In the previous post on the brilliant "I Can Read Movies" mock book covers Mitch Ansara mentioned he had been inspired by "8 Films in Black and Red" in the same Make Something Cool Every Day Flickr pool. "8 Films in Black and Red" is a gallery of remade movie poster by twentysomething British designer and illustrator Olly Moss.
The series of posters shows off that Olly has a knack for isolating an iconic scene from a movie and letting it become the essence of the whole movie. He then distils and simplifies the image to stylised flat imagery. Thus the poster for The Great Dictator features Charlie Chaplin as both sides of the same coin – the mild-mannered Jewish barber and dictator Adenoid Hynkel. The Deer Hunter is reduced to the Russian Roulette scene. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade focuses on the pivotal moment where Indiana Jones has to pick the right chalice – the Holy Grail – to save his father's life. To many the scene in Die Hard where Hans Gruber shoots the windows to wound the bare-footed John MacLane exemplifies the latter's status as underdog. American History X and The Dark Knight are both pretty self-explanatory and look striking, but in my opinion they are conceptually less strong than the rest. Using the Rain Man scene where Raymond counts the fallen toothpicks in a blink of an eye and have the toothpicks form the movie title on the other hand is a fabulous idea and perfectly executed. The brilliant poster for Taxi Driver – the last in the series – shows the key scene where Travis Bickle holds his mirror image at gun point and the audience realises he has finally gone completely insane.
Although both image and type treatment are stark, almost basic – Olly uses exclusively Helvetica and Helvetita Condensed – he still manages to sneak in the odd visual pun. Rotating the type as well in The Great Dictator poster stresses that the it can be viewed both ways*. And the mirrored image in the poster for Taxi Driver is accentuated by also horizontally flipping the word "Driver" in the movie title.
(*) I don't know inhowfar Olly was aware of the Hut Weber advertisement and who was first, but his solution is more clever. Furthermore I think an old Microsoft ad used the same concept.
The only "flaw" in this series is that the viewer of course has to know the movies to fully appreciate these alternative posters. The same problem arises in his equally superb new series of Video Game Classics in the Penguin Classics paperback cover style. I don't know much about video games so the references are lost to me. Yet this gallery as well is very original, witty, and well executed. The little game controller icons are a nice touch.
I read on the About page on Olly Moss' website that he is currently seeking full-time employment. If I were located in the UK and ran a design or communication firm I'd invite him for a job interview. He has proven to have a sharp eye, an analytical brain and a healthy sense of humour, essential qualities for a designer/illustrator. Go hire that man.