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Lifeforce / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lifeforce
AKA
Vampires from Outer Space (working title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The Cinematic Sci-Fi event of the Eighties

Lifeforce / B2 / artwork style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lifeforce
AKA
Vampires from Outer Space (working title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Artwork style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Excalibur / one sheet / 80s re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
80s re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810029
Tagline
Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.

Because of the presence of a GCIU logo, this is likely not from the 1981 original release but a re-release from later in the 1983. This note from an emovieposter.com auction explains why:

Note that there are two versions of this poster: one with a GAU printer logo and one with GCIU logo. We have been told that the GCIU logo wasn’t trademarked until July 1983, so the theory is that any poster that carries the GCIU logo must be from 1983 or later and are either theatrical re-release posters or possibly video store posters. We do not know for sure.

Lifeforce / B2 / photo style / Japan

22.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
Lifeforce
AKA
Vampires from Outer Space (working title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Photo style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A suitably outlandish design on this Japanese B2 (style B) for the release of Tobe Hooper’s sci-fi curio Lifeforce. Based on the 1976 novel The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, the film’s screenplay was written by Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Total Recall) and Don Jakoby and was the first in a three film deal that Hooper had agreed with notorious production and distribution company Cannon Films (the others were Invaders from Mars and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). The film begins as the joint US-UK space shuttle Churchill heads towards Halley’s Comet on a research mission. After discovering a large dormant alien ship in the comet’s tail, a small team sets out to investigate and discovers a trio of naked humanoids in transparent stasis pods surrounded by the dried husks of hundreds of bat-like creatures.

The pods, which contain two males and a female (the stunning Mathilda May) are brought onboard the spaceship. Several weeks later, after losing contact with Churchill’s crew, a rescue team is sent out and finds the shuttle drifting in space having been crippled by a catastrophic fire with all crew presumed dead. The pods are discovered in the hold completely untouched and are returned to earth to the European Space Research Centre in London where Dr. Leonard Bukovsky (the late Michael Gothard) and Dr. Hans Fallada (Frank Finlay) oversee a planned autopsy on the humanoid figures. The female awakens during the procedure and attacks one of the doctors, draining the ‘lifeforce’ from him, leaving just a desiccated husk. She then escapes from the facility and sets in motion a chain of events that eventually sees the city of London besieged by hundreds of newly created space vampires.

The film gets increasingly bonkers as it continues and the acting from Steve Railsback (shuttle captain Carlsen) is absolutely bizarre, ranging from barely audible mumbles to wild-eyed shouting. Frank Finlay is also good value and appears to think he’s starring in a 1960s Hammer horror film. The special effects are notably good and were headed up by award-winning artist John Dykstra. The alien ship scenes are very well done, as are several of the scenes where lifeforce is extracted from victims.

The film rattles from one scene to another and barely manages to stay comprehensible, despite being undeniably enjoyable. Apparently budgetary issues meant several scenes were never shot and production had to be shut down at one point after financing had dried up. All of this clearly had an impact on the final cut and things were made worse for the US release when distributor Tristar decided to trim 12 minutes from the film. Lifeforce was a box-office failure and was unable to recoup its original bloated budget. The UK and other countries at least received the full uncut version and it’s now available for all on blu-ray.

Excalibur / A0 / Germany

19.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
A0
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Based on Bob Beak artwork
Size (inches)
33" x 46 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

At first glance, the artwork on this large-format (A0) German poster for the 1981 fantasy film Excalibur seems to be the same Bob Peak artwork that appears on posters from around the world, including the US one sheet, but it is not. When viewed up close, and compared to the Peak art, it’s clear that the (German) artist was asked to replicate the original as closely as possible, but the quality is definitely lacking in comparison to Peak. The likely reason the distributor decided to have the art repainted, as opposed to cutting and recomposing Peak’s, is that the one sheet art’s composition is completely unsuited to the landscape format of this A0. I suspect a similar thing happened with the British quad, which features an image of the sword being held aloft that is not the same artwork as on the Peak one sheet. The sword appears alongside an image of Merlin that is the artist’s work.

