It is no secret that House Of The Devil is one of my favorite movies. I still remember the first night I sat down late one night to watch it, back when I still received dvd’s from Netflix. I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into since I knew very little going in. Right off the bat I was really taken with it and impressed with how well it achieved its late 70’s, early 80’s aesthetic. I loved how Ti West stated he was just trying to make a period piece so it felt right to shoot it as if it was from that time period as well. It made all the difference in the world. It was a creepy and classy film that is anchored by Jocelin Donahue’s wonderful performance as Samantha Hughes. My favorite testament to the film’s effectiveness is how I brought it to my brother’s to show him the film and when it was done he said “That was good, I don’t remember that movie (from the 80’s)” and THAT is when I told him it was made just the year prior. He was stunned. Since then I try to let everyone I show it to think it is an old film before revealing afterwards it is from 2009. It has worked everytime.
House Of The Devil also features one of the best one sheet designs you will ever see . The main poster image is a beautifully painted image that is just striking. It represents the film perfectly while having an air of mystery to it. It is definitely in my list of top movie posters all time, which leads me to the point of this post, and a valid question. If I love the original poster so much for this film, and think it is perfection, then why even attempt to create a new poster for it? Well the answer is pretty simple, I love the film and felt that to quench my obsession with it, I wanted to create something in it’s honor. I knew I wanted to base it around this photo strip I found from the film. I wasn’t sure how to incorporate it. At first I just thought closeup of the photostrip with blood would tell enough of the story. However the more I looked at mockups of that, the more I felt it definitely was not my best and needed more. So after going back to the drawing board I decided it would be cool to see a variety of things that would have been in Samantha’s backpack. What makes this concept work for me so well is the fact that the items are all fairly innocent things such as the previously mentioned photostrip of better times, homework, a candybar, and of course the headphones and cassettes. These innocent items by themselves are fine and would allude to a totally different type of movie, add blood on them and things become much more ominous and tragic.
It was important to me to do it all in camera, so I printed up the photostrips, bought the headphones (I did some research and found the exact walkman to include but lost out on it on ebay unfortunately)I found the Skybar at a Cracker Barrel restaraunt store in the old candy section. Sidenote on the Skybar, they are not great. Then I made sure to dig out a few cassette tapes I had and make sure the pen matched the one in the film as well. The two last parts included getting a friend of mine to write the page of homework/notes and the phone number on the piece of paper. Those with a sharp eye will notice on the loose leaf paper there is a reference to the amount of money Samantha has in her bank account as well as how much she needs to get her apartment. Those with an even sharper eye will notice that the phone number on the paper is the same (or as close to the same as I could get) to the one in the film. I just wanted everything to be as accurate as I could get. Once everything was placed how I liked it composition wise, I attempted to add the blood. The problem was when trying to do this practically with the fake blood I use for my shoots, it just wasnt working and it was ending up looking less than ideal and covering parts of the photos I didn’t want covered. So I opted to add the blood in photoshop which I generally do not like doing but feel it worked out pretty darn well here and allowed me to keep the necessary parts visible. After that it was just a matter of aging it enough to fit the feel of the film and the other posters for it. Overall this was one of my favorite poster projects I have worked on and was beyond thrilled to see it get the approval of those involved in the film. It really was a labor of love and it paid off. Check out the final version below and to see more of my poster work please check out my design gallery.