They Live / Thailand

10.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
They Live
AKA
Invasion Los Angeles (France)
Year of Film
1988
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, Raymond St. Jacques, Peter Jason, Sy Richardson, George 'Buck' Flower
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Tongdee Panumart
Artist
Tongdee Panumart
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 30 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork by Tongdee on this Thai poster for John Carpenter‘s excellent sci-fi film They Live, in which a drifter (played by former wrestler Roddy Piper) finds a set of special sunglasses which reveal that aliens have taken over the earth and are subduing the general population through subliminal messages and signals. The film is famous for being the inspiration behind graphic designer Shephard Fairey‘s famous OBEY street art and clothing label, which is based on the hidden alien slogans only visible when the sunglasses are worn.

The film also features the infamous line “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.”, which can be viewed here. There’s also the legendary fight between Nada (Piper) and Armitage (Keith David) that lasts over five minutes and was apparently proposed and choreographed by the two actors themselves.

Here’s the great original trailer.

Tongdee Panumart (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s but I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947. If anyone has any more information please get in touch. A knowledgeable collector of Thai posters told me that the artists would rarely if ever see the film they were creating the poster for and would instead paint images based on still photos or posters from other countries. This led to some wild designs and even some artwork with characters and elements that didn’t even appear in the actual film!

To see the other John Carpenter posters I have collected click here.

The Empire Strikes Back / B1 / Poland

08.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
The Empire Strikes Back
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sci-Fi | Adventure
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Jakub Erol
Artist
Jakub Erol
Size (inches)
26 4/16" x 38 3/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the B1 poster for the original Polish release of The Empire Strikes Back, which was one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of cinema following on from the unexpected international success of George Lucas’ original Star Wars (1977). The first film wasn’t released in Poland until 1979 and Empire Strikes Back appeared in 1983, the same year that the original trilogy came to an end in most other markets with Return of the Jedi (released a year later in Poland).

This highly-stylised image, the centre of which resembles Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in the outfit he wears during the opening scenes on the ice planet of Hoth, was created by the designer and artist Jakub Erol who was born in Zamość in 1941 and graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1968. He worked as a prolific poster artist for over 25 years and designed several iconic images for both Polish and American films. Some of his other poster highlights include the bizarre image he conjured up for Ridley Scott’s Alien, a striking design for James Cameron’s The Terminator and the poster for Robocop. One of his best, in my opinion, is the skull-style poster he created for the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Polishposter.com website features many of his designs, several which are for sale, and the Polish cinemaposter.com website also features three pages of his work. This list of his designs on the same website gives you an idea of how prolific an artist he was.

Note that the name of director Irvin Kershner has been misspelled at the bottom of the poster (Wershner).

Violent Streets / one sheet / international

06.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Violent Streets
AKA
Thief (USA)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Michael Mann
Starring
James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, James Belushi, Robert Prosky, Tom Signorelli, Dennis Farina, Nick Nickeas
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Cheat him, and he'll BLOW YOU AWAY!

Ace director Michael Mann‘s debut film was released as Violent Streets in the UK and in several other countries (it was originally filmed with that title) but is now better known as Thief. Starring James Caan, in arguably his best role outside of The Godfather, it’s a neo-noir crime caper featuring the ‘one last job’ plot device. Frank (Caan) is an expert safecracker, jewel thief and hardened ex-con who works with a small, close-knit team of thieves on high-end robberies that are planned to an exacting degree.

After a run in with the Chicago mob Frank agrees to do one last big heist that will allow him to follow his dream of getting out of the game to spend time with his new wife Jessie (Tuesday Weld). It quickly becomes clear that getting out isn’t as easy as Frank hoped and, as the caper escalates, his usual wariness and mistrust is set aside, which puts his very life at risk.

This one sheet was printed in the USA for use in international English-speaking countries and features a unique design not seen on any other poster for the film. The rain-soaked street scene is very evocative of the film itself and I believe the figure of James Caan is actually a photograph that has been touched-up with paint (check out the close-ups). The American one sheet is markedly different and features stylised artwork of Caan and the UK quad can be seen here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

The Hills Have Eyes / quad / UK

03.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
The Hills Have Eyes
AKA
--
Year of Film
1977
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
Susan Lanier, Robert Houston, Martin Speer, Dee Wallace-Stone, Russ Grieve, Virginia Vincent, John Steadman, James Whitworth, Lance Gordon, Michael Berryman, Pete Locke
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
29.5" x 40 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The lucky ones died first!

