And that headline is indeed self-attacking.
A couple weeks back, I linked to a Critics Notebook feature I put together on Ti West‘s The House of the Devil, for which I chatted with the writer-director for an engaging, fun hour-or-so in mid-October. One of the talking points we hit upon that, sadly, didn’t have room to breathe in the feature was the film’s amazing series of posters, all vintage without looking cheesy; just perfect, frankly. West had some pretty interesting things to say about this subject, but the feature was inflating at ludicrous speed and, in the end, I felt the poster issue got lost in the overall shuffle.
Before first seeing the film, my fear was that the posters would ultimately be better than the film itself, but, fortunately, The House of the Devil lives up to the promise.
Sean Fennessey, my fellow movie-loving music journalist, has fortunately taken care of this issue, in his New York/Vulture piece that surfaced today. Titled “Neil Kellerhouse on The House of the Devil‘s Artsy, Retro Posters,” it’s a quick, entertaining read, where Kellerhouse explains the creative process behind five of the key posters, including my personal favorite; this one instantly gave (and still gives) me a Lucio Fulci vibe for a few different reasons:
I rarely link to stories of this variety here, but this one seems like a no-brainer. Give it a look, it’s a job well done (and something I wish I would have pitched around myself):
After the jump, I’ve posted the part of my Ti West interview where we discussed these posters; I figure, might as well let these quotes lives now, right?:
ME: The posters for this film have been pretty incredible. Who designed them, and what gave you the idea to bombard people with so many different posters?
TiWest: “That’s what’s so great about Magnolia [Pictures]. When Magnolia bought the movie, I said, Okay, I’m not happy with the poster that the other company did. I don’t know who you guys want to use, but, the posters that are out for The Girlfriend Experience, I was just blown away by. I don’t know if that was just Soderbergh and his friends, or if it was some particular designer, but if there’s any chance of getting him,” and they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s this guy Neil. We love Neil, let’s have him do one.’ His name is Neil Kellerhouse. They sent it to Neil, and he wanted to do it. He sent us a whole bunch of options, and the reason there’s so many online is that it was so hard to choose. He did such an amazing job, and, like, I can tell you from experience—–when you send it to designers, they send you back 99% horrible designs and one that’s okay, and that’s what your always stuck with. That’s why DVD box art always sucks, that’s why everyone always wonders why it happens. It’s because most designers are terrible, and Neil is really amazing and he gave all these amazing options. The first one he gave us is the one we actually printed, and that’s the best one for the movie; I think it’s the most evocative.”
ME: Which one is that?
Ti West: “That’s the one with the house on fire and her above it. That’s the one that we all went, ‘Okay, look…..This has to be the movie poster.’ But, so many of the others ones he made are amazing, too. So we did this online promotion where we’d throw them all online and keep people psyched, because we couldn’t print all of them, but we didn’t want to just have them disappear forever. His posters are so evocative, which is something that posters today mostly are not. And it’s not just Photoshop; I’m sure Neil did those in Photoshop, but the way he used it is so much more repsectful of the movie. I saw examples from other designers, and they’d just be someone screaming and then a monster face, and I’d keep thinking, ‘This is nonsense.’ He’s just a great artist.”