You searched for: Sci-fi

Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan / screen print / regular / Tyler Stout / USA

29.04.13

Poster Poster

The Wrath of Khan was the follow up to 1979s Star Trek – The Motion Picture, which was the first feature film to hit cinemas following the ending of the original series 10 years previously. Even though the show was cancelled by the network (NBC) after only three seasons, it had garnered a significant cult following and had made a major impact on popular culture, helped greatly by broadcast syndication on channels across the US during the 1970s. Despite earning significant box-office takings, many critics and fans of the original series were disappointed with the first feature film and reviews tended to criticise it as overlong, bereft of any significant action and, worst of all, boring.

A sequel was inevitable, but Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the original series and executive producer of the first film, was removed from its production by Paramount after they claimed that Roddenberry had forced the first film over budget and had muddled the script with too many re-writes. His replacement was Harve Bennett, with Roddenberry given an ‘executive consultant’ role. Bennett studied the original series for inspiration having decided that the film should be more action-packed and regain some of the swashbuckling feel that had been lost in the first film. Deciding that the sequel needed a decent bad guy, Bennett settled on the character of Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered super solider, who had featured in the first series episode Space Seed, which had long been a fan favourite. At the end of that episode Khan and some of his comrades had been banished to the inhospitable planet of Ceti Alpha V so his return in the film would not be against the series’ canon.

Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban agreed to reprise his role as Khan and the story sees him escaping exile and seeking revenge against Captain Kirk, whom he blames for the death of his wife. After commandeering the USS Reliant, Khan learns of the Genesis Device, a torpedo which is intended to reorganise matter to create a hospitable world but can also destroy planets if used in the wrong way. The crew of the Starship Enterprise sets out to stop Khan but their intervention will not be without sacrifice and the ending of the film sees Leonard Nimoy’s Spock seemingly dead after sacrificing himself to save his comrades. This story arc would continue for two more films, concluding with The Voyage Home in 1986. Among several memorable scenes is the moment when Khan taunts Kirk with a threat against his wife, leading to this infamous outburst. KHAAAAAAAAAN!

When Mondo, the incomparable limited-edition screen print outfit, announced they were opening a gallery in their hometown of Austin, anticipation quickly reached fever pitch, with fans desperate to see what artwork would be on the walls when the doors opened for the first time. The answer was kept secret until the evening of March the 10th, 2012 when the opening night was held and the theme of their first show was revealed to be that of classic sci-fi. Most of Mondo’s premier artists turned in some incredible pieces for the show, as can be seen on this recap blog post on their website and on this SlashFilm post.

One of the highlights of the show was fan-favourite artist Tyler Stout’s print for The Wrath of Khan. A brilliantly composed image featuring Ricardo Montalban‘s unforgettable, titular bad guy, the poster was printed in two flavours; a red and gold regular and a silver and gold variant. Whilst adding the regular version to the Film on Paper collection I wanted to interview the man himself about the creation of the poster and that article can be read here.

Monsters / one sheet / teaser / USA

12.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Monsters
AKA
--
Year of Film
2010
Director
Gareth Edwards
Starring
Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Mario Zuniga Benavides, Annalee Jefferies
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Mario Zuniga Benavides, Annalee Jefferies,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2010
Designer
Gravillis Inc.
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 13/16"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
It's our turn to adapt

British director Gareth Edwards’ excellent Monsters was one of the best films released in 2010 and transcended a micro-budget to become one of the freshest entries in the sci-fi genre for several years. The film is set slightly in the future and several years after a NASA probe crashed back to earth infected with alien life. Half of Mexico had to be quarantined off as the creatures grew and took over the area, and the US military patrols the borders. Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) is a US photojournalist who is hired by his boss to escort his daughter Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able) from the safe part of Mexico back to the States. The pair are forced to head through the quarantined zone despite the threat of the creatures who are moving across the country on their yearly ‘migration’.

The film was shot entirely on location by a tiny crew, using prosumer cameras and, aside from the two leads, the majority of the characters were played by non-actors. The dialogue was improvised around a loose scene outline and the results were edited whilst the crew was on the road. Gareth Edwards had previously worked as a special effects editor and spent four months designing and creating all of the effects himself, once again using off the shelf equipment and software. It’s a superb achievement and well worth a watch, but don’t go in expecting some kind of fast-paced, gory creature-feature as some cinema-goers were, back in 2010.

This striking US one sheet teaser was designed by Gravillis Inc. and features Whitney Able in a gas mask with a reflection of one of the creatures in the visor. Because the poster is so dark it’s hard to photograph without losing some of the details so check out the original digital file here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Innerspace / A1 / Germany

11.03.14

Poster Poster

This is the German A1 poster for the release of Joe Dante’s 1987 sci-fi comedy Innerspace, in which Dennis Quaid plays the brilliantly named Tuck Pendleton, a loudmouth test pilot who is shrunken to miniature size as part of an experiment and then accidentally injected into the body of hypochondriac Jack Putter (Martin Short) during a robbery at a science lab. Madcap high-jinks ensue and the films nods heavily in the direction of the classic sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage. The film is definitely one of the high points in the myriad of high-concept films of the 1980s and I rate it as one of Joe Dante’s best films.

The poster was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro, an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike.

His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy. Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist.

