The Valachi Papers / B2 / Japan

31.07.15

PosterPoster
Title
The Valachi Papers
AKA
Cosa Nostra (international)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Terence Young
Starring
Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland, Walter Chiari, Joseph Wiseman, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Amedeo Nazzari, Fausto Tozzi, Pupella Maggio, Angelo Infanti
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Based on the biography of the same name by Peter Maas, The Valachi Papers recounts the story of Joseph Valachi a mafia member turned government informant in the 1960s. Director Terence Young, famous for directing the first two James Bond films (and Thunderball), was reunited with Charles Bronson whom he’d collaborated on for his previous two films (Red Sun and Cold Sweat). The film begins in the 60s in a Federal Penitentiary with an ageing Valachi (Bronson) serving time for heroin smuggling. In prison he meets the boss of the crime family he worked for Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura) who is convinced that Valachi is an informant and gives him the ‘kiss of death’. When Valachi later kills a prisoner whom he mistakenly thinks has been sent to assassinate him, he agrees to be an informant for the government. The rest of the film deals with incidences from his life, all the way back to the 1930s when he was starting out as a young criminal.

The design on this Japanese B2 is unique to the poster.

Flesh and Blood / quad / UK

29.07.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Flesh and Blood
AKA
Flesh+Blood (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Paul Verhoeven
Starring
Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Burlinson, Jack Thompson, Fernando Hilbeck, Susan Tyrrell, Ronald Lacey, Brion James
Origin of Film
Spain | USA | Netherlands
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Drama
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A timeless adventure, a passion for wealth and power. Only the strongest will survive.

Striking artwork by the Italian artist Renato Casaro on this British quad for the release of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven‘s first English language film, Flesh and Blood (sometimes referred to as Flesh+Blood). Verhoeven had been making films with subsidies from the Dutch government but things had been proving difficult due to the controversial subject matter of his stories so he decided to seek financial backing from a Hollywood studio. The now defunct Orion Pictures stumped up most of the budget for Flesh and Blood and had asked the director for a war film after seeing the celebrated Soldier of Orange. Verhoeven had nothing prepared in that genre so he worked hastily with a regular collaborator, the screenwriter Gerard Soeteman, to adapt some unused material from their TV series Floris, which was set during the Middle-Ages. Verhoeven would later rue the decision to allow Orion to insist on script changes that added a romantic interest to the story.

Set in Italy in 1501, the film features the Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, who had worked with Verhoeven several times before (including on Floris), as Martin, the leader of a band of mercenaries who are asked to help Lord Arnolfini (Fernando Hilbeck) retake his city that was captured whilst he was away. After successfully storming and recapturing it the mercenaries are initially told they can ransack the houses of the richest inhabitants of the city, but Arnolfini then changes his mind and orders his army to march the mercenaries from the city without the bounty that was agreed. The group vow to take their revenge and when Arnolfini’s son Steven (Tom Burlinson) leaves the castle to meet Agnes (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a noblewoman who has been betrothed to him, the mercenaries strike. After attacking the caravan and badly wounding Arnolfini, they kidnap Agnes and ride away with her. Eventually they end up at a castle where they hole-up and attempt to see off any attempts to rescue Agnes, who is seemingly falling in love with Martin.

Although it features moments of humour, Verhoeven’s intention was to show that the Middle-Ages weren’t as glamorous and pleasant as had been depicted in previous films, so he doesn’t shy away from casual violence, filth and degradation. Agnes in particular is subjected to a humiliating ordeal at the hands of the mercenaries, effectively ending up as their plaything later in the film. There’s plenty of blood-letting too with some battle scenes that are not for the faint hearted. Apparently the production was beset with problems, including an uncooperative international crew who were often drunk or under the influence of drugs, as well as a giant rift that opened up between Verhoeven and Hauer because the actor wanted to build a career as a heroic leading man, but the director wanted his character to be more ambiguous and at times unpleasant. The resulting film is definitely uneven and at times confusing, but is nevertheless engaging. Hauer in particular injects his scenes with plenty of wild energy and Jennifer Jason Leigh is memorable as the sensuous Agnes. Unfortunately Orion botched the American release and the film apparently flopped quickly. Verhoeven would later say he felt that he’d probably made the film too cynical and downbeat for audiences to take.

This artwork was adapted by Casaro for use in a number of countries, including Germany, with the position of the characters widening for this quad. One of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro is an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here.

The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

The Howling / one sheet / USA

27.07.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Howling
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Joe Dante
Starring
Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Belinda Balaski, Kevin McCarthy, John Carradine, Slim Pickens, Elisabeth Brooks, Robert Picardo, Dick Miller
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810045
Tagline
Imagine your worst fear a reality.

