing film solely because
of the reputation that Spielberg has of directing high quality films.
act as a
Putting the main characters from this film encourages people that
know these actors from other films to come and watch it. The
actors in films usually help with the success/popularity of a film.
Natalie portman is known for films such as:
•Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
(2002) for her role as Padmé Amidala. (epic
• The other woman(2009) for her as Emilia
Greenleaf which she was also the executive
Along with many other films such as:
‘Zoolander’ & ‘Paris, je t’aime.’
Vincent Cassel is known internationally for his roles in
multiple films. Such as the successful french film ‘La Haine’
in 1995 in which he placed Vinz in which he was nominated
for the César award for best actor and the César award for
Most Promising Actor. The film is often studied by A level
french students which meant that automatically this film
could attract teenagers.
Vincent Cassel has also done the voice for Monsieur Hood in
Shrek (2001) and played François Toulour in Ocean’s Twelve
and Oceans Thirteen.
Mila Kunis is known for her
involvement in ‘Family guy’ and ‘The
book of Eli’ along with many other
films and television programs.
Having a range of different and WELL KNOWN
actors means that this film will attract
audiences of different genre preferences. This is
a clever marketing technique as it can reach and
target a wide audience.
After a film has been screened to critics, the promotion team of a film will use the original film
posters which were published to raise awareness and change parts in order to include positive
reviews, ratings, feedback and recommendations.
The film critic was
made by Pete
Hammond who is
part of the company:
Movie line which
offers a guide of the
releases along with
The words used such as ‘edge-of-your-seat thriller’ shows the impact that the film has
on the audience. It can suggest keeping the audience interested despite the suggested
unsettling nature of the film (‘tense’).
‘One pill can change your life’ gives
people an insight into the film. For me,
it gives me the impression that the
film is based around one pill that is
taken which has bad side effects.
This tagline makes the audience think and
ask questions about the storyline of the film
which is a use of the enigma code which the
theorist Roland Barthes highlights the
importance of within media texts.
Films that are being released during film awards
season and the actors o the film has been
nominated for an award then the production
company can include this information on their
film poster. This could act as a form of promotion
as it can create a positive image for the film as it
suggests that the film is interesting, contains
people with an extensive acting ability and etc.
Film posters often have a
rating which can warn
audiences of strong
language, violent scenes
etc. For audiences, it can
help them to understand
which age group the film
is appropriate to.
Now that I have looked at film poster codes and conventions, I can apply film theories to
I am going to look at how Roland Barthes media theory fits into the psychological
thrillers that I have viewed.
Firstly, here are a few of his ideas:
When a text cannot be completely understood by a viewer due to its intentionally
confusing nature. When the text is hard to understand, Barthes often refers to the text
as being like a ‘tangled ball of thread’ which needs to be unravelled by the viewer in
order to gain a better understanding. This intrigue which is caused by the ‘unknown’ is
considered to be Barthes Hermeneutic Code, as audiences want to find out what
happens in the film as currently they are unaware of the plot. This is valid to film
posters, as audiences are not made aware of the entire story from the poster and are
left curious and interested to know more.
The Enigma Code pushes audiences to ask questions about the plot. Audiences can do
this with a film poster as not all is revealed and therefore questions will come naturally.
The Semantic Code and Symbolic Code look at symbols and connotations and meanings
behind the symbols.
Symbol of the cross links to
Barthes ‘Symbolic Code ’ could
get the audiences thinking
about what the symbol could
possibly mean and its relevance
to the plot.
The cross also includes Enigma
Code pushes audiences to ask
questions about the plot.
Each character shown
on this movie poster
links to the Enigma
code idea as it pushes
audiences to question
what the actors have
to do with the plot.
I will be analysing and annotating three psychological thrillers
as I will be making a movie poster for my psychological thriller
trailer and therefore, this will help me to understand the
conventions of psychological thriller movie posters.
Eyes suggest suspense,
mystery. The intensity
of the eyes could
suggest that this
person is the root of
the ‘fear’ mentioned in
the title ‘cape fear’.
Credit block blends
in with the poster
and doesn’t stand
Allows audiences to know who has made the film. Martin Scorsese is a well
known director, producer , screenwriter and actor. He has been the recipient
of the AFI Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the cinema, and
has won an Academy Award, a Palme d'Or, Cannes Film Festival Best Director
Award, Silver Lion, Grammy Award, Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and DGA
Martin Scorese is known for the very popular film ‘Shutter Island’ and
therefore his name acts as a selling point as people will want to see his film as
they believe it will be of quality like his previous films.
Usually popular producers have their names on the film poster in a larger and
more noticeable font but I believe that Scorsese was keeping with the genre
and wanted the title to be the focal point.
used for the
title is quite
TAGLINE: Sam Bowden has always provided for his family’s future. But the past is coming back to haunt
This is a very clever tagline, it uses words such as ‘Family’, ‘haunt’ ‘them’ and the name of a character
‘Sam Bowden’. Already from that tagline, someone can gain an insight into the film’s plot. The fact that
there is a family involved makes the film automatically seem more disturbing as a family symbolises
happiness, peace, togetherness and that tagline suggests that something is coming to challenge that in a
menacing way. Using the full name ‘Sam Bowden’ makes it instantly personal and sudden viewers know
Sam Bowden and get the idea that the film will reveal the life of Sam Bowden. The tagline makes people
think and will make people want to watch the film in order to see what happens to Sam Bowden. It
allows people to know enough without revealing all.
IMAGE: This image is deep into the background, linking into the idea of ‘the past coming back to
haunt them’. Gives audiences the impression that the past that they thought they left behind,
which is quite literally in the background is slowly reappearing in the same way that this image
isn’t automatically visibe when looking at the film poster as a whole but it becomes noticeable.
Indent of the
released the film.
Universal are well
know, having them
release a film can
increase the films
Ratings to make people aware
of content within the film.
suggest, heat, fire
and may link to the
Polaroid pictures inside of
another polariod picture.
This could be a use of Roland
Barthes Symbolic code. This
image, which is multiple
images could be symbolise the
narrative of film which may
contain many stories that are
Images used allow people to gain an insight into
the actors within the film. Expressions are intense
which a use of enigma coding as their expressions
will make audiences think and question ‘what are
they looking at?’ ‘what’s the relation between the
The title along with the
actors names almost look as
though they have been
scribbled down with a pen.
This effect will make
audiences think. The sense of
urgency which is suggested
from this font could
symbolise that this film is fast
Red font. Red could symbolise: blood, love,
death. In other words, it gives viewers the
impression that this film explores a story
which is based on some time of strong
emotions whether it be: speed, strength,
danger or even aggression.
made aware of the
Image of two females are taking
up most of the film poster. This
automatically gives people the
impression that these are the
main characters within the film.
Behind the image of the two
women, audiences can see
‘Hollywood’ which sets the
scene of the film. And the trees
in the foreground contribute to
this understanding of where the
film is set.