Presentation for Friday 02.13.15
Alex missed a good one tonight. The Amazon UK blu-ray looks great – even revealing some monster-operating wires that no one would notice in old VHS copies. Peter Cushing, as always, brings charm and charisma to the proceedings as he and another scientist travel to a small island off Ireland to investigate a dead body found with (wait for it) . . . no bones! Seems some reclusive scientists on the other side of the island have accidentally bred "silicates" – slimy, crawling slug-like creatures that divide & multiply like cells – who inject a substance that melts down the bones of their victims. One gruesome scene caught us all off guard. Summer was not happy. Still, an overall enjoyable SMN!
Presentation for Friday 02.06.15
Revisiting a classic of the sic-fi film world this week. Great film with grand ideas, space dudes brimming with testosterone, cute Anne Francis strolling around in her space age mini skirts, an invisible id monster and, of course, Robby the Robot. Only the annoying drone of some of the "futuristic" sound effects detract from an otherwise stellar evening of classic cinema!
Presentation for Friday 01.30.15
13 years into SMN, and I'm always looking for something new that's been off my radar. Enter, the Mexican horror film. Hey, it's a Mexican-western-mystery-horror film – what's not to love! It's a reworking of the classic Mexican legend of the crying woman. Fun and entertaining. Some good creepiness, all while not taking itself too seriously.
Presentation for Friday 01.23.15
Curt Siodmak. Really, that's all you need to know. One thing I've learned in 13+ years of Spooky Movie Night, is that Mr Siodmak was kinda The Man. He wrote screenplays for classics like The Wolfman, House of Frankenstein and I Walked with a Zombie. Here he tells a gripping tale of two A-Men (Atomic Men) who are investigating the presence of a strange magnetic field that appears suddenly in a small town. The source is eventually traced to a new atomic element that uses the magnetic field to convert energy to matter. As it grows out of control, it threatens to throw the earth off it's orbit. Classic 50's post-war end of the world potboiler!
Presentation for Friday 01.16.15
Now THIS is why I bought that region-free blu-ray player!! Without it, we would have never seen this absolute gem that's unavailable in the US – which would have been a crime! An architect shows up at a country manor for contracted work only to find that the house – and everyone in it – have been appearing in his recurring nightmares. He knows some bad mojo is afoot as he keeps predicting people who enter the story and events that eventually unfold. Several eerie tales unfold in anthology style, shifting in tone without taking you out of the film's grip. The kids and I were blown away. Simply fantastic!
Presentation for Friday 01.09.15
Another win for the region-free player as we load in the UK blu-ray of an amazingly intellectual treatment of the same sort of concept explored in the fun, but ultimately less satisfying, "I Married a Monster from Outer Space". Had never seen this one and I was surprised by it's depth of emotion for what is essentially a B movie. I chalk it up to the Brits, who prove again that they can do creepy sci-fi in a though-provoking way that transcends the genre. Certainly earned our applause as the credits rolled.
Presentation for Friday 01.02.15
The American title of this British classic was "The Creeping Unknown"– and a fitting title that is! This is a creeping, slow-burn of a chiller. A rocket returns from space with one survivor and only empty clothes left of his two crew mates. To make matters worse, there seems to be something very wrong with the survivor...and he's getting worse by the day. Crotchety Professor Quatermass throws his scientific weight around while trying to get to the bottom of what became of the missing astronauts. Tension builds steadily in this cerebral alien invasion film – Fun stuff!
Presentation for Friday 12.26.14
Summer was asleep early, so Corbin, Alex and I opted for a rare silent film. The plot sounded compelling: Every year, the last soul to die before the clock chimes in the new year is forced to drive death's carriage for the next year, picking up all the lost souls who have died. The special effects from this 1920 Swedish film were impressive for the period. Sadly, at 107 minutes, the film goes on too long (some editing was needed). What was unexpected was that this ended up a pretty potent tale of redemption. Obvious Christian undertones gave us a good post-film discussion. Would been about perfect if it'd just been about 20-or-so minutes shorter.