In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. This artwork was also used for the UK video release cover and accompanying poster. To see the other posters I have collected for Innerspace click here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

Vozvrashchenie s orbity / A1 / Czechoslovakia

11.03.15

Poster Poster

This is the Czechoslovakian poster for the release of the obscure Soviet Union sci-fi film Vozvrashchenie s orbity. There’s barely any information about the film online other than this single review on the film’s IMDb page:

“Well,this film looks more like very deep and dramatic space drama. As soon as two friends-cosmonauts came back from space, a lot of things changed on the Earth. The wife of one of them died. And Kuznetsov can not go on flying to space. So he returns to navy aviation. Very soon a serious trouble happens to spacecraft and Kuznetsov flies to space to help his best friend, who was trapped in the closed sector of the craft. As soon as he managed to do that- new troubles start -the meteorite wind hits the craft and they have no ability to go back. They have only 12 hours. Then their teacher decides to help his students and saves their lives in space. Very serious and unusual look at the space explorations and true to life situations, not that sci fi. Far more like space necro realism. The score by master of Russian electronic music Edward Artemeyev is perfect, especially in the end of the film it becomes really symphonic dark space ambient. Very rare to find exclusive flick.”

The artwork on this Czech poster is by the late designer Zdeněk Vlach who was born in 1942 in Prague and studied at the School of Art there before working on film posters, commercial art and illustration. He won two awards for his film posters. The artist worked on over 200 posters from 1970 to 1989, which included designs for the likes of Excalibur (1984), Mona Lisa (1988) and Blue Velvet (1986). The website Terry Posters features an extensive gallery of his work. The artist sadly passed away in 1999 at the age of 58.

Prometheus / screen print / regular / Martin Ansin / USA

16.09.16

Poster Poster

It’s fair to say that the film that would become Prometheus was long in gestation and expectations were set impossibly high before its release. Originally developed as the fifth entry in the Alien franchise, Ridley Scott and James Cameron (directors of the original film and its sequel) began developing a story after Scott expressed an interest in returning to the universe he brought to life. His intention was to make the film a prequel and focus on the so-called ‘space jockey’ creature that was seen briefly in the derelict space ship during the first part of the original film. Unfortunately the studio (Fox) decided to instead concentrate on the ill-fated Alien vs Predator (2004) and Cameron stepped away from the sequel project.

In 2009 the idea of a reboot of the Alien series was mooted and this quickly morphed into the previously conceived prequel to the first film. Screenwriter Jon Spaihts delivered a first version of the script and after several stop-starts the project was eventually green-lit. Before filming commenced, however, Damon Lindelof was hired to retool the script to suit Fox’s intention to make it less of a sci-fi horror and more something that would appeal to a wider audience. Once filming began there began a strange period where Scott and others played down all links to the original film and made efforts to sell it as the start of a ‘new, grand mythology’. Unfortunately this tactic wasn’t entirely successful and many audience members went into the cinema expecting to watch something close to Scott’s original film.

The film is set in the late 21st Century and follows a group of scientists on a mission to a distant moon after following clues discovered around Earth. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) believe that they have been invited to meet humanity’s forerunners and their mission is funded by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), the billionaire CEO of the Weyland Corporation. The titular ship sets off to LV-223 with the crew in stasis whilst an Android named David (Michael Fassbender) tends to the ship. When they eventually reach the moon, the expedition team, led by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) sets off to investigate a mysterious structure on the surface. Things don’t exactly go to plan from here on in and members of the crew are killed by a snake-like creature that spits acid and a black fluid that infects its host and causes them to behave aggressively. After some of the team discover a chamber with a number of the deceased space-jockey figures from Alien, it soon becomes clear that David is working under different orders than the rest of the crew. Things get increasingly ridiculous following this point and the film ends with one of the more preposterous sci-fi scenes of the last few years.

Prometheus made over $400m at the worldwide box-office and received mostly favourable reviews from professional critics, but its reputation amongst general audiences wasn’t exactly stellar. I recall reading many disappointed comments from people who’d expected something more from a film set in the Alien universe, especially one so long in gestation. One of the biggest criticisms was aimed at the plot holes that the film has, along with several moments of laughable dialogue and clunky character choices that don’t make much sense. It’s fair to say that the rewrites and stop-start nature of the project had a profound impact on the final film and undoubtedly created a lot of the issues it has. I personally don’t mind the film too much and feel it has several things going for it, including superb production design, almost flawless special effects and a great score. A sequel is on the way in 2017 and it’ll be interesting to see if Scott has listened to the critics of this film. Already, from reading early reports and viewing on-set photos, it’s clear that he intends to bring the story towards the feel of the first film.

 

This screen print by the Uruguayan artist Martin Ansin was released by the incomparable Mondo, the Austin-based purveyors of limited edition posters and film merchandise. The print was one of several created by Martin Ansin for a joint show with fellow artist Kevin Tong held at the Mondo Austin gallery during March 2014. Ansin also worked on a print for the original 1979 Alien and other films covered by the pair included James Cameron’s sequel Aliens and Flash Gordon. Badass Digest (now Birth Movies Death) went to the show and interviewed Ansin and Tong, which can be read here and Collider.com ran an article featuring loads of images from the show. There was a variant of this print available that was printed with a gold colour scheme, also with metallic inks.

Survival Run / B1 / Japan

11.07.11

Poster Poster

Released as Damnation Alley in the USA, this dystopian sci-fi adventure (set after the nuclear destruction of World War 3) pretty much disappeared at the box office, but later gained something of a cult status. It’s interesting to note that the studio, 20th Century Fox, were making two sci-fi films in 1977 and saw this as their big hope for a box-office blockbuster. The studio suits didn’t have much faith in the other project, a little film called Star Wars…

The film features a couple of infamous scenes with mutated creatures, including ‘giant’ scorpions (terribly composited using the blue screen process) and killer cockroaches. It also featured an interesting vehicle known as The Landmaster.

In some cinemas the film was shown with something called Sound 360. From IMDb:

20th Century-Fox developed a rival to Universal’s gimmicky ‘Sensurround’ sound process (popularized in the theatrical release of Earthquake (1974)) that was only used for the theatrical release of “Damnation Alley” called Sound 360. This process was basically a variation of Magnetic-Optical Stereo sound. This technical advancement/gimmick in sound did not last past “Damnation Alley” although it was planned for Walter Hill‘s The Driver (1978) and Damien: Omen II (1978). If you look at the one sheet of “Damnation Alley” the “Sound 360” declaration and logo are prominent at the bottom.

