Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Poster Posting: The Hills Have Eyes

Hopping into the subway over the weekend, this image caught my eye:

The Hills Have Eyes is a remake of the 1977 Wes Craven horror film of the same name. I have not seen it, but according to all descriptions, the film is about a family stranded in the deserted, pitted "against a clan of inbred cannibals." The remake's trailer makes it clear that, inbred and cannibalistic as they may be, they are also horrifically mutated by nuclear fallout.

Great, now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at that poster. In it, the pasty paw of an unseen assailant — presumably a fallout-laden inbred cannibal — is holding down his victim. Presumably, the mutant cannibal (or "mutannibal," if you prefer) has something weighty and blunt in his unseen hand, and he's planning to use it to beat the ever-loving crap out of her.

It's a tad misogynistic but, whatever, it's a horror movie and that's par for the course. What caught my eye wasn't the pose, it was the girl. Look at her face again: smooth and surprisingly docile for someone whose death is seemingly seconds away. This woman is way too calm for someone face-to-face with a horribly-mutated killer. For purposes of comparison, look at the expression on the face of this woman in a still from the film:

See, now that's proper terror. That's what it looks like to be assailed by mutannibals! And I should know.

So why the placid face in the poster? Call me crazy, but I have to see it as a classic case of having your horror cake and eating your sex too. Horror movies have to be scary, but they have to be sexy too. I would have to guess that this is a marketer's attempt to kill both birds with one poorly-aimed stone. Since you can't very well give a come hither scare to a violent albino psychopath (well, I suppose, certain unseemly people could, but not the types in a major motion picture), the best you can do is to look like you don't care one way or the other; like being held down and made to beg for your life is just another day in the office.

Then again, I'm sure this poster was selected out of dozens of prototypes, and vetted through focus groups in malls around the country, whose opinions are much more important than mine. I'd love to be a fly on the wall of those discussions — "Well we like the man holding the woman down to bludgeon her to death, but does the woman have to look so scared about it?"

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Blogger Kirk said...

I came to this site because we both loved the movie Gymkata. Imagine my disappointment when I actually started reading your filthy smut. It's people like you that give gymkatists a bad name.

1:02 AM  
Blogger Matt Singer said...

For my sins, I should certainly be deported to Parmistan's Village of the Crazies, where I can live out the rest of my life amongst my own kind.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Kirk said...

Go ahead and make jokes, but God is watching.

1:15 AM  
Anonymous jesse said...

I've passed this poster approx. one jillion times over the past week, but I hadn't thought of it that way before -- that's a very astute observation. I think I instinctively assumed that the woman was supposed to have been sleeping someplace, and just woken up when the mutant-cannibal-serial-killer (what, no incest?) touched her face, and maybe she hasn't figured out what's going on yet? But reading your analysis makes that seem like a bit of a stretch.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Matt Singer said...

Speaking posters, I didn't know that Spidey 3 one was out until I saw it on your blog...is it healthy for a poster for a movie about a nerd in tights make me drool this much?

7:58 PM  

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