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Gothic / quad / UK

03.11.16

Poster Poster
Title
Gothic
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Ken Russell
Starring
Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango, Andreas Wisniewski, Dexter Fletcher, Pascal King
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango, Andreas Wisniewski, Dexter Fletcher, Pascal King,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Paul Dufficey
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
"Conjure up your deepest darkest fear. Then call that fear to life."

This British quad for Ken Russell‘s 1986 horror film Gothic features artwork by Paul Dufficey. From what I can gather the artist was a long-time collaborator with the late director and had worked on four of his previous films, including Tommy. It appears from his IMDb profile that he worked as a production and set designer and for Gothic he created ‘portraits’, which presumably included the work on this posters.

Russell’s film was written by Stephen Volk and is a fictionalised retelling of the visit by Percy Shelley (Julian Sands) and his later wife Mary (Natasha Richardson in her first film role) to the Swiss villa of Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne). There they also meet Byron’s friend, the physician Dr. John Polidori (Timothy Spall) One evening, whilst a storm rages outside, the group tell each other horror stories and reveal intimate secrets about themselves. This meeting was apparently the inspiration for Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein and for Polidori to pen The Vampyre, both of which were groundbreaking novels in the horror genre.

The images on this poster are clearly inspired by classic gothic artwork, particularly the woman splayed across a bed. This references a painting called The Nightmare by the Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli which was painted in 1781. It depicts a creepy imp sitting on top of a sleeping woman and this same imagery features in Gothic. The imp is played by Kiran Shah, a dwarf actor and stuntman who has featured in several blockbusters such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and was a stuntman on all three of the Hobbit films.

Apparently the film was not much of a success at the box office but was popular on home video. I’m certain it has something to do with the distributor using a creepy photo of Shah on top of a woman, which must have enticed a fair few punters to rent the film. I doubt it met the expectations of all out horror that the cover suggested for many though!

Lisztomania / 30×40 / USA

01.07.13

Poster Poster
Title
Lisztomania
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Ken Russell
Starring
Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas, Ringo Starr, Rick Wakeman, John Justin, Fiona Lewis, Veronica Quilligan, Nell Campbell
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas, Ringo Starr, Rick Wakeman, John Justin, Fiona Lewis, Veronica Quilligan, Nell Campbell,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/249
Tagline
The erotic, exotic electrifying rock fantasy... it out-Tommy's "Tommy"

Featuring a cognitive illusion so overt it’s a wonder that the artist didn’t paint Roger Daltrey with one eye winking, this is the US 30×40 poster for the release of the late, great British director Ken Russell‘s resolutely bonkers biography of the Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt. The film is (very) loosely based on a biography written by one of Liszt’s mistresses and, rather than follow a traditional linear narrative, tells the story of his life through a series of increasingly bizarre sequences. It’s a typically flamboyant, vulgar and controversial effort from Russell, who manages to cram in adultery, violence, vampires, Nazis, a mechanical viking, a ten-foot phallus and Ringo Starr as The Pope. Lisztomania arguably shows the director at his most self-indulgent but it definitely has to be seen to be believed.

In a cinematic release situation not often repeated, Russell had also helmed Tommy, a film based on The Who’s 1969 rock-opera album of the same name, which also had Roger Daltrey as the lead and was released earlier in 1975. This explains the inclusion of the terribly clunky ‘it out-Tommys “Tommy”‘ in the top tagline – Tommy was released in March and Lisztomania in November.

The phallic imagery on this 30×40 poster directly references a hallucination sequence in the film in which Listz’s libido is stroked to such an extent that he grows a ten-foot long erection, which is then celebrated by a horde of lusty maidens before being directed to a nearby guillotine – talk about pleasure and pain! Despite extensive searches, I’ve been unable to identify the artist responsible so if you have any ideas please get in touch. I’m a big fan of the logo design too.