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The 30 coolest alternative movie posters ever

The 30 coolest alternative movie posters ever

The 30 coolest alternative movie posters ever
12 June 2012

While the Internet has a lot to be embarrassed about (Rebecca Black, for example), it also has a great deal to be incredibly proud of.

Aside from some of the more substantial stuff (bullying, political change etc), there's also the increase in alternative movie posters. A whole crowd of immensely talented designers have taken it upon themselves to create re-imagined posters for much-loved films. We've then spent an unreasonable amount of time gazing lovingly at them.

We've now assembled the 30 coolest offerings for you to stare lovingly at and feel free to let us know what we've missed off at the bottom.


Designed byJames White

A man, his car and the open road. As a metaphor for the crippling alienation that modernity can dole out this pretty much nails it. That’s why we admire James White’s remix of the artwork for Nicolas Winding Refn’s modern masterpiece. It captures a sense of ennui majestically. All Ryan Gosling’s unnamed driver has is his car. And the neon-clad lights of untold identikit towns through which he must pass.

The Birds

Designed byLaz Marquez

Nothing is scarier than that which you can’t understand. The marauding birds in Alfred Hitchcock’s spellbinding 1963 suspense thriller are a case in point. Why? What? How? The questions are unending. Thus, implanted in your mind is paranoia. Laz Marquez’s poster reflects this. The birds are literally camped in the head of a silhouette. They are messing with your mind. Creepy. And cool.


Designed byMassimo Carnevale

When designing a poster for Jaws the temptation to include the great white shark must be irresistible. Only the brave – or foolhardy – would omit the human munching machine. But that’s why this effort is sublime. Not seeing the shark is somehow more menacing – we know what Roy Scheider’s Brody is firing at. We are still gripped by terror. Nice use of aqua too.

American Psycho

Designed byChris Thornley

One of the central tenets of Bret Easton Ellis’s epoch-defining American Psycho is that the vaunted American Dream is rotten to the core. Chris Thornley’s arresting image reflects this perfectly. The blood pouring from the Stars & Stripes is not just that of Patrick Bateman’s victims, it is that of America itself. Chilling.

Back to the Future

Designed byPhantom City Creative

Is time a loop? Are we just going round and round and round? The Back To The Future trilogy messes with recognised time and space conventions to such a degree that the effect can be dizzying. Much like this hypnotic poster. The more you stare, the more you’re sucked into the vortex. Clever.

Blade Runner

Designed byCount Evil

The original poster for Ridley Scott’s enigmatic Blade Runner is busy, serious and complex. By stripping it back to something simpler, Count Evil has located the playful character at the heart of many sci-fi yarns. Which, curiously enough, makes the use of replicants in the film seem even more sinister.

Jurassic Park

Designed byWolf Cadet

The art (sorry) of de/reconstructing a film poster is tricky. The best route is to avoid the original wherever possible – especially when it, in this case Jurassic Park, has acquired iconic status. This makeover takes the can of shaving foam used in the film to steal dinosaur DNA specimens and makes it the crux of the image. Bold, direct, simple… and highly effective.

Die Hard

Designed byDaniel Norris

John McClane is the archetypal renegade cop; rules and regulations are not part of his vocabulary. Such notions of outsiderdom are evoked brilliantly in this dark and disturbing poster courtesy of Daniel Norris. The use of two colours – and in particular the malevolent combination of red and black – means there are no ambiguities. This is a man who, in his own fractured and idiosyncratic way, gets the job done.


Designed byGreg Polvi

Saul Bass’s poster for Hitchcock’s 1958 classic is arguably the greatest film poster ever made. So, no pressure in trying to come up with something equally arresting then! But we think Greg Polvi has come up with something pretty special. The fluctuating head image set against a simple green background draws you in until your mind is a mess of conflicting emotions. Mission accomplished.


Designed byVoagar

Released just a year apart (in 1979 and 1980 respectively), Alien and Pac-Man are prime avatars of the sci-fi-techno-geek explosion that coalesced in the late Seventies and early Eighties. It makes perfect sense for them to come together in this eye-catching representation of the film’s core themes. Ingenious.

The Shining

Designed byBen Whitesell

Stanley Kubrick’s retelling of Stephen King’s novel was a master class in cinematic suspense. Saul Bass’s poster made much of the abstract ambivalence in the film – this reworking goes straight for the haunting violence that reaches its crescendo at the film’s end. Jack Torrance is coming for you: the message couldn’t be clearer.

Top Gun

Designed byEmma Butler

What do you need to make Top Gun? Well, as this cunning poster, demonstrates you require, among others, a flight jacket, a motorbike, some dog tags, a pair of figure hugging briefs and a piano. Colourful, concise and with a hint of comedy, this appropriation of kids’ action models is beyond cool.

The Thing

Designed byTyler Stout

Whereas the original poster for John Carpenter’s horror classic depicted the ultimate in alien terror by focussing solely on the titular Thing, Tyler Stout’s interpretation reverses this effect by going for a bewildering sense of icy claustrophobia. The dark blue hues capture the cold sense of helplessness perfectly.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Designed byDaniel Norris

No Arnie. No shades. No chopper. No hope? Not at all. Honouring Arnie’s self-sacrifice Daniel Norris (him again) urges us all to stay positive. A motif for humanity? Sounds good to us. Although, granted, we’re not being lowered into a vat of molten steel.

