Ten Cool Posters for 1990s Indie Films

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.

This poster is so wonderfully evocative of garish 1970s style, and 1970s porn. Not that I’ve ever seen any. Because watching porn is wrong.

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.


Filed under German Films, Movies

21 responses to “Ten Cool Posters for 1990s Indie Films

  1. These posters are all brilliant. I particularly love the Fargo and Boogie Nights ones. The latter reminds me I need to see some 70s porn 😉

    It’s ironic you posted this because I just – and I mean JUST – finished watching one of my favourite indie films of the 90s, Mathieu Kassovitz’s LA HAINE. The Criterion poster for that is great, but I’m pretty sure Criterions don’t count. Speaking of which, have you heard that Criterion are releasing Bergman’s Summer Interlude and Summer with Monika in May? The Summer with Monika poster is dripping with Harriet Andersson sexiness.

    But drifting back to the topic at hand: yes, these posters are fantastic. 90s Indie Films are one of my favourite genres, I love them so much.

  2. Nice!!

    My favourite has to be the FARGO one. Love a bit of cross stitch!

  3. Wow, I’d never seen that Boogie Nights poster. Is that the German poster? I love it. It may be my new favorite poster.

    Also, I’ve always loved the Fargo poster.

  4. Those are the films that widened my horizons as a film buff. They also, especially Pulp Fiction and Fargo ignite the dormant cinephile in me! The posters are great memories of the films you choose!

  5. rtm

    These are all very cool indeed! Uma is just the epitome of cool in that pose isn’t it? They could’ve done another one of her dancing pose too. That Fargo one is just brilliant with that embroidery style, very clever!

    • When you really think about it, there are a ton of great images from that movie. The dancing scene, the briefcase, Vincent and Jules with their guns out, etc…

  6. Nice selections, man! My favorite is Pulp Fiction. Something about Uma Thurman in that black wig… wow.

  7. Blair Witch is still awesome and I remember that when it came out, I was living in NYC and EVERYONE was asking me about the legend because I was from Baltimore. No one believed me when I told them that I had never heard of the BW. I knew that a town called Burkittsville existed but to this day I still have no idea where it is in Maryland. What IS cool, is that so much of the movie is filmed in Patapsco State Park which IS right outside of Baltimore and I pass it often. Spooky, baby!!!

    • I can recall all the talk about if the film was real or not when we went to see it. They really managed to use the hype machine for that film before the internet really took off as well.

    • I can imagine that question would get really old, really fast. And I bet that town has had a ton of visitors through the years.

      • I recall BWP having a fairly elaborate (for 1994) website with fake news articles and other source material on the story of the movie. At the time, it seemed really convincing, and I doubt I’d ever gone to a website for a movie before.

  8. Love that Boogie Nights poster. It has a nifty old Hollywood look to it I really like! Nice post John 🙂

  9. That is a sweet ass collection of posters. I especially dig the Boogie Nights and Fargo posters.

  10. Cocktails first. Comments later.

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