No, we’re not talking about the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower, releasing in theaters August 4; this one is lacking the preposition, known as just Dark Tower. This 1989 film is also a timely way to celebrate Poltergeist‘s 35th birthday, because it’s also about a ghostly apparition that haunts people. In this case, it’s more reminiscent of the sequel Poltergeist III since it’s set in a high-rise office building.
The film had a one-sheet and a different VHS cover when it was released, but the featured image above comes from the original poster and is arguably the better of the two. It’s a fairly simple image: a group of businessmen and -women congregate outside their office building, seemingly unaware that their place of work has been transformed into a giant coffin. The themes are all here besides the film’s ghastly spirit (although the thunderstorm in the background helps to clue people in to the paranormal element).
The most effective piece of the poster is that coffin, which morphs into the regular office facade as it gets closer to the ground. It’s a great motif that works in multiple ways. There’s the horror idea, taking the film’s themes quite literally when workers are murdered in grisly ways. But there’s also a more sociological metaphor, about people shuffling into work every day and toiling away their life, slowly stressing themselves to death to make a living. While Dark Tower probably doesn’t intentionally evoke that theme, it’s still a powerful image.
The VHS cover, kindly provided by VHSCollector.com, is a lot less dynamic although perhaps more representative of the film itself. Instead of that coffin, there’s now a superimposed skull, a screaming woman, and some ghostly ectoplasm. The use of the lower angle gives an imposing feeling, but this cover is a lot cheesier than the poster – although the hokey imagery on the VHS definitely matches with the film itself.
Have you seen Dark Tower? What do you think of its poster? Let me know in the comments below.