Las Vegas Sun

August 22, 2014

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The anatomy of a classic horror movie poster

Image

Erik Stein

The final poster runs in the Las Vegas Sun on Halloween.

How does a Strip entertainer turn into the star of a classic horror movie? With a little bit of photo magic.

Las Vegas Magazine Managing Editor Jack Houston tossed the idea of publishing an “undead” issue around Halloween to LVM Art Director Erik Stein. The two quickly paired top Vegas performers with famous horror film subjects. Mirage ventriloquist Terry Fator and his wife, Taylor Makakoa, became Frankenstein and his bride. Rio headliners Penn & Teller were cast as archeologist and mummy in "The Silent Mummy" and Imperial Palace headliner Frank Marino and his longtime partner, Alex Schechter, got the leading roles in “Vampire Serenade.”

First, the stars had to be made up, with help from hair/makeup artist Zee Clemente and fashion stylist Christie Moeller, and then photographed by Greenspun Media Group's Christopher DeVargas.

Then the photos went to Stein to be turned into classic movie posters and the covers of Las Vegas Magazine and Las Vegas Weekly. They also made an appearances on page 1 of the Las Vegas Sun Friday and on page 8 today.

Here's the breakdown of how Stein turned the photos into the posters featured in the Las Vegas Magazine, Las Vegas Weekly and the Las Vegas Sun:

    • Anatomy of a horror movie poster
      /Aaron Belandres

      1. Photo selection

      Las Vegas Magazine art director Erik Stein reviews all 1,300 images from the Terry Fator and Taylor Makakoa photoshoot. Only two images will make the final cut for the poster creation.
    • Anatomy of a horror movie poster
      /Erik Stein

      2. Composition

      The final image selections are placed on the poster page and arranged. Sometimes this includes the elimination of the background the subject was photographed in.
    • Anatomy of a horror movie poster
      /Erik Stein

      3. Background

      The images and scans of charcoal, pencil and ink are merged together until the background fits the project's mood.
    • Anatomy of a horror movie poster
      /Erik Stein

      4. Tones

      Overall colors are chosen and applied. Corrections in brightness and contrast are addressed as well as global hue and saturation changes. This is the first glimpse of how the final project will appear.
    • Anatomy of a horror movie poster
      /Erik Stein

      5. Special effects

      Photoshop enhancements of the background. Fake lighting, smoke, glows and color adjustments are made to the image.
    • Anatomy of a horror movie poster
      /Erik Stein

      6. Retouching

      Each talent is carefully gone over with a digital fine-toothed comb. Skin and features are polished and the color is corrected and stylized to fit the concept of the project.
    • Anatomy of a horror movie poster
      /Erik Stein

      7. Text

      Selection of fonts and placement of text on the poster. Careful consideration of the vintage shocker posters of the 1930s and '40s was taken into account during the design process.
    • Anatomy of a horror movie poster
      /Erik Stein

      8. Print

      The final poster runs in the Las Vegas Sun on Halloween.

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