This one sheet by one of my favourite Japanese artists, Seito, is practically identical to one of the American one sheets that can be seen on IMPAwards (credited to artist Paul Lehr).

The film was recently released on blu-ray (in the correct aspect ratio) and a trailer for that can be watched here.

 

Dreamscape / one sheet / USA

28.02.12

Poster Poster
Title
Dreamscape
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Joseph Ruben
Starring
Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw, David Patrick Kelly, George Wendt, Larry Gelman
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw, David Patrick Kelly, George Wendt, Larry Gelman,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
840071
Tagline
Enter a world beyond your wildest imagination where anything can happen | Close your eyes and the adventure begins

Drew Struzan artwork on this poster for the 1984 sci-fi thriller Dreamscape, starring a young and fresh-faced Dennis Quaid, alongside the lovely Kate Capshaw. It also features veteran actors Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow who were, coincidentally, up against each other for the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ prize at the 2012 Academy Awards. Plummer went on to win for the first time in his long career.

Quaid plays psychic Alex Gardner who has been using his skills for personal gain after disappearing from a research project run by Dr. Paul Novotny (Von Sydow). Novotny tracks down Alex and coaxes him into joining his new experiment, which sees psychics’ abilities being used to infiltrate the dreams and nightmares of others. Whilst inside the dreams the psychics are able to influence events with the intention of ridding them of any sleep disorders they’re suffering. Although intended for benevolent purposes, a shadowy government agent (Plummer) clearly has other plans and an ally in the form of deranged psychic (David Patrick Kelly). It’s not long before the life of the President of the USA is in danger and only Alex can save him.

If the idea of infiltrating dreams sounds familiar it’s probably because Christopher Nolan’s 2010 sci-fi masterpiece, Inception, uses a similar conceipt of dream infiltration, although for different purposes and without the use of psychic powers. Despite some notably dodgy effects, Dreamscape is a fun watch and is definitely one of Quaid’s better lead roles. David Patrick Kelly plays a typically excellent bad guy and this was one of several memorable roles for him during the 1980s.

Some of the dreams situations are pretty creepy and well executed, particularly those involving the apocalyptic visions of the President.

Struzan’s artwork features several images taken from dream sequences as well as a couple of the ‘real world’ action scenes in the film. My only criticism of it is that it does make the film look like something of an action-adventure, which is definitely not the case, and the kid depicted as one of the main characters only features for a few brief minutes.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Star Wars / quad / Oscars version / UK

12.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Oscars version
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977 (this version printed 1978)
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
May the force be with you

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market on the quad, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for this style C one sheet, as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

This particular style of the poster is known as the ‘Oscars version’, so called because it was printed once the film had won a handful of Academy Awards a few months after the original UK release. Whilst it would be nice to have the non-Oscar version I’m certainly not complaining, especially since this one is rolled and in fantastic condition.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and poster historian Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but his classic designs have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

Star Wars / quad / UK

25.11.14

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
First printing
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
May the force be with you

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for a style C one sheet as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

This particular style of the poster is the first printing of the poster for the initial 1977 release in cinemas and this can be distinguished from the later printing known as the ‘Oscars version’, so called because it was printed once the film had won a handful of Academy Awards a few months after the original UK release. The ongoing success and phenomenon of the film meant that many more copies of the second version were printed as it was shown around the UK. The Oscars version is also in the Film on Paper collection and can be viewed here.

During the time I spent with Shirley we browsed through several boxes of the plentiful material she has kept from the days that Tom was working on film posters. I was amazed to see that he had retained the original invoice that he had sent to 20th Century Fox (Star Wars’ UK distributors) and some letters from Fox relating to the invoice, which confirmed that he had been paid the sum of £1000 for his original work on the art. These can be viewed by accessing picture thumbnails 28 and 29.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and my friend, and author of the must own British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but Tom Chantrell’s classic artworks have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

Star Wars / one sheet / style C / international

16.09.15

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style C
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market on the quad, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for this style C one sheet, as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

Note that the style C one sheet was originally printed for use in international territories, meaning it was printed in the US for use in other English-speaking countries. Note that it’s lacking the MPAA ratings box (PG). There were a handful of style Cs that were printed with a ratings box which were used for limited US screenings, but these are harder to find than this international version. Another thing to note is that this poster was bootlegged towards the end of the 1980s and there are thought to be thousands of copies out there. Unlike typical fake one sheets, the bootlegs are full size at around 27″ x 41″ but there are ways to differentiate them. The colours on the fake are not as vibrant and there are two hairs that were likely caught in the printing presses when the fakes were being run off (one on Leia’s gown and one on R2D2’s foot). This video goes into detail about what to look for and Cinemasterpieces.com has a detailed section on the poster here. Moviepostercollectors.guide also has a page on what to look out for.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and my friend, and author of the must own British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but Tom Chantrell’s classic artworks have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

To see the other posters I have in the collection that were painted by Chantrell click here.

At the Earth’s Core / quad / style B / UK

08.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
At the Earth's Core
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Kevin Connor
Starring
Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, Cy Grant, Godfrey James, Sean Lynch, Keith Barron, Helen Gill, Anthony Verner
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, Cy Grant, Godfrey James, Sean Lynch, Keith Barron, Helen Gill, Anthony Verner,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 38 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
From the creator of 'The Land That Time Forgot'

At the Earth’s Core was the first entry in a series of British sci-fi/fantasy b-movies that were directed by Kevin Connor and starred the prolific American actor Doug McClure, known for his hammy leading man performances (McClure was one of the inspirations for The Simpsons’Troy ‘You may remember me from…’ McClure). The series began with The Land That Time Forgot (1975), was followed by The People That Time Forgot (1977) and ended with Warlords of Atlantis (1978). The initial three were shepherded through production by Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky’s Amicus Productions, which was based at Shepperton studios and is perhaps best remembered for its series of portmanteau horror films. By the time Warlords of Atlantis was released the company was almost defunct and so EMI Films stepped in and produced it, utilising many of the same cast and crew as the previous films.

