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Runaway Train / video / UK

21.11.16

Poster Poster
Title
Runaway Train
AKA
A 30 secondi dalla fine [30 seconds from the end] (Italy)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Andrei Konchalovsky
Starring
Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca De Mornay, Kyle T. Heffner, John P. Ryan, T. K. Carter, Kenneth McMillan, Stacey Pickren, Walter Wyatt, Edward Bunker
Origin of Film
USA | Israel
Genre(s) of Film
Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca De Mornay, Kyle T. Heffner, John P. Ryan, T. K. Carter, Kenneth McMillan, Stacey Pickren, Walter Wyatt, Edward Bunker,
Type of Poster
Video
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
23 13/16" x 33 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the UK video poster for the release of the excellent 1985 action-drama Runaway Train. The film was produced by the notorious schlock-peddlers Cannon Films, which at the time was run by two Israeli cousins, the director Menahem Golan and producer Yoram Globus. It’s often cited as one of the best films that Cannon Films ever produced, which makes sense when you look at their filmography (Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo anyone?).

Rather improbably, the first version of the script was written by celebrated Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and he was planning to direct it himself. When the financial backing fell through the script was shelved. It was later picked up and underwent re-writes to prepare it for the Russian director Andrey Konchalovskiy who was a contemporary of Andrei Tarkovsky (and co-wrote Andrei Rublev with him). Konchalovskiy later went on to helm films such as Tango & Cash for US producers.

The film is set in remote Alaska and begins in a high-security prison. Oscar ‘Manny’ Manheim (a memorable turn from Jon Voight) is a notorious bank robber who hatches an escape plan that involves the help of the skittish Buck McGeehy (Eric Roberts). After smuggling Manny into the laundry room, the pair escape through the sewers and eventually find their way to a railroad. There they jump onboard a slowly moving locomotive and hide in one of the cars. Unbeknownst to them, the train driver suffers a heart attack whilst trying to stop the train and falls off it. The automatic train stop is not engaged and the runaway train begins its journey down the tracks. Also onboard is another railway worker called Sara (Rebecca De Mornay) who realises quickly that they’re in a bad predicament. The rest of the film sees the trio attempting to bring the speeding train to a stop whilst being pursued by the sadistic prison warden Ranken (John P. Ryan) and his men.

Runaway Train was a critical and commercial success in the US and abroad. It was also nominated for several awards – an unusual occurrence for a Cannon film (Jon Voight would win a Golden Globe for Best Actor). This video poster was for the 1986 release on MGM home video in the UK and features a unique design that is, I believe, exclusive to the poster. It’s a mixture of artwork and photograph. The trees, train and elements of the background are painted and Jon Voight’s image has also had some painting applied to it as well, strangely.

Creepers / video / UK

02.04.15

Poster Poster

This is the UK video poster for the release of Italian horror maestro Dario Argento‘s Creepers, which was a heavily cut version (over 30 minutes missing!) of his 1985 film that was released as Phenomena in Italy and elsewhere. The film stars a young Jennifer Connelly as Jennifer Corvino, the daughter of a famous actor, who is sent to study at a Swiss boarding school in an area where a series of grizzly murders have taken place. Jennifer suffers from sleepwalking and also discovers she has the ability to telepathically communicate with insects. Eventually she puts this skill to use for an investigation into the murders, aided by local forensic entomologist John McGregor (Donald Pleasence). The film also stars Argento’s long-time partner Daria Nicolodi as Jennifer’s chaperone Frau Brückner and mother of a boy who has connections to the spate of deaths.

This poster was painted by the renowned British artist Graham Humphreys and we discussed the poster when I interviewed him about his career in 2011. The excerpt is below:

—————

You ended up doing a lot of work for Palace, obviously they were Palace Video at the time and they had a huge catalogue that they were distributing. There’s a great bit of artwork you did for Dario Argento’s Creepers – the psychotic chimp.
Yep, the cheeky chimp. They told me that they had this Dario Argento film and at that time I was quite naive and didn’t know who Argento was, having not seen Suspiria or any of those great films. I had the full uncut VHS copy of Creepers, or Phenomena, and it just blew me away. I thought it was fantastic and thoroughly distasteful, plus Donald Pleasance’s awful accent made it quite funny as well. They said ‘do something, whatever you want’ and I showed them the sketch – I had one idea – and they said ‘yep, this is it. Go for it.’

