Whodunit? / quad / UK

06.05.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Whodunit?
AKA
Island of Blood (USA) | Scared Alive (USA - alt. title) | El asesino de los bloopers (Argentina)
Year of Film
1982
Director
William T. Naud (as Bill Naud)
Starring
Marie-Alise Recasner, Rick Dean, Ron Gardner, Terence Goodman, Richard Helm, Jeanine Marie, Jared McVay, G. Rockett Phillips, Jim Piper
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
FEREF-James The Partnership
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Seven people are dead - and you're next!

This is the UK quad for a rather obscure 1980s slasher flick that is known by various names around the globe, including Island of Blood and Scared Alive, but was released in the UK as Whodunit? Directed by William T. Naud (here credited as Bill Naud), whose IMDb profile shows him as not being very prolific, the film is apparently based unofficially on Agatha Christie’s mystery novel And Then There Were None. The Wikipedia page for the film describes the plot thusly:

A film crew and a motley collection of thespians set out for an island that will be the perfect location for their next feel good, light hearted, comedy picture. But unfortunately someone has other ideas and destroys their mode of transport before finishing off the surviving cast and crew (wearing a skull-like mask) with the aid of a chainsaw, machete, and nail gun, all to a sick sado-masochistic type song (that this homicidal psycho has a fetish for). This psychotic murderer also has an accomplice, a fellow crewman who is skilled in the art of booby traps, rigging a shower to rain battery acid and scalding swimming pool that boils alive anyone who falls in.

It appears only to have been released on VHS here and in the US and no DVD is forthcoming. Judging by the handful of reviews on IMDb it might be a while before we see this one appear on blu-ray.

This quad bears a line crediting the design to the British design agency FEREF-James The Partnership, who were (and still are) a London-based agency creating advertising for the film industry. The original line up featured five designers and artists who had worked together at other agencies and decided to form their own and the name FEREF derives from each co-founder’s first initial. They worked on hundreds of posters during the 1970s and 1980s and employed many of the most talented artists to work on the posters, including Brian Bysouth (who eventually joined the company full time). I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this poster so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus / B1 / Japan

01.05.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
AKA
Gojira tai Megagirasu: Jî shômetsu sakusen (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
2000
Director
Masaaki Tezuka
Starring
Misato Tanaka, Shôsuke Tanihara, Masatô Ibu, Yuriko Hoshi, Toshiyuki Nagashima, Kôichi Ueda, Kôichi Yamadera, Yûsaku Yara, Kôji Katô, Tsutomu Kitagawa, Minoru Watanabe
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Horror | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2000
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40 7/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the B1 poster for the Japanese release of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus which was the 24th film in the long-running franchise featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters). The film was also the second release in the third generation of Godzilla films (known as the Millennium Series), which are all standalone (with the exception of Godzilla: Tokyo SOS) and were mooted as ‘alternative universe’ stories. It ended up as the least financially successful film in the Millennium series, with the special effects director Kenji Suzuki apparently taking the blame. Referencing the first film, the story sets up a universe in Godzilla attacks the first Japanese nuclear power plant in 1966 which led to the formation of a section of the Japanese Self Defence Force called G-Graspers, dedicated to fighting Godzilla.

After nuclear energy is replaced by ‘plasma energy’ in 1996 it is hoped that the kaiju will no longer attack Japanese cities in search of nuclear energy, but the plan fails and plasma energy is also eventually outlawed. Later in 2001 an experimental satellite weapon called the Dimension Tide is fired and opens up a wormhole through which a prehistoric dragonfly appears, lays an egg and disappears back through the wormhole. A young boy discovers the egg and takes it with him when he moves to Tokyo, but when the egg starts oozing a strange liquid the boy throws it into the sewers. The egg is actually hundreds of smaller eggs which start to grow on contact with water and evolve into large dragonfly larvae which soon hatch and become adult Meganulon.

When Godzilla attacks Tokyo once more, the dragonflies are attracted to his energy and engage him in battle, but they are no match for the kaiju’s power and are almost all obliterated. Those that survive return to the sewers and, with an amount of energy taken from Godzilla, they inject a large cocoon that hatches as Megaguirus, queen of the Meganulon, and she immediately heads towards Godzilla, ready for an epic showdown.