Shadow Of A Doubt

Designed byRyan Tym

Alfred Hitchcock’s films are generally without reproach. Apart from one key ingredient: some of the promotional posters were often a bit samey - the bland, generic offering for Shadow Of A Doubt being a case in point. Thankfully, Ryan Tym has rectified this oversight. Echoing the film’s noir narrative, the poster relies on stark black and white imagery and foretells the mesmeric denouement aboard a train bound for San Francisco. Spirited and utterly compelling.

Pulp Fiction

Designed byJacob Wise

When faced with designing a poster for Quentin Tarantino’s high-octane postmodern magnum opus, the choices are overwhelming. Jacob Wise lives up to his name by offering a visual hybrid from the movie: the watch and adrenaline. The timepiece’s story is central to the film, while adrenaline is Tarantino’s overriding theme. A clever conceit.

The Breakfast Club

Designed byMatt Owen

Another crafty and colourful example of the fun you can have with these posters. The five students and teacher in John Hughes’s unforgettable rites of passage movie all conform to high school stereotype, but by reducing them to simple colour codes they become somehow mysterious and individual. An astute trick.

The Dark Knight

Designed byChristopher Anderton

The temptation with superhero blockbusters is to crank up the hyperbole and really go over the top. Not so Christopher Anderton. His depiction of Batman harks back to the Sixties pop art version, but also hints at the clandestine and murkier traits of Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan. The use of only four colours is inspired. Like a child’s drawing with complex undertones.


Designed byDan Sherratt

Dennis Pennis was right; Trainspotting was a shot in the arm for the British film industry. This minimal homage to the coolest film of the Britpop era has fun with the film’s narcotic themes and in doing so creates a stand-alone image that doesn’t seek to compete with the original’s memorable poster. Nice reference to that toilet scene too.


Designed byMaxime Pecourt

If, in your adult years, you find the original poster for Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film a touch sentimental, this alternative rework by Maxine Pecourt should be more to your tastes. The use of icons provides an alternate narrative and, as such, effortlessly evokes the Eighties and the joyous nature of childhood. The simple use of colour provides the final thumbs up.

Moonrise Kingdom

Designed byBrandon Schaefer

Wes Anderson’s films are so singular and outlandish that attempting to out weird him is a thankless task. To his credit, Brandon Schaefer hasn’t tried. Instead he’s gone for a bold, vibrant and intriguing design. Very pop art. Very cool.

Reservoir Dogs

Designed byIbraheem Youssef

Quentin Tarantino’s cinematic debut set a new standard for razor sharp cool. That’s why we love Ibraheem Youssef’s poster so much. It’s almost anti-cool in its childlike simplicity. And there’s nothing cooler than being anti-cool. Using various crayons to refer to Mr Blonde, Mr Blue and co is inspired.

An American Werewolf In London

Designed byOlly Moss

If at first all you see is a map of United Kingdom (and the Republic of Ireland) look again. Got it? Neat eh? The werewolf sinking its jaws into Wales and the north west of England is one of the cleverest designs we’ve seen. Symbolic, scary and, again, fairly simple. The use of red and black adds a layer of menace too.

Toy Story 3

Designed byPhilip Joyce

This is one instance where you can’t go too cuddly or too playful. Re-arranging the likes of Woody, Buzz, Mr Potato Head et al into a giant 3 is unassuming and immediate. The kaleidoscope of colour is another imaginative winner.

Dark City

Designed byChris Thornley

Nothing is as it seems in Alex Proyas’s 1998 cult classic. Questions are raised at every turn and the claustrophobic nature of the urban environment means that answers are rarely given. Chris Thornley’s deadly poster captures this sense of unease magnificently, and, perhaps more than most on this list, really begs for the film to be watched.


Designed byAlien Corset

Is technology good? Evil? Innocent? The chilling sense of paranoia and disquiet that Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 blockbuster provoked is perplexingly captured in this retro-futuristic image by Alien Corset. The poster defiantly demands your attention, but offers no solutions to the questions asked at the beginning. Aesthetically this is really unsettling and unforgettable.

The Departed

Designed byDan Sherratt

The bold values of pop art are never far away from any talented designer’s palette. This poster advertising Martin Scorsese’s incendiary remake of Infernal Affairs is suitably Warholian, but it goes beyond mere pastiche. The film’s themes of identity and duality are suggestive, as is the unending bloodcurdling violence.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Designed byBrandon Schaefer

We’ve mentioned design great Saul Bass in despatches twice already, and this alternative poster for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is an exciting tribute to his iconic visual prowess. Mixing clean, uncluttered lines, with a very Sixties typeface, it’s a refreshing and comforting approach for a somewhat disturbing subject matter.


Designed bySwoboda

The revolutionary artistic philosophy of constructivism gives this alternative poster for Brazil its appeal. The soaring, impersonal towers capture the dystopic nature at the heart of Terry Gilliam’s Orwellian film: the effect is dizzying, slightly surreal and never less than dazzling.


Designed byDan Sherratt

Christopher Nolan is a clever sod, so it’s fitting that this poster combines nobility with erudition. The brightly coloured lines suggest something heroic – almost Olympian – while the brain is soaking up gallons of information in its dreamlike state. Will this valuable material be extracted subconsciously? Best watch the film.