The blade-wielding chimp was an image that had stuck in your mind from the film?
Yes. They used it for a poster as well, for a limited cinema release of the film. If you were releasing a film on VHS you’d give it more kudos if you could say that it had been released theatrically. It would be a big selling point on the sales sheet if it said ‘released in cinemas’ and all you had to do was show it one screen for a couple of days and that was enough.

Ah, so it might have been that this was actually the first release of Creepers in the UK, direct onto VHS with a quick cinema release?
The VHS was released and for one week only it appeared in one or two cinemas, only in London. Actually, it might have just been the Prince Charles Cinema. The chimp design would have been fly-posted as well.

—————-

Check out the other posters I’ve collected that were designed and illustrated by Graham by clicking here. You can read the Film on Paper exclusive interview with Graham by clicking here.

Graham’s official website can be seen here.

Mountaintop Motel Massacre / one sheet / video / USA

13.04.16

Poster Poster
Title
Mountaintop Motel Massacre
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Jim McCullough Sr.
Starring
Bill Thurman, Anna Chappell, Will Mitchell, Virginia Loridans, Major Brock, James Bradford, Amy Hill, Marian Jones, Gregg Brazzel
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bill Thurman, Anna Chappell, Will Mitchell, Virginia Loridans, Major Brock, James Bradford, Amy Hill, Marian Jones, Gregg Brazzel,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 4/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Please do not disturb Evelyn. She already is.

A no nonsense design graces this one sheet for the release of the 1986 horror film Mountaintop Motel Massacre. The film was co-produced and directed by the late Jim McCullough Sr., with his son Jim McCullough Jr. sharing producing duties as well as writing the script. It was apparently shot in 1983 in Shreveport, Louisiana but was not released across the States until 1986 after Roger Corman’s company New World Pictures picked up the distribution rights. I believe it was released straight to video in most countries, including the UK.

Evelyn (Anna Chappell) has spent three years living in an insane asylum and upon her release returns to the eponymous hotel but not before murdering her own daughter Lorri, who it’s revealed was into the occult and conducting seances. The murder unleashes dark forces and when Evelyn once again reopens the hotel to paying guests no one is safe. One night, during a violent thunderstorm, Evelyn commences a murder spree, making her way from room to room via a hidden underground tunnel.

This is actually the one sheet for the video release of the film (note the text at the bottom) but the poster that was used for its release into cinemas is practically identical as can be seen here (note the alternate logo). It also appears that Jim McCullough Sr. attempted to release the film off his own back prior to 1986, titled as just Mountaintop Motel and the poster for that can be seen here.

Eight Million Ways To Die / video / UK

13.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
Eight Million Ways To Die
AKA
8 Million Ways to Die (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1986
Director
Hal Ashby
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul,
Type of Poster
Video
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Death comes to all except those that deserve it most

This is the UK video poster (note the 18-rating emblem) for the release of Eight Million Ways to Die, a crime drama that was to be the final film by the late Hal Ashby. The director was associated with the American New Wave that started in the 1960s, lasted until the 1980s and saw a younger generation of filmmakers invading tinseltown, forever changing the way films were shot, edited and released. The Wikipedia article on the period gives you a good idea of the kinds of directors that were part of the new wave, which included the likes of Woody Allen, John Cassavetes, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.

Ashby began his career as an editor, with credits including In the Heat of the Night and the original Thomas Crown Affair, but he was encouraged to begin directing in 1970 with The Landlord, a critical success that was largely ignored by audiences at the time. This was quickly followed by Harold and Maude , an offbeat comedy that has a sizeable cult following today. Ashby embraced the hippie lifestyle of the early 1970s and his films featured main characters that were on the edge of ‘normal’ society. His biggest hit would prove to be the 1978 romantic drama Coming Home that was set against the backdrop of the Vietnam war, and would see him garnering a Best Director nomination at the Oscars that year, whilst the two main stars, Jon Voight and Jane Fonda, both won the main Best Acting gongs.