The artwork on this poster is by Noriyoshi Ohrai, my favourite Japanese artist and certainly in my top five greatest film poster illustrators of all time. He’s responsible for a number of other posters in the Godzilla franchise, some of which can be seen here. He also worked on a number of Star Wars related posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film. In March 2014 a retrospective exhibition was held in Japan of Ohrai’s work and I made the trip over to Miyazaki to see the exhibition. I’m very glad I did as it featured most of his original artwork and a whole array of posters and book covers. A full report will follow soon.

The posters I’ve managed to collect by Noriyoshi Ohrai can be seen by clicking here.

Parasomnia / one sheet / pre-release style / USA

29.04.15

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Parasomnia
AKA
--
Year of Film
2008
Director
William Malone
Starring
Dylan Purcell, Patrick Kilpatrick, Jeffrey Combs, Cherilyn Wilson, Timothy Bottoms, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Sean Young, Brennan Bailey, Madison Davenport, Jeff Doucette
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Pre-release for festivals
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 39"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Dreams of the sleepwalker

You’d be forgiven for thinking this poster was advertising a film from the 1980s but it is actually an early pre-release/festival poster for the 2008 independent horror Parasomnia. Written and directed by William Malone, who is probably best known as the director of the 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill, the film is a horror thriller that centres on Laura Baxter (Cherilyn Wilson), a young woman who suffers from the titular condition. Since a childhood accident Laura has been unable to stay awake for longer than a few minutes and has been kept in a hospital’s psychiatric ward for a number of years.

When art student Danny Sloan (Dylan Purcell) visits his friend in the drug rehab wing of the same hospital he is encouraged to sneak into the psychiatric ward to take a look at notorious serial killer Byron Volpe (Patrick Kilpatrick). Volpe is kept chained in a padded cell after being convicted of killing his wife Madeline (Sean Young) and he is thought to have powers of hypnotism so strong that he has a black bag over his head at all times. Danny sneaks a look at Volpe and then notices Laura in a room nearby and soon becomes obsessed with her. When he learns that she’s to be moved to a clinic to be part of an experiment he breaks her out of hospital, but what he doesn’t realise is that Volpe has infiltrated Laura’s mind and when his neighbour is brutally murdered he sets out to try and put a stop to Volpe. Danny underestimates the killer’s powers and soon Volpe is on the run and looking for Laura.

The film is certainly stylish with some macabre sequences, particularly the nightmarish dreamscapes that were apparently influenced by the director’s love for the surrealist painter Zdzisław Beksiński. The film received a full release at the US cinema with a different poster to this one but was a straight to video release in most other countries. Malone has not directed another feature film since this one.

I’ve been unable to discover who painted the artwork on this pre-release one sheet so if you have any ideas please get in touch. The only reference information that I could find was this page on Cinema Secrets that reveals there was a version of the artwork that featured nudity.

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia / B1 / re-release / Japan

27.04.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
Sam Peckinpah
Starring
Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Robert Webber, Gig Young, Helmut Dantine, Emilio Fernández, Kris Kristofferson
Origin of Film
USA | Mexico
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Adventure
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1994
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
28 2/16" x 40.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B1 poster for the 1994 re-release of the late American director Sam Peckinpah‘s (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs) Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Following the horrendous experience he’d had making Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, which had suffered multiple production setbacks and ultimately saw the director and studio (MGM) part ways, Peckinpah decided to make his next film on a low budget and hopefully free from interference. He was to have his wish come true and claimed before his death that it’s the only one of his films that was released in its intended form. The screenplay was written by Peckinpah and Gordon Dawson and the main character played by Warren Oates is now seen as a thinly-veiled self-portrait of the director himself (apparently the actor even borrowed a pair of the director’s sunglasses).

Set in Mexico, the story sees a bounty put out on a the titular character after he impregnates the young daughter of a powerful man known as El Jefe (Emilio Fernández). The $1 million prize sparks the interest of a number of bounty hunters who set off to track Garcia down. Eventually two of them enter the dive bar where Bennie (Oates), a retired American Army officer, is eking out a living. Bennie believes he might be able to track down Garcia so when his girlfriend, the prostitute Elita (Isela Vega), reveals that the man died in a car crash after leaving her bordello, he makes a deal with the bounty hunters to track down the body and bring it to them. He and Elita set off to find Garcia’s grave but they’re not the only ones in pursuit and it’s not long before Peckinpah’s trademark violence is visited upon Bennie and everyone else involved.

In most scenes you can practically smell the alcohol and sweat emanating from Warren Oates and it’s almost certain that he was well lubricated throughout filming. Sadly for Peckinpah, the film was roundly trashed by critics (with a few notable exceptions like Roger Ebert) and was also a box-office failure at the time. It has, however, cultivated a cult following in the years since and has received more favourable contemporary reviews. Many fans of the director see it as the last true Peckinpah film released.

