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Tenebrae / quad / UK

20.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
Tenebrae
AKA
Tenebre (alternate spelling) | Shadow (Japan - English title) | Unsane (USA)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Dario Argento
Starring
Anthony Franciosa, Christian Borromeo, Mirella D'Angelo, Veronica Lario, Ania Pieroni, Eva Robins, Carola Stagnaro, John Steiner, Lara Wendel, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, Giuliano Gemma
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Anthony Franciosa, Christian Borromeo, Mirella D'Angelo, Veronica Lario, Ania Pieroni, Eva Robins, Carola Stagnaro, John Steiner, Lara Wendel, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, Giuliano Gemma,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Graffiti Productions Limited
Artist
Renato Casaro (original art) | An unknown British artist added the bow
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
From the undisputed master of the macabre... | Terror beyond belief

This is the incredibly scarce British quad for the release of Dario Argento‘s Tenebrae (AKA Tenebre), which marked the Italian horror maestro’s return to the giallo genre with which he made his name, following two excursions into supernatural horror with Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980). Argento often credits himself with starting the trend for Italian giallo films with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), despite the fact that directors including Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi had been working on films that met all the criteria of the sub-genre since 1963. After a bruising experience whilst making Inferno in conjunction with Hollywood (in the form of 20th Century Fox) and the film meeting a lukewarm reception upon release, Argento returned with fresh enthusiasm to create what is arguably one of the best giallos of all.

Italian-American actor Anthony Franciosa stars as the American author Peter Neal, famous for having written a series of violent horror novels, who travels to Rome to promote his latest novel ‘Tenebrae’. Soon after arriving Neal is confronted by two police detectives (played by Giuliano Gemma and Carola Stagnaro) who inform him that a murder has been committed by a killer obsessed with his novels, and a letter sent to his hotel room confirms this. Soon after, a journalist who had accused Neal of creating ‘misogynist filth’ and her lesbian lover are brutally murdered by the same razor blade-wielding killer. Another letter arrives at Neal’s hotel room and the author decides to try and discover who is behind the murders as the threat to him and his entourage escalates. This being a giallo, and an Argento one at that, there are plenty of twists to keep the viewer discombobulated right to the end.

Argento claims that the inspiration for the story came from an experience he had at the hands of an obsessive fan whilst working on an unfinished project in Hollywood towards the end of the 1970s. What started as a friendly series of phone calls from someone claiming to love his work escalated into something darker and more threatening, and the director eventually fled back to Rome when it became clear that the person was seriously unhinged. It’s also something of a riposte to the criticisms Argento had received from some critics and commentators who claimed his films were overly violent towards women and that his casual misogyny could encourage real-world violence from his films’ fans. There’s a reason Peter Neal remarks to a pushy journalist ‘Let me ask you something? If someone is killed with a Smith & Wesson revolver… Do you go and interview the president of Smith & Wesson?’

Tenebrae was released into UK cinemas in 1982 with 4 seconds of cuts imposed by the BBFC, but soon after its release on video in 1983 the film fell foul of the infamous video nasty debacle which saw 72 films deemed to be in violation of the obscene publications act. 39 films on the Director of Public Prosecutions‘ list were successfully prosecuted and banned from rental or sale in the UK, despite the fact that many, including Tenebrae, had already seen cinema releases with BBFC approval. It took years before relaxation in censorship saw many of the films being re-released on video and DVD, and it wasn’t until 2003 that Tenebrae was finally available in a completely uncut form.

The image of the murdered woman on this quad was originally painted by the Italian artist Renato Casaro for the Italian poster but the bloody cut in the throat seen on the original was clearly seen as too much for the British market and a red bow was painted in its place. The quad’s design was handled by the London-based studio Graffiti Productions, which was started in 1969 by two friends Paul Brown-Constable and Nimal Jayasekera. The pair worked on marketing for an eclectic range of films, including several international releases, plus homegrown titles like Scum and a few Hollywood productions. As well as posters the firm was one of the first to take on work for  home video distributors at the start of the boom in the early 1980s. Most of their posters are easy to identify because they either feature a stylised company logo or a line of text, as on this poster.