Like the first three films in the series, At the Earth’s Core is based on a novel by the American author Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and prolific creator of adventure and sci-fi tales. First published in 1914, the story introduced the author’s creation of Pellucidar, which is the idea that Earth is a hollow shell with another land 500 miles beneath the crust. Pellucidar featured in a number of other Burroughs stories and Tarzan even visited it in a 1929 story.

Set in Victorian Britain, the film features McClure playing David Innes, an American financier working with scientist Dr. Abner Perry (Peter Cushing) who has built a giant drilling machine nicknamed the Iron Mole. The idea of the machine is to make the creation of tunnels much easier and the pair have decided to first test it on a Welsh mountain. After launch, the Mole takes an unexpected turn and they find themselves in a strange land with a pink sky and giant unidentified fauna. Suddenly they are attacked by a giant dinosaur-like creature with a beak-like face, but are eventually rescued by an aggressive group of pig-faced cavemen who add them to a gang of primitive humans they have enslaved, including Dia (the stunning Caroline Munro). Soon they are taken to a city ruled over by the evil, pterodactyl-like creatures called The Mahar who, they are horrified to discover, eat human sacrifices. It’s up to David to find a way of escaping from their enslavement and put an end to the Mahar’s reign of terror.

The film has aged pretty badly, not least in the area of the special effects with the creatures looking particularly hokey. The production team decided not to use the stop-motion style of the previous film and instead went for stuntmen in suits for most of the creatures. It’s safe to say that, whilst it may have wowed audiences of the time, it now looks extremely hokey. The production design is otherwise excellent, with some superb sets and lots of effort put into props like the Iron Mole. McClure is his usual ebullient self and Cushing gives it plenty of gusto, although the strange high-pitched voice he affects gets very grating after a while. The score by Michael Vickers is notably decent.

The brilliant artwork on this quad, featuring a similarly chunky title treatment as seen on the quad for the first film in the series, is by Tom Chantrell, the celebrated British artist whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a number of other designs by him on this site.

Note that there are two styles of the UK quad and I’ve called this one style 2. The more common style 1 (see this picture) is fairly similar but features a bit more artwork at the bottom of the poster. Note the extra vegetation on style 1 and the alternate placement of the credits block, with style 2’s covering over part of the fire-breathing frog. I’m not sure why there are two versions of the poster and the answer is sadly likely to be lost to time, with Chantrell having passed away in 2001. This poster is also undersized widthways but I don’t believe it has been trimmed.

Spaced Invaders / quad / teaser / UK

22.05.17

Poster Poster
Title
Spaced Invaders
AKA
--
Year of Film
1990
Director
Patrick Read Johnson
Starring
Douglas Barr, Royal Dano, Ariana Richards, J.J. Anderson, Gregg Berger, Wayne Alexander, Fred Applegate, Patrika Darbo, Tonya Williams
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Douglas Barr, Royal Dano, Ariana Richards, J.J. Anderson, Gregg Berger, Wayne Alexander, Fred Applegate, Patrika Darbo, Tonya Williams,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Crash landing here soon

Colourful artwork by the artist Renato Casaro features on this UK quad for the release of the 1990 sci-fi comedy Spaced Invaders. It was one of a number of kid-friendly sci-fi films made in the wake of the release of Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, such as ‘Flight of the Navigator’ and ‘Mac and Me’. The film was the directorial debut of Patrick Read Johnson who would later direct Baby’s Day Out (1994) and Angus (1995), as well as provide the story for the Sean Connery-starring fantasy Dragonheart.

The wafer thin plot sees a spaceship full of diminutive Martians, who all inexplicably speak English in a variety of ‘hilarious’ accents and dress like characters from distinct human tropes (nerd, jock, fighter pilot), mistakenly head to earth after they intercept a small-town radio station’s transmission of Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds radio play. After they crash land in a barn the bumbling crew declare their intention to be the advance attack party of the Martian fleet. Unfortunately they’ve timed their attack with Halloween and are instantly mistaken for children in trick or treat costumes.

Despite their attempts to be taken seriously, they fail to intimidate the local populace. Two children, Kathy (Ariana Richards of Jurassic Park fame) and Brian (J.J. Anderson) realise that they really are Martian invaders. After initially attempting to expose them to the other townspeople, the pair soon realise the Martians need help to escape from the commands of the enforcer droid that traveled to Earth with them. The film just about hangs together but the genuine laughs are few and far between and the ‘wacky’ Martians quickly begin to grate. The special effects and production design are at least decent enough for the time, but it’s a largely forgettable affair.

One of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro is an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

Note that Casaro’s signature is just visible under the ‘A’ of Spaced – only the R of ‘R. Casaro’ can be seen.

Innerspace / B1 / Poland

07.10.15

Poster Poster

This is the Polish B1 poster for the release (in 1989) of Joe Dante’s 1987 sci-fi comedy Innerspace, in which Dennis Quaid plays the brilliantly named Tuck Pendleton, a loudmouth test pilot who is shrunken to miniature size as part of an experiment and then accidentally injected into the body of hypochondriac Jack Putter (Martin Short) during a robbery at a science lab. Madcap high-jinks ensue and the films nods heavily in the direction of the classic sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage. The film is definitely one of the high points in the myriad of high-concept films of the 1980s and I rate it as one of Joe Dante’s best films.

