Movies carry us away to fantastical worlds, but the journey begins with super-vivid poster-art. The best movie posters are an art-form all their own... but sometimes, it's the art of deception. Here are the most misleading posters of all time.
Welcome back to Monday Hate, an irregular column in which we hate things because it's Monday.
Oh, and before we get started, a bit of a disclaimer — obviously, there's a lot of creative license that goes into movie posters, and sometimes the coolest looking posters are the ones that don't exactly depict what's happening in the movie. With that in mind, some of our candidates for "most misleading poster" might be just slightly tongue-in-cheek, and we're celebrating the awesomeness of poster art as well as its potential for false advertising. Oh, and there are going to be a few DVD covers in the mix too, including a couple of hilarious bootlegs. With that out of the way, here we go!
First, a Thai movie poster for District 9, which features huge killer mechas stalking the countryside. If Michael Bay had directed this film, this is what you'd have gotten. Via Cinematical..
Additional reporting by Mary Ratliff and Kelly Faircloth.
Another Thai District 9 poster. Via Cinematical.
This is only slightly misleading, but it's also one of the most famous examples — showing Luke with a sixpack he never had, and Leia with an awesome outfit she never wore.
The Day The Earth Stood Still poster from Sweden. Mars? Really? Plus like the U.S. poster, it doesn't say "aliens arrive to tell us to mend our ways." It says, "Aliens arrive to blow shit up and fuck with us."
Japanese Omega Man poster. That's a mighty big gun Charlton is hoisting, and if only the mutants looked that cool in the movie.
Another totally amazing Omega Man poster. A bit more accurate but still too splashy/awesome.
As various people have pointed out, this scene does not appear in the movie Forbidden Planet.
It's an orgy, and you're invited! Actually, that probably doesn't actually say ORGY. It's the Polish poster for Aliens. I think you're losing some eyes there, bud.
Another Polish Alien poster.
Having seen Cyborg 2 fairly recently, I can attest that Angelina Jolie doesn't have magic glow-in-the-dark boobs in it.
Planet Of The Apes poster. Mostly including this one because it looks so cool.
Exterminators Of The Year 3000. Cinema Suicide singles this one out for the weird glowing fist that doesn't appear in the film, plus it makes the movie look much more awesome than it is.
Def-Con 4. Another one that Cinema Suicide points out, and this case it's just cool poster art that has no resemblance to anything that happens in the (actually quite dull) film.
A poster for Ghoulies, which makes it look like a scatalogical Gremlins rip-off — this scene does not appear in the film, and the Ghoulies are only minor characters. Via TV Tropes.
Man's Best Friend. Apparently the dog isn't really a Terminator-style cyborg after all. Via TV Tropes.
Famously misleading poster for Night Of The Lepus, which focuses on scary floating eyes, to disguise the fact that, yes, this is a horror movie about rabbits. Via TV Tropes.
Couldn't help including this Malawi bootleg DVD for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It just looks so much more awesome than the actual film. via John Duffell on Flickr.
Oh, and speaking of which... this is the "Puma Head" version of the Russian poster for Star Wars. Which as we all know, is all about the puma head. via MyPosterCollection.
And this is the "Rock Head" version of the Russian Star Wars posters. via MyPosterCollection.
And here's the "Cantina" version of the Star Wars posters from Russia.
One more Russian Star Wars poster, this time showing a cowboy made out of weird bits of equipment. On a steel horse!
And then there's this DVD cover. Via DoctorFedora on Flickr.
As TV Tropes explains, "Sky High's main poster◊ makes it seem like Will's father is the main character, Gwen is Will's kickass girlfriend, Layla is that random chick in the background, and Warren is the bad guy. Every single part of that is wrong.
Apparently The Happening is a movie about buildings that get all bendy and gumby-like. Actually, I feel sorry for anyone who tried to come up with a poster that explains this film.
The big party in London turned out to be a huge disaster and everybody had to go home and eat ten bowls of muesli to sober up.
These posters make it look like Djimon Hounsou is on our heroes's ide, which he's so not.
Venture... into a world of erotic romance! Well, he did make Titanic, so it's possible.
Doesn't this poster make Freddy look a lot more skull-faced than he actually is in the movie?
Why does Cyclops get a character poster when he's barely in the film?
Speaking of which, there are a few Last Airbender posters which feature the Kyoshi Warriors, who aren't in the film.
Somehow, this French poster makes Starship Troopers look like it's about a single squadron facing off with one nasty creature.
This makes Total Recall look like a straight-up Schwarzenegger action movie, in which he has a lightsaber or something.
This Star Trek poster makes the movie's cast look downright menacing, and Kirk looks evil. Check out our whole roundup of misleading Trek posters from a few years ago here.
That's why the oppressive society in 1984 is evil — because love and desire are forbidden! Not all that other stuff.
Shazza is shown fighting alongside Riddick and the others, even though she's the first to die and she barely fights at all. She was a big enough star at the time, thanks to Farscape, that they wanted to highlight her appearance.
Isn't this the movie where Edward and Bella break up and spend the whole film apart?
Completely awesome Polish Close Encounters Of The Third Kind poster.
And then there's this actually quite atmospheric poster for the hilariously awful Troll 2. Via TV Tropes.
Czech poster for Alien, via eBay.
Polish poster for The Time Machine, via PolishPoster.com. Why is the time machine in that guy's mouth? Are we supposed to crawl inside and... oh never mind.
Polish poster for Short Circuit, which they apparently thought was about hippies. via PolishPoster.com.
The Terminator. He's like the Lepus — how many eyes does the Terminator have? How many??? via PolishPoster.com.
French King Kong poster, in which he's strangling a shark and a snake at the same time. Via Cracked. (Update: reader Bunche points out this is actually a poster for a rip-off film released around the same time, A.P.E., also known as Attack Of The Giant Horny Gorilla.)
Polish Raiders Of The Lost Ark poster, via Cracked. And yes it does look like something inappropriate is going on with Cthulhu's skull here.
The Fly poster from Poland. Yes, another Polish poster, sorry. Via Apartment Therapy.
The Howling, German movie poster which makes the werewolf's head look ginormous and kind of insane. Via About.Com.
Japanese American Werewolf in London poster. I have no idea what's going on here. via About.com.
Yet another Alien poster from Poland — this time, weird bubbles are menacing this woman's neck.
Rosemary's Baby poster from Poland. Nice manicure. The woman's hand doesn't look bad either. via About.com.
Italian poster for The Blob, which seems to believe the film is about deadly blood that whizzes around — neat idea, actually. via About.com.
Polish poster for Gremlins, which makes it seem a lot more surreal. Via Well Medicated.
Godzilla Vs. The Thing — where The Thing is Mothra, not that you'd know it from this poster. Via 3Beerman on Flickr.
Soylent Green — it's a film about people fighting big trucks! via Helium.
King Kong poster, from 1976 — showing Kong able to straddle the two World Trade Center towers, something which definitely does not happen in the film because he's not that huge. via Helium.