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Brainstorm / quad / UK

22.09.14

Poster Poster
Title
Brainstorm
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Douglas Trumbull
Starring
Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson, Jordan Christopher, Donald Hotton, Alan Fudge, Joe Dorsey, Bill Morey, Jason Lively
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson, Jordan Christopher, Donald Hotton, Alan Fudge, Joe Dorsey, Bill Morey, Jason Lively,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Marcus Silversides
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Imagine a machine that records feelings, emotions, even your dreams. And imagine that it can transfer these experiences from one mind to another...

This is the UK quad for the release of the science-fiction film Brainstorm, which was the second and final directorial effort from Douglas Trumbull who is best known for his pioneering work in the field of special effects. Trumbull had worked with Stanley Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey and created the iconic ‘Star Gate’ sequence at the end of the film. He would go on to create special effects sequences for films including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner. The first film he directed was the cult classic Silent Running (1974) which was a critical success but a box-office failure and it would be eight years before Trumbull would once again sit in the director’s chair.

The film stars Christopher Walken as Michael Brace, a scientist working as part of a pioneering research team that has discovered a method of recording the sensory and emotional feelings of a person onto tape, allowing them to be viewed by others. His estranged wife Karen (Natalie Wood) also works with him and Michael realises he can use the system to reconcile their feelings for each other and show her his true emotions. Unfortunately not all of the scientists use it for good with one recording a sexual encounter which he then shares with several of his colleagues, leading to his eventual dismissal. 

Lillian Reynolds (Louise Fletcher) one of the lead scientists is fiercely protective of the team’s work and is angry when the company forces the team to involve military advisors in their plans. When she suffers a heart attack in the lab and is unable to call for help, she records the experience of death into the system. The tape is viewed by another scientist and the sensory experience causes him to also have a heart attack so the company locks the tape away. Lillian’s fears about the nefarious plans of the military are borne out when Michael discovers they plan to use the system for torture and brainwashing but his protestations see him get fired from the program. He and Karen decide to shut down the system to prevent it being used for negative means but Michael is also determined to view Lillian’s ‘death’ tape, despite Karen’s protestations.

Trumbull used the production to work on a new effects process which he called Showscan that allowed for 70mm film to be projected at 60fps (standard film is 24fps) and create a hyperreal feeling to the footage. MGM backed out of plans to create prints in the new format but Trumbull did film the virtual reality sequences in the larger Super Panavision 70 format and the ‘normal’ sequences in the conventional 35mm format so that it changes throughout the film whenever the scientists use their machines. The film was shown at special 70mm cinemas during its initial run.

The film’s production was unfortunately overshadowed by the mysterious death of Natalie Wood who drowned whilst on a boat trip with Walken and her husband Robert Wagner. MGM shut down the production and were planning to write it off and claim insurance on the money already spent. Trumbull and others argued with the studio that Wood had already completed most of her key scenes and the insurers realised that the film was salvageable. They agreed to finance the completion of production for a cut of any profits but by then things were getting very acrimonious between the director and MGM.

Trumbull was allowed to finish the film by rewriting several scenes and using a body double for Wood in some scenes but the experience critically damaged his desire to work inside the Hollywood system again. In 1983 he stated, “I have no interest…in doing another Hollywood feature film…Absolutely none. The movie business is so totally screwed-up that I just don’t have the energy to invest three or four years in a feature film. Moviemaking is like waging war. It destroys your personal life, too.” Sadly Brainstorm under-performed in cinemas despite strong critical notices and failed to recoup most of its final budget.

This quad features unique artwork that was painted by the British artist Brian Bysouth, based on a design by fellow designer and artist Marcus Silversides. The figure is actually based on Silversides himself whose reference shot was provided to Bysouth as he painted the artwork. You can read my extensive interview with the artist by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen by clicking here.

The Mutilator / one sheet / USA

12.10.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Mutilator
AKA
Fall Break (pre-release title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Buddy Cooper
Starring
Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lampley, Jack Chatham
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lampley, Jack Chatham,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
By pick, by axe, by sword, bye bye!

Buddy Cooper’s 1985 slasher was originally set to be released as Fall Break and, having been given a sensible title change at the last minute, needed a new theatrical poster. The tagline is one of the all time horror greats, even if the film itself isn’t counted as a classic. It’s popularity level isn’t helped by the fact that it has never been officially released on DVD in the US. There is a (pricey) uncut UK disc available but it strikes me as a title that Arrow Video might pick up for release sometime in the future.

