• Title:
    The Innkeepers
  • Client:
    MPI Media
  • Design:
    Film Poster
  • Date:
    06.03.11
  • Region:
    USA
Here is the main poster i designed for ‘The Innkeepers’ film by Ti West (House of the devil) starting Sara Paxton, Pat Healy and Kelly McGills.

It came about when like Hobo I sent an email to Larry Fessenden at Glass eye pix / Scare Flix. Saying how I’ve been a fan of their films for ages (they have a brilliant Catalogue of original off the wall horror/thriller titles) and I just did the Hobo poster So if they needed any posters designing for up coming films… I’m your man!

Then the next thing I know I get an email from Larry wanting me to work on a poster for none other than Ti West!!! I was stoked to say the least; I’ve also been a big fan of his films the Roost, Trigger man and House of the Devil of course!

I actually got to work quite closely with Ti West on this project as the film was still in production I never actually got to see a frame! So instead Ti sent over a selection of film posters and a write up which set the tones he wanted to present in the final poster. I like most people was expecting to do another full on horror film but Ti kept saying That The Innkeepers isn’t a straight horror film, it could be a G/PG rated and to think more Fightners, Victorian ghost story, Charles dickens Christmas Carol and even ghost busters!!!

I sent over 10 different concepts for this one (quite a lot for me!) and this one was one of the last I did, it was also the one that had that eureka moment! There was a bit of wrangling over the choice of the final route but I managed to convince everyone that this had the IT factor. It really ticked all the boxes! and had that strong design concept to back it up and visually tie all the elements together. I did allot of research into Victorian design styles and got drawn towards the Art Nouveau movement in the end because of all the wavy ethereal lines and curves which set the tone so well.
I then also researched into old ghost story books covers to get a more light hearted spooky vibe and found The Fontana Great Ghost Story anthology a massive inspiration. (If you can get hold of them they do they have some amazing illustrations!).

Then finally I have to take my hat off to Drew Struzan as a big inspiration, especially when you want to set that 80’s Goonies/Adventures in baby sitting montage poster vibe.

So for the final design I blended the ethereal lines of the Art Nouveau border with ghostly mist and set the composition on three plains, the mist in the foreground, the two intrepid ghost hunters walking through the spooky mist with there torch in the middle and the ghost (which wraps around and frames the whole scene) coming out in the background (for that classic ‘its behind you’ setting)

The humour element is depicted through main characters pose as Sara is the lead character it allowed me to play with the stereo types and place the guy hiding behind the girl I was also able to emphasise there spooked expressions with the torch light.

The green/blue colouring was inspired by old oxidised copper to give it that antique ghostly feel and finally the title design was inspired by the engraved type on old bar/pub signs and mirrors, I did over emphasise the spirals and curves to be more suggestive of spooky goings on and tie in with the art nouveau style for the rest of the poster. Also note the subtle pigeon and deer head!.. Which all link back to the film and are put in a suggestive teasers, all will become clear when you watch it.