Eight Million Ways to Die was based on a book by the prolific American author Lawrence Block whose most famous series of novels focused on the private investigator (and recovering alcoholic) Matthew Scudder. The screenplay was written by Oliver Stone with help from R. Lance Hill and an uncredited Robert Towne. The actor Jeff Bridges was given the part of Scudder (Ashby had previously directed his brother Beau Bridges in The Landlord) and Rosanna Arquette appears as Sarah, a call girl who is central to the story. The film’s plot is described thusly on IMDb:

Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff’s Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his drinking problem and this alcoholism causes him to lose his job, as well as his marriage. During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous, he meets a mysterious stranger who draws him back into a world of vice. In trying to help this beautiful woman, he must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a murder, while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse.

Unfortunately for all concerned the film was a critical and commercial flop and was yet another disappointment for Ashby, who by then had garnered something of a reputation for prolific drug-taking and eccentric behaviour during the post-production of his films. He would never again direct a film, despite efforts to turn things around, and would sadly die of cancer in 1988, aged just 59.

The artwork on this UK video poster is by the British artist Brian Bysouth and the art has been trimmed somewhat for the poster as his truncated signature can be seen towards the bottom right-hand side. Bysouth is one of my favourite poster artists and he was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here.

The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors / quad / video / UK

16.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Chuck Russell
Starring
Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Craig, Wasson, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Craig, Wasson, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Graham Humphreys
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the UK video poster for the third entry in one of the most beloved horror franchises, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (subtitled Dream Warriors). It’s a full-size quad (30″ x 40″) and the only way to tell that it’s a video poster is the ‘Warner Home Video’ logo (they handled the home video release) in the bottom right corner. As you can see on this image from emovieposter.com it’s otherwise identical to the Palace Pictures cinema release quad which has their logo in the bottom right.

The third film, whilst not as great as the original, was nevertheless a significant return to form following the very lacklustre part 2 that had been released a year earlier to reasonable box-office returns but poor critical reception. Both Wes Craven and Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) had been absent from the first sequel but were persuaded to return for Part 3, with Wes providing drafts of the screenplay and being instrumental in getting Langenkamp onboard. The story went through several iterations with Wes and Bruce Wagner both writing a series of initial drafts and then Frank Darabont (of Shawshank Redemption fame) and the film’s director Chuck Russell completing the screenplay.

Part of the film’s success is that they return to what made the original much scarier than part 2, which is the concept of the evil Freddy Krueger only having his power in the dreams of the kids he’s attacking. This is what made the first film so effective and allowed Freddy to be much more inventive with the way he attacks his victims. In part 2 there are several sequences where Freddy is in the ‘real world’ and he simply becomes a standard slasher antagonist, losing his uniqueness as a villain in the process. Aside from one sequence involving a Ray Harryhausen-esque skeleton, all of the Freddy scenes take place in the dream world of his teenage victims.

The concept for the third one, hinted at with the film’s subtitle, is that the characters are able to enter each other’s dreams in order to try and defeat Freddy. Patricia Arquette (in her film debut) plays Kirsten Walker, a teenager who has been suffering terrible nightmares at the hands of Freddy. After an attack that leaves her wrist slashed, her mother has Kirsten taken to a secure psychiatric hospital and there she meets a number of other teens all suffering from the same nightmares, with the adult carers at a loss to explain it. Dr Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson) is the only one who begins to believe the group and he’s helped when Nancy begins working at the hospital as an intern.

After two of the gang die following a Krueger attack, ruled as suicides by the hospital bosses, Gordon and Nancy realise the key to defeating him is using Kirsten’s gift of being able to bring other people into her own dreams. They also discover that each of the remaining kids has a particular gift when they’re in their dreams. Having multiple characters in one dream allows Chuck Russell and the special effects crew to stage a number of memorable sequences, filled with inventive gore coupled with a much more interesting script for Robert Englund (Freddy) to have fun with. There are a number of moments in the film that are ingrained in my memory from the first time I saw it almost 20 years ago and it’s definitely a fan favourite sequel. The film was a hit at the box-office and ensured Freddy’s return in part 4 only a year later.

