Cybersurfing: A poster worth a thousand words

Over at the Guaridan, Paul Rennie offers up an analysis of the semoitcs of the famous poster for THE EXORCIST. It’s heady stuff but very interesting, in part because he chose to examine the poster rather than the film itself. Rennie’s thesis is that American cinema went on a downward spirl during the ’60s, when glossy Hollwyood movies seemed out of touch with the larger cultural reality, leading to an outburst of independent filmmakers, who borrowed elements from European cinema to fashion films that were more psychologically complex and morally ambiguous. Rennie sees that the cultural anxiety underlying that complexity and ambiguity expressed in the “chiaroscuro” play of exaggerated light and shadow in the poster. Rennie concludes:

The worldwide success of The Exorcist helped re-establish Hollywood as the powerhouse of global cinema. A new generation of directors was able to emerge and new types of story developed.

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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