This poster was designed and illustrated by Andrzej Pagowski, a prolific film poster artist who was born in Warsaw in 1953 and studied at the celebrated University of Fine Arts in Poznań, graduating in 1978 under the tutorship of the noted artist Waldemar Świerzy. In 1990 he started his own graphic design studio called Studio P, which he developed into an advertising agency by 1993. According to the biography on his official site, Pagowski has illustrated over 1000 posters during his career and has also done work for books, magazines and music covers. In addition, he is also a TV and theatre stage designer and a screen writer. Undoubtedly a man of many talents! His official site features an extensive gallery of his work, including several of the posters. Polishposter.com also features multiple pages worth of his movie posters and this culture.pl article is well worth a read too.

Alien / ‘You are my lucky star’ / screen print / variant / Mark Englert / USA

12.01.17

Poster Poster
Title
Alien
AKA
Star Beast (USA - working title) | Alien - Den 8. passager (Denmark)
Year of Film
1979
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Variant
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2012
Designer
Mark Englert
Artist
Mark Englert
Size (inches)
12" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi horror Alien may be over 35 years old but its impact on cinema and pop culture is still being felt today. The film featured a breakout performance by Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, a member of a deep space mining crew who respond to a distress signal on an unexplored planet and end up fighting for their lives when a malevolent alien creature is brought back onto their ship The Nostromo. Despite countless imitators over the years no one has yet managed to better the original and Scott himself even tried (and fell short IMO) with 2012’s prequel Prometheus.

An excellent but markedly different sequel would follow with 1986s Aliens and I have a hard time choosing between the two when it comes to my personal favourite. Two other significantly less well-received sequels followed in the next 11 years but they did nothing to dampen enthusiasm for the original. British games developers The Creative Assembly were given full access to the 20th Century Fox archives for the film whilst they were creating Alien Isolation, a critically acclaimed first-person survival horror set 15 years after events in the original film and released in 2014.

 

This screen print by the American artist Mark Englert was created for the 2012 San Diego Comic Con and was sold at the Gallery 1988 stall. Englert, whose official website is here, first appeared on collectors’ radars with his print for The Thing that was released earlier in 2012. Since then he has worked on a number of landscape format prints (typically 12″ x 36″) featuring scenes from cult films and TV shows. One of his most popular releases was one for The Walking Dead that was released around the same time as this Alien print. Each print is given a name that relates to the property in some way. In this case ‘You are my lucky star’ is the name of the song that Ellen Ripley (Weaver) sings as she’s climbing into the space suit at the end of Alien.

Check out this interview with Englert on Collider.com which was carried out at the same Comic Con and they also featured him in their first ever ‘Limited Paper’ column. Englert’s own site features the posters and other items he’s worked on so far, which includes vinyl sleeves and more. There’s a short biography on his website which mentions he was born in 1979. There’s an excellent interview with Mark on 411posters.com here.

He has a store here and you can follow him on Twitter here.

The Man Who Fell to Earth / quad / UK

18.08.11

Poster Poster

An absolutely superb design by British artist Vic Fair for Nic Roeg’s seminal sci-fi film The Man Who Fell to Earth. The typography alone is a thing of beauty, particularly that of the main title – I’m not sure who designed it but it’s an undoubted classic. The rock band Iron Maiden later used it for their own band logo.

This is perhaps the best known of Vic Fair’s designs, though he is responsible for many other great posters from the sixties, seventies and eighties, including several for Hammer Horror, Lisztomania and quads for the infamous ‘Confessions…’ series of films. I plan to post another of his best designs in the next few weeks.

This poster is featured in Sim Branaghan’s superb ‘British Film Posters: An Illustrated History’ and he notes:

Probably the best known of Fair’s posters, and the only one regularly credited to him, since he liked it so much at the time he actually signed it.

I personally think this is David Bowie’s finest starring role and no one else could have portrayed the oddity that is Thomas Newton quite as well as him. It’s not my favourite of Nic Roeg’s films though (that would be Don’t Look Now).

The brilliantly nuts original US trailer can be seen on YouTube.

 

Predator / original artwork / Thailand

28.09.16

Poster Poster
Title
Predator
AKA
O Predador (Brazil / Portugal)
Year of Film
1987
Director
John McTiernan
Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Kevin Peter Hall, Shane Black, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Kevin Peter Hall, Shane Black, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves,
Type of Poster
Original artwork
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
2016
Designer
Tongdee Panumas
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
28 5/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Earlier this year I commissioned (through a mutual friend) the legendary Thai artist Tongdee to reimagine a poster for one of my favourite films, Predator (1987). The film was released in Thailand at a time when the use of painted artwork was being phased out and the original Thai poster is a photographic design that was based on the US one sheet. I’m a huge fan of Thai film poster artwork because of the typically lurid use of colours and lack of censoring, which led to some incredible posters like Tongdee’s Apocalypse Now and the one for Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond.

Because the original photographic poster was comparatively disappointing, I was excited to see what Tongdee would create. I gave him free reign with the exception of a couple of things I was keen to see (the iconic thermal-vision being one) and after a few weeks was sent a sketch with his idea for the layout. After requesting a couple of very minor tweaks I gave the go ahead and Tongdee began working on the actual painting. Last week I received the finished article and I’m very happy with the result. I love the layout and the use of colours, including the incorporation of the thermal-vision Predator hand. I also love the artistic licence he took on a few elements (I’ll let you figure out what I’m talking about) which was typical of his paintings from the original period of him working on film posters.

The painting is just over American one sheet size and I plan to get it framed as soon as possible. I’ve tried to take as many pictures as possible so you can see the details, and you’ll be able to see the grain from the canvas onto which Tongdee painted. I’ve also included three pictures that I was sent showing the painting with Tongdee in his studio. There’s also one photo (fourth from last) which shows the painting as it was sent to me, having been removed from the wooden frame over which it was stretched for painting.

