Mountaintop Motel Massacre / one sheet / video / USA

13.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Mountaintop Motel Massacre
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Jim McCullough Sr.
Starring
Bill Thurman, Anna Chappell, Will Mitchell, Virginia Loridans, Major Brock, James Bradford, Amy Hill, Marian Jones, Gregg Brazzel
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 4/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Please do not disturb Evelyn. She already is.

A no nonsense design graces this one sheet for the release of the 1986 horror film Mountaintop Motel Massacre. The film was co-produced and directed by the late Jim McCullough Sr., with his son Jim McCullough Jr. sharing producing duties as well as writing the script. It was apparently shot in 1983 in Shreveport, Louisiana but was not released across the States until 1986 after Roger Corman’s company New World Pictures picked up the distribution rights. I believe it was released straight to video in most countries, including the UK.

Evelyn (Anna Chappell) has spent three years living in an insane asylum and upon her release returns to the eponymous hotel but not before murdering her own daughter Lorri, who it’s revealed was into the occult and conducting seances. The murder unleashes dark forces and when Evelyn once again reopens the hotel to paying guests no one is safe. One night, during a violent thunderstorm, Evelyn commences a murder spree, making her way from room to room via a hidden underground tunnel.

This is actually the one sheet for the video release of the film (note the text at the bottom) but the poster that was used for its release into cinemas is practically identical as can be seen here (note the alternate logo). It also appears that Jim McCullough Sr. attempted to release the film off his own back prior to 1986, titled as just Mountaintop Motel and the poster for that can be seen here.

Death Hunt / 30×40 / USA

11.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Death Hunt
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Peter Hunt
Starring
Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Andrew Stevens, Carl Weathers, Ed Lauter, Scott Hylands, Angie Dickinson, Henry Beckman, William Sanderson, Jon Cedar, James O'Connell, Len Lesser
Origin of Film
USA | Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Crime | Thriller
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Solie
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810073
Tagline
The Saga Of Two Rivals Who Clash As Enemies And Triumph As Heroes.

Great artwork by the American artist John Solie features on this 30×40 poster for the release of the 1981 action film Death Hunt. The film stars two acting legends, Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin, and was directed by Peter Hunt who was best known for being the editor of the first three James Bond films, as well as the director of one of the best films in the series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). The story is a heavily fictionalised retelling of the manhunt for the real life fugitive Albert Johnson, dubbed the Mad Trapper, who shot a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer and went on the run in the Yukon territory in Canada in the early 1930s.

Bronson plays Johnson as a sympathetic character who we are first seen rescuing a dog from a vicious dogfight and assaulting its owner, another trapper called Hazel (Ed Lauter), when he tries to stop him. Later Hazel leads his gang of men to try and retrieve the dog but they end up shooting at Johnson’s cabin and killing the dog. During the firefight one of the trappers is shot in the head and at this point they manage to persuade aging RCMP officer Millen (Marvin) to visit Johnson’s cabin to investigate along with his colleagues, including Sundog (Carl Weathers).

Millen attempts to reason with him but one of Hazel’s men opens fire and another firefight begins. Johnson manages to escape and a full scale manhunt is launched which soon attracts the attention of other trappers looking to cash in on the $1000 bounty, as well as an air force pilot, Captain Hank Tucker (Scott Hylands) who sets off in his biplane to find Johnson. Millen is determined to bring in Johnson without having to kill him and follows the trapper deep into the wilderness. The film makes great use of real Canadian scenery and the outdoor locations used are stunning. Bronson and Marvin are on good form and watchable as always, plus the supporting turns by the likes of Weathers are good too.

John Solie has been working as an illustrator for over 40 years. Film posters are just one aspect of his output, which also includes book and magazine covers, sculptures, portraits and work for NASA. His official website has plenty of galleries of his work, including a handful of the movie posters he illustrated. He continues to paint today in Tucson, Arizona. Another gallery of his work can be viewed on Wrong Side of the Art.

Here are the posters by John Solie I have collected to date.

Spaceballs / B1 / Poland

08.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Spaceballs
AKA
La folle histoire de l'espace [The crazy history of space] (France)
Year of Film
1987
Director
Mel Brooks
Starring
Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, George Wyner, Michael Winslow, Joan Rivers, Lorene Yarnell Jansson, John Hurt
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Comedy | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Maciej Buszewicz
Artist
Maciej Buszewicz
Size (inches)
26 7/16" x 37 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Wild artwork by Maciej Buszewicz features on this Polish B1 poster for one of the all-time great parody films, 1987’s Spaceballs. Helmed by the legendary comedian, actor, director and screenwriter Mel Brooks, who was responsible for several other entries in the genre, including Blazing Saddles (Westerns) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Spaceballs set out to send-up the sci-fi genre and did so with great success. Star Wars is the main film in the firing line, but the Star Trek series, Planet of the Apes and even Alien all receive their share of the lampooning. Brooks struck a deal with George Lucas to be able to spoof the original trilogy and even employed his Industrial Light and Magic to handle the alien creature design, as well as asking other companies owned by him to work on post-production of the film.

