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The House of Exorcism / quad / UK

02.06.14

Poster Poster
Title
The House of Exorcism
AKA
Lisa and the Devil (original cut)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Mario Bava (as Mickey Lion)
Starring
Telly Savalas, Elke Sommer, Robert Alda, Sylva Koscina, Eduardo Fajardo, Alessio Orano, Alida Valli, Gabriele Tinti
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Telly Savalas, Elke Sommer, Robert Alda, Sylva Koscina, Eduardo Fajardo, Alessio Orano, Alida Valli, Gabriele Tinti,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Mike Vaughan (unconfirmed)
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A terrifying journey into the SUPERNATURAL

Over the years a number of films have been subjected to various cuts and re-edits that alter the filmmakers’ original vision for both good and bad. This has included Apocalypse Now with its ‘Redux‘ cut in 2001, the multiple versions of Blade Runner that culminated with 2003’s ‘Final Cut’ and the strange case of Superman II. None of these revisions were quite as ill-judged as the fate that befell Italian director Mario Bava‘s 1974 horror Lisa and the Devil when it flopped at the European box-office.

An entertaining if somewhat bizarre horror set in Spain, the original film focused on Lisa (Elke Sommer) a tourist in Toledo who becomes separated from her group and winds up at a crumbling old mansion on the edge of town. There she meets the eccentric inhabitants and becomes embroiled in a series of strange and often murderous situations involving the family and the house’s mysterious butler (Telly Savalas in one of his more quirky roles).

When the film failed to perform in Italy and the few other European countries in which it was released, the producer Alfredo Leone convinced Bava to retool the film as an Exorcist clone to capitalise on the success of the then recently released American classic. New scenes were shot featuring a demonically possessed Elke Sommer and a priest played by Robert Alda, and the original film was heavily edited so these new flashback scenes could be incorporated.

Leone and Bava clashed heavily over the style of the new scenes and the latter eventually walked away from the project (the director was credited as the fictional Mickey Lion, the surname being English for Leone), which was released in the UK and US as The House of Exorcism to instant critical derision (many reviewers calling it an Exorcist rip-off) and poor commercial performance. All in all the project was a total waste of time for all concerned. Recently the UK video label released Lisa and the Devil on blu-ray in its original version and included the House of Exorcism on the same disc.

Although not confirmed for definite, the artwork on this quad is likely to be by the British designer and artist Mike Vaughan. As detailed in Sim Branaghan’s must-own British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Vaughan was born in 1940 and joined a London advertising agency aged 16, having skipped art school but learning on the job as he rose through the ranks from tea boy to working on accounts for the likes of British Airways and American Express. He started working on film posters at the end of the 1960s and his most famous are the ones he painted for Hammer, which included The Vampire Lovers and Lust For a Vampire.

Sim believes one of Vaughan’s last posters was for the clunker Arabian Adventures in 1979. The artist stopped commercial work altogether at the end of the 1980s and started producing fine artworks, focused on racing yachts and sporting events, that were sold through several prestigious London galleries. Sadly the artist passed away suddenly in July 2003 from a blood clot on the brain. The Hammer Horror Posters website features several of his pieces in a large gallery.

Welcome to Blood City / one sheet / UK

12.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
Welcome to Blood City
AKA
Blood City (US)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Peter Sasdy
Starring
Jack Palance, Keir Dullea, Samantha Eggar, Barry Morse, Hollis McLaren, Chris Wiggins, Henry Ramer, Allan Royal, John Evans
Origin of Film
UK | Canada
Genre(s) of Film
Jack Palance, Keir Dullea, Samantha Eggar, Barry Morse, Hollis McLaren, Chris Wiggins, Henry Ramer, Allan Royal, John Evans,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Mike Vaughan (unconfirmed)
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork features on this scarce UK one sheet for the release of the 1977 sci-fi-western, Welcome to Blood City. A British-Canadian co-production, there’s no doubt it was created in the wake of the very successful Westworld that was released a few years earlier. With that said, this film uses the different construct of events taking place in virtual reality, with scientists working for an unnamed organisation watching the events unfold on screens. The film was directed by Peter Sasdy, a Hungarian director who is best known for helming a number of British films during the 1970s, including a few Hammer horrors. It has a few notable stars in the cast, including the late Jack PalanceKeir Dullea (of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) and Samantha Eggar (Cronenberg’s The Brood).

The film begins during some kind of worldwide event (exactly what isn’t made clear) during which Dullea’s character is seemingly abducted by soldiers at gunpoint. He then awakes in a strange wilderness with no memory of what happened to him, along with a group of others all wearing overalls. As they begin to walk into a forest they are accosted by two strangers with shotguns. Whilst they are attacked, a mysterious man (Palance) wearing an outfit that resembles a sheriff’s uniform watches the situation, apparently unmoved. Eventually he greets them and leads them to the titular settlement. Once there they have the rules of the town explained to them. I’ve got to admit, the plot isn’t the easiest to follow – a situation not helped by the only available copy of the film being a terrible VHS-level pan and scan one, which also appears to be zoomed to cap it off. The sound is equally as bad.

Eventually we learn that in order to survive and escape being slaves, the captives must kill others in the town and once they reach twenty kills they are considered ‘immortal’. The purpose for the scientists watching is to seemingly satisfy their military benefactors who want to find out which of the people (in the real world, not Blood City) will make the best soldiers that can be sent off to some unexplained conflict. Samantha Eggar plays one of the two scientists tasked with following events in the simulation. She becomes infatuated with Dullea’s character and begins inserting herself into the simulation and manipulating events so that he will survive. The film is little-seen and the quality of the only copy available probably points to both a lack of demand but also potential rights-issues (it was apparently made as some kind of tax-shelter deal).

The artwork on this UK one sheet, which features different art to the UK quad, is, I believe, by the British artist Mike Vaughan. He also worked on a handful of posters for Hammer horrors, as well as posters like this one for Raid on Entebbe. If anyone knows for sure who painted this art please get in touch.