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) was incredibly prolific during the 70s, 80s and 90s and, although he no longer paints official film posters for Thai distributors he is still painting for other clients. I’ve been unable to find out much about him from a biographical point of view other than that he was born in 1947. My hope is to someday travel to Thailand to meet and interview him.

One of the best films of the 1980s and certainly one of the Austrian Oak‘s finest roles, Predator is a film I’ve seen more times than I care to remember. Directed by John McTiernan, who would go on to helm Die Hard the following year (arguably the greatest action movie ever made), the film is an excellent mix of gung-ho action and sci-fi horror with a truly iconic monster that has gone on to appear in several (not so great) sequels and spin-offs.

The story sees Schwarzenegger’s team of single-monikered, rough-neck commandos dropped into a dangerous South-American jungle ostensibly on a rescue mission. When they discover a series of butchered and skinned corpses it soon becomes clear that they’re dealing with more than just a bunch of gun-toting guerrillas and someone, or something, is following them through the jungle. The film features several memorable characters, including Native American Sonny Landham‘s Billy, a man-mountain with much-needed tracking skills and the first one to realise they’re not alone, and Bill Duke‘s Mac who memorably leads the charge with a mini-gun when one of his comrades is killed. Like many of Schwarzenegger’s films, Predator is eminently quotable and features countless memorable lines spoken by several of the characters – ‘If it bleeds, we can kill it!’

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

 

Dark Star / special / 1979 re-release / USA

04.08.14

Poster Poster
Title
Dark Star
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Dan O'Bannon, Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Dre Pahich
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dan O'Bannon, Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Dre Pahich,
Type of Poster
Special
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
David Weisman
Artist
Lucky Duck
Size (inches)
22 11/16" x 35 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The ultimate cosmic comedy!

This is a special poster that was printed for the 1979 re-release of ace director John Carpenter‘s first film, Dark Star. The sci-fi comedy was made over a period of several years whilst Carpenter was a student at the famous USC School of Cinematic Arts in California, which counts hundreds of well known directors, producers and screenwriters amongst its alumni. Made in collaboration with his friend and fellow student Dan O’Bannon, the shoestring budget (reportedly just $60,000) meant that the pair were multitasking throughout the shoot, with Carpenter co-writing the screenplay, directing, producing and writing the score, whilst O’Bannon shared the screenwriting duties as well as acting and working on the special effects.

The film follows the exploits of the spaceship Dark Star, an exploratory vessel traveling through space looking for unstable planets to blow up with giant bombs, clearing the way for space colonisation. The small crew has to deal with malfunctioning equipment (including the fact that their last supply of toilet paper was destroyed), a mischievous mascot alien, and a sentient bomb that must be persuaded not to destroy the ship by giving it a rudimentary lesson in phenomenology. As depicted on this poster the crew are also keeping the dead body of their captain in freezer storage and are able to speak directly with his conscious. The film is often credited as the first sci-fi to explore the mundanity of working in space.

After playing successfully in a series of short film festivals, the film was seen by the producer Jack H. Harris who was known for launching the careers of fledgling filmmakers, including John Landis whose first feature Schlock was shepherded onto the screen by the producer. Carpenter and O’Bannon were given budget to expand the short into a feature, and several new sequences were added before its eventual release in 1974. The film opened on a significant number of screens considering its origins but left audiences confused, particularly since it came out of nowhere with a brief marketing campaign that made the film seem like a dark and serious sci-fi. Despite being a box-office flop, the film would later gain a great cult following once it was released onto VHS in the 1980s.

Dan O’Bannon went on to work on the special effects for George Lucas’ Star Wars, as well as further exploring the idea of ‘workers in space’ in his script for Ridley Scott’s Alien. Carpenter would next direct the taught thriller Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), which saw international success and firmly established him as a director, paving the way for his milestone horror film, Halloween (1978).

This re-release poster, which is in stark contrast to the original release US one sheet, is smaller than one sheet size and it’s probably better described as a commercial poster. These are licensed posters that would printed to be sold at cinemas, specialist stores or as a tie-in promotion. In the bottom left there is text mentioning One Stop Posters (Monterey Park) and they were a notable supplier of commercial posters back in the 1970s and 80s. The design is credited to someone called David Weisman and the illustration to Lucky Duck and I’ve struggled to find out any information about either of them. If you have any more details please get in touch.

Star Wars / one sheet / style D / studio version / USA

23.07.14

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style D - studio version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Charles White III | Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

This is the excellent ‘style D’ poster for the original sci-fi classic Star Wars, which was printed for the 1978 re-release of the film in the US. The artwork, which only appears on this US one sheet, was a collaboration between two talents; Charles White III who was at the time an established and well regarded artist well known for his skills with an airbrush, and Drew Struzan who was early in his film poster painting career and yet to paint the iconic images for which he is famous for today. This is Struzan’s first poster for the Star Wars franchise and he would later go on to be one of Lucasfilm’s most trusted artists, painting several other posters and related images for the Star Wars universe over the following 35 years.

In an interview with Airbrush Magazine in August 1999, Struzan said:

‘I will never fail to give credit to Charlie White for what he did for me. It may have been a small thing to him, but a life changer for me. He is an extraordinary artist famed for his airbrush work. He had the desirable assignment to do the one-sheet poster for the re-release of Star Wars in 1978. He is marvellous at painting objects, but was hesitant to paint portraits for the poster. Somehow, he asked me to paint the portraits while he would paint the droids and the like…Only an extraordinary individual does anything so generous and unselfish. It is the individual who deserves the honor. I have no doubt that there was a desire on Charlie’s part to do the best job possible on the Star Wars project…It was to his advantage to use the best talent he could find. He also gave the lettering to a great letterer. It made for an outstanding poster. All of us who worked on it have been proud ever since to have had the opportunity. It remains a perennial favorite, even among Hollywood executives.’

