Compare the impact and effectiveness of 30 Days of Night poster and trailer
Both the trailer and the poster were designed to promote the film. Although they both use different methods as the trailer uses clips from the film with sound whereas the poster only uses imagery. They both use synergy and they can clearly relate to one another with some of the same iconography. They both also refer to the website to encourage people to visit it and learn more about the film. They also use narrative from the film.
The poster for the film 30 Days of Night is part of the marketing scheme for the film, hence the reason it has the website and production company printed on it. This poster is the official film poster. I can tell this because not only does it show the website and industrial information, but it also shows the release date and credits. The website acts as a hub for information about the film and it allows people to access the trailer and other features. The first thing that really pops out in this poster is the blood. The majority of the screen is splattered blood that has been written on with the title and release date. The rest of the poster is desaturated as it is set in the Arctic so it gives off the cold, dead effect, which is underlined by there being snow in the background. Against the white background ‘They’re coming…’ has been written in blood, giving connotations of death along with the contrast against white. Because the main characters are holding weapons and the blood splatter the audience knows that this film is going to be very violent. The stormy weather also gives implications of trouble ahead as nothing good comes from a storm.
The main people shown on this poster are a man and a woman, because of this we get the hint that they will have some sort of a love interest and because he is in front of her, it shows he is protective. If you look closely at the man, you can see he has a badge attached to his coat, showing he is a policeman implying the possibility of him being the hero throughout this film. In the top left-hand corner there is a review from Empire, and for people who read/know what Empire is they will know this film must be good for them to review it, and because it is a popular film magazine people will trust the recommendation.
In the background, you can see a small gathering of people with only a few of them in the light. From this you are able to get the implication that these are the bad people because of the line ‘They’re coming’ right underneath and because of the partial darkness surrounding them. The fact we can infer the heroes are surrounded, the poster sets up an enigma code that is; how will they get out of this? Because they are in the Arctic Circle and the title is ’30 Days of Night’, we know that there are going to be 30 days in which it will be complete darkness, and we all know that vampires thrive in the dark.
As well as the title, the release date is also scratched in blood, as if someone has scribbled in it. At the bottom left hand corner also in the blood is a face of someone screaming, because of the sharp teeth we can tell this is a vampire, and because it is staring – or screaming – at the main characters, we know they are in danger and are most likely to have to face it. Because it previews on Halloween more people are going to see it as Halloween is a time to be scared and with this being a horror movie, scared is what we want to feel.
Looking closely at the woman, I can see that she has a small amount of colour around her lips, drawing attention to the aspect of romance and sex. Also, the man is unshaven and because he is the hero figure in this film it shows hints of manliness and that he doesn’t play things by the rules. This conveys that he is represented as more heroic than she is due to the way he is standing in front of her and is holding a large axe which shows his protection over her. Since she is young and attractive, the hint of red in her lips plays up her sexuality and although she is also armed, she is still hiding behind him. This allows her to be represented as a stereotypical attractive, young female victim.
The trailer for 30 Days of Night also has a marketing aspect to it: to get the attention of the audience and to grip them before they have even seen the film. If the trailer is exciting then that is going to grab the audience, make them want to see more action, see the film and stop the suspense the trailer leaves behind. This trailer is non-linear and in non-chronological order although it ends with equilibrium it doesn’t return to it, because if it showed how it ended, no-one would watch the film.
The opening shot is of a woman standing in a kitchen with a dark mise-en-scene and outside you are able to see it is very dark and snowy. In the right-hand side of the frame you can clearly see outside the window, leaving you expecting to see something there. To draw the suspension but also give a sense of calm, there’s a quick medium shot of a man looking very intense in a living room. There is then another cut back to the kitchen in which something comes through the window attacking the woman, followed by another cut back to a medium shot of the man’s reaction and this is all quickly edited causing suspense and excitement. Again, there’s another quick edit to the woman being dragged away through the window, outside and then under another house. To create a sense of heartbreak there is a close up of the man and woman clutching each other’s hands, desperately trying to stay together. Another shot of the woman being dragged away, is from her point of view to make it seem as though this is you being dragged away from a loved one and this causes the audience to feel sympathy for the couple. After this there is a fade to black which I feel represents time passing. At the beginning of the trailer there is thunder, which as we know implies something bad as nothing good can come from a story in typical horror films. After the thunder there is no other sound other than a few seconds after when there is the harsh sound of the glass window smashing which creates a huge impact and is the first scare of the trailer.
Following the fade is then a studio title card which is desaturated and as if all the warm colours are missing, linking in with the fact that they are in the arctic and it is constant night so there will be no light. It also links to the fact that vampires are extremely pale and that when they drain your blood you lose all the colour in your skin. The text cards are used more than once throughout the trailer to fill in gaps and explain parts of the story but not to reveal too much. The fading to black that happens a lot through the trailer is very atmospheric and can help cause tension and suspense.
