In today’s society we are surrounded by posters; they are everywhere, anywhere you look. Everyday people are bombarded by posters, each one having a different purpose; some are to inform e.g. coffee mornings or book fairs, others to explain like leaflets at the doctors explaining about the flu jab, command like ‘stop smoking’ adverts and persuasive adverts from food shopping to cinema previews. They are everywhere on bus shelters, streets, sideboards, schools and shops. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours and each differ according top the audience or purpose.
Film posters are aimed at different audiences. The actual posters are outside cinemas to encourage people to come and see their film and no-one else’s. Over years posters change and evolve to suit our culture and society as it evolves. Posters change purpose to fit the audience and encourage potential viewers. Dracula has always been popular; there is an element of sexuality and people enjoy having their emotions aroused when they watch films. This is especially true when they want something to fear as the film draws them in. Audiences love the thought that maybe there are vampires and there is mystery and uncertainty about their existence.
Three Dracula posters were compared, the Dracula posters; from 1931, 1992 and 2001 all have similarities and differences. In the 1931 poster the title font is ‘shouting’, bold title of ‘Dracula’, which catches the audience’s attention. In contrast this he poster from 1992 has an interesting and cleverly chosen title being written in blood font to give the effect Dracula wrote it. This catches the audience’s attention especially if they love gore and horror as this gives the effect the film contains a lot of it. However it still keeps the framework of a typical vampire film, in contrast the 2001 poster’s title looks far more sci-fi than horror this is due to the lights ‘bursting through’ the poster making it appear like a time portal. The reason the title has changed so much is because society is beginning to look towards the future.
The slogans on the three posters all have the same element of passion and love with a sprinkling of evil. In 1931 it seems to have personalised writing saying, ‘The story of the strangest passion the world has ever known!’ Nevertheless in 1992 the message changes, as it is more of a mixed message of horror and love rather than the message of love from 1931, ‘Love never dies.’ In 2001 the title becomes more sexual but still is about love and horror.
‘The most seductive evil of all time has now been unleashed in ours!’ However all of the slogans contain a sense of eternity for example in 1931 the slogan contained the phrase ‘strangest ever know.’ Also in 1992 there is a strong sense of eternity for the fact the slogan is ‘Love never dies,’ meaning that his love will go on for all time. This is also shown in 2001 ‘the most seductive evil of all time,’ basically he will be there forever causing chaos.
The images change in the three posters in 1931 the images are; in the background a spiders web giving the impression he is patient like a spider patiently waiting for prey, also once your caught there’s no escape. There are some floating peoples head representing the living dead perhaps his prey or brides. Two claw-like hands are reaching from the edge of the poster inside appearing to be trying to grab someone, further more the nails are like talons maybe like owl of eagle talons that are used to silently and swiftly catch prey.
Dracula’s portrayal in this poster is a mature, upper class man with a hidden demon inside. This is shown by the fact he is dressed in upper class clothing a white tie and dinner jacket, he appears in eveningwear. He looks at a mature age with a few wrinkles but not too many to be over fifty or so years old. His eyes give away the demon inside him, as they seem evil, staring and hypnotic almost as if the person looking at this poster is his newly spotted victim.
On the other hand in the poster from 1992 the image isn’t as graphical but seems ancient. This is because of the detail of a gargoyle of Dracula’s face with two wolves showing his element of being old, a predator and a beast not at all like Dracula from 1931 but the beast from 1992. A gargoyle is a statue that can be found in a church building, which tends to be extremely old so the gargoyle represents his age. The wolves almost gives the image that he could hunt in a pack but is very sly and shows no mercy He has his mouth open he is ready to eat and his teeth are showing and bared, he doesn’t seem to his true self unlike in 1931 where the poster showed him pretending to a upper class etc. But in this poster he seems to be represented as a more fearless, obvious killer. Showing his demon self on the outside and not hidden away.
In contrast to the other two posters; in 2001 Dracula is pictured a lot more futuristic, mysterious and the only evidence of Dracula is his trademark cloak. It appears he is walking out of hell to haunt our earth. This is shown by the fact there is a blinding light coming from behind him and a hidden door which gives the impression he has just been unleashed or escaped from hell to turn our world into his playground. He doesn’t seem as beast like as the representation of Dracula in 1992 but he also doesn’t seem like the old fashioned Dracula from 1931. He is more science fiction and he is appearing to be fearless walking proudly in the poster.
The poster of Dracula in 1931 says it is not any film but ‘the’ vampire thriller. It is also shown as Tod Browning’s Dracula this is because many people would have heard of this directors previous films such as ‘freak’ and they would expect the same calibre of film in this one. The second poster is much more based on Bram Stokers Dracula rather than in 2001 where it is now Wes Cravens not Bram’s. The reason it is now Wes Cravens is the same reason as it was Tod Browning’s Dracula and that is people have heard of the director and know that this film will be a hit, like ‘Nightmare on Elm Street.’
In all the posters the image is the main focus and the title is the second focus. The three posters are representative of Dracula posters and show how the depiction of Dracula has changed over the years. But they also reflect how societies fears and aspirations have changed from 1931 where people were conscious about the danger within, how things appear normal but could be dangerous inside.
Furthermore in 1992 when Dracula appears more predatory with huge teeth, they fear AIDS/HIV and Dracula could have passed it on by drinking different peoples blood. Then in 2001 people now worry about an outsider or alien coming and attacking, also it could reflect peoples feelings about one country invading another or terrorists. So each film has its own poster and Dracula has changed in each film according to its audience and what pleases them and quenches their thirst for horror!