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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.

Vampires in Havana / screen print / Cuba

22.10.12

Poster Poster
Title
Vampires in Havana
AKA
¡Vampiros en La Habana! (Cuba - original title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Juan Padrón
Starring
Manuel Marín, Margarita Aguero, Frank González, Irela Bravo, Carlos González, Mirella Guillot, Carmen Solar, Juan Padrón
Origin of Film
Cuba | Spain | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Manuel Marín, Margarita Aguero, Frank González, Irela Bravo, Carlos González, Mirella Guillot, Carmen Solar, Juan Padrón,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Restrike
Origin of Poster
Cuba
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Eduardo Munoz Bachs
Artist
Eduardo Munoz Bachs
Size (inches)
20 2/16" x 30 3/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

In August 2011 I was lucky enough to visit the island of Cuba for a ten day trip which was a fantastic experience. It really does feel like a country stuck in a time warp, circa 1965, particularly once you leave the capital and head into the countryside. It’s a stunningly beautiful island with very hospitable people but the relative poverty of the country is clear to see. It’s often said that the government is likely to relax the current freeze on foreign (particularly Western) investment once ‘Comandante’ Fidel Castro passes away, although with his brother Raul currently in charge very little has changed. This article on the BBC gives you an insight into the current situation.

The Cuban people’s love for film and cinema-going is legendary and our guidebook claimed that at the end of the 1950s there were over 300 cinemas in the capital Havana alone. Today, these great old buildings continue to thrive and whilst there I witnessed the queues of people lining up to see the latest releases. I took this picture of the Yara cinema in the Vedado area of Havana before the evening crowds descended.

Whilst in Havana I visited a bookshop that was selling original Cuban propaganda posters printed in the 1950s and 60s by OSPAAAL. They also had a handful of screen-printed film posters, all of which were reprints of the original Cuban cinema posters or re-imagined designs by local artists. They are officially screen printed by the ICAIC (Instituto Cubano de Artes Industrias Cinematografia) in Havana.

This is a screen print of the original poster for the 1985 animated film Vampires in Havana, which was directed by Cuban Juan Padrón. The story follows Joseph Amadeus von Dracula, known as Pepito, a trumpet player living in 1930s Havana who spends his time plotting to overthrow the incumbent dictatorship of Gerardo Machado. He’s completely unaware that he’s actually a vampire and that his uncle, a descendant of the original Count Dracula, has been using him as a test subject a secret formula which allows vampires to move about freely in sunlight. After learning about the potion, two sets of Vampires, including a group of Chicago mobster bloodsuckers, chase after Pepito with plans to use it for their own selfish means, but all is not as it seems with the potion.

The artwork is by the late designer and children’s book illustrator Eduardo Munoz Bachs who was born in Span in 1937 and moved to Cuba with his parents in 1941. Despite having no formal training in graphic design he designed his first poster for the ICAIC (Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematografica), which was founded after the Cuban revolution to produce and promote Cuban films. He went on to design over 2000 film posters and is considered one of the most important Cuban graphic designers ever to have worked. He sadly passed away in 2001.

This Pinterest gallery features many of his posters. Whilst I was at the shop I also picked up a poster for A Clockwork Orange and one for The Godfather.

Black Emanuelle / quad / UK

26.03.14

Poster Poster
Title
Black Emanuelle
AKA
Emanuelle nera (original title)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Bitto Albertini
Starring
Laura Gemser, Karin Schubert, Angelo Infanti, Isabelle Marchall, Gabriele Tinti, Don Powell, Venantino Venantini
Origin of Film
Spain | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Laura Gemser, Karin Schubert, Angelo Infanti, Isabelle Marchall, Gabriele Tinti, Don Powell, Venantino Venantini,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Vic Fair
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A new experience in sensuality.

A striking design by British artist Vic Fair features on this UK quad for the release of Black Emanuelle, an Italian-Spanish softcore sexploitation by cinematographer turned director Bitto Albertini. One of the first films to cash in on the success of the internationally successful French softcore film Emmanuelle (note the dropped ‘m’), which had been released a year earlier.

Indonesian-born actress Laura Gemser stars as the journalist Mae Jordan, known to her readers as Emanuelle, who travels to Africa on an assignment. Whilst staying at the house of a married couple Emanuelle begins an affair with both of them leading her to question both her sexuality and racial identity. The film was successful enough to spawn several sequels and quasi-sequels, several of which were directed by prolific Italian schlockmeister Joe D’Amato and featured Gemser.

