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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.

The Uncanny / one sheet / UK

22.06.15

Poster Poster

A striking design on this poster for the 1977 British-Canadian horror anthology The Uncanny, which is based around the unlikely theme of malevolent cats. The film is often mistakenly credited as being an Amicus Productions anthology (like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror) but it was in fact a Rank release with the involvement of Milton Subotsky, one half of the Amicus team, which had disbanded in 1975.

The film features three stories told as part of an overarching framing tale that sees Peter Cushing as a British author visiting his agent in Montreal to present the idea for his next book, which is that all cats are inherently evil, supernatural creatures. To illustrate his reasoning he tells three separate tales, each from different eras and locations. The first is set in London and sees Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood) a sick, wealthy widower leave her fortune to her houseful of cats, which angers her only nephew. He enlists the help of the housemaid Janet (Susan Penhaligon) who attempts to steal the copies of the will but disturbs the elderly woman as she’s doing so and kills her in the struggle that follows. Much to Janet’s surprise, the moggies then take their revenge on her and the nephew.

The second story is based in Quebec and sees Lucy (Katrina Holden Bronson) an orphaned girl, going to live with her Aunt and bringing her beloved cat Wellington with her. After being mistreated by the family who decide to try and dispose of Wellington, Lucy seeks help from her collection of witchcraft books and takes out her anger on her malicious cousin Angela. The final story is set in Hollywood during the 1930s and features Donald Pleasence giving it his all as an actor who rigs an onset accident that kills his wife so he can shack up with his mistress, a younger actress. Unfortunately, his wife’s cat is none too pleased with its owner being offed and sets out to get its revenge, which it does in a ridiculous finale.

The film features very little in the way of horror, with only some very fake looking blood in a few scenes and absolutely nothing in the way of suspense. The special effects are mostly awful and in the scenes where cats are supposedly attacking people you can practically see the hands of the animal handlers who’ve just thrown them at the victim. The middle story set in Canada is particularly poor, thanks to a woeful performance by the actress playing Lucy. The simple fact is that cats are not particularly scary and anyone who owns a cat knows that the worst that might happen is a bit of scratched skin. Apparently the film flopped at the box office and was never even given a release in American cinemas.

This poster was designed and illustrated by Vic Fair, who is one the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing. He 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. I interviewed Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

To see the other posters I’ve collected by him click here.

The Exterminator / one sheet / USA

16.05.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Exterminator
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
James Glickenhaus
Starring
Christopher George, Samantha Eggar, Robert Ginty, Steve James, Tony DiBenedetto, Dick Boccelli, Patrick Farrelly, Michele Harrell
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher George, Samantha Eggar, Robert Ginty, Steve James, Tony DiBenedetto, Dick Boccelli, Patrick Farrelly, Michele Harrell,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
B.D. Fox Independent
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
800142
Tagline
In war, you have to kill to stay alive... on the streets of New York, it's often the same. | ...the man they pushed too far.

The Exterminator is a 1980 vigilante b-movie that was written and directed by James Glickenhaus and set in New York. Opening with a commendably over-the-top sequence in war-torn Vietnam, we’re introduced to John Eastland (Robert Ginty) and his friend Michael Jefferson (Steve James) who are captured by the Vietcong and forced to watch as a fellow soldier is beheaded (achieved courtesy of Stan Winston special effects). After being rescued the pair return to their lives in New York but when Michael is attacked and paralysed by street thugs, John sets out for revenge with an army machine gun and images of the atrocities he saw in Vietnam playing over in his head. Before long, he’s attacking and killing various underworld characters who he sees as a blight on society. It’s not long before he comes to the attention of a police detective (Christopher George) and shady elements within the CIA.

The film has a gritty atmosphere, helped no end by the fact that several scenes were set (and filmed) around New York’s 42nd street (Times Square) back when it wasn’t the family-friendly tourist trap it is today. Although Glickenhaus wanted John to be a normal, non-macho kind of guy, Robert Ginty takes it a little too far and at times is barely audible as he mumbles along with dead-eyed stare – he’s very hard to root for during each of the violent encounters. Despite a critical drubbing the film was a box-office success in the States, quickly expanding to more cinemas in the weeks following its opening. A sequel would be made a few years later without Glickenhaus’ involvement.

In an interview on the blu-ray release of the film from Arrow Video, the director talks briefly about the promotion of the film, mentioning the poster:

‘Avco Embassy came up with that idea and asked me and I thought it would be an interesting thing. I think they made it a little bit mysterious with the motorcycle helmet and what-not but it did become an iconic image and was copied more than a few times, including for a porno film called The Penetrator. They had a naked guy with a flame-thrower standing there, which is what it is. But it [the Exterminator poster] got people to the box-office so it worked.’