Cannibal Apocalypse / B2 / Japan

03.10.13

Poster Poster
Title
Cannibal Apocalypse
AKA
Apocalypse domani [Apocalypse Tomorrow] (Italy - original title) | Invasion of the Fleshhunters (USA) | Virus (Spain)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Antonio Margheriti
Starring
John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Cinzia De Carolis, Tony King, Wallace Wilkinson, Ramiro Oliveros, John Geroson, May Heatherly
Origin of Film
Italy | Spain
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Cinzia De Carolis, Tony King, Wallace Wilkinson, Ramiro Oliveros, John Geroson, May Heatherly,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

What would have been just another entry in the burgeoning cannibal and zombie sub-genres of horror made popular in the wake of the release of the low-budget but hugely profitable Zombie (1979), Cannibal Apocalypse took the standard formula and attempted to do something different. Prolific Italian director Antonio Margheriti, a veteran of several horror and westerns, including Horror Castle (1963) and Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein (1973), decided to capitalise on the recent popularity of Apocalypse Now (1979) and begin his screenplay in the jungles of the Vietnam war. The film’s key twist on the typical zombie formula is that the cannibalistic killers are not dead but infected with a virus that turns them into flesh-eaters.

Featuring genre stalwart John Saxon, who has apparently since tried to distance himself from the film, the story begins with Saxon’s American sergeant Norman Hopper attempting to rescue two fellow soldiers, Bukowski (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) and Tom (Tony King), who have been taken captive by the Vietcong and are being kept in a pit. When he attempts to pull them to safety, the soldiers attack and bite Hopper, much to his confusion. Nevertheless the pair are rescued and returned to America. Several years later, Hopper is back in the States and suffering from flashbacks to the horrors of Vietnam when he receives a call to ask for his help in tracking down Bukowski who has escaped from a mental asylum and is on a murderous rampage. After cornering him in a department store, with help from the police and a biker gang, Hopper manages to persuade Bukowski back into custody, but not before he is informed that he is also infected with the same, (oddly) slow-progressing cannibal virus that the two soldiers caught back in the jungle. Before long, Hopper finds himself succumbing to cannibalistic desires and the real carnage begins.

This is the B2 poster for the Japanese cinema release in 1980. The zombie and cannibal genres were particularly popular in the country at that time and many films were given a cinematic release in Japan that went straight to video (or would be released several years later) in countries like the UK. In the case of Cannibal Apocalypse, the film was given a limited release in the US as Cannibal Massacre in 1981 with an ‘X’ rating, withdrawn and then re-released in 1983 in a heavily edited form, retitled as Invasion of the Fleshhunters. As far as I’m aware the film was never given a cinema showing in the UK and the eventual VHS release fell foul of the ridiculous video nasties situation and was banned from shelves. It took over 20 years before the film was made legally available again to British fans.

I’m unsure who is responsible for this unique artwork so please get in touch if you have any ideas.

The full film is available to watch on YouTube, should you wish to get your fill of cannibal fun.

Joe Kidd / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Joe Kidd
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
John Sturges
Starring
Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, John Saxon, Don Stroud, Stella Garcia, James Wainwright, Paul Koslo
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, John Saxon, Don Stroud, Stella Garcia, James Wainwright, Paul Koslo,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A Nightmare On Elm Street / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Prisoners of the Lost Universe / one sheet / UK

05.08.13

Poster Poster

A classic case of the poster being significantly more exciting than the film it was attempting to sell to the cinema-going public, this is the UK one sheet for the release of the low-budget sci-fi adventure Prisoners of the Lost Universe. Produced by Marcel/Robertson Productions Ltd, the short-lived company who were also responsible for Hawk the Slayer (1980), filming took place in South Africa with a largely American cast and, despite seeing a cinema release in several countries, the film was given its debut on cable TV in the States.

Scientist Dr. Hartmann (Kenneth Hendel) is testing out his revolutionary matter transporter when an earthquake strikes and accidentally beams him to an alternative universe, followed shortly after by Carrie (Kay Lenz), a TV reporter sent to meet him, and Dan, a handyman who also happens to be a kendo champion (Richard Hatch). The duo must cope with the hostile, prehistoric-seeming environment of the new universe, and as they search for the scientist they meet a host of strange characters, including a mute giant, a green-skinned warrior and a cheeky thief. Before long, Carrie has been kidnapped by a warlord named Kleel (played by genre stalwart John Saxon) who has strangely modern technology compared to the rest of the people he rules over, and Dan must battle to save her from his clutches.

Low-budget and with a clunker of a script, awful production design and unsurprisingly sloppy special effects, the film has very little going for it other than a series of unintentionally hilarious moments, which might explain why it has featured on several TV shows that make fun of bad films, including This Movie Sucks! and Mystery Science Theater 3000. The film is apparently in the public domain and has been released on DVD multiple times, usually as part of a compilation of other public domain clunkers, but it can also be watched on YouTube, if you want.

This one sheet was designed and illustrated by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a handful of other designs by him on this site.