The celebrated British designer and artist Graham Humphreys was chosen by Palace to work on the posters for the first five A Nightmare on Elm Street films. This poster for part 3 is notable for being the only one of the five that’s photographic, rather than illustrated, and when I interviewed Graham in 2011 for this site he explained how that came about:

——————

For A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 they went with a photographic image and you designed the poster. Was there a reason they didn’t have an illustration?
No idea at all. They might have been cheap-skating. I think they thought the photographs were quite good from the session they’d had so why not use one of them. I redid the logo and drew the number 3, which took ages!

How easy was it working with photographs at this time, before computers?
Well given a computer this poster would have been so different. I mean I would have used the same photograph but so much more could have been done to make it more sinister and far more exciting. In those days all I could do was play around with the lettering.

Did you actually ask if you could do an illustration or suggest an idea for one?
No, the decision was made that it would be a photo and that was that.

———–——

To see the other posters I’ve collected by Graham click here and read the exclusive interview with the artist here.

The Fly / video / UK

14.08.17

Poster Poster
Title
The Fly
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
David Cronenberg
Starring
Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz,
Type of Poster
Video
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Mahon (pod artwork)
Size (inches)
23 7/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A unique design features on this UK poster for the video release of David Cronenberg‘s sci-fi classic, The Fly. Loosely based on a 1957 short story of the same name by George Langelaan, which was first adapted for the big screen in 1958, the screenplay was written by Cronenberg himself and based on an initial draft by Charles Edward Pogue. The director rewrote most of the characters and dialogue and added themes of identity, sexuality and body horror with which he’d become synonymous.

Cronenberg cast Jeff Goldblum as the gifted but eccentric scientist Seth Brundle who has secretly been working on teleportation of objects from one place to another instantly. He works for Bartok Science Industries but has been working on a pair of ‘telepods’ at his home laboratory. When he’s introduced to the journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) at a ‘meet the press’ event he decides to risk taking her to see his work, which he demonstrates by teleporting inanimate objects. Impressed, Veronica agrees to keep quiet in return for exclusive rights to the story.

Soon afterwards the pair start a romantic relationship as Brundle continues to work on the pods. He decides that he wants to have the pods teleport living tissue and eventually manages to do so successfully with a baboon he’s borrowed from his company. Flushed with success Brundle begins drinking and starts to get paranoid that Veronica has rekindled her relationship with her editor and former lover Stathis Borans John Getz. He decides to try teleporting himself but unbeknownst to him a housefly gets inside the pod with him.

He emerges in the other pod seemingly fine and initially feels he’s come out of the pod an ‘improved’ human with higher strength and stamina. However over the following weeks Brundle’s mood becomes highly erratic and he begins a bodily transformation that starts out with unwanted hairs and fingernails falling out but begins to progress into something much more destructive as he realises his pod had been contaminated. The transformation into ‘Brundlefly’ sees the scientist scrambling for a cure before it’s too late, desperately imploring a pregnant Veronica to help him.

Goldblum’s performance was rightly celebrated and it remains one of his most memorable roles to date. The special effects depicting Brundle’s deterioration were executed by Chris Walas‘ company and ended up rightfully winning an Academy Award. The film is as impressive as it was 30 years ago and is definitely one of Cronenberg’s best.

The close-up image of a fly’s eyes is, I believe, unique to this poster but note that it also features the illustrated telepod that appeared on the US one sheet, which was painted by Richard Mahon. The logo is also the same one seen on the American poster and British quad.

Here’s the film’s original trailer.

Masters Of The Universe / one sheet / video / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Masters Of The Universe
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Gary Goddard
Starring
Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Chelsea Field, Billy Barty, Courteney Cox, Robert Duncan McNeill, Jon Cypher, James Tolkan, Christina Pickles
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Chelsea Field, Billy Barty, Courteney Cox, Robert Duncan McNeill, Jon Cypher, James Tolkan, Christina Pickles,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A Battle Fought In The Stars. Now... Comes To Earth.

