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Posted by Thera on October 23, 2013

October, and more specifically Halloween, is one of my favourite times of the year. It’s a great time to admire the dark and grim side of things, including art and design. As a fan of horror movies and heavy metal, I wanted to take a look at some effective poster designs that thrill the senses, as well as some poor designs that make me want to go on a GTA chainsaw massacre. NOTE: The following are critiques of the poster designs only and not the movies/bands themselves.


30 Days of Night
This creative use of a silhouette and simple colours brings out all the gore and horror portrayed in the movie (or what should have been portrayed). The font used just goes to show that it’s possible to make a horror style wordmark and still make it legible.

Evil Dead
A badass tagline, simple colours, creepy silhouettes and great use of the original Evil Dead logo, which is very unique for the horror genre, make for a very intriguing movie poster.

Dawn of the Dead (Remake)
This 1996 remake poster really stands out because of its interesting colour palette, impactful title font and enticing tagline. The zombie shadows subtly hint at blood and gore, which nicely ties the poster theme together.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (Remake)
The photography and colour/lighting manipulation on this poster are simply incredible. Although the title font (Trajan Pro) is overused in the horror genre, it is effectively used here and is nicely framed by Freddy’s hands.

Primus Halloween Gig Poster
A unique illustration for a Primus Halloween gig using a fun posterized/comic style font
to compliment it.

Scream 4
A simple and sharp execution (pun intended) that is by far the best poster of the scream franchise. The graphic takes a unique spin on the iconic “Scream” mask while using the original Scream font as a secondary element. Also the designer has used a “4” to replace the “A” within the Scream wordmark, which works nicely.


Chopping Mall
There’s way too much going on in this poster. It takes a while to get an idea of what’s going on. This design would benefit from different a bag colour to create more contrast between the bag
and the gore inside.

The Descent
Overall, a good concept (with eye catching colours and lighting) but it’s hard to see that the arrangement of bodies is supposed be a skull at first glance. Also the title font would look better centre justified and the credit type running along the sides ruins the edges of the image.

Jack Frost
Cheesy image, ridiculous tagline and terrible use of a font that could have been interesting. I’m not sure if the designer intended for this to be horrible or not…

Scream 2
Not terrible. A very similar design to other 90s horror/thriller movies and the hierarchy of the design elements is pretty effective. However the placement the “2” and the arrangement of the characters faces make the poster pretty cheesy. It could have been vastly improved by having just the background faces and the tittle.

Black Christmas

Black Metal Band Gig Poster
We wanted to show a bad example of a horror themed concert poster. This poster is for a famous Black Metal band that played in Toronto a few weeks ago. While the band’s live show is amazingly terrifying, this poster does not do them justice. The illustration is kind of cool but the bad choice of two-tone colours make it hard to decipher what’s going on. Also the band’s names are illegible (a staple of most black and death metal bands) but could be made easier to read without compromising
the “badass-ness” of the font (see 30 Days of Night poster).


Horror themed designs are a great opportunity to experiment with more extreme fonts and graphics, but overdo it and you will end up with an aesthetic disaster. If you’re interested in creating your own thrilling, horror style designs for your Halloween party or gig, here’s my advice: keep it simple with high contrast colours and imagery. Select an interesting horror style font for your headline, but keep it easily legible and eye catching. This is easier said than done, so here are some design resources to help you get on your way to some killer designs:


Photos and Illustration: scary/filetypes/photos,illustrations,video/source/basic#15c2154b
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