One of the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing, Vic Fair is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. Despite working on all of the posters for the British ‘Confessions…’ series of comedy softcore films, this quad for Black Emanuelle was one of a tiny handful of sexploitation posters that Fair worked on during his career. In 2013 I published an interview with Vic Fair and this poster was mentioned:

————————-

The poster you designed for Black Emanuelle is really striking.
Thanks, I came up with the idea of using the arch of her back as the mountain and the final touch was using the title treatment to cover her modesty. The softcore porn posters were always served quite well by working with pastels.

————————–

The interview also features an image of an early sketch painting for the poster that can be viewed here.

The Valachi Papers / B2 / Japan

31.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
The Valachi Papers
AKA
Cosa Nostra (international)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Terence Young
Starring
Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland, Walter Chiari, Joseph Wiseman, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Amedeo Nazzari, Fausto Tozzi, Pupella Maggio, Angelo Infanti
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland, Walter Chiari, Joseph Wiseman, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Amedeo Nazzari, Fausto Tozzi, Pupella Maggio, Angelo Infanti,
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
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Based on the biography of the same name by Peter Maas, The Valachi Papers recounts the story of Joseph Valachi a mafia member turned government informant in the 1960s. Director Terence Young, famous for directing the first two James Bond films (and Thunderball), was reunited with Charles Bronson whom he’d collaborated on for his previous two films (Red Sun and Cold Sweat). The film begins in the 60s in a Federal Penitentiary with an ageing Valachi (Bronson) serving time for heroin smuggling. In prison he meets the boss of the crime family he worked for Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura) who is convinced that Valachi is an informant and gives him the ‘kiss of death’. When Valachi later kills a prisoner whom he mistakenly thinks has been sent to assassinate him, he agrees to be an informant for the government. The rest of the film deals with incidences from his life, all the way back to the 1930s when he was starting out as a young criminal.

The design on this Japanese B2 is unique to the poster.

National Lampoon’s Vacation / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
National Lampoon's Vacation
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Harold Ramis
Starring
Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Randy Quaid, Imogene Coca
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Randy Quaid, Imogene Coca,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Boris Vallejo
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
830074
Tagline
Every summer Chevy Chase takes his family on a little trip. This year he went too far.

Mondo Candido / B2 / Japan

11.12.13

Poster Poster

Italian directors Franco Prosperi and  are best known as the co-creators of the infamous Mondo Cane ‘shockumentary’, which consisted of a series of travelogue-style vignettes looking at strange cultural practices from around the world with the intention of shocking Western audiences. Made in 1962, the film had an emphasis on taboo subjects including sex, death, ritual killings and cannibalism, and it was such a success that it spawned a slew of sequels and copycat films, and created it’s own mondo genre of exploitation films. Despite being presented as genuine documentary footage, many of the scenes in mondo movies were clearly staged by the producers.

Mondo Candido, despite its title hinting at the previous shockumentaries in the series, is actually a fictional tale adapted from the popular satire Candide by the French author Voltaire. Unavailable on DVD and likely never shown on UK TV, it’s not a film I’m familiar with and there are a paucity of reviews on IMDb and other sites. One hints at the  broad outline of the film:

‘The plot concerns a very happy go lucky “skips everywhere with wild abandon” young man who falls madly in love with a princess. When he is caught in an inappropriate situation with her, he’s banned from the castle. Thus begins a quest to find his lady love and himself as he travels across a medieval landscape that becomes modern New York, Ireland and Israel. During the course of the journey he finds that all is not as happy and joyous as he once thought.’

Things apparently frequently take a turn into the surreal:

‘It starts off in period vein but then switches to more recent times and events (presumably for a greater political immediacy) – so that we see Candide & Co. involved with IRA bombings, Jewish freedom-fighters, even hippies; that said, it maintains a curious balance throughout of old and new: for instance, at one point Cunegonde is raped by a rocker dressed in a knight’s outfit(!) – which emerges to be perhaps the film’s comic/absurd highlight.’

It certainly sounds like an interesting watch and the full film is on YouTube should you be tempted.

This Japanese B2 poster clearly aims to emphasise the more violent, erotic elements of the film. Japan was one of only a handful of countries to release it theatrically in 1975.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
George Miller, George Ogilvie
Starring
Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Adam Cockburn, Tina Turner, Frank Thring, Angelo Rossitto, Paul Larsson, Angry Anderson, Robert Grubb, George Spartels, Edwin Hodgeman
Origin of Film
Australia | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Adam Cockburn, Tina Turner, Frank Thring, Angelo Rossitto, Paul Larsson, Angry Anderson, Robert Grubb, George Spartels, Edwin Hodgeman,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Amsel
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A lone warrior searching for his destiny...a tribe of lost children waiting for a hero...in a world battling to survive, they face a woman determined to rule. Hold out for Mad Max this is his greatest adventure.

