The Lakeshore Entertainment logo is a fascinating example of how you can completely alter the tone and character of a familiar logo with a simple tweak of perspective.
Founded in 1994 by producers Tom Rosenberg and Ted Tannebaum, Lakeshore Entertainment Group was behind such films as Box of Moonlight, The Gift and the Underworld series. In its classic form, it's one of my favourite movie production logos, but in recent years has taken a turn down a more skin-crawling alley.
The logo, which shows the silhouette of a boy racing leaping with his arms outstretched toward a shimmering lake, initially existed as a still image, but acquired motion in 1997 with the release of Going All The Way, so that we saw this kid's journey as he hurtles down a boardwalk and into that final iconic pose. The emphasis, carried over from the original still logo, was on that moment of pure anticipation - the euphoric gap between the boy's feet leaving that firm, solid surface and plummeting downward into the waters, when he's hoisted himself up to the absolute peak of his physical capability (make no mistake, the kid is embracing air, not water, it's important that we never actually see the child succumb to the law of gravity). The motion logo adds another dimension, by opening with a close-up of the lake and immediately immersing us in this sparkling, pristine paradise, before pulling backwards to reveal the boy approaching from behind. His shadowy form, coupled with the fact that we never see his face, gives him a slight air of the uncanny, although this is largely counterbalanced by his unmistakably youthful figure, which emits a playful enthusiasm - also important, as by starting with such an immersive shot of those still, unspoiled waters, it's very tempting to interpret the boy's approach as a disturbance, the natural calm about to be completely obliterated by the boy's brand of lakeshore entertainment, as he dive-bombs the environs and fills them up with his terrestrial contaminants. The sepia visuals and soft flute tones, meanwhile, give the scenario a distinctly dreamy, nostalgic flavour, which clues us in that this is not only a perfect, idealised state of prepubescent bliss, but a distant one that continues to fade into memory. That uncanny child is less like a child than an avatar for an off-screen dreamer yearning to connect with that lost, only vaguely remembered euphoria. As the child disappears into this woozy landscape, the final image represents the nostalgic's ultimate aspiration, which is to stop time in tracks and remain frozen in this unblemished state for all eternity. That way, the child gets to experience a perpetual high, impervious to the brutal reality that, sooner or later, everything must come back down to Earth.
The Lakeshore Entertainment logo that appeared from late 2016 onward, starting with Underworld: Blood Wars, recreates the same basic imagery but somehow managers to completely revamp the whole thing, removing the dreamy, nostalgic aura of its predecessor and making the uncanny element more salient. This is achieved by switching our starting point, so that we begin not with that entrancing close-up of the lake, but down on the boardwalk, so that our first glimpse is of the underside of the kid's feet as he lumbers down the visibly wet wooden surface toward a lake which, this time, remains at a firm distance. The emphasis instead is on how looming and gangling the runner is; as shadowy and obscured as ever, attention is drawn in particular to his feet, which as a result of that uncomfortable opening close-up, seem monstrous (seen below, with audio from the opening to Underworld: Blood Wars, it's even more ominous, since those loud booming noises seem like the trudging noises of his feet hitting the boardwalk). The features of the lake itself are clearer, crisper and more splendid-looking than that sepia dream lake, and yet it lacks the same warmth and presence - it is just a flat backdrop against which our protagonist can flex his spindly proportions. In spite of his lumbering presence, he pulls off a graceful leap at the end, but the closing freeze frame feels carefully choreographed, more like a ballet than an expression of youthful spontaneity.
Same imagery; different logo. Compared to the original template, this newer logo offers not hazy escapism, but total immersion in the fundamental freakiness of the human form.