Presentation for Friday 12.19.14
Beautiful blu-ray transfer of a classic Italian sic-fi that's a bit on the deceptive side where it's title is concerned. Let me say this up-front: This is NOT a vampire film. What it is, however, is some pretty engaging space opera fun. A race of bodiless aliens mess with the minds of space explorers, causing them to violently turn on one another. The dead come back to life, and things start to feel more like a zombie film than anything having to do with vampires. Fun stuff though...lack of actual vampires notwithstanding!
Presentation for Friday 12.12.14
Last year's Christmas gift of a region-free blu-ray player has led to GREAT fun as I'm able to find stellar Amazon UK discs to replace my washed-out, scratched up, taped-from-TCM copies. Case in point, this week's pristine blu-ray of Hammer's 1966 classic, The Reptile! The film is just some great, creepy fun, and it looked & sounded better than I've ever seen! The story is sort of a werewolf-vampire-creature from the black lagoon mashup. While the kids may not appreciate its technical aspects – they really dug this classic gem from the Hammer House of Horror!
Before you criticize someone you should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way when you criticize them you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
- Jack Handy
My love of classic Vans slip-ons has taught me one thing: pick a style you like and stick with it regardless of cultural trends. In 20 years when it comes back in style (and it will, my friend, it will) you will appear ahead of the curve.
But now these shoes – specifically these exact shoes in the image at top – have taught me something else: Promising a rose and delivering a bouquet creates a brand advocate.
I ordered this sweet pair of Vans from the online shoe store Zappos.com just before 1:00 A.M. (Monday night/Tuesday morning). Yesterday I got an email from them telling me that they were upgrading my shipping to Priority at no cost to me just to say thanks for being their customer (and my standard shipping had already been free).
Sure enough, the UPS truck just pulled away about a half hour ago and I'm typing this in my brand spankin' new kicks! This is essentially the equivalent of free overnight shipping. So, aside from feeding my unhealthy addiction to instant gratification, what's the result of their kindness:
Well, I'm chattin' 'em up in my blog for starters. But beyond that, they have created a full-on brand advocate for Zappos. You can bet I'll be talking about this to anyone who makes a comment on my shoes – or anyone else who'll listen. Brand advocates volunteer unsolicited praise for a company – they can really extend your marketing into places you'd otherwise not reach.
Zappos has latched onto this truth, already going above and beyond in the customer service arena. They not only offer free standard shipping, they offer free shipping if you return your shoes too. They include simple return instructions with their packing list that arrives with your purchase – and they give you a whopping 365 days to return the shoes (in original condition). Pretty customer-focused thinking.
I recently re-worked my Client & Project Profile that I use with my clients. One of the new questions I ask is this: "Creating brand advocates is important. How do we think this will get people talking about the brand?"
It's a good question to ask periodically throughout your marketing efforts. Are you delivering the unexpected? What little extra thing could you be doing that would get people talking about your brand?
Promise a rose.
Deliver a bouquet.
And savor the sweet aroma of hyper-satisfied customers extending your reach into the hearts and minds of their family, friends and coworkers.
Or feel free to quote Roger Daltrey from The Who as we have. I'm willing to bet that thought has crossed the mind of many people who have seen the latest Geico commercial.
First they introduce us to the Geico Gecko. Then they shift gears so jarringly as to give the viewer whiplash and introduce the Caveman.
From day one I was never a fan of the Caveman. The connection that he was frustrated by his link to their tagline of "So Simple a Caveman Can Do It" always seemed tenuous at best. More often than not I was left scratching my head and uttering under my breath "ok-a-a-a-a-y . . whatever."
But now they've launched on all-out offensive on both marketing wisdom and common sense. If you've not been so enlightened, please see for yourself:
Now that is one confusing puppy – and this is one confused company. They seem to have a huge identity crisis going on. Are they the cute little Gecko, the frustrated Caveman, or the Money With The Plastic Eyeballs Stuck On Top.
And let's think about this from a core branding strategy perspective. The impression I'm left with in all this is that Geico is unsure of who they are. They change mascots faster than costume changes at a Celine Dion concert. And you can't say with certainly which mascot will be up next – or which one is waiting just out of sight, around the corner – because you can't rely on them to settle on a marketing direction.
