They Live: Integrating Titles with Your Film

They Live Poster
Image linked from IMDB

Apparently, the other night was 1988-movie night because not only did we watch The Blob (1988), but we also watched They Live (1988).  But I don’t want to talk about how great this movie is, though it is great.  The best part of this film is the integration of the titles, especially that of the film’s title itself.

Starting out we get the regular production company credits white on black, pretty standard, and not distracting.  But at 15-seconds in, we get the film title…and, well, look at how lovely this transition is over at Art of the Title.  Oh yeah, that transition from the title to the graffiti on the wall is just superb, right?

Luckily, it doesn’t end there.  If you continue to watch that opening sequence, pay attention to where the credits are showing up.  First there is the lovely truck to the left while we watch that train heading off screen to the right, and along that line of motion the first two credits post title appear.

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 9.14.04 PM

In the next shot we see the wonderful Roddy Piper center screen, and the title fades in over him, right where our eyes would be.

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 9.14.36 PM

And then we have the use of negative space that draws our eyes to it, and boom, title!

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 9.14.58 PM

The titles on this film are placed beautifully, and I think we can really learn something from them.  We see all the tricks in there to make sure we see the titles while at the same time, ensuring they aren’t annoying or distracting.  And, honestly, I cannot get enough of the transition from the film title to the graffiti wall, it is just a lovely integration.

Is there another movie that effectively uses titles?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you.


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