The next edit is to a long, high angle shot of two people dressed in long, dark clothes – most likely to be the bad guys – looking down on a lightless town in which the film takes place. Because they are above the town it shows they have power over the innocent people there. There is then a quick fade to black and fade up to a shot showing a vampire leaning over a body; the angle then tilts which is unnerving to the viewer. It is beneath the framework of a boat, which reminds the viewer of the rotting body. The next shot an establishing shot of the village above the Arctic Circle which has all the lights on, there are people in cars and wandering the streets. There is light, which implies safety, but because the clouds are low and heavy this gives a menacing aspect to the shot. There is then another title card explaining the background of the film, just to give the audience an idea of what the base of the story is.
This is followed by an extreme long shot of a man standing on his own, isolated, showing all the open space around him; this leaves the audience expecting something or someone to appear. We then get a close up of the man with a blurred figure standing behind him, which immediately causes suspense and there is then a montage of shots quickly edited together and the fast pace causes excitement and threat. When this is happening, there is only the diegetic sound of the wind and the natural sounds from their surroundings. After this is a quick close up of someone’s face with their mouth wide open and covered in blood, which implies an attack has just taken place linking to the shots before hand. As there is the build up to the face of the vampire, there is a crescendo of noise.
In the next shot we see a policeman – the hero – driving through the arctic to then be interrupted by a message saying he is needed somewhere. There is a cut to a medium shot of a man in jail to then a reverse shot of the policeman in a medium close up. Because we see bars in front of both characters, we are left with the question of ‘Is the man in jail trapped or is it the policeman?’ This is a visible rhetorical question, and to find out the answer you need to watch the film.
In the next series of shots, the man in jail says ‘Board the windows; try to hide. They’re coming’, over three shots of him intercut with a young woman and each shot gets closer to the man in the cell lying on the bed in quite a bad state, deranged. His teeth are also in a bad state; they are discoloured and also pointy, and this gives implications that he could possibly be a vampire himself, especially given the fact he seems to know about them before anyone else. After that has been said the hero asks ‘Who are they?’, and there is then a cut to one of the other men in the station and behind him through the window you are able to see someone there. Because of the way the blinds shut, they also give implications of being trapped.
Now there is a montage of shots showing the lights being turned off in the town, followed by a fade to black and fade up into a title card written in red, implying blood and violence. When this happens, there is non-diegetic sound of a low percussive sound to emphasise the happenings and create impact. It shows the unique selling point of the film, which is that it is based on the graphic novel. The next edits are a sequence of shots separated by quick fades to black and fade up on the victims. Whilst this is happening there is a non-diegetic sound of a steady beating, similar to a heartbeat which then speeds up as the shots increase in pace, to finally be over ruled by the sound of a woman screaming for help. After this there is an important title card featuring the directors name (Sam Raimi), this will appeal to fans of horror and action series, because he has directed examples of both (Spider-man and The Evil Dead). A close up of the young woman saying, ‘Vampires don’t exist’, is ironic as we know they do because that is what the film is based on and her disbelief in them creates a sense that something is going to happen to her throughout this film. Before this there is another close up of a vampire covered in blood opening his mouth as if he is in mid attack, which links to the irony of the woman’s statement straight after. There is a brief flickering and a close up shot of a blood dripping face, followed by another close up of exceptionally long finger nails scratching record, because they look like claws it indicates the film will be violent. After this there is yet another title card with a steading, driving beat to it, followed by a quick fade to black and fade up of a man saying ‘That ain’t the weather, that’s death approaching’. There is a fade up for blood running down a road, followed by a montage of shots of people being attacked, dragged and killed by vampires as well as people looking afraid. Because these shots are overlaid with a building crescendo, this causes excitement along with a title card saying, ‘How can they be stopped?’ This leaves it to the audience to have to see the film to be able to find out the answer to the question. More scenes of destruction follow and then a close up shot of our hero claiming, ‘We can last a month’. Again, this leaves another reason for the audience to watch the film as they are left with the question, will they last a month – the thirty days of night?
There is then a sequence of shots of the town being destroyed, shots of the vampires and citizens looking afraid. This hints at the content without letting any of the story or big secrets be visible to the viewers. The music then crescendos and the shots become shorter - this creates excitement, thrill and tension. We are left with the final scare being where a vampire is about to bite into a woman’s neck, and she screams in fear. The last scene of the trailer is a title card with the text in red implying blood and violent death, and it seems as though someone has smeared the blood across the screen. There is also the billing block and the website with encourages access to find more out about the film and release date.