The story begins on the titular planet Spaceball which is rapidly running out of breathable air. The incompetent President Skroob (Brooks himself) hatches a plan to steal the air from neighbouring planet Druidia by kidnapping the daughter of its King Roland, Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga), who is set to marry the narcoleptic Prince Valium (Jim J. Bullock). He dispatches Dark Helmet (a memorable performance by Rick Moranis) on the giant ship Spaceball One to carry out the mission. What they weren’t anticipating is that Vespa has decided to do a runner before the wedding takes place and has disappeared with her droid of honour Dot Matrix (think a female C3PO). King Roland tasks the mercenary Lone Starr (Bill Pullman, essaying a mix between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo) and his sidekick Barf (the late John Candy, as seen on this poster) with tracking Vespa down. With the help of wise and powerful Yoghurt (also Brooks), who is in command of The Schwartz, the gang must deal with Dark Helmet and put a stop to Skroob’s nefarious plans.

Some of the more memorable scenes include the Lone Starr’s interactions with the gangster Pizza the Hut, voiced by long-time Brooks collaborator Dom DeLuise, as well as a scene at an intergalactic diner which features John Hurt playing himself and suffering the same chest-bursting fate he did in Alien. The film wasn’t met with a great reception on its initial release but would subsequently gain a huge cult following, helped no end by the home video explosion at the end of the 1980s. It’s now regarded as one of Brooks’ best films and rumours of a long-mooted sequel were resurrected following the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the end of 2015.

Maciej Buszewicz is a highly influential Polish designer who is perhaps best known for his book cover designs and is the founder of the celebrated Busciewicz Book Design Studio based in the University of Warsaw. Born in 1952, Busciewicz graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and began a career in graphic design. He became an Art Director at the ISKRY Publishing House in 1980 and at the Poljazz Record Company. Four years later he began teaching typography at the Academy and this led to teaching assignments all over the world. As well as books and record covers, the artist has worked on graphic identities, stamp designs and posters. I couldn’t find many other film posters that he worked on, aside from the poster for the Russian drama Commissar, but doubtless there are others. According to this profile on the Ideas on Design site he has won the award for Most Beautiful Book of the Year in Poland no less than 23 times!

 

 

Force 10 from Navarone / B2 / Japan

04.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Force 10 From Navarone
AKA
--
Year of Film
1978
Director
Guy Hamilton
Starring
Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Barbara Bach, Edward Fox, Franco Nero, Carl Weathers, Richard Kiel, Alan Badel, Michael Byrne, Philip Latham, Angus MacInnes, Michael Sheard
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Drama | War
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Typically detailed artwork by the British artist Brian Bysouth features on this Japanese poster for the release of the 1978 film Force 10 From Navarone. Created as a sequel to the 1961 film The Guns of Navarone, the film is loosely based on the 1968 novel of the same name by Alistair MacLean. The 17 year gap between films was due to MacLean’s treatment of a sequel to ‘Guns…’, written shortly after the original film was met with box-office success, becoming bogged down in development hell. When it was clear that the production was going nowhere MacLean turned his treatment into a novel. The Producer of ‘Guns…’, Carl Foreman, spent years trying to get the sequel off the ground and eventually succeeded by scraping together a budget from five different international sources. The final screenplay bears little resemblance to MacLean’s novel released a decade earlier.

Because almost two decades had passed since ‘Guns…’, the two actors who had played the leads in that film, Gregory Peck and David Niven, were decided to be too old to convince as the leads and the parts of Miller and Mallory were awarded to Edward Fox and Robert Shaw. Brit director Guy Hamilton, best known for a number of James Bond adventures, including Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever, was given the task of directing, having impressed with his 1969 WWII film ‘Battle of Britain’.

The story sees the pair tasked with hunting down a traitor from the original mission, a German spy who has infiltrated the Yugoslavian resistance and is masquerading as Captain Lescovar (Franco Nero). They join up with an elite American sabotage unit, known as Force 10, which is led by Colonel Barnsby (Harrison Ford, fresh off the success of Star Wars in 1977) who have a mission to carry out of their own. The crew steal an RAF Lancaster bomber and head towards the mission site but the plane is shot down by German fighters and most of the squad are lost. Miller, Mallory and the remaining soldiers are soon captured and imprisoned by German forces but all is not lost as they have a spy of their own in the ranks, Maritza (Barbara Bach) who helps them to escape and continue their mission. Soon they come across Lescovar and the Partisan army. A plan to destroy a large bridge being used by the German forces unites them together, but the German spy’s double-crossing threatens to jeopardise everything.

Force 10 would prove to be Shaw’s penultimate role as he died a year later during the filming of Avalanche Express. The film was met with less than stellar box-office results and general audience indifference, likely not helped by there being such a large gap between the films.

