Horror movie posters are some of the best in the business. There is no denying that. Even if you're not a fan of horror, you can't help but be drawn in by these captivating works of art. They are meant to be eye-catching and, at times, misleading. The horror poster usually tells you everything you need to know about the movie you're about to watch. But that's not always the case. Sometimes the studios and graphic designers get a little clever and hide things in the poster. Let's take a look at ten horror movie posters with hidden details.
10 The Jungle (2013)
While Steven Spielberg revised Jurassic Park a number of times, the logo for the film was also retooled again and again. Not to mention, the film has an excess of unused posters that never made it past the preliminary stages.
Now, unless you're a big fan of Jurassic Park as well as aware of every obscure creature feature in the last decade, you would never connect these two films. In fact, it's a bit of a reach. But Andrew Traucki's 2013 found-footage movie The Jungle sports a poster that eerily resembles one of those aforementioned, unused Jurassic Park posters. Coincidence?
9 Us (2019)
Jordan Peele opened the floodgate for social thrillers to be popular again in cinema. His Oscar-winning debut Get Out was celebrated upon its release. It broached a subject matter other filmmakers just were not touching at the time. Peele followed up with Us, another well-received genre film.
Observant viewers would notice the posters were very telling about the movie's basic plot, which was also revealed in the initial trailers. Something else worth noting is the shape of the scissors in the main poster resembling the back-to-back heads pictured in the early poster. In addition, you also might have missed that in the scissors poster, only one hand is gloved. This is because it's two different people's hands. If you've seen Us, you know what this means.
8 The Exorcist (1973)
Sometimes the simplest posters are the best ones. They are minimalist and not prone to business like so many film posters being made today. There is also a timeless quality to them. One prime example is the poster for William Friedkin's horror classic The Exorcist. If you look at the poster, you think it's just a spooky shot of Father Merrin standing outside the house that will forever change his life. In truth, Bill Gold's haunting poster's design was based on René Magritte's painting "The Empire of Lights" (c. 1953-1954).
7 Valentine (2001)
Valentine is one of the last big-budget, mainstream slasher movies to cash in on Scream's success before Hollywood all but shirked the subgenre. It was not a successful picture as it did not even break even at the box office. Critics and one of the film's stars were not kind to Valentine either. The movie's story was particularly targeted; this was likely because of production and casting issues.
For instance, the cast was originally going to include Jennifer Love Hewitt, and at one point, Tara Reid was in consideration for a role. In the end, neither actress is in the movie. But what's even stranger is that someone else not in Valentine is on the poster. Who exactly is that standing in front of Katherine Heigl? She's definitely not Marley Shelton, the movie's central character.
6 Orphan (2009)
Killer kids or "bad seeds" were a popular subgenre throughout horror history. Interest in these terrorizing tykes dissipated in the 2000s for the most part. Then came along Jaume Collet-Serra's 2009 thriller Orphan. This movie is wild, as anyone who has seen it will tell you. The best thing you can do if you haven't, though, is not to read anything about it before watching.
The poster for the film has always left people unsettled. Why? If you look at it, it's just a head-on shot of the movie's star Isabelle Fuhrman. Seems somewhat harmless. Look again. In fact, the graphic designer mirrored one side of Fuhrman's face to create an impossibly symmetrical image. This was done to make viewers uncomfortable.
5 Jaws (1975)
You might not realize it, but Steven Spielberg's seafaring horror Jaws is based on a real-life event. Sort of. You see, author Peter Benchley was inspired by the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916. Then, the book's original cover featured a rather adorable shark staring up at a potential victim on the water's surface.
Artist Roger Kastel used this image to make the iconic poster that we all know and fear. What you might not have recognized is that in the original poster, the swimmer is completely nude. Makes sense ,seeing as the character of Chrissie was skinny-dipping in the film's opening. Over the years, though, the poster has been "updated" to hide that plain fact. Now, you only see the woman's silhouette obscured by sea foam and opaque blues (as seen above).
4 Cloverfield (2008)
Cloverfield renewed interest in kaijū movies, a subset of science fiction and horror where giant monsters wreak havoc. Director Matt Reeves and producer J.J. Abrams helmed this project that was admittedly innovative when it came to its own promotion. Something people did not pick up on the Cloverfield posters immediately was the identity of the eponymous monster. But in the smoke and shadows on the poster, you don't see a monster, right? Actually, you do. Only if you mess with the original image. If you mirror the right side and put the images together, you get a smoke-filled shape that resembles the monster. And in a variant of the same poster, the monster's head is hidden in the clouds by the Statue of Liberty.
3 Gremlins (1984)
Gremlins is that subversive movie you can watch at Halloween, Christmas, or simply during both holidays. It's a great time for yuletide fans or Scrooges. There's something for everyone in Joe Dante's 1984 movie. The theatrical release poster for Gremlins is a beautifully painted piece of work that hints at things to come. While you will undoubtedly focus on Zach Galligan's character Billy holding the ominous box with Gizmo's hands hanging over the sides, you might miss an Easter egg. The fastening button on the top of Billy's jeans has a familiar emblem in the middle. That's the logo for Amblin Entertainment, which produces the Gremlins franchise.
2 Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Silence of the Lambs is influential as both a horror movie as well as a thriller. The film helped create the format that all other serial killer flicks would — and still — use today. The famous poster we think of when Silence of the Lambs is mentioned is the one with a death's-head hawkmoth hovering over Jodie Foster's face.
If you zoom in, however, you will see that the trademark skull on the moth's thorax is not the natural design found on these real-life insects. It's really a direct reference to Salvador Dali’s “In Voluptas Mors”. The same photograph was the inspiration behind one of the posters for The Descent, too.
1 Halloween (1978)
John Carpenter and Debra Hill's 1978 movie Halloween is largely responsible for the slasher boom that thrived between then and the mid-1980s. Yet, very few of these movies have ever become as prominent as Michael Myers' debut film. Which is why it is strange that no one ever noticed this detail on the original poster until a few years ago. Namely, netizens pointed out they saw Michael Myers' face in the hand. If you're having trouble seeing it for yourself, the knuckles form the eyebrow, the nose, and lips. But was this done on purpose? According to the artist Bob Gleason, it is simply a matter of pareidolia.