Are these words YOU want associated with your insurance company?
It's an important reminder that HOW you communicate does itself communicate.
My hope is that this gives you pause to consider what words come across to your audience solely based on HOW you go about executing your own marketing and communications strategy. Are they words that reinforce a positive position with your audience?
Life is like a box of chocolates . . . you never know what you're gonna get.
– Forrest Gump
You never know what's comin' for you.
– Benjamin Button
Hey, hey & Happy New Year! After an extended break I'm finally back with our last installment in the movie poster category (although I have one more tucked away in my hip pocket for a later post).
The quotes above can both evoke the proper mood when looking at this very odd little niche of movie poster design. Pleasant surprises – and something a little more ominous. Some are simply a refreshing look at familiar materials. And then some are just quite a bit bizarre and a little bit creepy. Some leverage a knowledge of the story to visually tell part of the story – and others make no sense in any context whatsoever.
Sounds fun right?
(click the thumbnail to open a larger view)
Let's dive in . . .
In Poland No One Can Hear You Scream
Sorry, I couldn't resist hijacking the tagline from the first Alien film. I get the first poster for The Shining and think that, while a tad bizarre, it still works. Now, I have seen the movie The Legacy (the second poster), and I have no earthly idea what a screaming cat in a nun's habit has to do with anything . . . at all . . . EVER!. And the screaming woman in front of Crocodile Dundee just gives that one a creepy stalker vibe.
Channeling Saul Bass
If you remember Saul Bass from our initial movie poster post, you'll immediately recognize his influence on these designs. Very graphic approach, large blocks of solid color and a simple and understated aesthetic. I really like these. They are (left to right) The Day of the Jackal, Porgy & Bess and The Tall Men (a 1955 western).
Coming Soon to Your Nursey Wall
I think these posters for classic Disney films are quite charming. More art poster than movie poster. And the one for Dumbo feels to me to have a ring of truth to it – it's one of the most depressing movies I've seen. At least this isn't the happy little elephant with the big ears – which is false advertising. This is emotionally true while still being adorably cute.
Masks Are All The Rage This Season
And they go with everything! What is up here? First, The Return of the Pink Panther . . . uhhh . . . yeah. Next! Eyes Wide Shut: Never seen this but I understand it's a strange piece of cinema so this poster may be very fitting (but it's still a little creepy). And finally Gremlins, to which one can only reply: What?!?!
Mask Motif Feeling a Bit Tired? How 'Bout Lips!
The first poster for Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe makes sense – half-way. I get the lips, iconic Marilyn and all, but the tin of sardines can opening thing they have going on . . . they lost me. Airplane: Funny film. Strange poster. They could have at least made the mouth smiling to convey a sense of fun. The last one for Poseidon Adventure (about a damaged cruise ship that flips upside down) at least makes some sense, and I like it as an example of dark twisted humor.
Yes Kids . . . These Are ALL Comedies
Although you'd never guess it from the posters! This falls into the category of just plain weird. Our first poster is for the 1942 comedy I Married a Witch with the beautiful Veronica Lake. Oddly enough, this poster communicates neither the humor nor the beauty – this borders on out-and-out false advertising. Perhaps they were trying to scare us into seeing it. The middle image is from The Revenge of the Pink Panther. Why Peter Sellers has exploding shoulders is beyond me. Looks like a torture film. And lastly, believe it or not, this is the poster for Tootsie. Yes, THAT Tootsie. The lighthearted comedy with Dustin Hoffman. The slimy, creepy factor here is completely off the charts!
Let's End on a Positive Note, Shall We?
After that Tootsie poster I feel we all need a palette cleanser. So I'll wrap things up with some posters that I think are just fantastic. This proves how truly "all over the road" Polish movie posters can be. I love these images. They are for Casablanca, The Piano and Roman Holiday. I'd hang these as art in my house. I may even try to track down a copy of that Casablanca poster for myself.
I had quite a few more that I wanted to share but didn't want to post something too overwhelming. If anyone's interested in seeing more please post a comment to that effect and I'll throw together a part 2 sometime down the road.