Saturday, November 7, 2009

How Sam Smith's Evil Cat Went National

Posted By on Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 5:31 AM

click to enlarge houseposter_500.jpg
You may remember drummer Sam Smith from such acts as Ben Folds, The Comfies and My So-Called Band. But in his secret identity as one of Nashville's iron-man cinephiles, Smith spends much of his spare time designing Cuban- and European-influenced movie posters for various film events at The Belcourt.

One of Smith's designs has taken on a life of its own beyond the two-night stand it promoted at The Belcourt. It's a poster for House (Hausu), a demented 1977 horror film from Japan that's making its way around the country courtesy of the esteemed arthouse distributor Janus Films. The film did flabbergasting business in July when The Belcourt showed it as a midnight movie, and the limited run of Smith's commemorative posters (pictured here) sold out.

But the story doesn't end there.

Smith's poster found its way into the hands of the movie's director, Nobuhiko Obayashi, who signed a copy. Janus then adopted Smith's design as the official movie poster for its limited release of the film. Carrying the ball, to coincide with the movie's run last month in Brooklyn, the BAMCinematek offered Smith's design for sale on the coolest movie T-shirts we've seen in ages.

Now we find Smith's poster hailed as "Poster of the Week" on the well-traveled film site The Auteurs, a popular destination on the home page for DVD powerhouse The Criterion Collection:

Smith has finessed the original title treatment for the film (hand-drawn lettering with the O animated as a gaping mouth with jagged incisors) and combined it with an image of the aunt's possessed housecat which flashes on screen during the film's demented climax, and everything fits together perfectly to create one of the most striking posters of the year.

Adrian Curry tops off his Auteurs write-up with examples of Smith's alternate House designs--more sedate but appealingly Spartan--and the eye-grabbing posters Smith devised for the Belcourt's recent Godard revival. As for the gag poster Smith designed for Lars von Trier's hardcore horror film Antichrist, due at The Belcourt in two weeks--trust us when we say that if you've seen the movie, you'll need an oxygen mask to ward off dizziness. "Chaos reigns," indeed.

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