ByScott Wardell, writer at
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Scott Wardell

It's rare that a film steeped in horror history — dissected, examined, re-watched to death by generations of horror fans — can surprise us nearly 40 years after its initial release. Now, a recently rediscovered lost detail from the original Halloween movie poster has rekindled our love for Carpenter's genre-pioneering film and the artistic talent that went into every facet of its production.

John Carpenter's 1978 Halloween Movie Poster

'Halloween' poster
'Halloween' poster

Artist and illustrator Robert Gleason was commissioned to create the poster for John Carpenter's Halloween in 1978. While the knife and pumpkin are the main visual draw of the poster, the finer details reveal a screaming face hidden in the knuckles and wormy veins of the disembodied hand. Here's a closer look:

The screaming face / 'Halloween'
The screaming face / 'Halloween'

Do you see?

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These Details Weren't Always There

What you might not know is that a some point in the last 37 years, the hand was painted over, removing this subtle detail. After the original painting was recovered by Heritage a few years ago, the auction house contacted Gleason, who was unaware of the changes made to his original artwork. As Heritage says, "Gleason utilized an acrylic solvent to remove the overpainting, restoring his work to its eerie original glory." With the original design intact, the painting went up for auction in March 2016.

It's pretty cool to see that Gleason included such a subtle yet thematic detail in his artwork. While nobody is sure why the hand was painted over to begin with, it's nice to hear that the artwork is back to the way it was originally conceived, and us horror fans now have a newfound appreciation for the detailing that went into its creation.

Before working on Halloween, Gleason created album covers for Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight and the Pips, as well as painted the equally memorable poster artwork for the Bruce Lee film, Game of Death.

What other movies have equally recognizable poster artwork?

[Heritage, with a h/t to Bloody Disgusting]


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