What is it about film production company bumpers at the beginning of movies circa 1984-1993 (roughly) that just strikes a chord so deep in some of us who were alive to experience them first hand?
It’s truly Pavlovian, in a way. We hear a certain bumper and we begin to salivate. We know the quality of the film we’re about to receive when we hear those opening notes. We can even guess the genre with overwhelming accuracy, thanks to the logo that materializes on the screen.
When the glimmering, metallic logo for Cannon Films assembles before our very eyes—the letter C and an arrow shape, joining to create what’s come to be known as “the Cannon Hexagon”—and those synth notes fuzz to life, backed by electronic drums, what movies come to mind? Delta Force? Death Wish 3? Or perhaps some other Golan-Globus display of excess? For me, it’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
Or how about New World Pictures: red rays against a black background, flickering by sequentially and settling into place, creating a sort of yin and yang silhouette of a globe. What does that make you think of? Hellbound: Hellraiser II? Slugs? How about Elvira: Mistress of the Dark?
My god, what about the granddaddy of them all, the Vidmark logo? Only a bumper this triumphant—piping horns, thudding drums, and blazing synths paired with colored lasers burning through the MARK portion of the logo—could be attached to some of the (and I say this lovingly) worst movies ever made. Yes, I’m talking about you, Hellgate.
The galactic majesty of Media Home Entertainment. The stately sophistication of The Ladd Company. The optimistic trash-tastic grit of Troma Entertainment.
All of these brief fragments of music and visual flare elicit memories from years of film-watching, and in turn oceans of feelings and emotions associated with those memories. Where we were when we saw a certain film. How old we were. What time of year it was. How it made us feel. I don’t want to ascribe too much credit to these little repetitive blips, but they’re kind of magic.
For me, they feel like home. They’re hopeful, they’re unknown, they’re full of possibility. They’re me, laying on the floor of my childhood home in my pajamas, face just inches from the television screen, a snack by my side. They’re timeless.
This is all a very long way to say that Closing Logos has every video bumper ever on their site—endless tunes and graphics, organized and cataloged, all just a click away. They even have histories of the logos, including details like what films they’re attached to, all variants the logos took on over the years, and what companies they eventually became. It’s really incredible stuff.
But the actual clips are the most important part of the site—the visual representations of the logos. The logos in action. Those are what strike a chord.
So head over to Closing Logos when you have some free time and do some exploring. Your younger self is waiting.