Crazy Hidden Details in Recent Movie Posters
Posters, at best they're glorious works of art. At worst, they're half-assed Photoshop jobs that make John Travolta look like the embalmed corpse of a CPR dummy. As we've mentioned before, sometimes these posters don't just advertise movies and television shows, they contain hidden details most of us didn't pick up on, such as how ...
The Final Scene of Watchmen was Teased in the Poster
The ending of HBO's Watchmen series was pretty out there, even for a show that began with raining squid guts and a mysterious Lube Man. In the final episodes (SPOILERS) we learn that Angela's husband Cal was secretly the superpowered (and super-pervy) Dr. Manhattan, the mighty blue nudist from the original comic. Cal/Manhattan is killed in the last episode, but Angela suspects he may have transferred his powers into an egg, which she promptly consumes, Rocky-style.
Angela possibly becoming the new Dr. Manhattan seems like a crazy twist out of left field in a ballpark two towns over. But the show's creators actually hinted at this plot wrinkle before even the first episode aired. How? Well, in the promotional poster, which conspicuously placed Angela under a light that turned her skin blue.
While the episode cuts before you see whether or not Angela actually inherited Cal's powers, according to showrunner Damon Lindelof, "If you look at the poster for Watchmen that existed fifteen weeks ago, our intention is clear."
Quentin Tarantino Makes a Cameo in the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Poster
There's a lot going on in the poster for Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood poster; from Charles Manson to Bruce Lee to Leonardo DiCaprio leering at us like we're an aspiring actress half his age.
One detail that no one noticed: Quentin Tarantino himself seems to be in the poster. Just below Margot Robbie's face is a camera and a director, who sure looks a lot like Tarantino. It's hard to say for sure, but for all we know he's telling the camera operator to zoom in on Robbie's bare feet.
It's possible that Tarantino had a small role that was cut from the finished film, or he just Waldo-ed a tiny version of himself in there for the hell of it.
Game of Thrones May Have Told Us Who Would Win the Throne Back in Season One
When it first premiered, the big question posed by Game of Thrones was "who is going to claim the Iron Throne, the most sought-after piece of furniture in Westeros?" -- which frankly looks about as comfortable as a Barcalounger made out of broken liquor bottles. While most of the prime contenders ended up getting stabbed or decapitated (or both) in the end, the throne was (SPOILERS) melted by a pissed-off dragon. Then everyone just decided Bran should be the new King, mostly because, as Sansa helpfully points out to a large group of people, his genitals were crushed back in the pilot episode.
We had no way of knowing that "Bran the Broken" (yikes) would end up becoming king back when the show first started, but an early poster may have actually hinted at where things were going. The poster featured Sean Bean, who was the star of Game of Thrones if you'll recall, as Ned Stark. He sits on the Iron Throne and next to him sits ... a raven.
What does it mean? It could just be because ravens are basically Westerosian e-mail. Or because whoever designed the poster was a football fan from Baltimore. Then again, the ultimate victor of the titular game was Bran, AKA the Three-Eyed-Raven. So just maybe the show's creators were giving us a subtle clue as to where things were headed. If only they could have warned us, too!
The U.K. Poster for Parasite Predicted the Oscar Win, and Has a Secret Code
Parasite, the Oscar-winning film/backdoor noodle commercial has a few different posters, but our favorite might be this U.K. design by the studio La Boca. The M.C. Escher-like colorful series of rooms contains various elements from the story; a peach, a teepee, and an unconscious body in a darkened basement room.
It also contains some hidden details you might not notice at first. Like instead of a terrified Korean family, there's something else hiding underneath the table: an Oscar statuette. Keep in mind this poster was released in January 2020, long before Parasite won four Academy Awards, including for Best Picture.
And the lights at the bottom are actually Morse Code, spelling out "S.O.S."-- which is either a clever way to foreshadow the actions of Geun-se (a.k.a. Basement Guy) or the artist was attacked while designing this poster and this was his plea for help.
Us Goes Deep With The Symbolism
As we've mentioned before, Jordan Peele's Us is full of meticulously crafted details you might not notice, like a fine clock that references C.H.U.D. Well it turns out even the poster has a sneaky detaily you may have missed. The theatrical poster doesn't explicitly spell out that the film is about killer subterranean doppelgangers, it simply features a gloved hand holding a pair of golden scissors. Based on the poster alone, for all we know it's about a bicyclist at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
But it is very subtly communicating the story's penchant for evil twins. The handles of the scissors represent two identical heads facing back to back in opposite directions, which just so happened to be what we saw on the earliest teaser poster.
Looking at the two posters side-by-side, the faces in the teaser basically fill-in the negative space in the final poster.
These kind of brain shenanigans makes us want to double-check if the preponderance of bunny rabbits were some kind of subliminal advertising for Energizer batteries.
The Poster for Toy Story 4 Has a Subtle Nod to Up
The poster for Toy Story 4 is about what you'd expect; there's Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Forky the poor creature doomed to a tortured existence thanks to the twisted laws of the Godless Pixar universe. He's also holding a fork and spoon who are not sentient, to further underscore this character's existential crisis.
But the good folks at Pixar simply love hiding references to their past work in movies, and Toy Story 4 is no exception. In the background there's a painting hanging on the wall featuring dogs playing poker -- upon closer inspection it turns out that it actually depicts Charles Muntz, the villain from Up, playing cards with his canine minions.
The painting can be seen in the movie itself, although we wouldn't blame you if you turned Up off after ten minutes to devote your evening to crying and have no idea what we're talking about.
The Uncut Gems Poster Hints At its Cinematic Influences
Uncut Gems, a.k.a. Anxiety: The Movie, stars Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner, a New York jewelry store owner who makes more bad decisions than Rob Schneider's agent. While in the past, Sandler's posters have featured public urination and doing the splits in jean shorts, the poster for Uncut Gems is relatively simple -- but it may contain the key to unlocking the bulk of the film's references. The poster is almost a direct copy of the poster for Cruising starring legendary actor and future Jack and Jill star Al Pacino.
Cruising was directed by William Friedkin, a hero of the Safdie Brothers who made Uncut Gems. And the movie's full of references to other Friedkin pictures; like the opening scene, which is weirdly similar to the opening of The Exorcist. Both feature archeological digs in a distant country.
Even the fact that it co-stars an NBA player (Kevin Garnett) could be a reference to Friedkin's Blue Chips which starred Shaquille O'Neal in one of his rare, non-Genie roles.
The ending (SPOILERS) mirrors the bummer conclusion of Friedkin's similarly stressful masterpiece Sorcerer. The protagonists of both films are surprisingly victorious: Howard after his bet pays off, and Jackie after not blowing himself up in a transport truck full of nitroglycerin. But their happiness is short-lived, thanks to a goon with a gold chain necklace.
While Jackie's death isn't shown on screen, Uncut Gems zooms into the psychedelic butthole universe beyond Howard's gunshot wound, perhaps in a callback to the majority of Sandler's 1990s oeuvre.
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Top Image: Sony Pictures