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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.

Scared To Death / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Scared To Death
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
William Malone
Starring
John Stinson, Diana Davidson, Jonathan David Moses, Toni Jannotta, Walker Edmiston, Pamela Bowman, Mike Muscat, Freddie Dawson, Tracy Weddle
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Stinson, Diana Davidson, Jonathan David Moses, Toni Jannotta, Walker Edmiston, Pamela Bowman, Mike Muscat, Freddie Dawson, Tracy Weddle,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Victims of the Killer Kiss, they were...

Braindead / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Braindead
AKA
Dead Alive (USA) | Tu madre se ha comido a mi perro [Your mother has eaten my dog] (Spain)
Year of Film
1992
Director
Peter Jackson
Starring
Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin
Origin of Film
New Zealand
Genre(s) of Film
Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1993
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Complete mental shutdown

Braindead / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Braindead
AKA
Brain Dead (UK) | Dead Alive (USA) | Tu madre se ha comido a mi perro [Your mother has eaten my dog] (Spain)
Year of Film
1992
Director
Peter Jackson
Starring
Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin
Origin of Film
New Zealand
Genre(s) of Film
Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1993
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Hajime Sorayama
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Basket Case / quad / UK

27.01.12

Poster Poster
Title
Basket Case
AKA
¿Dónde te escondes, hermano? [Where are you hiding, brother?] (Spain)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Frank Henenlotter
Starring
Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Robert Vogel, Diana Browne, Lloyd Pace, Bill Freeman, Joe Clarke
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Robert Vogel, Diana Browne, Lloyd Pace, Bill Freeman, Joe Clarke,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The tenant in room 7 is very small, very twisted and very mad.

Frank Henenlotter’s marvellously sleazy Basket Case is a true cult classic and is a film that transcended it’s micro budget to become a mainstay of midnight movies across the globe. Technically the film shouldn’t work; the acting is terrible throughout and makes the cast of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room look like Oscar-winning legends, the special effects are laughable and the editing is seriously rough in places, but the film has a certain charm that allows you to forgive it’s faults and revel in its trashy delights.

The film is definitely a love letter to a New York City, specifically the area around Times Square and 42nd street, that has long since changed. On the film’s excellent audio commentary Henenlotter talks about how he could see the change coming and shot lots of footage of the area so he could capture what it was like before it was cleaned up and sanitised beyond all recognition. Times Square was once a haven of sleazy nightclubs, nude shows and sex shops, full of weird and wonderful characters, particularly once the sun went down. Basket Case was shot in and around the area and you can really feel the griminess in every scene, particularly the opening shots where Duane (poodle-haired Kevin Van Hentenryck) makes his way through these streets on his way to Hotel Broslin.

Like many low-budget ($35k apparently) films Basket Case had some trouble getting into cinemas in the form that the director had envisioned. This is talked about in the commentary and is mentioned on Hotelbroslin.com, the official website:

When Analysis Films first released “Basket Case,” they cut it. They removed most of the gore so the film would be “funnier.” Obviously, the gore is part of the punch line so their cut version was awful, few came to see it, and the film died almost the moment it was released in April of ’82. However, “Drive-In Movie Critic” Joe Bob Briggs wanted to host the Dallas premiere of the film in June but wouldn’t host a cut version. So Analysis sent it to Dallas uncut and let it play there. The film quickly started selling out. So Analysis quietly replaced the cut version with the uncut version everywhere else and the film suddenly became a hit. After three weeks of the uncut version playing in New York’s Waverly Theatre in Greenwich Village, Analysis finally put an ad in the Village Voice announcing that, yes, it’s finally uncut.

The film was recently released on blu-ray and it’s a revelation to see the film as the director intended. It was shot on 16mm and so was originally full frame (4:3). To be able to show it at cinemas the distributor blew it up to 1:85:1 widescreen and, as Henenlotter notes, it made everything look squashed and claustrophobic, whilst also seriously affecting the many night scenes. For the blu-ray transfer the original 16mm negatives were used and the film has never looked better, particularly if, like me, you first saw the film on murky VHS.

This British quad features a surreal background made up of images from the Times Square of the time. There are various genuine brands in there as well as what I assume are fictional ones. I’m pretty sure the unknown artist’s name is one of the signs too, but can’t be certain. Note the cinema hoarding showing the 1971 horror film ‘Let’s Scare Jessica to Death’. The character holding the basket doesn’t look massively like Van Hentenryck but I think this can be forgiven!

The tagline and logo are also undoubted classics and rank up there as some of the best ever to grace British horror posters.

The film’s original trailer is on YouTube.