There is an interesting trend going on at the moment, it seems that the 80’s have finally gained some sort of respectability. Not a great deal mind you, but the art and neon have slowly been creeping their way back into the film world. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen this kind of pop art in movie posters and it seems we might be in the midst of a revival…
The first film to bring it back was probably 2011’s Drive. A super violent thriller from director Nicolas Winding Refn. Not only the posters, but the music, reflected an attitude that is long gone. For some reason it worked and represented the feel of the film, which is not a period film, perfectly.
“A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.”
The next evolution is this year’s L.A. Slasher. Feeding on that style, the neon 80’s look was not only suggested, but was a prominent texture of the film. The style perfectly reflects the 80’s neon aesthetic and sound but blends it into a very modern story. What L.A. Slasher did differently was make the opening credits animated in a very specific way that hasn’t been one since the hey day of music videos. What is cool is that like the movie Fight Club, L.A. Slasher bathes in the aesthetic that it rails against thanks to the retro art style of the Pander Brothers.
Incensed by the tabloid culture which celebrates it, the L.A. Slasher publicly abducts a series of reality TV stars, while the media and general public in turn begin to question if society is better off without them. A biting, social satire about reality TV and the glorification of people who are famous for simply being famous, “L.A. Slasher” explores why it has become acceptable and even admirable for people to become influential and wealthy based on no merit or talent – purely through notoriety achieved through shameful behavior.
This brings us to The Greasy Strangler, the new film from Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision and Drafthouse Films. This seems to take the opening credits sequence of L.A. Slasher and take it a step further. It is an eye-catching piece of work that makes me excited about the film.
“The Los Angeles-set tale follows Ronnie, a man who runs a Disco Walking tour along with his browbeaten son, Brayden. When a sexy, alluring woman comes to take the tour, it begins a competition between father and son for her attentions. It also signals the appearance of an oily, slimy inhuman maniac who stalks the streets at night and strangles the innocent, soon dubbed ‘The Greasy Strangler.’”
What I find interesting is that each of these films takes place in and around Hollywood. In a way, the city still screams that kind of aesthetic, but it’s in a nostalgic kind of way. It reminds me of late eighties films like No Man’s Land with Charlie Sheen. Though that film wasn’t horror, it was a violent crime thriller set in Los Angeles. In any case, this is an interesting trend and makes movie posters interesting again.