This week saw True Grit release its latest trailer, and just to be extra nice, a wicked teaser poster too. Staring into its beautiful typography, we started thinking about other teaser posters that got us worryingly excited about a movie. Inventive, suggestive, witty, clever, teaser posters are there to get you giddy without telling you all that much – and we love ‘em for it, so here’s 31 of our recent favourites for you to admire. And if you can think of any others, let us know in the comment box…
What we like about it: Though part of us wishes they hadn’t put the title at the top, if only for intrigue’s sake, this one’s a cracker because, well… it’s a flying house. Attached to loads of multicoloured balloons. The shadow on the cloud is also a nice touch, but it’s sheer simplicity is what gives you the “So what’s that all about then?” feeling.
What not to say: “Bloons! They’ve finally made a film of Bloons!”
What we like about it: No names, no face, no nothing. Just a silhouette of Batman on an ominous brownish cloud background. It’s all about the confidence behind the character – you know who this is, we don’t need to explain him to you – and this new sense of mystery and brooding fear that the franchise’s reboot was trying to achieve. All that from a man in a cape? Not bad.
What not to say: “Is this the one with The Penguin in? Where’s The Penguin? I want to see The Penguin!”
What we like about it: What kind of cocksure movie has a teaser poster of someone’s back? The Bourne Ultimatum, that’s who. A pair of ears, a conventional short-back-and-sides, a generic dark blue jacket – and yet it could only be Jason Bourne. Playing off the fact that we know and love the character so much – and can’t wait for his next film – even this tiniest glimpse is enough to get us intrigued.
What not to say: “Jason Bourne is BACK, geddit? He’s BACK? Huh? Huh? Where are you going?”
What we like about it: Creative white space can naff off. Creative black space is the new creative white space, and it’s never better displayed that this magnificent teaser poster for Buried, giving you an immediate sense of claustrophobia just by looking at it. Seriously, it’s spooky.
What not to say: “Is this film actually called ‘Coming Soon’? Because that would be awesome.”
What we like about it: This poster has some cheek. Cloverfield, kept under so many well-wrapped wraps that it resembled the Michelin Man before release, then goes and releases this beauty of a poster, and all it’s got on it is a date? Well, well, well… let the clue gathering begin. Smoking Manhattan buildings, a headless Statue Of Liberty, a wake in the water that leads to the ravaged city…? It asks so many questions and gives you none of the answers, and it does it bloody brilliantly.
What not to say: “I can see my house from here!”
What we like about it: The phrase “Why so serious?” is brilliant in the first place, but what makes this poster so gosh-darn intriguing is the focus that pulls you into the bloody words, to the bloody smile, then Joker’s body, but refuses to show you his face – not properly, anyway – and you can suddenly feel your brain juggling two thoughts at once: “I must find out more about this movie” as well as “This is so frickin’ cool!”
What not to say: “If he’s writing on glass, he’s have to write backwards, and that looks too good to be done that way, so… I’ll shut up now.”
What we like about it: Though it’s a pretty average movie, this poster is a bit of a treat. Without realising it, it seems that the down button on most lifts has been a little bit creepy all along. More creative black space used to good effect, too, and the “From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan” isn’t, ahem, too big.
What not to say: “But what if you want to go up, huh?”
What we like about it: It’s a poster that was first shown at Comic-Con, and, of course, attracted a lot of interest. It offers no clues (bar ‘D-9’), forcing you to ask people what the poster is about, and so, gets a buzz going about the movie. Also, the slightly dirty white background is a nice touch, as is the MNU symbols at the bottom.
What not to say: “What about prawns? Do they count?”
What we like about it: It’s a sad fact that the best thing about this horror franchise now is the iconic hockey mask that Jason Voorhees loves to don, but still, here it’s used to excellent effect, almost making you want to watch the movie. Almost.
What not to say: “There’s a Mighty Ducks number 4? Awesome!”
What we like about it: Clint Eastwood is one of the coolest men in existence. That’s all we have to say on the matter.
What not to say: “I love racing movies.”
What we like about it: It’s simple, it’s striking, it’s a sexy lady with a machine gun for a leg. What more could you want? The folded, weather-worn feel is also beautiful (note the little sticky tap mark between the two knees) and the backlighting is also excellent. Still, did we mention the machine gun for a leg?
What not to say: “That looks like a highly impractical firearm. Although, if she’s carrying it on the stump of her thigh, does that make it a fireleg?”
What we like about it: What’s that? Neil Patrick Harris riding a unicorn? Sure, why not. Maybe the best thing about this poster, besides the heavenly light behind him (and the immortal tagline), is NPH’s completely nonplussed face. “So I’m on a unicorn. What of it?”
What not to say: “Is this what God looks like?”
What we like about it: Hogwarts, aflame. It’s the stuff children’s nightmares are made of, and they’ve only gone and put it on a teaser poster, the bastards! What’s more, the reflection beneath it actually works, and the tower furthest left is, well, cool. Cool and almost burst to a crisp, but still.
What not to say: “They’re making Harry Potter movies now?”
What we like about it: Inspired, of course, by Shepard Fairey’s Barack Obama ‘Hope’ posters, it’s a subtle swipe at the fact that the British were coming to Washington, and a great opportunity to whack in an aggressively non-inspiring quote beneath.
