The 1990s were a magical time for cinema. Studios began to embrace newer, younger filmmakers with their own unique stories to tell. Fortunately, I was old enough to watch these movies, and they subsequently played a pivotal role in my development as a cinephile. The high school and college years are the perfect time to be introduced to new culture. And for me, that culture included quite a few of the very best films made in the last 30 years. Even the posters left an impression on me. Here are ten of my favorite movie posters from 1990s independent films. All images used courtesy of the IMP Awards site, a tremendous resource:
It leaves quite an impression, doesn’t it? The stark contrast of black and white alone grabs the eye, while also telling you exactly what the film is about.
If you were an 18 year old kid looking for apathetic heroes, this poster would certainly lure you in.
It’s a bit of a cheat to include Fargo (1996) because the Coens had made a name for themselves. Still, it qualifies as indie. And the poster is awfully clever.
If you want to talk about luring in defiant 15 to 25 year old kids, this is one hell of a way to do it–with Max Fischer emulating the black power salute from the 1968 Olympics. It’s also excellent design. The “Z” is as plain as day.
For some strange, enjoyable reason, the mid-90s saw the return of 50s cool. Swingers either captured it perfectly or helped re-create the feeling, even if the Rat Pack would beat the shit out of the characters in this movie.
Speaking of the return of 50s cool, this poster has it in droves–Uma’s bangs, the pulp comic on the bed and the pulp comic feel of the poster, and the typography all drill deep into the 50s psyche.
It’s become fashionable to bash this movie, at least partially because of the flock of found footage/shaky cam doppelgangers that Blair Witch helped spawn. Still, when you saw this poster in the theater in the summer of 1999, your reaction at the time was probably “What the hell is this all about? That looks AWESOME!”
If you wanted to be one of the cool kids in the 90s, you simply had to see Run, Lola, Run thanks to its unique narrative format. And the poster is perfectly evocative of the concept.