American History X / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

High Spirits / quad / UK

06.06.17

Poster Poster
Title
High Spirits
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Neil Jordan
Starring
Peter O'Toole, Liz Smith, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher, Martin Ferrero, Connie Booth, Daryl Hannah, Liam Neeson
Origin of Film
Ireland | UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter O'Toole, Liz Smith, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher, Martin Ferrero, Connie Booth, Daryl Hannah, Liam Neeson,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Jack's American, married and looking for romance. Mary's beautiful, Irish and 200 years old... Does their love stand a ghost of a chance? | A supernatural comedy

This is the UK quad for the release of Irish director Neil Jordan‘s (The Crying Game) 1988 comedy High Spirits. Filmed on location and in a studio in Ireland, the story was written by Jordan and focuses on an old, run-down castle/hotel that is home to the Plunkett family, which only consists of Peter (Peter O’Toole) and his mother (Liz Smith) and a motley group of staff. Peter owes money to an American financier and is struggling to work out how to stop the castle defaulting into his hands. After half-heartedly attempting to hang himself, he hits on the idea of selling the hotel as the most haunted in Ireland after his mother reminds him about all the ghosts that supposedly haunt the place. Following a montage of the staff setting up various haunting gags around the castle, the first group of all-American guests arrive at the castle.

Jack Crawford (Steve Guttenberg) is joined by his wife Sharon (Beverly D’Angelo, best known for National Lampoon’s Vacation films) and it’s clear that their marriage is under some strain. Also there is a sceptical paranormal investigator and his family, plus a wannabe priest on a ‘final hurrah’ and a kooky dancer (Jennifer Tilly). The staff soon stage several attempts at convincing the guests that they are surrounded by ghosts but all fall flat. Jack, despondent with how unimpressed his wife is, stumbles into an old area of the castle whilst drunk and witnesses the apparition of two real ghosts, Mary Plunkett Brogan (Daryl Hannah) and Martin Brogan (Liam Neeson). The husband and wife have been stuck in a loop, enacting the moment that Martin fatally stabbed Mary in a fit of jealous rage. Somehow Jack interrupts the ghostly murder and Mary is able to see him.

The rest of the the film sees the pair fall in love, whilst Sharon also falls for Martin. Meanwhile, the other real ghosts stage paranormal events after getting fed up of Peter’s half-hearted efforts to scare. The film is energetic for sure but fairly nonsensical in places and the acting varies wildly across the cast. Apparently Jordan claims the film was taken out of his hands during the editing stage and the version released in cinemas doesn’t match his vision for the film. It’s clear that several scenes have been cut and truncated and it barely hangs together towards the end. On a positive note, the location work is excellent and the production design is solid. O’Toole works well as the eccentric Peter and D’Angelo and Tilly are fun to watch.

I’m not sure who is responsible for the artwork which is unique to this UK quad and there’s no obvious signature on it. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Lady In White / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lady In White
AKA
Scarlatti, il thriller [Scarlatti, the thriller] (Italy)
Year of Film
1988
Director
Frank LaLoggia
Starring
Lukas Haas, Len Cariou, Alex Rocco, Katherine Helmond, Jason Presson, Renata Vanni, Angelo Bertolini
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lukas Haas, Len Cariou, Alex Rocco, Katherine Helmond, Jason Presson, Renata Vanni, Angelo Bertolini,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The year is 1962. The place is Willowpoint Falls. Nobody talks about what happened in the school cloakroom 10 years ago. Now, in the dead of night, Frankie Scarlatti is going to find out why.

National Lampoon’s European Vacation / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
National Lampoon's European Vacation
AKA
Ma Guarda Un Po' 'sti Americani [Look at these Americans for a bit] (Italy)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Amy Heckerling
Starring
Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Dana Hill, Jason Lively, Victor Lanoux, Eric Idle
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Dana Hill, Jason Lively, Victor Lanoux, Eric Idle,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Boris Vallejo
Size (inches)
27" x 40 7/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
For over two thousand years, Europe has survived many great disasters. Now for the real test. Chevy Chase & his family are coming from America!