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Culture Lust by Angela Carone

Film Title Sequences That Make Me Swoon

I'm a film lover, but there's this weird thing that happens to me when the lights go down in a theater.  First there are the trailers -- which I love.  Most of them are bad, but the good ones stay with me.  Mostly, I love trailers because they represent possibility.  They are neat little packages of seduction.  After those 10 minutes of possibility, I get the thing I actually paid for... the thing that could let me down... the movie I've actually come to see.  Which gets me to the weird thing that happens:  I'm always slightly disappointed when the movie starts.  These are not the words of a film lover, I know.   But because I've built up expectations and hopes, I'm uneasy. 

One of the things that eases the disappointment of a film's beginning is a good title sequence.  A title sequence is an art form in itself, like the book jacket cover or album art.  Title sequences have become a showcase for design, illustration and music.  Years ago, a friend turned me on to the beauty of the title sequence for To Kill a Mockingbird .  And I still remember seeing the David Fincher's thriller Se7en , with its stunningly dark but gorgeous beginning set to a Coil remix of Nine Inch Nails' Closer

I just learned about a great site that has been compiliing title sequences called Art of the Title .  It's captivating!  You can watch the title sequence for Showtime's   Dexter (which I've been watching On Demand and getting totally creeped out).  It's clearly influenced by the Se7en design - just as macabre,  but with more pop and zip.  It makes the morning rituals of coffee, shaving and breakfast into a twisted ritual.  The camerawork is something to behold.


My other favorites are the title sequences for American Splendor , Donnie Brasco and the amazing Delicatessen

Beth Accomando
June 25, 2008 at 07:17 PM
Yes! Opening and closing title sequences are an art all of their own. Se7en is a classic, done by Imaginary Forces, a company that also did fine work on Mimic, Island of Doctor Moreau, Hellboy and even Definitely Maybe. I'm a fan of theirs. They have their own website: As a Bond fan I always look forward to those opening titles. Some other favorites off the top of my head: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is classic; the end credits from 300 are amazing; Thank You for Smoking has delightful opening credits; and Monty Python (featuring Terry Gilliam's animation) is always great. Thanks Angela for reminding me how much fun just the credit sequences can be. And here's another site to check out (I love the name, Forget the Film, Watch the Titles):

"RALPH" The Wonder Llama, (umm... call me Brad) from Oslo (actually La Mesa)
June 25, 2008 at 08:15 PM
I love the "Swedish" subtitles in Holy Grail's title sequence A Møøse once bit my sister ... No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush...

Beth Accomando from San Diego
June 25, 2008 at 09:56 PM
"Mynd you moose bites kan be pretti nasti..." And of course the subtitles also offer the classic Python apology: "Those responsible have been sacked." I love Monty Python! Just reading your comment made me laugh. And the end credits continue the joke with credits for Special moose effects, moose costumes and moose choreography.


June 26, 2008 at 11:29 PM
Delicatessen also had one of the greatest trailers ever made -- the bed spring sequence... But the opening title sequence is still one of my favorites as well. <object width="425" height="344"> <embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

June 26, 2008 at 11:31 PM
Gee Angela, I broke your blog... Sorry.

Brad from La Mesa
June 27, 2008 at 04:11 AM
I like the title sequence to Beetlejuice. You fly over the town, while one of Danny Elfman's dark, yet whimsical creations plays. As you come in close to the house where the main characters live, a seemingly giant spider crawls over the edge of the roof, to reveal that the scene was a model in the attic of the house in question.

Edwin Decker
June 28, 2008 at 08:29 AM
YES, YES, YES - I've been thinking about this for years. I love opening sequences. One of my favorites, to add to the list, is the opening sequence of Raising Arizona, which, if you remember, is about 15 minutes long. So Cool. It's narrated by the Nick Cage, and they go through all the background of the story, his career as a criminal, his arrests, his meeting Ed ("turn to the Right") and while you're watching it, you completely forget you're even watching opening credits until, all of the sudden, 15 or so minutes later, that awesome cowboy yodeler starts yodeling and the Title zooms in, and the actors names start scrolling like normal. Gives me chills

Tom Fudge
July 11, 2008 at 04:58 PM
Yes, title sequences can be a great product of a creative mind. I have to disagree with Angela when it comes to trailers. I probably like a good trailer as much as the next guy. But they have become way too much of a good thing! Unfortunately, most of them time they aren't even very good. When I see a movie in a theater these days I try to time my arrival to make sure I get there AT LEAST ten minutes late. The junk they pile up prior to the opening of the feature has beome so tiresome. And most of that juke consists of trailers. While some are good, most are just a poorly chosen collection of scenes. Some of them manage to entirely ruin the suspense of the movie. I sometimes wonder why I should bother to see the damned film, since they just showed me the whole flick in the trailer. We need fewer trailers -- in front of both theatrical presentation and home videos -- and they need to be better. Fewer and better. That is all. -Tom Fudge

February 02, 2009 at 12:13 PM
My personal nomination for Greatest Opening Credits Ever come from my personal nom for Geatest Western Ever - "Once Upon a Time in the West. Ten or fifteen minutes of people doing absolutely nothing with no real dalog and no music - just the sound of a squeaky windmill, the wind, a buzzing fly and a telegraph. A friend who refuses to watch Westerns watched the whole film after i showed her that sequence...

Pana Cea
March 14, 2009 at 05:34 PM
True Blood Main Title Sequence Client: HBO URL: DK Credits: Creative Directors: Matt Mulder, Rama Allen. Live Action Direction: Rama Allen, Morgan Henry, Matthew Mulder, Matt Clark, Tevor Fife; Designers: Rama Allen, Shawn Fedorchuck, Ryan Gagnier, Matthew Mulder, Camm Rowland, Ryan Rothermel, Jacques Broquard; Compositor: Ryan Gagnier; Editor: Shawn Fedorchuck; Producers: Morgan Henry, Kipp Christiansen, Keir Moreano; ECD Paul Mattheaus; EP: Mark Bayshore