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Apparently, studios used to think that movie-going audiences were the dumbest people alive.
Published September 14, 2010 More Info »

Movie posters have changed over the years. While today they seem to function as an accessory to a movie or an excuse to make bear sex jokes, vintage posters actually had a job to do: convincing you to see the movie. And in doing so, they treated you like you were a moron.

Admittedly, this list could also be titled "apparently Alfred Hitchcock thought you were the dumbest person alive," as he appears multiple times, really spelling out why you should see his flick, often actually appearing on the poster itself. Why was he so paranoid that nobody would go see his film? Today, it'd be like if Christopher Nolan put himself on his movies posters with a seal of approval. Or better yet, if M. Night Shamyalan was on the posters of every movie he didn't direct, saying "I swear I didn't have anything to do with this movie."

Anyway, here are the most insulting posters ever. (click images to see full sized posters)

8. Ape

The tagline: "Not to be confused with King Kong"

We didn't. You see where it was called "Ape"? That, old movie poster creators, is where we knew it wasn't to be confused with a movie that had a different, legendary title.

7. Vertigo

 Hitchcock's first appearance on the list. The tagline reads, "You Should See It From The Beginning." Apparently, the legendary director worried audiences might see it from the beginning, and needed to inform them that their wishy-washy approach to seeing his films was not to be tolerated.

Let's settled down Al. If they miss the opening credits, they'll still be able to keep up. Jimmy Stewart says something charming, there's a bell tower, and a fear of heights. We get it.

6. The Day of the Dolphin

This one also doubles as one of the more awesome taglines in movie history: "Unwittingly, He Trained A Dolphin To Kill President of the United States." Amazing. But c'mon, if you're going to see a movie called "Day of the Dolphin," you know what you're getting into. No need to dumb it down.

5. Suspiria

A clever ruse by Suspiria, a movie that apparently existed. "The Only Thing More Terrifying Than the Last 12 Minutes of This Film Are The First 92"

Nice try, random horror movie that I didn't know was real before today. While you've tried to make it seem like your movie is 104 minutes of pure terror, you've just admitted that the climax is actually a let down. Also, according to imdb, you're only 98 minutes.

4. The Blue Lagoon

Just in case you didn't know what you were getting into, they put the entire plot of the film on the poster:

"The director of "Grease," Randal Kleiser, brings the screen a sensual story of natural love. Two children, shipwrecked alone on a tropical island. Nature is kind. They thrive on the bounty of jungle and lagoon. The boy grows tall. The girl beautiful. When their love happens, it is as natural as the sea, and as powerful."

Yes, but what is it about???

3. The Birds

This one actually has a quote (and a picture, of course) from Hitchcock himself:

"It could be the most terrifying movie I have ever made."

Then it has his signature! AL! Did you think we didn't trust that it was you plugging your own movie? We'll see it. We like you. There's no need to try so hard (and make us feel like idiots in the process).

2. The Manchurian Candidate

"If you come in five minutes after this picture begins, you won't know what it's all about! When you've seen it all you'll swear there's never been anything like it!"
-an incredibly insulting movie poster

Maybe we're wrong. Maybe people were really dumb and couldn't follow movies. Or there was a rampant "coming in late to movie theaters" problem going on in America at the time. We'll never know.

1. Psycho

This one takes the cake. HItchcock has had enough with A) people not trusting that his pictures are worth seeing and B) people lackadaisically showing up 10 minutes late.

The quick fix? First, a tagline of "It is required that you see Psycho from the very beginning!" And second, since that condescending command may not be enough, a picture of himself looking at you disapprovingly AND pointing at his watch.

I wonder if they want us to see this movie.
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