Thursday, August 21, 2014

7 Bait-and-Switch Movie Posters

by Doug Schultz
Misleading. Inaccurate. Comically deceitful. What follows is a closer look at the world of film poster advertising. Warning: major spoilers ahead ...

1. Psycho (1960)
The mother of all stunt casting. Alfred Hitchcock's famous bait-and-switch selection of Janet Leigh as Marion Crain is made all the more baity-and-switchy by her larger-than-life appearance on the movie's poster. She's not only the most recognizable name in the film, she's also the single largest image on the one-sheet. Plus, she's wearing NOTHING BUT UNDERPANTS! Which, to the casual filmgoer, implies a.) nothing bad will happen to her, and b.) hubba-hubba. While Hitch delivers on the latter (lots of brassieres and voyeurism [before all the stabby-stabby]), the former threw 1960's audiences for a loop when she was unexpectedly dispatched within the first third of the movie. See also posters for: Steven Seagal in Executive Decision (1996), Drew Barrymore in Scream (1996) and Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween: Resurrection (2002).

2. The Evil Dead (1981)
I'm really not complaining -- this poster kicks all kinds of ass -- but the scene depicted here never appears in the movie. Sure, there's a few forest foot-chases and some supernatural slayings, but this gruesome death bears no resemblance to the film. Again, I'M FINE WITH THIS. It' s just my duty to both a.) point this out, and b.) please that booty.

3. Leprechaun (1993)
Unlike several other misleading movie posters, the original theatrical poster for Mark Jones' Leprechaun is not disingenuous. In fact, it's pretty straight-forward. But can you see how it's just a LITTLE different from the updated DVD cover, shown here?
Right. So Leprechaun was released almost two years before Friends deputed on NBC in September 1994. And, obviously, Jennifer Aniston, at that time, was a nobody trying to break big in her first feature film role. And break big she did ... only not because of this movie. Her sitcom stardom inspired the producers to change both the cover art and the movie's tagline. Could she BE any more famous? See also posters for: Tom Hanks in Mazes and Monsters (1982), Samuel L. Jackson in Def by Temptation (1990) and Jack Black in Bongwater (1997).

4. Camp Hell (2010)
I'm separating this movie from previous categories because this poster inspired a lawsuit. Jesse Eisenberg sued Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment for turning his tiny cameo into an above-the-title billing, complete with his GIANT FACE front and center. It's been reported that Eisenberg is, in fact, a friend of director George VanBuskirk, and that the whole lawsuit is nothing but a publicity stunt. However, Eisenberg's asking price for "damages" is $3 million (more than the budget of the movie, and 1,000 times his one-day acting fee of $3,000), so I'm guessing the dude really hates people who fraudulently capitalize on his fame. Keep in mind that his appearance in this movie happened in 2007, BEFORE Eisenberg received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Social Network (2010).

5. World's Greatest Dad (2009)
Not only does this poster suffer from the BOLD, RED UPPERCASE FONTS problem, it also looks like it's just another bland Robbin Williams (RIP) comedy about a presumably wacky dad and his presumably wacky kid. In actuality, it's a black comedy about the aftermath of an asshole kid who accidentally kills himself in an autoerotic asphyxiation "accident." The dad (Williams) stages the death as a suicide, and writes a fake suicide note to spare his son the anticipated post-mortem humiliation. The suicide note gets published (because of course it does), and soon becomes popular around the school, with many students claiming to have been friends with the deceased. The dad, who [it should be pointed out] is a FAILED WRITER, enjoys the attention, and soon forges a fake journal, gets a book deal and appears on TV. Racked with guilt, the dad finally confesses, then strips naked and jumps into a pool. And yes, I'm talking Full Spano Robin Williams (too soon?). See also posters for: Trainspotting (1996), In Bruges (2008) and Frozen (2013).

6. King Arthur (2004)
Notice anything different here?
I want to believe!

7. Invasion U.S.A. (1985)
Uh, Chuck Norris never steps foot in Washington D.C. OR New York City, despite what this movie poster, like, shows us. In fact, the whole thing takes place in fucking Florida. Uh, can you say "refund"? See also poster for: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) for some kaiju Shock and "Awwww."


  1. Regarding Ms. Knightley's "strategic enhancement:" Warren Beatty made a film in the 70's called "Heaven Can Wait." The poster features Beatty in a track suit. Legend has it when he saw the initial poster he was quite upset, as he felt his, er, "package" was insufficiently grand. Thus, time and money were reportedly spent to give him a bulge befitting his megastar status. Vanity, thy name is Warren.

  2. As you may know by now, im a big Evil Dead fan. This poster firstly is rubbish. I agree.

    But what is more interesting is the different versions. The less tame version of this same poster sometimes used doesn't have the strap on the left side hanging off the shoulder but on top in the correct location and also the provocative rip of the shirt on her right Boob or Breast if you like. Im not sure which word to use to not give Doug another boner, was also changed later
    I think the strap coming down and ripped shirt was added later. Im not fully sure now which way around the changes occurred just that they did, the 2 small changes do make the poster a bit more raunchy though. More boner tastic. Sorry Doug. Thats enough boner references. Ill stop now

  3. Ps trust Doug to notice the King Aurther poster.
    Just like me. Im a boobie man myself

  4. Nice to see Warwick Davis got some billing too in the revised edition