Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Horror movies as books as movies

If you're a hardcore movie fan, odds are you spend an inordinate amout of time bitching about the cover art for home video releases. If you track the quality from the golden age of VHS to today's Blu-ray releases, you'll notice that arc isn't going upward. It's goddamn depressing. Amazon recently stepped in a pile of their own poo recently with an abominable thumbnail for their Suspiria remake ... but if you think it's weird that a company would foul their own next in such an exorbitant manner, let me introduce you to cover art for pretty much every Star Wars home video release since 1995.

It's not that 21st century media marketing is necessarily bad. The people creating these things are as talented and passionate as ever. But the folks controlling the purse strings have sucked all of the joy from commercial art. If you're lucky, a successful movie might get a nifty steelbook edition a decade after its theatrical release ... until then you're usually on your own. There's a subculture devoted to custom DVD and Blu-ray artwork to account for the sins of corporate culture (and because fans often feel an invalid sense of ownership over properties they love) and some of this art is terrific . Some of it ... not so much. But it's usually more fun to browse these galleries than it is to browse the home video aisles of your local Target.

Last week I had one of my stupid ideas, which are frequently the most fun ideas. As a child, some of my only access to horror movies were magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria, as well as movie "novelizations" that were omnipresent during late late 1970s' and early '80s. One of the first novels I ever read was Alan Dean Foster's adaptation of Alien. Peter Benchley's Jaws was almost the first, but that book had a tendancy to disappear. I later learned that my mother had taken to hiding the book to keep her 7-year-old from reading the explicit sex scenes in the novel. By the time I turned 9 she'd given up, opting to tear out the offending pages.

Yes, I know that Jaws is not a novelization, but there was such a give-and-take between Hollywood and publishing in those days that many books and movies are permanently linked in my imagination. I tend to think of Friday the 13th Part 3 as being the first in the series that I saw, but that's not true ... I read the novelization at age 11 because nobody would take me to see a slasher movie.

This post is already too long for what it's meant to be, which is an introduction to some custom DVD covers for some of my favorite horror movies ... designed to look like book covers. There are some (ahem) vintage covers in the lot, as well as a cover for the more-recent Rob Zombie film The Lords of Salem. (Yes, there was a novel based on that movie.)

You can download the covers below. If you plan to print and use them, print them at 100 percent and trim them along the crop marks. I haven't watermarked them to avoid cluttering the art, so if you share them please tell people where you found them.

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