Damnation Alley / one sheet / teaser / USA

01.12.14

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Title
Damnation Alley
AKA
Survival Run (International / Japan)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Jack Smight
Starring
Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Dominique Sanda, Paul Winfield, Jackie Earle Haley, Kip Niven, Robert Donner, Seamon Glass, Trent Dolan, Mark L. Taylor, Bob Hackman, Erik Cord
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sci-Fi | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser - printer's proof
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Paul Lehr
Size (inches)
28 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
77/152
Tagline
You have seen great adventures. You are about to live one. | More than a movie. An adventure you'll never forget.

Damnation Alley, released internationally as Survival Run, is a dystopian sci-fi adventure (set after the nuclear destruction of World War 3) that pretty much disappeared at the box office, but later gained something of a cult status. It’s interesting to note that the studio, 20th Century Fox, were making two sci-fi films in 1977 and saw this as their big hope for a box-office blockbuster. The studio suits didn’t have much faith in the other project, a little film called Star Wars…

The film features a couple of infamous scenes with mutated creatures, including ‘giant’ scorpions (terribly composited using the blue screen process) and killer cockroaches. It also featured an interesting vehicle known as The Landmaster.

In some cinemas the film was shown with something called Sound 360°. From IMDb:

20th Century-Fox developed a rival to Universal’s gimmicky ‘Sensurround’ sound process (popularized in the theatrical release of Earthquake (1974)) that was only used for the theatrical release of “Damnation Alley” called Sound 360°. This process was basically a variation of Magnetic-Optical Stereo sound. This technical advancement/gimmick in sound did not last past “Damnation Alley” although it was planned for Walter Hill‘s The Driver (1978) and Damien: Omen II (1978). If you look at the one sheet of “Damnation Alley” the “Sound 360°” declaration and logo are prominent at the bottom.

This teaser one sheet was painted by noted American sci-fi illustrator Paul Lehr who was born in 1930 and studied at the prestigious Pratt Institute before beginning a career that would last up until his death in 1998. He painted hundreds of celebrated book covers for authors including John Wyndham, HG Wells and Frank Herbert and also contributed to several notable specialist magazines including Omni and Weird Tales. In addition he worked on content for more mainstream publications such as Time, Fortune and Playboy. The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction has an entry on him which can be read here. Check out galleries of his work here and here.

There’s an international style one sheet that can be seen on IMPAwards and was apparently also painted by Lehr. The Japanese poster was a repaint of the one sheet by the artist Seito. Lehr also worked on the one sheet for Prophecy (1979).

Note the colour bars on the left of the poster which indicate that this is an untrimmed printers proof one sheet. Proofs were used by the printing house to check that the colours and other details were correct. The final ready one sheets would have been trimmed down to the correct size. A handful of printers proofs have survived for a few different one sheets.

The film was recently released on blu-ray (in the correct aspect ratio) and a trailer for that can be watched here.

 

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