The artwork on this poster was painted by Brian Bysouth who is one of my favourite poster artists and was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

The artwork was reused around the world with the original title, painted to resemble part of the dam, redrawn depending on the language required. The results page for Force 10 on emovieposter.com shows some of these alternative versions, including those for the French and Italian releases. Interestingly this Japanese poster features the title printed down the left hand side, rather than painted onto the dam.

Note that there is an alternative style of poster for the film, the artwork of which can be seen here, that also features the dam bursting and is, I’m fairly certain, erroneously credited to Brian on emovieposter. If anyone has any ideas who the artist of that version is please get in touch or leave a comment below.

The Beyond / Thailand

01.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Beyond
AKA
Die Geisterstadt der Zombies (Germany) | L'aldilà (Italy) | 7 Doors of Death (USA)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Lucio Fulci
Starring
Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John, Veronica Lazar, Anthony Flees, Giovanni De Nava, Al Cliver, Michele Mirabella, Gianpaolo Saccarola
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Noppadon
Size (inches)
21" x 29 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork features on this Thai poster for the release of Lucio Fulci‘s classic horror The Beyond (1981). Nicknamed The Godfather of Gore, the late Italian director is responsible for several memorable entries in the horror genre and The Beyond is one of what are often considered to be the big four Fulci films (the others being Zombie Flesh Eaters, The House By the Cemetery and City of the Living Dead), which were all made within two years of each other. The director tried his hand at various genres, including westerns and comedies, but it was horror where he found the greatest success and for which he is best remembered.

The Beyond is the second film in the unofficial ‘Gates of Hell’ trilogy of Fulci films that began with 1980s City of the Living Dead and ended with The House By the Cemetery. British actress Catriona MacColl, star of the other two films, plays New Yorker Liza Merril who has inherited a run-down Louisiana hotel and decides to spend her savings on renovating the place. What she doesn’t realise is that it was built over one of ‘Seven Doors of Death’, which are direct pathways to hell, and when people involved in helping her repair the hotel begin to die horribly she is helped by a local doctor (David Warbeck) and a mysterious local blind woman called Emily (Cinzia Monreale). It soon becomes clear that the pathway is letting supernatural evil out and creating bloodthirsty zombies of the dead and Liza must fight for her very survival.

As with many of Fulci’s films, the story plays second fiddle to the striking visuals and gory set-pieces as the body count ramps up. It’s never less than memorable and is often cited by Fulci fans as their favourite of his films. The Beyond also features a great score by regular Fulci collaborator Fabio Frizzi. The film was butchered heavily for its original US release (as ‘7 Doors of Death’) and was missing most of the gore scenes and a different soundtrack. The UK release was originally heavily cut, despite being granted an ‘X’ certificate. It was finally passed fully uncut in 2001.

This montage featuring some of the more memorable moments of gory violence from the film was painted by a Thai artist called Noppadon about whom I’ve been unable to discover very little, other than a few of the other film poster titles he worked on (including Saturn 3 and Evil Dead). If anyone knows any more details please get in touch.

Although folded and not in amazing condition this is a very scarce poster and one that’s getting increasingly hard to find. I’ll continue to try and locate one without the fold lines but suspect it won’t be easy. The blue ink marks on the bottom of the poster relate to showings at specific times in specific cinemas and were stamped on after the original printing.

Heart Like a Wheel / A1 / Hungary

30.03.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Heart Like a Wheel
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Jonathan Kaplan
Starring
Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Bruce Barlow, Leo Rossi, Anthony Edwards, Hoyt Axton, Paul Barte, Missy Basile
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Biography | Drama | Sport
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Hungary
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Futó
Artist
Futó
Size (inches)
22 5/16" x 32 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Colourful and unique artwork features on this Hungarian poster for the release of the 1983 biographical drama Heart Like a Wheel. The film is based on the life of Shirley Muldowney who made history by becoming the first woman to compete in the sport of drag racing and who would go on to win an unprecedented three world championship awards. Born in Vermont in 1940, Shirley began amateur drag racing with the help of her then husband in the 1950s and had to battle against the prevailing misogynist views surrounding the ultra-macho sport.

Eventually in 1966, after proving her skills on the speedways and persuading three male drivers to sign a letter agreeing to it, the sport’s official body the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) granted Shirley a licence to compete in the biggest events. Over the following four decades she consistently proved herself on the track, with awards in several of the sports’ categories, including the most prestigious Top Fuel events. The film deals with Shirley’s life on and off the track, including the breakup of her first marriage and a rocky relationship with another race driver called Connie Kalitta (Beau Bridges).

Bonnie Bedelia, perhaps best known as Holly McClane in Die Hard 1 and 2, was chosen to play Shirley, although the Muldowney apparently didn’t approve of the casting and had wanted Jamie Lee Curtis to depict her. 

The artwork on this poster features the signature of ‘Futó’, a Hungarian artist about whom I’ve been able to discover nothing. If anyone has any information about him or her please get in touch.