Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Visual Review 7: Death Proof Movie Poster

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Via Google Images
“Two separate sets of voluptuous women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman who uses his "death proof" cars to execute his murderous plans.” (IMDb)

That tagline on the poster, pretty much sums up the film. Released in 2007, This Quentin Tarantino B-movie was shown in theaters as a part of “Grindhouse”, a double movie feature which also premiered Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror.

Unlike many movie posters which have cut out pictures from promo shoots to use as a film cover, this Tarantino film’s poster is drawn/sketched with chalk. The images are placed in the upper and middle thirds of the poster. This draws the eye to the important parts (the car and the title of the film). The poster shows us a deep depth of field. It’s like a long shot which gives off the effect of the car being in motion. Lines lead us to a road wit this “Death Proof” vehicle with silhouettes of eight ladies in view.
    Linear perspective applies to this poster. The vehicle shown in motion implies it goes on beyond the poster. That car continues to zoom out of our site. It would almost be like a vanishing point if it were moving forward in the opposite direction (which is funny, because that references to the movie itself; The movie Vanishing Point is referenced through dialogue; and the ladies in the second half find the vehicle identical to the one from the film).

There is emphasis put on the title of the film. The drawn vehicle leads us to the the title. The size isn’t overpowering anything else on the poster. The poster is relying on visuals rather than odd-font or huge text. The color breaks from the breaks from the black/white/grey scheme by using red to make the title stick out. The title size is larger than the director’s name. Probably by choice of the director to focus on it. Through advertisement and press releases, audiences and fans already know it’s a Tarantino film. The title is tilted a little as well as the directors name. We also get the male star’s name put on the vehicle (in plain lettering), which represents his character. The font doesn’t really show action--it could be a comedy--but I think the title itself takes away any hint at that.
    The choice of putting the title in quotation marks, I see not only as a way to site a movie (as people do versus using italics), but I think it’s ironic. It relates to events/dialogue in the movie. “This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you really need to be sitting in my seat.” (Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike).

The car itself is falling, as it moves down and out of the poster. The female silhouettes in the background are rising, which can symbolize the second half of he film (them challenging Stuntman Mike). There is tension, I think, in the darkness of the car. I also think there are good color choices made in this poster. Stuntman Mike in the dark going what could be into darkness and away from the light (sunrise) shown behind the silhouetted ladies. The objects fill up the center viewpoint again bringing your eye to the middle and lower portions of the poster.

The negative space in the poster can also symbolize the location (which is the country--middle of nowhere). Stuntman Mike is driving but is in the shadows (representing his dark and menacing character). The blackness contrasts well with the red color choices in the background and in the title text. I don’t think this poster would look the same without these colors. If it were in live color with actual shots of the actors, the poster wouldn’t have the same effect. The car almost looks as if it were erased away at the headlights to give off the effect of bright headlights, emulating nighttime. Whoever the artist was behind this poster did a great job, I think.

I didn’t need to be sold to buy the poster and the DVD, because I already knew what the film was about. I think for an outsider, they’d be pretty curious just by looking at the film.
    People can talk about how bad this movie was. Or how it was one of the worst/schlocky B movies, but I don’t care. I have a thing for bad movies, I guess. Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite directors and Death Proof is one of my favorite movies.


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