One of two werewolf themed horrors to be released in 1981, Joe Dante‘s The Howling beat John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London to cinemas by a few months, but both would go on to be cult classics of the genre, even if the latter film won more critical plaudits at the time of its release. Despite hugely different storylines each film features a memorable werewolf transformation scene and The Howling’s one was created by noted practical effects specialist Rob Bottin (The Thing, Robocop), which was his first solo effort away from his mentor Rick Baker. Although he had initially started work on The Howling, Baker had decided to leave the production to work on Landis’ film and handed the reigns over to Bottin. The results are definitely impressive and were certainly groundbreaking for the time, however Baker’s handiwork on AWIL is unforgettable and impressed the judges of the Academy Awards so much that he won the Outstanding Achievement in Makeup in its inaugural year.

Very loosely based on the novel of the same name by Gary Brandner, The Howling’s script was worked on by two screenwriters before Dante brought in John Sayles, with whom he collaborated on 1978’s Piranha to write a third draft. The film begins as the investigative TV report Karen White (Dee Wallace) is on her way to meet the serial murderer Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo) at a sleazy LA porn store as part of a police sting operation. After entering a booth, Karen is surprised by Eddie who is standing behind her and forces her to watch a porno of a young woman being attacked. Karen turns to look at Eddie and her screams attract nearby police officers who shoot and apparently kill him. Severely traumatised by the event and suffering from hallucinatory flashbacks, Karen’s therapist Dr Waggner (Patrick Macnee) refers her to a secluded retreat on the Californian coast called The Colony.

Karen travels there with her boyfriend Bill played by the late Christopher Stone, who was Dee Wallace’s boyfriend at the time and later married her (Stone sadly passed away from a heart attack in 1995), and the pair are welcomed by the residents of the camp, which is made up of several log cabins in a forest near the coast. One night Bill is out for a walk and is attacked and bitten by a werewolf, which is actually Marsha Quist (Elisabeth Brooks) a sultry nymphomaniac who has been at the Colony for months. Later she accosts Bill and the pair make love in the forest as they transform into werewolves together. Karen suspects all is not right and invites her friend Teri (Belinda Balaski), another reporter who is looking into Eddie Quist and has discovered that his body is missing from the morgue, out to visit her. Soon after arriving Teri is attacked and killed by Eddie whom she watches transform into a wolf (with Rob Bottin’s help) and before long Karen discovers the true secret of the Colony. Teri’s partner Chris (Dennis Dugan) comes to Karen’s rescue clutching a rifle loaded with silver bullets.

The film was made on a low budget (circa $1m) and was a commercial success around the globe, making tens of millions of dollars. It inevitably spawned a number of significantly less interesting sequels, starting with 1985’s ‘Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf’. Joe Dante believes that Steven Spielberg saw the film at the cinema and subsequently offered him the directorial job on the cult classic Gremlins (1984).

Despite The Howling’s relatively high profile I’ve been unable to identify the artist responsible for the artwork on this US one sheet, which was also used as the marketing art in several other countries. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch. Note that this particular poster is discoloured somewhat as it is meant to be more orange/yellow in tone, and I believe it’s the result of an error during printing. It’s not the first one sheet for the Howling that I’ve seen with this discolouration and at least three can be seen in emovieposter’s past sales history of the poster. I suspect that a batch of the posters fell victim to an issue with blue/green inks at the time of printing.

Zombi Holocaust / Thailand

24.07.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Zombi Holocaust
AKA
Doctor Butcher M.D. (USA) | Zombie 3 (USA) | Queen of the Cannibals (International)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Marino Girolami
Starring
Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli, Sherry Buchanan, Peter O'Neal, Donald O'Brien, Dakar, Walter Patriarca
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
21" x 29 5/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Zombi Holocaust is an unusual entry in the history of Italian exploitation films in that it combines three popular horror themes, with cannibals, zombies and a mad doctor all featuring. The prolific producer Fabrizio De Angelis was behind Lucio Fulci’s legendary Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) and clearly decided to cash in on the popularity of that film, rushing Zombi Holocaust into production the same year. Marino Girolami was in the director’s chair and Ian McCulloch, star of Zombie Flesh Eaters, appears as a doctor investigation a series of strange murders.

Beginning in New York City, the film starts in a hospital where cadavers are being mutilated and the staff discover that a male nurse has been eating body parts. Whilst the staff try to subdue him, he manages to escape and jumps through a window, falling to his death. Lori Ridgeway (Alexandra Delli Colli) is a morgue assistant at the hospital who is also interested in anthropology and is interested to discover that the cannibal nurse is from the same Asian Molucca islands that she was originally from. Dr. Peter Chandler (McCulloch) arrives at the hospital and explains that a number of other deaths have occurred all over the US in which natives from Molucca have been implicated.