 

Blood Beach / quad / UK

04.02.13

Poster Poster
Title
Blood Beach
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Jeffrey Bloom
Starring
David Huffman, Marianna Hill, Burt Young, Otis Young, Lena Pousette, John Saxon, Darrell Fetty, Stefan Gierasch, Eleanor Zee, Pamela McMyler, Harriet Medin, Mickey Fox
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
David Huffman, Marianna Hill, Burt Young, Otis Young, Lena Pousette, John Saxon, Darrell Fetty, Stefan Gierasch, Eleanor Zee, Pamela McMyler, Harriet Medin, Mickey Fox,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Tom Beauvais
Artist
Tom Beauvais
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Just when it's safe to go back in the water... you can't get across the beach!

Something lurks beneath the surface of Santa Monica beach and it’s hungry for flesh – can it be stopped? That’s pretty much the elevator pitch for the 1980 horror film Blood Beach, which was directed by Jeffrey Bloom and features genre stalwart John Saxon and prolific character actor Burt Young (perhaps best known for his role as Paulie in Rocky) as two local policemen assigned to discover the truth behind a number of mysterious disappearances (and a dog with a missing head).

For a film with such a simple premise Blood Beach is surprisingly boring and features several limp sequences involving the other two names mentioned on this poster. David Huffman and Marianna Hill play two locals with a muddily explained backstory and any pretence of them being the film’s leads is abandoned halfway through. There are a handful of effective scenes featuring victims being dragged beneath the sand (I’d actually like to know how the effect was achieved) and one moment where an unlucky gentlemen (well, technically, would-be rapist) has his privates removed by the creature. When it is finally revealed, the beast is so terribly realised that any fear that might have built up immediately evaporates – perhaps the budget ran out by that point but the rubber monstrosity on show is beyond laughable.

Currently the film is very hard to track down if you do want to subject yourself to it, and I actually ended up watching it on a German DVD, which is the only digital release available worldwide and is the slightly modified R-rated version.

The poster was designed and illustrated by Tom Beauvais, a British artist with a lengthy career working in film marketing which saw him design and/or illustrate several notable posters, including the quad for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Mad Max. He was also responsible for the infamous ‘rotten hand bursting from the ground’ image for Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters, a device Tom was clearly happy reusing for this poster! In 2012 I was lucky enough to meet and interview Tom and the article can be read here.

Silent Night Evil Night / 30×40 / USA

25.12.12

Poster Poster
Title
Silent Night Evil Night
AKA
Black Christmas (original Canadian title, later used for the USA and other countries) | Stranger in the House (USA - TV title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Bob Clark
Starring
Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin, James Edmond, Doug McGrath, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin, Michael Rapport
Origin of Film
Canada
Genre(s) of Film
Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin, James Edmond, Doug McGrath, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin, Michael Rapport,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert Tanenbaum
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/148
Tagline
If this picture doesn't make your skin crawl... it's on TOO TIGHT.

This 1974 Canadian horror, originally produced and released as Black Christmas, is often credited as being the first in the slasher sub-genre that went on to spawn countless others in the years that followed, including John Carpenter’s Halloween and Friday the 13th. It was one of the earliest films to feature the concept of a mysterious psychopath hunting down and murdering teens one by one, and it also was one of the first horrors to feature scenes shot from the killers point of view. Director Bob Clark was an American who worked in Canada for over a decade, producing some of the country’s most successful films, of which this was the highpoint. He had previously helmed the low-budget zombie horror Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1973) and would later see great success with the teen comedy Porky’s (1982) and the classic A Christmas Story one year later. Clark was tragically killed along with his son in a head-on car crash in 2007.

Although the film had seen great success in Canada with its production title of Black Christmas (for its release in 1974) the American distributor Warner Bros apparently changed the title to Silent Night Evil Night (and later Stranger in the House) because it feared audiences would think the film was an entry in the then burgeoning blaxploitation genre. After flopping in its first release in the USA (in 1975), the title was later changed back to Black Christmas and the posters that had already been printed with ‘Silent Night…’ had a snipe with the original title glued over the top, as can be seen on this one sheet.

The artwork is by the American artist Robert Tanenbaum. To see other posters I’ve collected by him click here.

Raid on Entebbe / quad / UK

04.07.12

Poster Poster

Raid on Entebbe is based on the true story of Operation Thunderbolt a mission undertaken by Israeli commandos in 1976 with the aim of rescuing hostages from a hijacked Air France plane being held at Entebbe airport in Uganda. The plane and hostages were under control of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells and, after landing in Uganda, almost all of the non-Israeli hostages had been released. After it became clear that the Ugandan president Idi Amin was actively helping the terrorists, a daring rescue was planned by the Israeli Defence Forces, which resulted in the rescue of all but four of the hostages and the death of only one commando,  Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the brother of Benjamin Netanyahu who would later serve as the Israeli prime minister.

