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I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle / quad / UK

31.07.17

Poster Poster
Title
I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle
AKA
Iron Thunder (Germany)
Year of Film
1990
Director
Dirk Campbell
Starring
Neil Morrissey, Amanda Noar, Michael Elphick, Anthony Daniels, Andrew Powell, George Rossi, Daniel Peacock, Midge Taylor, David Daker, Burt Kwouk, Brendan Donnison
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Neil Morrissey, Amanda Noar, Michael Elphick, Anthony Daniels, Andrew Powell, George Rossi, Daniel Peacock, Midge Taylor, David Daker, Burt Kwouk, Brendan Donnison,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Most motorcycles run on petrol, this one runs on blood!

Colourful artwork features on this UK quad for the release of the 1990 ultra l0w budget horror-comedy, I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle. The film remains the sole feature film credit for the director Dirk Campbell who appears to have spent most of his career in television. The majority of the cast are also from TV backgrounds, including lead Neil Morrissey (‘Men Behaving Badly’, ‘Line of Duty’) and the late Michael Elphick. The latter is perhaps best known for playing the titular lead in Boon, which ran for 93 episodes and also starred Morrissey. The production of the film apparently utilised the sets of Boon without the TV company being aware and several other members of the cast and crew were involved.

Set in and around Birmingham, the film opens with a demonic ritual being performed by a biker gang at night. Just as the ceremony is about to be completed they are attacked and murdered by a rival gang led by Roach (Andrew Powell). During the mayhem, the demon is shown to have been summoned and it quickly enters the body of the lead occultist. After Roach’s gang have fled the scene, the demonic presence reanimates the dead body and then drips its blood into the petrol tank of the occultist’s motorbike.

The next day, motorcycle courier Noddy (Morrissey) meets with a mechanic who has taken ownership of the demonic bike and is selling it without realising what is inside. Although everything seems normal to begin with, Noddy and his partner Kim (Amanda Noar) gradually realise that the bike is no ordinary machine, especially when their mechanic is brutally murdered at home, with blood and tire treads found all over the walls. Inspector Cleaver (Elphick) becomes involved in the case, bodies begin piling up, and soon Noddy is turning to a biker/priest (Anthony Daniels) to help exorcise the killer demon.

Despite its low-budget origins, the film is a fun watch and the script has some genuinely hilarious lines in it. There are also some inventive action scenes and the killer machine itself is well handled. There’s also one of the most surreal/gross scenes involving a dream sequence and the contents of a toilet bowl ever committed to celluloid. The film is surprisingly gory and doesn’t skimp on violence – most of the special effects are well done. I’m not saying it’s a classic, far from it, but it’s certainly worth a watch!

Frustratingly, I’ve struggled to find out who was responsible for the artwork on this country of origin poster. I am certain that it’s not the work of Graham Humphreys as I had this confirmed to me in an email from the man himself. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch. Note the rather brilliant quote from Sam Raimi (Evil Dead)!

My Best Friend Is A Vampire / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
My Best Friend Is A Vampire
AKA
La Brillante Carriera Di Un Giovane Vampiro [The brilliant career of a young vampire] (Italy)
Year of Film
1987
Director
Jimmy Huston
Starring
Robert Sean Leonard, Evan Mirand, Cheryl Pollak, Cecilia Peck, David Warner, Rene Auberjonois
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Robert Sean Leonard, Evan Mirand, Cheryl Pollak, Cecilia Peck, David Warner, Rene Auberjonois,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Vampires and teenagers are a lot alike. They're just misunderstood.

The Motorcycle Diaries / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster

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.

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.

Fright Night part 2 / quad / UK

12.06.12

Poster Poster
Title
Fright Night part 2
AKA
Vampire... vous avez dit vampire? II [Vampire ... you said Vampire?] (France)
Year of Film
1988
Director
Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring
Roddy McDowall, William Ragsdale, Traci Lind, Julie Carmen, Jon Gries, Russell Clark, Brian Thompson, Merritt Butrick, Ernie Sabella, Matt Landers
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Roddy McDowall, William Ragsdale, Traci Lind, Julie Carmen, Jon Gries, Russell Clark, Brian Thompson, Merritt Butrick, Ernie Sabella, Matt Landers,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Welcome back... | More than a sequel it's a scream.

As with the film itself, the poster for the second Fright Night film is definitely a case of ‘if it’s not broken, why fix it?’. The artwork of the vampiric face is practically identical to the one that was used for the global marketing campaign for the original; the Japanese poster can be seen here. Note the slight difference in the eyes, which leads me to believe it may have been redrawn the second time around. The key difference for this version is the location and the suburban house of the first film has been replaced by the multi-storey town house of the second.

Set three years after the original, Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale) has undergone psychiatric therapy and now believes that Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) was actually a serial killer who had disguised himself as a vampire, and is trying to get on with his life with new girlfriend Alex (Traci Lind). Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) has returned to being a burnt out vampire hunter on his Fright Night TV show, but one night a mysterious group of people move into his building lead by the alluring Regine (Julie Carmen). It’s not long before Charlie and Peter discover that she is Jerry’s vampire sister who plans to exact her revenge for his death and sentence Charlie to eternal damnation.

I’ve struggled to find out who was responsible for both the original and this sequel artwork so please get in touch if you have an idea.

The original trailer is on YouTube.