My dad used to tell me when I was a kid that he was born in the wrong time, and he should’ve been an officer in Hitler’s army. He’d regale me with stories about Panzer tank battles, the Luftwaffe air raids, and the genius of Rommel in the desert as he faced off against Patton. As Phil Fasso the Elder tells it, if he’d been one of Hitler’s advisors, the Germans would’ve won the war. This is the first time I’ve thought of those stories in years, and the memory probably would’ve remained dormant had I not recently caught something common in my reviews: if given the choice, I always post a copy of a creased poster over a clean print.
I’m a writer first and foremost, but one of the reasons I love WordPress so much is that I can enhance my posts with pictures. The old Icons of Fright interface made it an act of true horror, but not with WP. As soon as I’m ready to send a review live, I next go to Google’s images and type in the film’s title, followed by “poster.” I’ll scroll down and try out various sizes, and sometimes match different shades. And then there’s always that one other factor: can I dig up a poster with creases? If the answer is yes, bingo. I’m on it.
I’m not sure what review it was, but the first time, I remember thinking, “Hey, that’s pretty cool, and it’ll pop a little more.” It made sense to me. But after a while, it became a constant search for every review. And I started to wonder why.
At first I thought it was the retro aspect. For instance, ZOMBIE was released in 1979. I figured if someone had a poster lying around, it was likely folded. Like this:
The creases certainly do make the visual pop, and the nostalgia trip adds a nice touch, especially when the movie qualifies as retro. Take a look at this clean version of the ZOMBIE poster.
Do you get the same feeling? I sure don’t. It’s roughly the same poster, but it could’ve been printed yesterday. The creased version looks aged, and likely some dude who was perhaps a young Mike Baronas had that poster hanging on his door, and when he moved, he folded it. The creases also add a texture that just doesn’t exist in the clean version. There’s a level of depth that gives the old looking poster the feeling that I could touch it.
And there’s the deeper reason I always go for creased posters. Because the creases make the poster real for me.
I’m in an age where I’m starting to wonder what’s real all the time. I was reading an article about Eastman Kodak going under a few weeks back, and the author pointed out that something like 70% of people don’t even print pictures anymore. Borders Books just went under, and I’m dreading the day that a “book” isn’t a pound of paper I’m holding in my hand, but text on the Kindle I’ll be forced to buy because there are no other options. I have several friends with whom my only contact is text messages because they don’t want to have a phone conversation and share voices. By God, I’m posting this on a blog instead of a magazine, because it’s the cheapest, easiest way to get the word out. And I loathe all of it. I’m an anachronism in a world where “real” is losing any real meaning.
The creases make it real. And yes, I know I spelled it “reel” in the title. I did so because Joe Dante is fighting as we speak to keep 35mm film alive, in a world where people want their movies on 76 inch televisions by way of a Blu-Ray disc, instead of off an old projector. Joe’s an anachronism just like my dad, and just like me. I remind myself of this every time I pull out THE HOWLING mini-poster he and members of the cast have signed for me. And I love every crease in it.