Excalibur was a passion project for the director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank) who had been trying to kickstart a project based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table since 1969. After almost a decade he was able to pull together the financial backing to commence filming, with a script based on the 15th century tales of Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory. The film is notable for being entirely shot on location in Ireland and for featuring breakout performances from a number of notable actors, including Helen MirrenGabriel Byrne, and Liam Neeson. Set over several decades, the story follows the machinations of multiple characters, with the wizard Merlin (Nicol Williamson) acting as something of a constant (if deeply eccentric) figure who floats around the rulers of Britain. In one of the first scenes we see him retrieving the titular sword from the Lady of the Lake.

Beginning with a king called Uther Pendragon (Byrne), Merlin first assists him in first reaching a truce with Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, before Uther sets his sights on the Duke’s wife Igrayne and war breaks out once more. Merlin reluctantly offers to help him defeat Gorlois and capture Igrayne on the condition that he can have ‘whatever results from this lust’. Without fully understanding the ramifications of the deal, Uther agrees, slays the Duke and has his way with Igrayne (albeit under a Merlin spell that makes him look like the Duke). Nine months later Merlin arrives to claim his agreed prize, a boy born of that night’s passion. The wizard leaves the castle with him, much to Igrayne’s horror, and eventually Uther decides to pursue and attempt to rescue his son. Unfortunately he is attacked in a forest by a group of Gorlois’ men and dies, but not before he thrusts Excalibur into a stone and proclaims, “He who draws the sword from the stone, he shall be king.”

The story then jumps forward several years and sees the boy, now grown into a teenager named Arthur, completely unaware of his origins (Merlin had given him to another couple to raise as their own). Whilst attending a jousting contest with his father and brother, a mixup with a stolen sword sees Arthur easily pulling Excalibur from the stone after hundreds of men have failed to do so in the past. Unaware of the significance of the event, it takes Arthur a while to understand that he is now the rightful king and only a visit from Merlin eventually convinces him. The rest of the film follows Arthur as he rallies knights around him, takes the throne and establishes the famous court and castle of Camelot. He also meets and falls in love with Guinevere (Cherie Lunghi) but eventually tensions rise when Lancelot, one of his trusted knights, becomes infatuated with her. Morgana, a budding sorceress and Arthur’s half-sister, also tricks Merlin into teaching her the Charm of Making, allowing her to take the form of others. When she tricks Arthur into sleeping with her (him believing it to be Guinevere) the resultant child threatens an end to the whole kingdom.

Apparently the film was originally completed to a length of around three hours before having 40 minutes trimmed and I can’t help but feel that allowing the film to breathe might have helped. There’s a lot of story to fit in and it’s fair to say that the cuts do show; I found some of the time jumps and scene to scene transitions pretty jarring, whilst the script doesn’t exactly help matters. Critics at the time also found the film’s story and exposition wanting but most agreed that Boorman had definitely succeeded in making the film visually stunning. The use of real locations along with some incredible costumes such as the shiny chrome armour worn by most of the male cast (Merlin even has a shiny cap) are accentuated by the use of coloured lighting. The film has developed something of a cult reputation over the years, largely thanks to the arresting visuals on display.

If anyone knows who the artist was that repainted the original Bob Peak art, please get in touch.

Excalibur / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.

Lifeforce / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lifeforce
AKA
Vampires from Outer Space (working title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
In outer space they unleashed a force more evil than the world had ever imagined!

Excalibur / one sheet / teaser / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810029
Tagline
--

X-Men / one sheet / advance / style D / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
X-Men
AKA
--
Year of Film
2000
Director
Bryan Singer
Starring
Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park, Bruce Davison
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park, Bruce Davison,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance - Style D
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
2000
Designer
BLT & Associates
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Trust a few. Fear the rest.