These famous horror movie posters look shockingly familiar

There's a fine line between a design fail and flattery, but when it comes to the horror genre there's an unspoken rule that replicating the look of a classic movie film poster for your post-modern slasher is, well… essential.

While Scream may have kickstarted the love-in for self-referential horror tropes, the posters below reveal that imitating the design of a popular films to sell a new movie in a similar vein has been a staple of the horror genre for decades. 

While we may be asking 'Why does every movie poster design look like this?' when it comes to some lazy modern choices, for horror movies it's all about letting the audience know that you know – the best horror movies tend to be made by people who love the genre. Take a look below at some of the best movie posters that appeared in Twitter account The Vampire Show , which shared a thread of the best horror film like-by-like poster designs. Some are clearly homages, some common designs, and maybe one or two are just shocking imitations.

Horror posters; an alien egg

Creepy alien egg and smoke? Tick. The Fly from 1986 clearly wants you to know things are going to get messy. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Horror posters; a person holds a knife

Chucky has always revelled in recalling classic horror tropes, and this poster for the SyFy series needs you to know it (Image credit: Allied Artists / Syfy)

Horror posters; a ask covers the face of a horror character

1991 horror Popcorn celebrates the horror genre with films-within-films, likewise Us plays on knowledge of the genre  (Image credit: Studio Three Film Corporation / Universal Pictures)

Horror posters; faces made up of small photos

This ones likely more of a design trend in the Noughties for Phototshop art than a genuine homage (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures / 20th Century Fox)

Horror posters; faces on a black background

Chucky's doing it again… these posters are so similar that when placed together it looks like a unified series (Image credit: Paramount Pictures / Universal Pictures)

Horror posters; a shark attacks a swimmer

Piranha was a clear low-budget imitator of Jaws (Spielberg was actually a fan) and the poster doubles-down on the pitch (Image credit: Universal Pictures / United Artists)

Horror posters; posters of a face on a coloured background

Can't help feeling 2017's Mother! wasn't eagerly trying to convince audiences it was something else… (Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Horror posters; a zombie face swirls over a house

There were actually a lot of 'wispy skull faces over houses' designs in the 1980s, but these two are the best (Image credit: Columbia Pictures / United States)

Horror posters; a knife divides a photo of a masked face

Post-modern slasher Jason X goes out of its way to recall the cult hit Prom Night from 1980 (Image credit: AVCO Embassy Pictures / Astral Films / New Line Cinema)

Horror posters; a student slumps over a chair in front of a blackboard

Another modern movie with one eye on the past, Jennifer's Body is a throwback to 1981 parody slasher Student Bodies (Image credit: Paramount Pictures / 20th Century Fox)

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & 3D

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & 3D at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.