I’m not sure if DiRusso, the artist responsible for the Fall Break poster, is also behind this one since there is no signature present. It certainly bears some stylistic similarities to the first poster but please get in touch if you know for sure.

There’s apparently another version of this poster with the blood removed from around the man’s face.

Check out the completely different pre-release poster. The original trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

Fall Break / one sheet / USA

12.10.11

Poster Poster
Title
Fall Break
AKA
The Mutilator (release title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Buddy Cooper
Starring
Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lampley, Jack Chatham
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lampley, Jack Chatham,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
DiRusso
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A Vacation That Became A Nightmare

The slasher film that was eventually released as The Mutilator started out life with a holiday-themed title, no doubt aiming to capitalise on the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween and other films like My Bloody Valentine. My understanding is that the name was changed when producers found the film almost impossible to sell; not only is it the least exciting title for a horror film imaginable, it’s also a name that means nothing to folks outside of the USA.

I believe that this poster was printed in very limited quantities because the name was changed soon after and the film was released across America as The Mutilator. I bought this poster from a film critic who was friends with the director and was given a handful of copies of this original design.

Check out the completely different final release poster with a classic tagline. The original trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

Prime Cut / one sheet / style A / USA

27.06.17

Poster Poster
Title
Prime Cut
AKA
Carnage (France)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Michael Ritchie
Starring
Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott, Sissy Spacek, Janit Baldwin, William Morey, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Les Lannom
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott, Sissy Spacek, Janit Baldwin, William Morey, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Les Lannom,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Tom Jung
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/57
Tagline
Together They're Murder In...

A painting by the American artist Tom Jung, who is best known for his work on the style A poster for the release of the first Star Wars film, features on this one sheet for the 1972 crime-drama, Prime Cut. The film was directed by the late Michael Ritchie (Fletch, Downhill Racer) and stars two heavyweight actors of the time in Lee Marvin and Gene Hackman. The former had a string of box-office hits playing tough guys in films such as Point Blank and The Dirty Dozen, and the latter had just starred in the unforgettable The French Connection and was to appear in The Poseidon Adventure in the same year as Prime Cut. It also marked the acting debut of Sissy Spacek who would appear in her most famous role four years later in Brian De Palma’s Carrie.

The plot sees Nick Devlin (Marvin), a Chicago mob enforcer, sent with a crew of men to Kansas City to track down Mary Ann (Hackman) and recover a $500,000 debt. Previous men sent by the mob have disappeared and we witness one being ‘processed’ through Mary Ann’s meat factory, ending up as the filling in a string of sausages that are then sent to the mob boss as a taunt. After driving to Kansas, Devlin first attacks Mary Ann’s brother and warns him that the group are there to collect the debt. The following day they find Mary Ann in a barn where he is the ringleader of a white-slave auction in which young girls are being auctioned off to older men. The women are kept naked in pens like livestock and drugged up so they don’t try to escape. Devlin threatens Mary Ann and rescues one of the women called Poppy (Spacek) “on account”. The rest of the film sees him attempting to secure the missing money and avoiding Mary Ann’s gang of denim-wearing, shotgun-toting farm boys.

The film is fairly brisk at just under 90 minutes and both leads are entertaining to watch throughout. Spacek is also excellent as Poppy and it’s not hard to see why her career took off quickly following her appearance in Prime Cut. There are several memorable scenes in the film, including one faintly ridiculous one where Devlin and Poppy are chased through a wheatfield by a combine harvester, which then goes onto chew up an entire car!

As well as the iconic one sheet for Star Wars, Tom Jung is also known for the style B one sheet for The Empire Strikes Back. He was a prolific designer and illustrator for film campaigns from the 1950s through to the 1980s. IMPAwards features a gallery of his work and his Wikipedia article has a selected list of the many posters he worked on. Rather unusually, at least in comparison to other film poster artists, Jung was also a designer of his posters as well as the artist. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

Note that this is the Style A one sheet and style B is photographic. Rather unusually, the decision was taken to insert ‘A’ in next to the title at the bottom of the poster which makes it look like the title is ‘A Prime Cut’.