The Dark Knight / B2 / home video release / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Dark Knight
AKA
Rory's First Kiss (USA - fake working title)
Year of Film
2008
Director
Christopher Nolan
Starring
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Home video release
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The Video Dead / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Video Dead
AKA
Zombie - Bloody Demons (West Germany)
Year of Film
1987
Director
Robert Scott
Starring
Michael St. Michaels, Thaddeus A. Golas, Al Millan, Roxanna Augesen, Lory-Michael Ringuette, Rocky Duvall
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Michael St. Michaels, Thaddeus A. Golas, Al Millan, Roxanna Augesen, Lory-Michael Ringuette, Rocky Duvall,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Joann Daley
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Look what's buried inside your television.

THX 1138 / special video poster / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
THX 1138
AKA
L'uomo che fuggì dal futuro [The man who's escaping from the future] (Italy)
Year of Film
1971
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie McOmie, Ian Wolfe, Sid Haig
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie McOmie, Ian Wolfe, Sid Haig,
Type of Poster
Special
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Jeff Wack
Size (inches)
19 14/16" x 29 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Rollerball / one sheet / video release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Rollerball
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Norman Jewison
Starring
James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
Unknown
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/20
Tagline
In the not-too-distant future, wars will no longer exist. But there will be Rollerball

UHF / one sheet / style A / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
UHF
AKA
UHF: i video idioti [UHF: The Video Idiots] (Italy)
Year of Film
1989
Director
Jay Levey
Starring
Weird Al Yankovic, David Bowe, Fran Drescher, Victoria Jackson, Kevin McCarthy, Michael Richards, Anthony Geary, Billy Barty, Trinidad Silva
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Weird Al Yankovic, David Bowe, Fran Drescher, Victoria Jackson, Kevin McCarthy, Michael Richards, Anthony Geary, Billy Barty, Trinidad Silva,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
B.D. Fox Independent
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
890050
Tagline
A lot of TV stations have forgotten what "quality" means. But not Channel 62. They NEVER knew what it meant.

Dragon’s Lair / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dragon's Lair
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Don Bluth
Starring
Dan Molina, Vera Pacheco, Michael Rye, Dave Spafford
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dan Molina, Vera Pacheco, Michael Rye, Dave Spafford,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Video game promotion
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Ron Dias
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Bad Man / quad / UK

21.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Bad Man
AKA
The No Mercy Man (USA) | Fire in the Wind (UK - video title)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Daniel Vance
Starring
Steve Sandor (as Stephen Sandor), Rockne Tarkington, Richard X. Slattery, Heidi Vaughn, Mike Lane (as Michael Lane), Ron Thompson, David Booth, Daniel Oaks
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Sandor (as Stephen Sandor), Rockne Tarkington, Richard X. Slattery, Heidi Vaughn, Mike Lane (as Michael Lane), Ron Thompson, David Booth, Daniel Oaks,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
When he was good he was very very good But when he was bad... he was BLOODY!

Eaten Alive / quad / UK

19.02.16

Poster Poster
Title
Eaten Alive
AKA
Mangiati vivi! (Italy - original title) | Doomed to Die (USA) | The Emerald Jungle (USA - video)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Umberto Lenzi
Starring
Robert Kerman, Janet Agren, Ivan Rassimov, Paola Senatore, Me Me Lai, Fiamma Maglione, Franco Fantasia, Franco Coduti, Alfred Joseph Berry, Michele Schmiegelm, Mel Ferrer
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Robert Kerman, Janet Agren, Ivan Rassimov, Paola Senatore, Me Me Lai, Fiamma Maglione, Franco Fantasia, Franco Coduti, Alfred Joseph Berry, Michele Schmiegelm, Mel Ferrer,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30 5/16" x 39 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Trapped in a jungle of crazy flesh eaters! | The terrifying nightmare that became a reality!

Lurid artwork by the late, great Tom Chantrell on this UK quad for the release of Italian director Umberto Lenzi‘s 1980 entry into the then burgeoning cannibal subgenre of horror, Eaten Alive! (here just Eaten Alive). This is not to be confused with Tobe Hooper’s 1976 film of the same name about a redneck killer with a pet alligator. Eaten Alive wasn’t Lenzi’s first foray into the subgenre and the director is regularly credited with kickstarting it all with his film Deep River Savages (AKA Sacrifice!) in 1972. This film was released the same year as Cannibal Holocaust, directed by fellow countryman Ruggero Deodato, which is today considered to be the pinnacle of the genre and remains notorious to this day. Not to be outdone, Lenzi filmed one of the subgenre’s most unapologetically nasty entries, Cannibal Ferox, only a year after this film was released, but by that point the subgenre was beginning to fade and only a few more obscurities were made during the 1980s.

