These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art.
I could definitely be wrong, but this is how I remember it. There was a trip to Madison, an occasional necessity when attempting to generate content for a program filled with movie reviews on a radio station in a modest Central Wisconsin town. I was standing in the three screen bunker of a movie theater located in Westgate Mall, one of those ramshackle outposts of commerce that seemed to be on its last legs from the moment it opened.
The movie poster was on the far end of the lobby, close to the bathrooms and easy to miss since its view was blocked from most angles by the command post of a concession stand that dominated the space. Even so, I spotted it right away. This wasn’t a film I was anticipating. I don’t think I even had an inkling it was being made. And yet, it beckoned to me.
I was mesmerized by the poster. I stood before it, trying to discern its meaning. I wasn’t looking for clues, exactly. It didn’t matter to me how the moth covering Jodie Foster’s lips might fit into the plot, but I weighed the impact of the striking image on me. And that was before I properly took note of the unique visual construction of the skull on the moth’s thorax, my unfamiliarity with Salvador Dali’s In Voluptus Mors slowing down my recognition of the eerie tangle of human figures at the heart of the image.
I still believe The Silence of the Lambs stands as the strongest movie poster from the three years I regularly posed as a film critic on the Stevens Point airwaves. That the film it promoted is also one of the very best from that era is a happy bonus.
Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Art of the Sell” tag.