Create Classic Horror Movie Poster – Laura’s Counterplay

It’s been a long time since I came up with a truly original tutorial and this evening I finally had muse to make something that will stand out. I can already see how this tutorial is going to become a classic masterpiece once it gains popularity, so just sit back and read, don’t forget to bookmark this website and subscribe to our feed, to make sure you never miss any of our future tutorials and freebies.

Inspiration: Although today’s horror movies are all quite cheesy, very predictable and always disappointing,  I drew my inspiration from one of the infamous and unpopular movies – “Long Distance“, starring the beautiful Monica Keena. Don’t be surprised if it does not ring a bell, I’d be surprised if it did. I myself however love the cover / poster of this movie, the original plot and I decided to make my own little scenery with my own little plot, which is more or less reflected in the film’s poster.


So, let’s get started. The canvas size is really your choice, you may want to make it slightly longer or even bigger, because we initially work wit ha small image here.


Paint your canvas in dark color, we used #211f1f.


Take one of the grungy backgrounds you like to use, make sure it’s pale enough and not too dark. We used a great image from here.

You don’t need to use a stained old paper, like I used here. You can also use bricks surface, old wood or any other old-looking texture because this is not going to be your leitmotif, we just need something to be on the background.

Now, once you have downloaded the texture you want to use, let’s move to the next step.

Paste the background you downloaded unto the dark canvas you are working with. You will need to either resize or de-size it. I didn’t bother downloading the full version of this background, so I just took the small image and stretched it across the canvas, because in this case, we don’t mind to lose a bit of quality.

Once pasted and resized, set the lending options of the background to “Overlay“. You should have it looking like this..


Once this background has been blended, let’s add some more horror – grunge effects. If the hue of your canvas turns to be different — don’t worry, eventually we will overwrite it all with black and white so the colors are irrelevant at the moment.

Next, we took this nice finger prints image, called “Tint black 2”. Again, paste it onto your canvas, resize, position slightly above the middle…


Set the blending options to “Darker Color” and Opacity to 80%.

This is more or less how it should look.


Next thing we need is a model for our main character in the movie. Here I really can’t advice you, feel free to use any photo you really like, if you want — use your own and then print it up as a poster, this could be a great idea for your bedroom! So… Choose a picture of a girl. We wanted to go with a dramatic look so we chose a fantastic photo taken by Zsolt Dreher of a woman under the rain. You can download it here.

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  • Reply Vim March 19, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Great tutorial, Looks very nice, the part of the picture with the woman’s hand in the air, reminds me of the car scene from titanic!! is that where the image was taken from

  • Reply chris March 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    You can still see the cow in the backround lol

  • Reply Lorelei March 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    @ chris, you cracked me from laughter with this comment!

  • Reply discovernow March 31, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing this! I just followed the tutorial and got something close to it.

  • Reply Brochures April 1, 2009 at 5:29 am

    Nice tutorial! Definitely something to try out, good thing you provided the links to the stock photos. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. Keep up the good work!

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  • Reply CgBaran Tuts May 4, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Great work thanks

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  • Reply Lorelei May 6, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you for your comments guys!

  • Reply photo retouching May 7, 2009 at 6:55 am

    What a truly great and meticulous bit of photo retouching . I love the attention to detail. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply jacobtitan3 May 21, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    great job i used this for one of my projects in a computer art class! but i did notice something, on the left eye of the girl there is 2 eyes idk if u might have used the clone stamp tool in there but i just noticed that.

  • Reply huwaw69 May 21, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    i know that finger print hahaha thanks for sharing this great tutorial man! i really liked it!

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  • Reply Menekali January 29, 2010 at 3:19 am

    What about this is ‘classic horror’? Looks amateurish at best and, you’d honestly charge someone .99 for this PSD? Are you serious?

  • Reply Charlie Street February 7, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Nice blog post. Interesting way to go about creating the effect.

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  • Reply I don't get it February 11, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    It looks like a good tutoria but assues way to much. Most beginners who want to learn by doing just do not know how to achieve the majority of tasks on here. Other tutorials show step-by-step pictures or explain how to find options as well as what press, but this one seem to go from A to G in the same “step”.

    Maybe once I know more this will come in handy, but for now, it’s too frustrating having to refer to other sites to find out how to perform each so-called “step” (more like a long jump!).

    If you’re a n00b, stay away from this one.

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