Unlike Ferox and Holocaust, Eaten Alive is more of a jungle adventure film and isn’t told in the pseudo-documentary, mondo style of the other films. Not only did Lenzi utilise stars from other cannibal films, including the American pornstar-turned-actor Robert Kerman (who appeared in Holocaust and Ferox) but he also borrowed footage from other films such as his own Deep River Savages and The Mountain of the Cannibal God. Like other entries it also depicts scenes of real animal torture and killings which have always proved controversial and are deeply uncomfortable to sit through today (at least for this viewer). Eaten Alive sees an American woman called Sheila (Swedish actress Janet Agren) who travels to remote New Guinea in search of her missing sister Diana (Paola Senatoreaccompanied by Vietnam veteran Mark (Kerman). They discover that Diana has joined a cult deep in the jungle which is being led by a Jim Jones-style guru called Jonas (cannibal flick regular Ivan Rassimov) who rules over his subjects and the local natives using physical and sexual abuse. Sheila, Mark and Diana attempt to escape from the cult’s clutches and there follows several scenes featuring all manner of barbarities.

Today Eaten Alive is considered one of the lesser cannibal films, certainly compared to Holocaust and Ferox, but it’s not without merit for gorehounds looking for a slice of sleazy entertainment. It’s arguably worth a watch as a curio of a film that would never be made today, not least because of the animal cruelty and breathtaking levels of misogyny on display.

Tom Chantrell was a 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. The chunky title treatment is one of the artist’s specialties and features on several of his posters, which can be seen on his official site.

Poppies Are Also Flowers / A1 / Germany

21.09.15

Poster Poster

Five great portraits painted by Renato Casaro feature on this German re-release poster for Poppies Are Also Flowers (AKA Danger Grows Wild and several other titles). Made as an anti-drug trafficking film with the help of the United Nations, it was sponsored by corporate entities, including Xerox.  As this poster attests, it was based on a screenplay by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, was directed by Bond director Terence Young and had a seriously star-studded cast. The likes of Yul BrynnerAngie DickinsonTrevor Howard and Marcello Mastroianni all signed up and, so the story goes, worked for $1 each. Some serious favours must have been called in as I find it hard to believe they were all passionately anti-narcotics!

The story is described thusly on the film’s Wikipedia page:

In an attempt to stem the heroin trade at the Afghanistan–Iran border, a group of narcotics agents working for the United Nations inject a radioactive compound into a seized shipment of opium, in the hopes that it will lead them to the main heroin distributor in Europe.

Now largely forgotten, the film is apparently in the public domain and is available to watch on YouTube and elsewhere (although the quality of all copies out there is atrocious). Although originally intended for TV, the film was given a cinema release in several countries, including Japan, UK (as Danger Grows Wild) and Germany. This poster is apparently for a 1973 re-release (for what reason I’m not certain) and the original German release poster can be seen here. Casaro was clearly tasked with making the film appear as exciting as possible and added the action scenes in the bottom half of the poster. It’s safe to say that for all the effort that went it to making the film it wasn’t exactly successful in curtailing the activities of the international drug trade!

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.

Godzilla vs Mothra / 1992 version / B1 / Japan

28.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Godzilla vs. Mothra
AKA
Gojira vs. Mosura (Japan - original title) | Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (USA - video title)
Year of Film
1992
Director
Takao Okawara
Starring
Tetsuya Bessho, Satomi Kobayashi, Takehiro Murata, Saburô Shinoda, Akiji Kobayashi, Akira Takarada, Makoto Ohtake, Keiko Imamura, Sayaka Osawa, Kenpachiro Satsuma, Hurricane Ryu' Hariken
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Tetsuya Bessho, Satomi Kobayashi, Takehiro Murata, Saburô Shinoda, Akiji Kobayashi, Akira Takarada, Makoto Ohtake, Keiko Imamura, Sayaka Osawa, Kenpachiro Satsuma, Hurricane Ryu' Hariken,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1992
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40 7/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A colourful montage on this Japanese B1 poster for Godzilla vs Mothra, which was the 19th film in the series featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters). The film was also the fourth release in the second generation of Godzilla films, which were part of the Heisei era of Japanese monster movies (daikaiju eiga). The eras are named after the Japanese emperor at the time, so the first generation of Godzilla films were part of the Shōwa era. There was an earlier film in the franchise called Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) but this film is not a remake of that story.

