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A Nightmare On Elm Street / double crown / UK


Poster Poster
A Nightmare On Elm Street
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
Wes Craven
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
Double Crown
Style of Poster
Origin of Poster
Year of Poster
Graham Humphreys
Graham Humphreys
Size (inches)
20 2/16" x 28 4/16"
SS or DS
Sleep kills

Iconic illustration features on this very scarce double crown (20″ x 30″) for the film that started the successful Freddy Krueger franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street. The design and illustration was done by the celebrated British designer and artist Graham Humphreys and when I interviewed him about his career in 2011 I asked about his work on the film, which I’ve excerpted below. Note that the last paragraph deals with this double crown specifically and when compared to the quad poster you can see how it differs, particularly with the inclusion of Freddy’s hand reaching down the right side of the poster.

Here’s the section of the interview:


I wanted to move onto another poster that’s many people’s favourite for the film, and that’s your design for A Nightmare on Elm Street. That was another one for Palace Pictures?
It was shortly after the Evil Dead. I wasn’t commissioned directly, it was through a couple of friends of mine who had set up a design company and they were working with Palace. The company was called Red Ranch. I’d been at college with one of the guys. They got on very well with Palace Pictures and they were given this project. They realised it was going to be an illustration and they were very happy to use me. I was able to do the logo for the poster as well.

Can you talk about the design of the poster?
There was an American flyer for the film that was essentially the street with four tears through it. I saw the film and knew what I was going to do. I’d actually gone along to a screening with my friend, Phil Nutman, who I’ve since given this to [Graham points at the Evil Dead artwork] so I’d already seen it at the cinema before I was given a VHS copy. Anyway, I paused the VHS and took a photograph of Nancy’s face so I could draw that easily.

Freddy [Krueger] himself is actually silhouetted in the background. In the later posters he’s more prominent but on this first quad you don’t see anything, just the shadow and his glove.
I think they wanted the poster to look fairly classy, in comparison to the Evil Dead quad which shows exactly the type of film it is. Obviously the glove became iconic but at the time people had no clue who Freddy was. To me, it was the glove and the whole dreaming thing that was the interesting thing about the film. You’ve got the pretty girl, the glove and the dream-like urban setting, you don’t need the big ugly face leering at you. I hand lettered the title too.

There’s also a second painting which is in portrait format and features Freddy’s other hand reaching down below Nancy’s face.
Yes, I think I prefer this one. This was used for fly posting and was the VHS cover too. For some reason at that time no one would think about the whole different format thing. Everyone was always focusing on quad posters for underground advertising and cinema fronts. The 40×60 inches or bus stop format was very much an American thing, but then when cinema became more commercial we found we had to start doing that size and format.


Check out the other posters I’ve collected that were designed and illustrated by Graham by clicking here. You can read the Film on Paper exclusive interview with Graham by clicking here.

Graham’s official website can be seen here.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master / double crown / UK


Poster Poster

When the fourth film in the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ franchise (subtitled The Dream Master) was released in the UK it happened to be up against the latest James Bond entry, Licence to Kill, at the box office. Palace Pictures had been handling the British distribution of the horror franchise since the first film and had worked with the same artist, Graham Humphreys, to produce unique poster designs for the market. When it came to promoting The Dream Master Graham produced a unique quad for use in cinema lobbies and on billboards, but he also had the idea of creating a small run of double crowns that spoofed the iconic James Bond gun barrel opening sequence created by Maurice Binder and first seen in Dr No (1962).

When I interviewed Graham in 2011 for this site he explained how that came about and where the poster was used. Here’s an excerpt:


So it was often the case that you wouldn’t know what it was going to look like until you printed it?
No, everything was an experiment. This poster could have been so much different as well though. The stained glass from the final scene in the church was good for me because it was a lovely device that meant I could use the large silhouette [of Freddy]. I also thought it was interesting because at that point the face was so familiar so we could take it dark again; we know who he is. We also did the cheeky James Bond spoof poster.

Ah, you were involved with that?
I was, it was my idea.

For folks who haven’t seen it it’s the classic James Bond silhouette from the title sequence where he shoots and the blood drips down, but with Freddy in Bond’s place. The tag-line is ‘The name’s Krueger…Freddy Krueger’. There was some talk of that poster being withdrawn?
It was, within a week. The new James Bond film was about to come out and that was why we did it anyway. They’re very protective of that image, of course, and they said they’d sue if we didn’t take it down. It was fly-posted on the underground for a little while. I’d gone to the folks at Palace and said I’ve got this great idea for a teaser for Elm Street 4 and brought along a VHS tape [of a Bond film] which I put on and freeze-framed at that moment where he turns around and fires the gun. They said ‘great!’ and that was that.

Was that always the case with Palace, that they’d be happy to try things like that?
Oh yes, completely.


To see the other posters I’ve collected by Graham click here and read the exclusive interview with the artist here.