The pair travel to the islands along with an investigative reporter (Sherry Buchanan) and meet up with a Doctor Obrero (Donald O’Brien) who has apparently been looking into the mystery. Soon after they arrive, their group is attacked by vicious cannibals and several members of the party are eviscerated. Whilst trying to escape the island they are once again attacked by cannibals, but just before they are killed a handful of disfigured zombies show up and scare off the cannibals. They discover that Dr Obrero has been covering up his experiments on the islanders which have been turning them into the undead and before long Chandler is on the mad doctor’s operating table. Lori, who was snatched by the cannibals, is accepted as their queen and she sends her new friends to rescue Chandler.

The film is entertaining enough and certainly doesn’t scrimp on the gore, with barely any cutting away at the critical moment as is often the case (at least in the uncut version I recently watched). Rather bizarrely, the film was marketed as a kind of slasher film in the US as Doctor Butcher M.D. (Medical Deviant) and had several cuts made as well as a new scene inserted that was taken from another, unfinished film.

The artwork is unique to this Thai poster and I’m unsure who is responsible. If anyone has any ideas, please get in touch.

A Coming of Angels / one sheet / USA

22.07.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
A Coming of Angels
AKA
Momento Supremo (Brazil)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Joel Scott
Starring
Lesllie Bovee, Abigail Clayton, Annette Haven, Jamie Gillis, Amber Hunt, Susan McBain, John Leslie, Eric Edwards
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Adult
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
August
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

A Coming of Angels, released in select US cinemas in 1977, is an X-rated homage to the original Charlie’s Angels TV show and proves that pornographic spoofs of popular films and TV series is not a recent phenomenon. This is the only film that Joel Scott ever directed but he managed to assemble a cast of now legendary adult stars, including the late Jamie Gillis who starred in over 400 adult pictures as well as John Leslie and Eric Edwards who were actors in over 300 titles each. There are only 6 reviews for the title on IMDb, but there’s a lengthy one by someone called Dries Vermeulen who goes into detail about the background of the film and the action it contains.

The artwork features the signature ‘August’ but I’ve been unable to determine who this belongs to and Robin Bougie, the author of the excellent Graphic Thrills (a book about adult movie posters) was also unable to track the artist down. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Beauty / quad / UK

20.07.15

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Beauty
AKA
Skoonheid (South Africa)
Year of Film
2011
Director
Oliver Hermanus
Starring
Deon Lotz, Charlie Keegan, Michelle Scott, Albert Maritz, Sue Diepeveen, Roeline Daneel, Drikus Volschenk
Origin of Film
South Africa | France | Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Drama
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2012
Designer
Sam Ashby
Artist
Sam Ashby
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Love - Envy - Obsession

This is the advance quad poster for the UK release of the first Afrikaans-language film to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, 2011’s Beauty, which was directed by Oliver Hermanus. Set in Bloemfontein and Cape Town, the film is a drama that is intended to highlight the bigoted attitudes towards homosexuality in South Africa, which forces men like François van Heerden (Deon Lotz) to lead a closeted life. François has become bored with his marriage to wife Elena Michelle Scott, is frustrated with his daughter’s behaviour, and is bored of his job at a local sawmill. He is shown to be regularly meeting a group of gay men at a remote farm where they engage in sexual activities and then return to their families.

After meeting Christian Roodt (Charlie Keegan), the handsome son of an old friend, at a wedding he becomes obsessed with him and begins to fake reasons to travel to Cape Town where Christian lives with his family. When he sees his daughter relaxing on the beach with Christian, François starts to descend even deeper into his dangerous obsession. After spending a drunken evening out in Cape Town, he calls Christian asking him to pick him up and when the pair drive back to François’ hotel an incident occurs that neither are prepared for. The ending is fairly ambiguous but we’re led to believe that life will be no happier for the married man.

This fantastic UK quad was created by Sam Ashby, a London-based graphic designer who has worked on a number of film posters that can be seen on his studio website, including quads for films like Weekend (2011). Several of the posters shown in his portfolio were concepts that weren’t chosen by the production, which is a shame as they’re almost always better than the quad that was chosen. According to this interview, Sam used to work at the poster design firm AllCity as Head of Design before leaving to set up his own studio in 2010. His website hasn’t been updated in a number of months so I’m not sure if he’s still active as a film poster designer.

It’s worth noting that I bought this poster directly from the UK distributor Pecadillo Pictures and it’s printed on thicker paper than standard quads. The printing quality is not as high as would usually be expected.