The style D page on TheForce.net notes that this is said to be George Lucas’ favourite Star Wars poster and the original artwork apparently hangs on the wall in his house. It is often described as being a ‘circus’ style poster as the main image has been illustrated to appear that it’s sitting on a wooden board with other older, torn paper surrounding it.

In another interview with Struzan carried out by Cinefantastique in 1997, the artist recalls how the design came about:

‘The novel idea of making the poster appear as if it were pasted on a wall came about almost by accident. “We had already done the lettering of the title, painting it in as part of the poster,” recalled Struzan. “Then, when we got the billing, we discovered there wasn’t enough room for all the credits, so we had to figure out a way to make more space. We thought, ‘Why don’t we take what we already have and paint it to look like it’s wild posted on top of other posters?’ That gave us the extra room we needed for the billing at the bottom. It was a case of Necessity being the Mother of Invention.” …”We had to do other art to fill it out, so we had a chance to include more characters. We added Han Solo in a little vignetted circle, and Alec Guinness was an afterthought. It kind of grew to include everybody.”‘

Note that this is the ‘studio’ version of the one sheet and there is also the National Screen Service (NSS) version which has all of the associated markings on the bottom edge of the poster. The studio style was printed by the studio itself, whilst the NSS version would have been produced at one of their own printing offices. There were also two official reprints done around the time of the film’s 15th anniversary but they are pretty easy to spot since they are undersized and feature several new lines of text (copyright and so on). Moviepostercollectors.com features a page on the poster that’s well worth a read.

Drew Struzan barely needs an introduction to film fans worldwide but he also has an official website featuring galleries of his work. To see the other posters I’ve collected by Struzan click here.

The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue / one sheet / USA

25.08.16

Poster Poster

The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue is a sci-fi themed adult film that was directed by the late Gerard Damiano, one of the key figures in the so-called Golden Age of Porn. The name was given retrospectively to a fifteen year period between 1969 and 1984 in which adult films were given positive attention by the general public, mainstream cinemas and film critics. Damiano wrote and directed the legendary adult film Deep Throat (1972) and The Devil in Miss Jones, which was one of the top-grossing films of 1973 (in all categories, not just adult films).

This film stars two male actors who were also key figures in the industry; Robert Kerman (AKA R Bolla) and Herschel Savage. Kerman introduced Savage to the industry in 1976 and he would go on to star in over 160 adult titles, including the 1978 classic Debbie Does Dallas. Lysa Thatcher, another prominent character during the golden period also appears.

The plot is described thusly on Wikipedia:

In a futuristic society called ‘Alpha Blue’, sexual needs are fulfilled by a computer. Griffin (Savage) is happy with this state of affairs and spends his time with prostitutes, but Algon (Robert Kerman) longs for the good old days of love and romance. He falls in love with Satisfier 805, Diana (Thatcher).

The artwork on this one sheet is fairly innocent, particularly in comparison to some of the posters for other adult films of the period. I’ve been unable to discover the identity of the artist so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Blade Runner / quad / UK

28.11.11

Poster Poster
Title
Blade Runner
AKA
Blade Runner - Metropolis 2020 (Finland)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah
Origin of Film
USA | Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Jouineau Bourduge
Artist
Jouineau Bourduge
Size (inches)
29 14/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A chilling, bold, mesmerizing, futuristic detective thriller.

Ridley Scott‘s seminal sci-fi classic needs no introduction and is on many people’s ‘top 10 films of all-time’ list, including my own.

This British quad is based on the French poster credited to Jouineau Bourduge which is the combined surnames of two French poster designers/artists (both with the first name Guy) who were responsible for many classic posters from 1960s through to the 1980s. MoviePostersGallery.com has a gallery of posters by him, as does cinemaffiche.com. I’ve been unable to find anything in the way of a biography online so please get in touch if you have more information.

I’ve always found it interesting that Deckard (Harrison Ford) is given a very stylistic representation on the poster whilst the other two characters are displayed using photographs. It’s also slightly bizarre that the studio decided to promote a tie-in to win a Volkswagen Polo – talk about a mismatch of content and product!

One interesting thing to note is that the book tie-in shown in the bottom right corner features artwork by Drew Struzan. The design was proposed for the American one sheet but the production team ultimately went with John Alvin’s illustration instead. Drew would later be asked to design the poster for the release of the final cut in 2007.

The other Blade Runner posters I have collected can be seen here.

Blade Runner / one sheet / studio version / USA

15.09.14

Poster Poster
Title
Blade Runner
AKA
Blade Runner - Metropolis 2020 (Finland)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah
Origin of Film
USA | Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Studio version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Intralink Film Graphic Design
Artist
John Alvin
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
820007
Tagline
Man Has Made His Match... Now It's His Problem

One of my top five films of all time, Blade Runner was released with easily one of the most iconic sci-fi one sheets ever printed. The design and artwork is by the late, great John Alvin, a man responsible for several of the most memorable film posters of the past 40 years. This is perhaps his most well known piece since it featured on posters across the globe, was reused for the 1992 Director’s cut release and has been on the cover of home video releases for many years.

In August 2014 a book entitled The Art of John Alvin was released after four years of preparation by his wife and studio partner Andrea. An absolute must-own for any fan of film posters and the art of cinema, the book features almost all of John’s most memorable posters which are each given their own section. As well as images of the printed poster, there are also early sketches, painted concepts and pictures of the original artwork itself, plus Andrea has provided fascinating commentary detailing the creation of each piece.

