Horror Movie Poster TutorialHorror movie posters follow a very simple formula. The best ones are cunning and clever, but when it comes to colors and styles – well, you just can’t scare anyone with pink. So, study these samples and follow our easy tutorial.
1. Source / take a photo
Make sure you’re getting a high enough resolution. Movie posters tend to be large. The industry standard size is called ONE SHEET (27 x 40″ / 686 x 1040mm). What this means is that to reach the recommended minimum print resolution of 150 dpi, your image size would have to be 6300 x 4050 pixels. Make sure your camera is up for the job!
As for the subject matter, this is obviously determined by your film. Here are some ideas:
- A low angle shot of a dark forest (where you shot the film)
- A low angle shot of a run down house (your main location)
- An eerily lit, expressionless photo of your lead actor
- An extreme closeup of your lead actor’s eyeball or other body part
(Our sample photo is by Martin Walls, from FreeImages.com)
2. Make it unnatural
Boost the dark tones and make sure the details pop. Reduce saturation to absolute minimum – or go for greyscale.
When working with a human portrait, skin needs to be porcelain white and flawless. When the human canvas is good and ready, go nuts – mutilate it in Photoshop! Flip the eyes around, exchange a mouth for an ear… anything you like. It helps if it has something to do with the film.
3. Surround it with black
Download the Photoshop template available on this page. It is in the standard ONE SHEET size with bleeds and crop marks, ready for print. This is the largest size you will need. It is always easy to scale down for digital posters (templates available for Filmsourcing subscribers).
Bring your pic on the poster template. Add necessary masks and filters so that everything non essential around the edges is swallowed by black. Add grain / noise to make the gradients less ‘photoshoppy’.
Choose the appropriate color tint:
- GREYSCALE if your film is based on “an unverified true story”
- BLUE (caucasian corpse) if your film has technological or medical themes
- GREEN (night vision goggles) if there is evil lurking in the forest
- PALE YELLOW (old bone) if there is a serial killer.
Creating a Movie Poster Using a Filmsourcing Template
Whether you’re a Photoshop pro or a beginner, you can save hours and skip the boring setup work by using a poster template.
The Indie Poster Template and 70+ other filmmaking resources are available for Filmsourcing subscribers. Join now!
4. Use a gravestone font
Type the title of the film under (or above) the photo. The font you use should resemble the one seen on gravestones (Trajan, Minion, Centaur etc.) – unless your film is a pure splatter or has elements of comedy. In that case, you can go for the “smeared with blood” look.
See the horror category on DAFONT.
Font color either white or red – or both if you want to use a different color for the log line.
5. Add finishing touches
Film scratches, more noise, poster folds or reddish discoloring on the edges. These are especially handy if your original photo or subsequent photoshop work isn’t of the best quality.
File format & size: Zipped PSD, 1.3 Mb
Color space: CMYK (print ready)
Print size: ONE SHEET (27 x 40″)
Actual size: 28 x 41″ (with bleeds and crop marks)
About the free download: File size has been optimized for light download; feature image removed, gradient pixelated.
Do you want another FREE PSD?
Sign up to Filmsourcing and you’ll get another .psd movie poster template for free. As a subscriber you’ll get an access to all our Filmmaking resources, so don’t forget to check out our 70+ filmmaking downloads on one page.