1. Trespass

Eschewing the trend of getting hip young stars and writing stuff all over their faces (see also: The Social Network, Thor, The Adjustment Bureau, Hangover 2), Cage and Kidman’s big screen adaptation of the popular outdoor clothing brand harks back to the days when star-power sold a film. Unfortunately it doesn’t hark back to the days before Photoshop.

‘WHEN TERROR IS AT YOUR DOORSTEP YOU CAN RUN OR YOU CAN FIGHT’. Strangely, Kidman and Cage appear to be doing neither; they seem to be hunkered down, looking bemused in a dusty storage room – which may actually be a not-too-subtle comment on their respective careers. Ouch. Then again, they both possess strange waxy visages, so maybe it’s a film about trespassers in Madame Tussauds – a bit like a ‘Night at the Museum Nights’. ¬†Either way, the poster for the new Joel Schumacher film is not very good. And yet the world keeps turning…


2. Abduction

A film poster should capture the essence of the film it’s promoting. Some may tell you that that The Smurfs movie is one of the worst film posters of 2011 but, by featuring a bunch of small blue creatures acting like imbeciles, it’s simply fulfilling its remit of appealing to kids while acting as a red flag to adults. Job done.

Our next entry however subscribes to the kitchen sink aesthetic of ‘throw whatever you can at the screen and see what sticks’. It seems someone took that literally, as amongst helicopters, broken glass and guns they’ve actually got the wolf-boy from Twilight and stuck him to a building – albeit one that violates numerous laws of both planning and science.

If the Abduction poster succeeds in its remit then said remit is clearly: ‘a little bit of Inception, a little bit of Bourne and a lot of crap.’


3. Straw Dogs

The tagline’ EVERYONE HAS A BREAKING POINT’ will be familiar to anyone who remembers a time when films weren’t remade at five-year intervals, and posters didn’t contain the word ‘Facebook’. Straw Dogs 2011’s emulation of the original poster is bound to bring fans of the original just that little bit closer to theirs – though it does suggest a knowing awareness that the actual film will probably lack.

Strangely, Alexander Skarsgard’s face is only reflected in the broken part of the glasses, which suggests that he’s actually emerging from James Marsden’s eye-socket and not actually facing him at all. Perhaps Straw Dogs 2011 is going for a change of tack. Or maybe the film, like the poster, is unimaginative nonsense.


4 and 5. X-Men: First Class

Most people are aware that the ‘face-writing’ trend started with the poster for The Social Network. And while that visual trend gave birth to a host of imitators, they still maintained some level of stylistic appeal. The flip side of that coin, however, is ‘face-violation’ – as evidenced by the Straw Dogs poster and initiated by two of the worst film posters of all time*.

X-Men First Class is one of my favourite films of the year; it’s amusing, relentlessly entertaining and exciting. Yet the printed marketing for First Class was uniformly poor, reaching its nadir with the now-infamous Facebook posters that can never be unseen.


I couldn’t really decide which was the worst, but as Professor X has no feeling below the waist, he’s probably resolutely unaware of James McAvoy’s face violating his nether regions. No such luck for Magneto, who suffers the indignity of a young Master of Magnetism’s face playing havoc with his flies.

It’s worth pointing out the ‘x-cellent’ (yeah, I went there) Total Film magazine covers that promoted the film, as they certainly ‘got it’ more than the film’s marketing department. I also suspect they may have influenced the equally charming retro posters for Captain America.


* Despite currently being billions of years from extinction – or ‘1’ if you believe Roland Emmerich – I’m fairly sure the human-race will not suffer many film posters as bad as these.

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