There were actually three film versions of the events put into production within months of the rescue; two were US-produced including this film, which followed the hastily made-for-TV Victory at Entebbe, starring the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor. Legendary director and producer Menahem Golan also put together an Israeli-made versions starring mostly Jewish actors called Mivtsa Yonatan (AKA Operation Thunderbolt). Raid on Entebbe was first shown on TV in the US but was given a theatrical release in other countries, including the UK.

Action legend Charles Bronson was obviously seen as the biggest draw for UK audiences over the likes of Peter Finch who actually passed away 10 days after the film first aired and would be given a posthumous Academy Award for his role in the film Network.

This UK quad features stylised artwork painted with large brushstrokes onto a canvas, the grain of which is clearly still visible. Sim Branaghan believes this to be the work of British artist Mike Vaughan, perhaps best known for his work on several Hammer Horror quads, including Twins of Evil.

Enter The Dragon / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Enter The Dragon
AKA
Operation Dragon (Europe - English title)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Robert Clouse
Starring
Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Kien Shih, Ahna Capri, Angela Mao, Jim Kelly, Robert Wall, Bolo Yeung, Betty Chung, Geoffrey Weeks, Peter Archer
Origin of Film
Hong Kong | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Kien Shih, Ahna Capri, Angela Mao, Jim Kelly, Robert Wall, Bolo Yeung, Betty Chung, Geoffrey Weeks, Peter Archer,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Blazing Magnum / B2 / Japan

13.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Blazing Magnum
AKA
Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta [A Special Magnum for Tony Saitta] (Italy - original title) | Shadows in an Empty Room (USA) | Big Magnum 77 (Japan - English title)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Alberto De Martino
Starring
Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow, Carole Laure, Jean LeClerc, Gayle Hunnicutt
Origin of Film
Italy | Canada | Panama
Genre(s) of Film
Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow, Carole Laure, Jean LeClerc, Gayle Hunnicutt,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Filmed in Canada by an Italian director (Alberto De Martino under the pseudonym Martin Herbert), Blazing Magnum has multiple alternative titles, including Shadows in an Empty Room, and is an entry into the poliziottesco genre of cinema. The story sees tough Ottawan police captain Tony Saitta (Stuart Whitman) travel to Montreal to investigate the untimely death of his sister at a party. Before long more bodies start to appear, the list of suspects grows and Saitta teams up with Sergeant Ned Matthews (genre stalwart John Saxon) to crack the case.

The film is perhaps best known for it’s insane, nine minute car chase around the streets of Montreal, which was filmed without permits and staged by legendary stunt performer Rémy Julienne, whose work includes six James Bond films and the original Italian Job. The chase can be watched in all its glory on YouTube – it definitely rivals other legendary cinematic car pursuits! It also features a giallo-esque scene in which a murder is committed in the same room as a blind girl, Saitta fighting a bunch of drag queens and a dwarf gangster.

Check out this Motion Picture Purgatory entry on DreadCentral.com. Sadly it appears the film is not available on DVD, aside from its inclusion on the (apparently) terrible quality Grindhouse Experience Volume 2 box set.

The artwork on this Japanese poster is by one of my favourite artists, the mysterious Seito. It appears on the Italian poster (image taken from emovieposter.com), as well as others, so it’s likely that Seito may have adapted another illustrator’s work for this B2, unless the other countries used his illustration? The American one sheet is markedly different and plays up the murder mystery side of the plot.

The trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

A Nightmare On Elm Street / screen print / James Rheem Davis / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
James Rheem Davis
Artist
James Rheem Davis
Size (inches)
24 1/16" x 34 5/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A Nightmare On Elm Street / screen print / Methane Studios / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
Methane Studios
Artist
Methane Studios
Size (inches)
19 1/16" x 27"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A Nightmare On Elm Street / double crown / UK

28.04.14

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
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
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Graham Humphreys
Artist
Graham Humphreys
Size (inches)
20 2/16" x 28 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
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 / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Graham Humphreys
Artist
Graham Humphreys
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Sleep kills

Iconic design and illustration on this UK quad for the film that started the successful Freddy Krueger franchise, featuring artwork by the British designer and artist Graham Humphreys. When I interviewed him about his career in 2011 I asked about the design for the poster and the excerpt from the interview is below:

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.

A Nightmare On Elm Street / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Matthew Joseph Peak
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
If Nancy Doesn't Wake Up Screaming She Won't Wake Up At All...

A Nightmare On Elm Street / B1 / montage / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Montage
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
28 11/16" x 40 7/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A Nightmare On Elm Street / B1 / bath style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Bath
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
40.5" x 28 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--