Blade Runner is given six pages and the section features a look at the original graphite sketches done by Alvin to show to Ridley Scott and the studio’s marketing department. Elements of these were then combined to create the painting we know today. Andrea notes that the posters for the film were originally conceived to focus on the relationship with the characters and the futuristic city, but by the time of release Harrison Ford was a global star so Alvin was asked to make him more prominent in the artwork.

John apparently always regretted not featuring Rutger Hauer’s android Roy Batty so when he was asked to revisit the design for a 25th anniversary print he reworked several elements, including the two portraits of Harrison Ford and Sean Young and added the face of Roy Batty looming large over them. The print was called ‘I’ve Seen Things’ by John and can be viewed here.

There are known reprints of this poster and this particular version is one of three known variants. LAMP has a guide to all three here. To summarise:

Variation 1 – NSS Version
This version has NOTHING in the bottom left corner; Litho in U.S.A. (AND) the NSS tag in the center; BLADE RUNNER 820007 in the bottom right

Variation 2 – Studio Version
This variation has “PRINTED IN U.S.A.” in the bottom left corner; NOTHING in the center; and “NSS 820007” in the bottom right.

Variation 3 – Odd NSS Version
In the bottom left corner has “PRINTED IN U.S.A.”; in the center ‘IN SMALLER PRINT’ has “LITHO IN U.S.A.” (AND) the NSS tag; In the bottom right has “BLADE RUNNER NSS 820007” in ‘UNEVEN’ print.

This is the second variation (studio version) but I also have the ‘Odd NSS Version’, which can be viewed here. A dealer in London once told me he believes all NSS versions of this poster are reprints/restrikes. If this is the case then the poster has fooled both respected dealers and collectors alike.

eXistenZ / B2 / Japan

01.03.12

Poster Poster

David Cronenberg‘s 1999 sci-fi thriller eXistenZ is not one of the director’s best, in my opinion, but it does contain typically excellent future-thinking concepts and his trademark body horror. The film is set in the near future and is focused on the idea of virtual reality gaming, far in advance of the ridiculous headgear and black plastic stands that briefly appeared in gaming arcades towards the end of the 1980s.

Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a revered game designer called Allegra Geller who is forced to flee an exhibition of her latest product when an assassin attempts to kill her using a bizarre organic gun that fires human teeth. Ted Pikul (Jude Law) works for the games company and is instructed to accompany Allegra as she escapes with her damaged product. The software is stored on a living organic pod and a connection between players is made by plugging into the system via a ‘bioport’ at the bottom of the spine (hello creepy body invasion!). Allegra and Ted must start a new game in order to determine how badly damaged the pod is and it’s not long before the line between reality and the game world blurs completely. Who is responsible for the failed assassination attempt and who can Allegra trust to save the game, and ultimately her life?

The ideas that Cronenberg explores are unquestionably interesting but the low budget nature of the film doesn’t always support them very well, particularly when it comes to the sets and environments, which are mostly all drab and uninteresting. Jude Law and Christopher Eccleston both have painfully bad American accents and some of the actors playing minor parts are terrible. You could argue that this is intentional and part of the ‘game world’ but I’m not sure they can be forgiven. The ending is also pretty cliched and frustrating. Some hail the film as a masterpiece but I’m hard-pressed to understand why.

This Japanese poster features a unique image and is significantly more interesting than the drab and misleading US one sheet (lick the light!) or the ugly UK quad. The flesh coloured shapes around the edge are organic and include human hands and other body parts. The little pink lizard in the credit area is featured in the film as a stop-motion creature.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

They Live / Thailand

10.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
They Live
AKA
Invasion Los Angeles (France)
Year of Film
1988
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, Raymond St. Jacques, Peter Jason, Sy Richardson, George 'Buck' Flower
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, Raymond St. Jacques, Peter Jason, Sy Richardson, George 'Buck' Flower,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Tongdee Panumart
Artist
Tongdee Panumart
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 30 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork by Tongdee on this Thai poster for John Carpenter‘s excellent sci-fi film They Live, in which a drifter (played by former wrestler Roddy Piper) finds a set of special sunglasses which reveal that aliens have taken over the earth and are subduing the general population through subliminal messages and signals. The film is famous for being the inspiration behind graphic designer Shephard Fairey‘s famous OBEY street art and clothing label, which is based on the hidden alien slogans only visible when the sunglasses are worn.

The film also features the infamous line “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.”, which can be viewed here. There’s also the legendary fight between Nada (Piper) and Armitage (Keith David) that lasts over five minutes and was apparently proposed and choreographed by the two actors themselves.

Here’s the great original trailer.

Tongdee Panumart (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s but I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947. If anyone has any more information please get in touch. A knowledgeable collector of Thai posters told me that the artists would rarely if ever see the film they were creating the poster for and would instead paint images based on still photos or posters from other countries. This led to some wild designs and even some artwork with characters and elements that didn’t even appear in the actual film!

To see the other John Carpenter posters I have collected click here.

The Terminal Man / 30×40 / USA

21.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Terminal Man
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
Mike Hodges
Starring
George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat, Michael C. Gwynne, William Hansen, Jill Clayburgh, Norman Burton, James Sikking
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat, Michael C. Gwynne, William Hansen, Jill Clayburgh, Norman Burton, James Sikking,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Ken Barr
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
74/2
Tagline
Harry Benson is a brilliant computer scientist. For three minutes a day, he is violently homicidal.

Great artwork by Ken Barr for this 1972 sci-fi film from Mike Hodges, the director of Get Carter and Flash Gordon, based on the Michael Crichton novel of the same name. The Terminal Man wasn’t particularly well received and was never given a UK cinema release. It was only released on DVD in 2009 as a part of the on demand Warner Archive program.

There’s a strange bit of trivia on the Wikipedia page for the film: 

Terrence Malick, the director of Badlands, reportedly has written to Hodges expressing how much he loved watching The Terminal Man.

The original trailer is on YouTube.