What not to say: “Barack Obama has changed a lot for the mid-terms.”
What we like about it: What are the two things you associate most with Indiana Jones? That’s right, his brown fedora and his leather bullwhip. It’s all that needs saying, really. Okay, it’s a shame there’s a crate with his name on it, but still, it immediately gets you excited.
What not to say: “I want that hat. I want that hat I want that hat I want that hat.”
What we like about it: There’s so much beautiful, gory detail here. From the names carved into the bat to the bullet marks on the helmet, not to mention the liberal dabbings of blood here and there, there’s more to see ever time you look at this poster. Plus, it couldn’t be more-catching. Unless it had a girl with a machinegun for a leg, but hell, you can’t have everything.
What not to say: “Why is there a helmet strung on the bat, anyway? Seems a bit impractical.”
What we like about it: Back before Robert Downey Jr. became king of our nerdy hearts, Iron Man was still a little bit of an unknown. X-Men, Spiderman… other Marvel characters had been in the public consciousness, but this was a poster than made you want to know more about it, even if Ol’ Shell Head hadn’t been on your radar beforehand.
What not to say: “That doesn’t look like iron to me. Probably an aluminium/titanium alloy of some kind.”
What we like about it: Easily one of the best posters of 2005, it perfectly encapsulates a character whose life revolves around selling guns and ammunition – and it’s just as interesting up close as it is far away, always revealing a little bit more detail every time you look at it. Also, notice that the boilerplate credits go all the way around the top of the poster. We’re nerds, we know.
What not to say: “Guns! Wahey!”
What we like about it: “Yag Shemash!”
What not to say: “Yag Shemash!”
What we like about it: Again, its simplicity is its genius. You know Spider-man, but this isn’t Spider-man – this is Venom. Sure, the movie wasn’t quite what we hoped for, but this poster really got us hoping.
What not to say: “Whoops, someone accidentally switched on grayscale on photoshop!”
What we like about it: Who knew just a shadow could look so cool? Well, Bond’s shadow can, at any rate. Maybe it’s the gun. Or the suit. Or the 007-pistol symbol. Or the whole damn shebang.
What not to say: “Wait, it looks like the light is coming from the distance, and yet the shadow falls towards it…”
What we like about it: We’ve already discussed how the snakes’ tails don’t really match up with their bodies, but that doesn’t stop it from being a cracking teaser poster. Snakes. Planes. An allusion to the Caduceus symbol. It’s got it all.
What not to say: “How big are these snakes supposed to be, anyway?”
What we like about it: The new Superman symbol. Blue background. Job done.
What not to say: “Is this a bird or a plane?”
What we like about it: Say what you like about the movie, but this has to be one of best teaser posters ever published. Just one small boy, one shadow, and you’ve got one of the finest posters ever seen – amazing that something so simple can be so effective. Truly a little bit of a masterpiece.
What not to say: "Why isn't he casting two shadows if he's on Tatooine?" (Hat tip to britesparc)
What we like about it: A movie about legal wrangling between two men who founded a website was always going to be a little bit tricky to promote, poster-wise. They couldn’t be sexy, they couldn’t be action-packed, so they went clever. It’s a Mac Safari-style open web brower, the main character’s face, some overlayed text and a tiny title in the top right hand corner. And yet, you’re intrigued. Very, very intrigued.
What not to say: “Always been a Bebo man myself.”
What we like about it: It’s a wanted poster, but not your average wanted poster. For starters, there’s a bullet hole in the middle, and blood’s trickling down the title. Then, of course, you realise it’s not an actual wanted poster, it’s the True Grit poster, and it’s all you can do to stop yourself imagining Jeff Bridges wielding two pistols on horseback. Quick, get the Red Dead Redemption disc out, we’re off for a shootin’.
What not to say: “Is this a True Blood spin-off?”
What we like about it: Ominous, moody, bible-black, the image reflects just what the tagline says – “When ambition meets faith” – by showing The Holy Book with what could appear to be a thin, straight streak of blood. Portentous? Very.
What not to say: “As long as there won’t be Sunday School, I’m game.”
What we like about it: A real beauty from Shepard Fairey (yep, him off the Obama Hope posters), it takes you straight back to the ‘60s, like an old-fashioned music poster. We love the little Johnny Cash signature on the guitar’s neck.
What not to say: “Walk The Line? Is that one of his songs or something?”
What we like about it: Giant hairy wild thing? Check. Kid in a wolf costume? Check. The detail on this is extraordinary. You could get lost in that pelt, so you could.
What not to say: “Is this that blue Monsters Inc. fella’s brother?”
What we like about it: The idea of typing out all the Bushisms Dubya’s spouted out over all these years might seem like a cheap shot, but once you’ve read through them all, you’ve got a very clear image of the man in your mind. And if a poster can do that, it’s definitely done its job.
What not to say: “Dub-ya doesn’t even begin with W!”
What we like about it: The X-files. The ‘X’-files. Geddit? Seriously, this is a nice little idea well executed. Shame we can’t say the same about the movie, to be honest.
What not to say: “So… wait… was The X-Files set on Tatooine?” (Hat tip to Scandb)