In October of 1978 a movie was released that kicked off a new cycle of Horror. The Cycle became known as the slasher and the movie was John Carpenter’s Halloween. However, before anyone saw the picture, audiences were given a taste of what was to come by the poster.
The poster was painted by artist Robert Gleason and has become part of the iconic imagery of Michael Myers and the night he came home. This original painting is now up for sale by Heritage Auctions.
The poster is at the same time blatant and subtle. The sharp angles of the bottom of the pumpkin and the knife that evoke teeth and a primal feeling of the killer about to strike: something that can’t be reasoned with; a fire burning through the eyes as the killer comes out of the darkness. However, if that wasn’t scary enough, there’s more subtle imagery that speaks the subconscious: the worm-like veins in the hand and the shadowy, wailing faces in the knuckles. There’s rough and uneven texture on the pumpkin and it tapers off at an odd and unnatural angle to blend in with the knife handle, suggesting the blade and the mind are one. Even the reflections on the knife suggest blood running down the blade.
Movie posters have one job and that is to get people in the theatre. It’s rare that we can look at one and see deeper meaning, and maybe that’s the problem. The market is flooded with remakes, reboots and sequels and how many people would pay $18,000.00 for an original remake poster? But that’s a conversation for another day.