You Searched For: Christine%2520Paul-Podlasky

Vampire Circus / quad / UK

06.02.14

Poster Poster

Iconic Vic Fair artwork graces this UK quad for the release of Hammer Films‘ 1972 horror Vampire Circus. Released at a time when the popularity of British gothic horror tales was on the wane, particularly when compared against the more explicit, contemporary horrors coming out of Hollywood (Rosemary’s Baby and later The Exorcist), the film nevertheless managed to stand out from a glut of other films produced by the studio around the same time. A decent script, typically excellent production design and a raft of quality British thespians all help to make Vampire Circus one of the more memorable films to be produced by the House of Horror before its first demise picked up pace a couple of years later

Set in a small village in the studio’s customary ‘mittel-Europe’ sometime in the 19th century, a lengthy pre-credits sequence shows a young girl being led into the castle of vampire Count Mitterhaus by Anna (Domini Blythe), the wife of local schoolmaster Albert Müller (Laurence Payne). Soon after the girl is murdered by the vampire, a group of villagers led by Müller storm the castle, stake the Count and burn the castle to the ground. Anna manages to drag the dying vampire to the crypt beneath the castle and before he perishes he curses the villagers and promises that their children will die to give him back his life. Fast-forward fifteen years, the village is beset by a plague and blockaded by the authorities with the miserable villagers fearing that this is the Count’s doing.

One day the eponymous travelling troupe arrives, having apparently snuck past the blockades, led by a mysterious gypsy woman (Adrienne Corri) and containing a ragtag bunch of performers, including a mischievous clown dwarf, a set of flying twins, an erotic tiger dancer (as depicted on this poster) and Emil, a shape-shifting artiste. At first the villagers are happy to be entertained by the circus as it gives them a reprieve from their misery, but it soon becomes clear that the gang have an ulterior motive for being there. Before long the Count’s dying promise is being kept by Emil, who it turns out is a ‘kinsman’ of Mitterhaus, and the leaders of the village must battle to try to stop the murder of their children and the resurrection of the cursed Count. It’s a well-paced film and certainly a stand-out feature in Hammer’s output of the early 1970s, only let down by some dodgy special effects, which can be explained by a curtailed production period and the dwindling budgets of the time.

During my interview with Vic Fair that was published at the end of 2013 I asked the artist about his work on the poster and this is an excerpt from that article (which also features an image of the original sketch created for the poster):

‘I enjoyed working on the quad I designed for Vampire Circus. I’d wanted to design something that might have been used to advertise an actual circus. The animals on there were pretty much copied directly from a children’s book, as I really didn’t have that much time to work on it. I thought they looked quite amusing, since they’re not exactly anatomically correct portraits of tigers and lions! I also had fun sneaking in the hidden male members, which was really just meant as a bit of a tease towards certain people behind the scenes. I can’t believe I got away with it really.’

To see the other posters I’ve collected that were designed by Vic click here.

Note that this copy came from Vic’s personal archive and it is signed in the bottom right-hand corner.

Deep End / quad / UK

09.12.11

Poster Poster

Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski’s Deep End is one of those films that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who sees it, but it was sadly considered to be a ‘lost’ film for many years and was practically impossible to see after its initial cinema opening in a handful of countries. The film was briefly available on VHS in the UK but was never released on DVD. In 2011 the BFI restored and re-released it at the cinema and also issued a blu-ray version complete with several extras, which is utterly superb and well worth picking up.

The film focuses on Mike (John Moulder-Brown) a teenager who leaves school and gets his first job working at a local swimming baths. There he meets Susan (Jane Asher) an older woman with whom he quickly becomes infatuated. Without spoiling things too much, the film builds to a fairly shocking climax which has been known to polarize viewers. Jane Asher looks absolutely stunning and really plays the seductive, care-free Susan perfectly – it’s not hard to understand the reasons behind Mike’s infatuation!

Skolimowski was a contemporary of Roman Polanski and was mentored by the great Polish director Andrzej Wajda. He completed several films in Poland throughout the 1960s before moving to the UK where he made Deep End and a couple of other features. He then left to Los Angeles where he took up painting and occasionally acted in films, notably in White Knights and more recently in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises. His 17 year hiatus from directing ended in 2008 with the release of Four Nights with Anna and he made the spartan thriller Essential Killing with Vincent Gallo in 2010.

This poster by an unknown graphic designer is the quad that was printed when the film was given a wider UK release. The premiere showing had actually been at the Academy Cinema One on London’s Oxford Street and the poster for this was done by the legendary designer Peter Strausfeld (his Seven Samurai poster is on this site here).

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Vampire Circus / 30×40 / USA

29.07.13

Poster Poster

The taglines on this US 30×40 left cinema-goers in no doubt as to the kind of film they were in for with Hammer Films‘ 1972 horror Vampire Circus. Released at a time when the popularity of British gothic horror tales was on the wane, particularly when compared against the more explicit, contemporary horrors coming out of Hollywood (Rosemary’s Baby and later The Exorcist), the film nevertheless managed to stand out from a glut of other films produced by the studio around the same time. A decent script, typically excellent production design and a raft of quality British thespians all help to make Vampire Circus one of the more memorable films to be produced by the House of Horror before its first demise picked up pace a couple of years later

Set in a small village in the studio’s customary ‘mittel-Europe’ sometime in the 19th century, a lengthy pre-credits sequence shows a young girl being led into the castle of vampire Count Mitterhaus by Anna (Domini Blythe), the wife of local schoolmaster Albert Müller (Laurence Payne). Soon after the girl is murdered by the vampire, a group of villagers led by Müller storm the castle, stake the Count and burn the castle to the ground. Anna manages to drag the dying vampire to the crypt beneath the castle and before he perishes he curses the villagers and promises that their children will die to give him back his life. Fast-forward fifteen years, the village is beset by a plague and blockaded by the authorities with the miserable villagers fearing that this is the Count’s doing.

One day the eponymous travelling troupe arrives, having apparently snuck past the blockades, led by a mysterious gypsy woman (Adrienne Corri) and containing a ragtag bunch of performers, including a mischievous clown dwarf, a set of flying twins, an erotic tiger dancer (as depicted on this poster) and Emil, a shape-shifting artiste. At first the villagers are happy to be entertained by the circus as it gives them a reprieve from their misery, but it soon becomes clear that the gang have an ulterior motive for being there. Before long the Count’s dying promise is being kept by Emil, who it turns out is a ‘kinsman’ of Mitterhaus, and the leaders of the village must battle to try to stop the murder of their children and the resurrection of the cursed Count. It’s a well-paced film and certainly a stand-out feature in Hammer’s output of the early 1970s, only let down by some dodgy special effects, which can be explained by a curtailed production period and the dwindling budgets of the time.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this American poster, which depicts Emil in all his fang-baring glory, so if you have any ideas please get in touch.