Godzilla vs Mothra is, adjusted for inflation, the most financially successful entry in the entire series. The story sees a meteor crashing to earth and awakening not only the legendary lizard but also uncovering an egg of the benevolent giant moth, plus an evil version of Mothra called Battra that was created by Earth’s ‘life force’ to protect the planet itself from threat. Godzilla sets off on one of his usual rampages and Battra attacks Tokyo in anger at the pollution that mankind has caused. The trio of monsters face-off against each other in several battles and there’s also a subplot involving an Indiana-Jones-like treasure hunter and ethereal creatures known as Cosmos who are involved in the bigger conflict.

The artwork on the poster is by Noriyoshi Ohrai who is something of an enigma, even in his native Japan. I’ve been unable to find much about him beyond a few pages like this one on the Star Wars Wookiepedia. He’s responsible for a number of Star Wars posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film and the brilliant design for The Empire Strikes Back.

Ohrai painted a poster for each of the Heisei era of Godzilla films, which were always accompanied by a photographic-style poster. I will be adding more of the Ohrai Godzilla posters over the coming weeks.

The other Ohrai posters I’ve added to the site so far can be seen by clicking here.

Go / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Go
AKA
Go! - Sex, Drugs & Rave'n'Roll (Germany - video box title)
Year of Film
1999
Director
Doug Liman
Starring
William Fichtner, Katie Holmes, Jay Mohr, Sarah Polley, Scott Wolf
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Fichtner, Katie Holmes, Jay Mohr, Sarah Polley, Scott Wolf,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1999
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
A weekend wasted is never a wasted weekend.

Creature / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Creature
AKA
The Titan Find (UK - video title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
William Malone
Starring
Stan Ivar, Wendy Schaal, Lyman Ward, Robert Jaffe, Diane Salinger, Annette McCarthy, Marie Laurin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Stan Ivar, Wendy Schaal, Lyman Ward, Robert Jaffe, Diane Salinger, Annette McCarthy, Marie Laurin,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Doomed To Die / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Doomed To Die
AKA
Mangiati vivi! (Italy - original title) | Eaten Alive! (International English title) | The Emerald Jungle (USA - video title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Umberto Lenzi
Starring
Robert Kerman, Janet Agren, Ivan Rassimov, Paola Senatore, Me Me Lai, Fiamma Maglione, Franco Fantasia, Franco Coduti
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Robert Kerman, Janet Agren, Ivan Rassimov, Paola Senatore, Me Me Lai, Fiamma Maglione, Franco Fantasia, Franco Coduti,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985?
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
They have a never ending hunger for human flesh | The most violent human sacrifice you'll ever see!

Black Hooker / one sheet / USA

15.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Black Hooker
AKA
Streets Sisters (USA - alternative title) | Black Mama (USA - video title) | Don't Leave Go My Hand (USA - alternative title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Arthur Roberson
Starring
Sandra Alexandra, Jeff Burton, Kathryn Jackson, Teddy Quinn, Gioya Roberson, Durey Mason, Mary Reed, Alan Bass
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sandra Alexandra, Jeff Burton, Kathryn Jackson, Teddy Quinn, Gioya Roberson, Durey Mason, Mary Reed, Alan Bass,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Clyde Knudson
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
She was lovable... She Was Mean.... Damn mean! | What would you do if your mama was a hooker?