Striking artwork on this UK quad for the release of The Hills Have Eyes, which was director Wes Craven‘s third film, following his notorious breakout horror The Last House on the Left (1972) and the little seen adult drama The Fireworks Woman (1975). Written by Craven himself, the film is an exploitation horror that follows events when a family heading to California with a caravan crash in a remote part of the Nevada desert. Unluckily for them, the area used to be a nuclear testing site and there are a pack of feral, deformed cannibal freaks living in the nearby hills who subject the Carter family to a sustained series of brutal attacks.

The film was reasonably well received at the time of original release but went on to gain a cult following and is today regarded as one of the director’s best films. I watched it again recently and it retains its power to shock, with some of the attacks being particularly brutal. A remake was released in 2006 which was at least stylistically interesting, if nothing else.

This UK quad is unusual in that it has no credits block or distributor information and features only the signature of the artist, Tom Chantrell. The only other British poster for the film that I’ve seen is a double-bill quad and I don’t think this one could be considered a teaser or advance (despite featuring little detail).

Tom Chantrell’s dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a handful of other designs by him on this site.

The Usual Suspects / B2 / Japan

01.10.14

Poster Poster Poster
Title
The Usual Suspects
AKA
--
Year of Film
1995
Director
Bryan Singer
Starring
Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Giancarlo Esposito, Pete Postlethwaite, Dan Hedaya, Suzy Amis
Origin of Film
USA | Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Mystery
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1995
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

About to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects continues to sit at the top of many film fans’ lists of best crime thrillers and has been in the IMDb top 25 of all time (currently 23) since its release. Having won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival with his debut film, Public Access, Singer once again collaborated with high school friend and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie with the spark of the story coming from the title of an article in the satirical Spy magazine which the director had read. The idea of a bunch of criminals meeting in a police line-up and embarking on a new job came to Singer and the visual motif for the poster was one of the first concepts he and McQuarrie had, with the director asking “What would possibly bring these five felons together in one line-up?”

Actor Kevin Spacey had seen Public Access at Sundance and told Singer that he wanted to be involved in whatever his next project was so when the screenplay, which went through several rewrites, eventually attracted financing from a European company Spacey was cast as Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint. With a complex narrative structure, the film starts in the aftermath of a deadly attack on a container ship in San Pedro Bay which has left 27 people dead and two survivors, a badly burned Hungarian criminal and small-time con-artist Verbal Kint.

During questioning by a US customs agent, Kint explains how the massacre was the culmination of a series of events that began with a police line-up of ‘the usual suspects’ (Spacey, Gabriel ByrneBenicio Del ToroStephen Baldwin and Kevin Pollak) a ragtag bunch of criminals and followed their interactions with an underworld legend known as Keyser Söze. The film ends with one of the greatest twists in the history of cinema.

This is the Japanese B2 which features the same line-up shot seen on the UK quad and the international one sheet, but there were barely any posters for the film that didn’t feature the image in some form.

A View To A Kill / one sheet / advance / Eiffel Tower / USA

29.09.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
A View To A Kill
AKA
The Beautiful Prey (Japan - English title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
John Glen
Starring
Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, Patrick Macnee, Patrick Bauchau, David Yip, Fiona Fullerton, Manning Redwood, Alison Doody, Willoughby Gray, Desmond Llewelyn, Robert Brown, Lois Maxwell
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Action | James Bond
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance - Eiffel Tower style
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Dan Goozee
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
850004
Tagline
Adventure above and beyond all other Bonds

A View to a Kill, Sir Roger Moore‘s last outing as James Bond was definitely not his finest hour, although it is memorable for a few reasons, including Christopher Walken‘s turn as the psychotic bad guy Max Zorin, Duran Duran’s great title theme and the appearance of the incomparable Grace Jones as Mayday, Zorin’s accomplice. She may not be the greatest actress but she’s never anything less than a striking presence and is definitely not a lady to mess with, as British chat show presenter Russell Harty infamously found out.

The film features a climactic fight atop the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, which sees Bond and Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) face off against Zorin and his henchmen in the Zorin Industries airship. Special effects supervisor John Richardson filmed a series of sequences featuring stunt performers on top of the actual bridge that were later matched up against green-screen shots of the actors. This was the first Bond film to have its premiere held outside the UK; it opened on the 22nd of May, 1985 at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts.

The excellent artwork depicting an action scene on the Eiffel Tower in Paris (which is not exactly accurate in terms of events in the film) is by the American poster artist Dan Goozee who was also responsible for the other ‘legs’ advance and the final US one sheet which features another action-packed scene. He also worked on the posters for a few other Bond posters, including Moonraker and Octopussy, as well as several other classic posters designs from the 1980s. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.