Exorcist Film Background & Poster Analysis + Horror Market Research

The Exorcist (1973)

Directed by: William Friedkin

The movie: ‘The Exorcist’
is quite possibly the scariest movie ever made. Even writing its name down here
has me squirming uncomfortably in my seat. Controversial and truly harrowing;
its release roused audiences back in the 70s by questioning the existence of god
and offering Satan the squatting rights to the body of a 12-year-old girl.

The reality: ‘Exorcist’ was based on real-life case,
The film took its inspiration from the last known
Catholic-sanctioned exorcism in the United States, where priests attended to a
13-year-old boy after his parents complained about his aggressive behaviour. The
facts are a little murky, so whilst there may be some truth to reports that the
boy spoke in a demonic accent and moved objects with his mind; he almost
definitely didn’t spin his head entirely round, levitate or talk
gobbledygook.

Even spookier however is the so-called ‘Exorcist’ curse,
which afflicted the film’s crew. Depending on who you ask, between four and nine
people involved with the movie died either in production or shortly after;
whilst filming was repeatedly delayed by a spate of mysterious fires and serious
on-set accidents.

above Quoted from Yahoo Main site feed

Exorcist Film Poster Analysis

It’s easy to forget that until recently our cities were full
of private spaces and dark recesses. The sodium-glow of access-all-areas
modernity has developed as a consequence of 24/7 consumer culture.
The hat,
coat and bag combo, worn by the protagonist, distinguishes this quasi-medical
professional as belonging to an earlier age.

The silhouetted figure is often used in horror movies, most
commonly retro horror movies, to emote fear, and draws on the fact that people
are naturally cautious about suspicious figures, and don’t like the fact you
cant see who the character is. The main image is in the centre, which draws
people’s eyes into the website, and also makes the layout simples and easier to
navigate around as the links and information are placed around it. This might
also be a still shot from the movie, so the audience would relate this to the
movie, and ties all of the promotional packages together.

The poster design for The Exorcist contains several important
semiotic elements. The most obvious of these is the extreme contrast between
light and dark elements of design
In this poster, through a coded visual
language that arranges significant elements into a coherent and meaningful
whole. This process of visual coding is understood as semiotics. We learn
through experience to understand these codes.

The poster design for The Exorcist contains several
important semiotic elements. The most obvious of these is the extreme contrast
between light and dark elements of design. In art, these exaggerated contrasts
are designated by the term chiaroscuro. This is the device by which the relative
contrast between light and shade is used to give dynamic form to the objects in
the picture. Inevitably, the art of shadows has always been understood as
morally symbolic.

So, the poster locates the film precisely within a tradition
of American cinema and also within the wider tradition of moral narratives that
simplify everything into black and white. These implicit references to the moral
landscape of chiaroscuro are further heightened by the use within the poster
design of old-fashioned street furniture. The street lamp and the railings
conjure up a powerful, and slightly disturbing, sense of decrepitude. The white
colour, which works well because it contrasts against the darker black
background and makes the text easy to read and stand out.

It is in plain black and white, the main feature of this poster
is the silhouette of the figure which seems to be isolated as there isn’t much
around, the black background almost suggests that everything in this mans life
is merging into the background.

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