They sure don’t make, title or market them like this anymore! Black Hooker is an obscure 1974 drama that was written, produced and directed by a man named Arthur Roberson whose sole film credits are all for this film (according to IMDb he also did the production design, art direction and set decoration). Seemingly only released in the States, the reason for its obscurity is explained in the reviews section of its IMDb page. In 2004 a reviewer with the handle ‘spropes’ wrote the following:

‘When I worked with L.A. County, I knew Art Roberson fairly well, tho I have no idea of his current status or whereabouts. We were both social workers in the ghetto (really) in the 1970s. My impression was that being a social worker was his day job, that being a movie maker was his primary ambition…so what else is new? The movie, some interiors of which were shot at the legendary Joe Jost’s in Long Beach, premiered for friends and associates at Warner Bros. screening room in Burbank. At the end of the showing, it was greeted by dead silence, replacing excitement or applause. 

I think the viewers realized that the director had blown a pretty good chance to do something worthwhile after all his work, investment and attention to this film. Originally entitled something like “Don’t Leave Go My Hand” (or maybe “Don’t Let Go My Hand”), it was supposed to sensitively portray the horrible life of a neglected (or abused, I don’t recall which) black child, the son of a…you guessed it…black hooker! But that original intent didn’t play, so the title was changed to “Black Hooker,” presumably to piggyback on the blaxploitation movement at the time.’

This would explain why the film has several alternative titles and why it is often listed as a blaxploitation film despite the storyline having barely anything in common with other entries in the genre. Another reviewer sums up the film thusly:

‘Whatever the hell this is, it is quite the mean-spirited, uncomfortable little obscurity, which caters only to collectors of the most obscure B-cinema available. A hostile, impersonal story, with zero light at the end of the tunnel. none of the characters even have names. What kind of director makes a movie like this? A director who didn’t have a very happy childhood, that’s who. I mean, this isn’t exactly Cannibal Holocaust, or I Spit On Your Grave, or anything like that, but Black Hooker is just hateful.’

I have no clues as to who is responsible for the design or artwork of this one sheet and I doubt I’ll ever be able to discover who should be credited with it, but if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Guardian Of Hell / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Guardian Of Hell
AKA
L'altro inferno [The other hell] (Italy - original title) | The Other Hell (International - English title) / USA (video title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Bruno Mattei
Starring
Franca Stoppi, Carlo De Mejo, Francesca Carmeno, Susan Forget, Franco Garofalo, Paola Montenero, Sandy Samuel, Andrea Aureli
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Franca Stoppi, Carlo De Mejo, Francesca Carmeno, Susan Forget, Franco Garofalo, Paola Montenero, Sandy Samuel, Andrea Aureli,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
C. W. Taylor
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
IT HAS AWAKENED!

Hard Eight / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Hard Eight
AKA
Sydney (USA - original title) | Last Exit Reno (Germany - video title)
Year of Film
1996
Director
Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring
Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel Jackson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Ridgely, Melora Walters
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel Jackson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Ridgely, Melora Walters,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1996
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
If you stay in this game long enough, you'll see everything, win everything, and lose everything.

Innocent Blood / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster

Le Gang / B2 / montage style / Japan

30.06.16

Poster Poster
Title
Le Gang
AKA
The Gang (USA - video title)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Jacques Deray
Starring
Alain Delon, Xavier Depraz, Roland Bertin, Adalberto Maria Merli, Maurice Barrier, Raymond Bussières, Giampiero Albertini, Laura Betti, Nicole Calfan
Origin of Film
Italy | France
Genre(s) of Film
Alain Delon, Xavier Depraz, Roland Bertin, Adalberto Maria Merli, Maurice Barrier, Raymond Bussières, Giampiero Albertini, Laura Betti, Nicole Calfan,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Montage style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters (that I’m aware of) for the release of the 1977 crime drama Le Gang. The film was an Italian-French co-production and was directed by Jacques Deray, a Frenchman who helmed a number of crime thrillers during his career. French superstar Alain Delon, who collaborated with Deray on a number of similar films, plays the leader of the titular gang of criminals. The story is set in France during the 1940s and the plot, apparently based on true events, is described thusly on IMDb:

In 1945, as World War Two comes to a close, five small time crooks unite to form a gang. After several bold robberies they become notorious as “the front-wheel drive gang”. The police attempt to stop their crime spree with little success, but how long will their luck last?

The other style B2 can be seen on emovieposter.com here.