Bright Lights Film Journal

Poster Comparison No. 4

How close are these two images? When I first glimpsed the poster for Friday the 13th (2009) at a bus stop, I thought it WAS a poster for The Dark Knight.

Both posters employ dark blue backgrounds to set off a darker blue figure centered in the foreground. Both figures are wearing masks. The fiery bat used to emphasize Batman in The Dark Knight poster is echoed by the moonlight shining through the clouds used to emphasize the figure of serial killer, Jason, in Friday the 13th. The skyscrapers above Batman, bending toward the top center of the Dark Knight poster are echoed by the trees above Jason, bending toward the top center of the Friday the 13th poster. The titles of the two films are placed at the bottoms of the posters. (Nothing unusual about that.) At the top of The Dark Knight poster are the words, “WELCOME TO A WORLD WITHOUT RULES.” At the top of the Friday the 13th poster are the words, “WELCOME TO CRYSTAL LAKE.” Hmmm.

Other than their poster images, what do the two films have in common? Very little actually. Batman is a hero, albeit a multidimensional one with some dark aspects. Jason, the villain of Friday the 13th, is a one-dimensional psychotic killing machine. The Dark Knight‘s setting is urban. Friday the 13th‘s setting is rural.

So why should Friday the 13th promote itself with an image virtually stolen from The Dark Knight? Could it be that the producers of Friday the 13th, well aware of The Dark Knight‘s phenomenal success, wanted to attract some of The Dark Knight‘s massive audience through unconscious association? I think you already know the answer to that one.