Originally published October 26, 2016.
The horror genre has some of the most striking and visually interesting posters in cinema. Here are 20 to appreciate (in order of release) whether they’re framed on your wall or just in your heart. Don’t forget to check out the other posters we’ve highlighted here!
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
There’s something really special about the style of horror/sci-fi thriller posters of the 1950s. Creature from the Black Lagoon is a classic favourite, but take your pick: they’re all charming and pulpy as hell.
Black Sunday (1960)
Starting off strong with, “Stare into those eyes!” Barbara Steele has a pair of the most iconic eyes in the genre and her hypnotic stare is used in this classic illustrated poster for Bava’s excellent Black Sunday.
Village of the Damned (1960)
Another case of paralyzing eyes, this time belonging to creepily advanced children who may or may not be evil. Either way, kids are scary and this poster’s muted yellows and greens give them a sickly glow.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
One of the most beautiful posters in the horror genre due to its simplicity is Rosemary’s Baby. The dark silhouette of the carriage on a hill gives a sense of foreboding terror that the film still delivers on to this day.
Night of the Living Dead (1969)
The poster every classic horror fan has on their wall: Look at all that terror! Instantly recognizable and always a joy to behold, Night of the Living Dead is the kind of poster that starts conversations with other film fanatics and begs you to give the film a repeat viewing.
The Exorcist (1973)
Another poster with an excellent use of shadow and light, and one that brings memories of terror to those who remember it in its day. This ominous silhouette draws the viewer into its tale of possession and familial desperation under the glow of a streetlamp.
This is probably the most recognizable and mentioned poster in the genre. In fact, it’s so classic I almost didn’t want to include it on the list! The view of the impossibly large killer shark coming for the bathing beauty is one for the ages and has inspired many lesser versions since its creation.
Demon Seed (1977)
This view of Susan Harris lying nude, her hair splayed into inky blackness, is perfection. “Julie Christie carries the Demon Seed!” is both titillating and terrifying and everything you could want with its vague minimalist style.
This Inferno poster captures the famous Argento colours perfectly, while remaining mysterious and sleek. It still holds onto some of those great ’70s vibes before we get further into the ’80s when things get a little more wacky.
Chopping Mall (1986)
Check out this deliciously red bloody font! The Chopping Mall poster is so campy with its outstretched ghoulish robotic hand carrying a head in a shopping bag. This one communicates how fun the movie’s going to be and is an instant icebreaker for guests in your home.
This poster for Cronenberg’s Scanners is a treat. It perfectly captures the terror before the hinted-at explosions, and one of the best moments of the film. It pairs perfectly with the trailer which drew audiences in with its grisly head-popping scenes.
Basket Case (1982)
This quintessential New York horror movie has a gem of a poster, giving just enough of a view of what’s in the basket to get audiences to come out and see just what’s inside. It also has that bloody font that ‘80s gorehounds are so fond of–a little hint about its tongue-in-cheek moments.
Cronos (1993) (Criterion version)
The poster features the film’s ancient golden device, with just a hint of the bloodshed an unhealthy obsession with immortality could bring. The black and gold contrast is classy enough for your more refined guests and doesn’t give too much away.
Planet Terror (2007)
Love or hate this movie, there’s something so badass about Rose McGowan with a machine gun for a leg. It also inspires a morbid curiosity to find out how her leg got like that and how it works. (You kind of just have to go with it.) I think about this Grindhouse flick often, because I wish I looked that cool.
The House of the Devil (2009)
Not only is this entire movie a flawless ‘80s throwback, so is the fantastic poster. We have the eerie looking mansion on fire, the almost-penitent shot of the mysteriously bloody babysitter in darkness, and a scratchy font to tickle the throat and curiousity.
The Innkeepers (2011)
That’s right, we have two Ti West posters back to back because he loves that throwback style! This one is scarier with a ghostly vibe and some clever keys pointed towards a stormy-grey sky. Dark and chilling while still remaining classy!
The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears (2013)
This poster is absolutely gorgeous in every single way. The stained glass motif is stunning. Both the title and style are great. Look at the beautiful hair and the tiny man in her hand! What does it all mean? I don’t know, but it would make a great tattoo. It’s up to you if it makes a good movie.
Starry Eyes (2014)
Fans love this watercolor-esque poster in deep reds and blues. It hints at the dark possibilities that lie within this movie about fame and obsession. The main character’s eyes raised to the sky in a near-religious trance is chilling to the bone in a hauntingly beautiful way.
We Are Still Here (2015)
Do haunted houses ever get old? This one is suspiciously close to a combination of the Starry Eyes and House of the Devil posters, and that’s what makes it great. Add a smoky effect for maximum ghost status and you’ve got a winner.
The Void (2016)
This movie is still in the festival circuit, and its poster is the ultimate tease for a horror fan. It looks like there might be a promise of body horror, psychedelic space aliens, and god knows what else. The poster and buzz about it makes it one of the most anticipated movies of the year, and we can see why!
Featured Image: Paramount Pictures