Friday One Sheet: A Brief History Of Crying On Movie Posters
It is not overly typical to put characters crying on your movies poster (unless you are Jordan Peele). Or if you are trying to be transgressive, and exceptionally arty, like one of the greatest posters of all time, for Michael Haneke's remake of Funny Games. Perhaps the most iconic one is the modern kickstarter of the found footage genre, which highlights the distressed final confessional of the films protagonist lost in the wilderness. The Blair Witch Project was lauded immensely on its immersive and tricky marketing campaign, mainly online, but traditionally as well.
This is not even the first column in these pages on the subject, as per the Quad Poster for Kitamura Ryûhei's 1990s style horror thriller Down Range which at the time, prompted a teaser of sorts, on this subject.
Tthere are two types of crying on posters, and the above, 'the ugly cry,' is more rare than the 'stylish iconography cry.' Examples of the more stylish use of tears are a bit more common and span genres from the dystopian thriller with the glossy marketing materials of The Hunger Games, found footage zombie mayhem (at a wedding) in this stylish poster for [REC]3 (which is similar to the extreme close-up of Dr. Phibes Rise Again). Even John Waters more literal/eponymous take on a young teen idol in the form of Johnny Depp in Cry Baby, goes for style over emotion.
I am partial to the more transgressive, confrontational and uncomfortable mode. Crying is about naked emotion is very effective. This is perhaps best exemplified in this 'I'm disappointed in you America' piece of legendary advertising for the Keep America Beautiful foundation, which is not exactly a movie poster, but it sure feels like it.
So now we have the recent key art for Ari Aster's follow up to Hereditary (which had a confrontational, dead start poster, albeit one without tears), which capitalizes on the incarnations, and brings this concept into bright colours, with its 'summer festival' theme.
Long live tears in marketing.