This poster was printed for the re-release in Japan that was marking 10 years since Peckinpah’s death from heart failure in 1984. I’ve only ever seen it in B1 format but it’s possible that a B2 poster exists for this release.

Gymkata / one sheet / USA

24.04.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Gymkata
AKA
Asia Mission (Germany)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Robert Clouse
Starring
Kurt Thomas, Tetchie Agbayani, Richard Norton, Edward Bell, John Barrett, Conan Lee, Bob Schott
Origin of Film
USA | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
850047
Tagline
A new kind of martial arts combat! The skill of gymnastics. The kill of karate!

‘The skill of gymnastics. The kill of karate!’ – the tagline says it all on this US one sheet for the ill-advised martial arts clunker Gymkata, starring the American Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas who won a string of medals towards the end of the 1980s. Thomas stars as Jonathan Cabot, a champion gymnast who is approached by the fictional Special Intelligence Agency (SIA) to take part in ‘The Game’. Held in the small fictional nation of Parmistan, The Game is a sort of decathlon with extra threats coming from Parmistan warriors who are pursuing the participants at all times. The winner of the event is granted their life and also a single wish, which the SIA want Cabot to use to request that the king of Parmistan allow them to set up a ‘Star Wars’ satellite monitoring station in the country (some premise!)

The film is quite the experience with several unintentionally hilarious sequences and consistently terrible acting throughout. This YouTube video features most of the ‘highlights’ from the film and hopefully gives you an idea of what you’re in for if you’ve not seen it. One particular sequence, known as ‘the village of the crazies’ has to be seen to be believed (YouTube link). Poor Kurt Thomas only appeared in a couple of other long-forgotten roles but his work in the world of gymnastics continues to this day. The director of the film Robert Clouse, of Enter the Dragon fame, probably should have known better, but it’s easy to see why producers chose him to helm the film.

Rather brilliantly, the ninjas featured on this one sheet don’t actually appear in the film itself and the intention was clearly to try and tempt fans of the then popular ninja sub-genre of martial arts films (with titles like American Ninja) I’m unsure who was responsible for the art so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

A Passage to India / B1 / Poland

22.04.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
A Passage to India
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
David Lean
Starring
Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft, James Fox, Alec Guinness, Nigel Havers, Richard Wilson, Antonia Pemberton, Michael Culver, Art Malik, Saeed Jaffrey, Clive Swift
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Drama | History
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Wiktor Sadowski
Artist
Wiktor Sadowski
Size (inches)
26 4/16" x 38"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Polish poster for the release of British director David Lean‘s final film behind the camera, 1984’s A Passage to India. Lean hadn’t helmed a feature film since 1970’s Ryan’s Daughter, the poor reception of which had put him off directing for a few years, and an abandoned attempt to make a pair of films based on the Mutiny of the Bounty also took up several years of Lean’s life. The film is an adaptation of English author E. M. Forster’s novel of the same name and also a stage production of the book by Indian-born American playwright Santha Rama Rau.

Set in India during the 1920s when there was a growing Indian independence movement in the British Raj, the film sees young British woman Adela Quested (Judy Davistravel to India to visit her fiancee Ronny Heaslop (Nigel Havers) who is serving as a magistrate in the town of Chandrapore. Accompanying her on the trip is Ronny’s mother Mrs Moore (Peggy Ashcroft). The pair spend time in the company of British colonials but when Mrs Moore meets a local doctor named Aziz Ahmed (Victor Banerjee) they see the opportunity to experience ‘the real India.’ Aziz agrees to take them on an expedition to the remote Marabar Caves (actually based on the real life Barabar Caves) but when Adela is attacked and almost raped, Aziz is accused of the crime and relations between the natives and the British quickly break down.

This poster was painted for the first release of the film in Poland in 1988 and was created by the Polish artist Wiktor Sadowski who was born in Olendry in 1956 and later graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Sadowski has painted hundreds of film posters during his career and has won several prestigious awards, including a gold medal at Poster Biennale of Poland in 1984 and a gold medal from the New York Society of Illustrators in 1994. There are multiple galleries of his work online, including this one on the Polish Poster Gallery website and this one on Polishposter.com that both clearly show the quality of his artwork. Frustratingly it appears that the artist’s official site is currently offline but hopefully it will return at some point.