Film posters are amazing. Not only do they help advertise to people quickly and easily the content of any film, they also are truly stunning pieces of art in themselves looking great displayed on our walls. However, this is not always the case. Some posters confuse us, so a bad film is made out to be good, while some don’t really tell us anything about the movie and others lose the plot entirely showing us random images or awful art and leave us thinking about what mental state the artist could have been when they devised this monster of a poster. For some reason some of the best examples of these types of poster come from abroad in non-English speaking countries and this is what I want to focus on here, those posters that with out the internet’s help would be lost in a trash can for all time. This week we focus on the Horror genre.
10) Mel Brook’s Frankenstein (1974 – Poland)
“Half man and half skeleton, but all Frankenstein” would have been a good tag line for this poster. I can see what they were trying to do here with this cover art only it did not go as they planned. The skeleton is meant to show death as Doctor Frankenstein deals with dead corpses and the mugging skinless looking other half I am guessing is meant to be Marty Feldman. The black hood could be a reference to the grim reaper while the robotic enhanced arm could be………okay I have no idea what that arm is meant to be. The worse thing about this poster is at no point do I know it is a comedy. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
9) The Fly (1986 – Poland)
This is such a random image to focus on. Sure there was acid vomit / spit used in the movie in graphic display of limb melting, but it is a movie about a man who turns into a human fly. What we have here is an odd stubbly man wearing lipstick and throwing up onto some red carpet. This kind of image can be seen in any pub after midnight, it does not inspire me to go see the movie. He does look a bit like a fly I suppose just because of his lack of hands and slight back hair, but it is so awfuly rendered on computer you can hardly tell either way what this was supposed to be.
8) Gremlins (1984 – Poland)
This one is amazing for all the wrong reasons. In just a few images it pretty much tells you every thing about the movie. The director’s name is proudly displayed on that cardboard box while the weird Gremlin head popping out suggests an element of mischief and fun. His stern look and the fact he is stealing a Christmas hat tells you there is to be some harsh times about to occur over this holiday season. All of this does happen in the movie but one question keeps popping up in my head. Who is the guy with the Santa mask on and no body shape? No idea. Other than that it is probably the most uneventful marketing of one of the greatest films of the 80s. They have actually managed to make the movie seem less exciting than it actually is.
7) Evil Dead 2 (1987 – Ghana and Thailand)
Okay I cheated a bit here and have included two, but they are both from the same movie and so incredible they needed to be shown. The first one has an Ash who looks more like Sylvester Stallone than Bruce Campbell, and a vampire woman next to him who is definitely not a deadite. The creature floating crudely above Ash’s head I can only assume is the flying deadite that he kills at the end of the movie. Your guess is as good as mine.
The next poster at least is well drawn but it just goes overboard in its portrayal of the film. Ash has no head for goodness sake. I know he chops off heads in the movie but he never lost his own. The sinister graveyard in the back looks awesome but never appears in the movie as far as I can remember and we have the same problem we have with a lot of posters now days, the big floating head in the background!
6) Friday the 13th movies (1980/Present – Ghana)
Again I am cheating but both of these posters come from the same place so that’s okay. Ghana’s style of artwork is so easily identified. Using very simplistic and very graphic artwork they manage to make hugely entertaining scenes. The above poster for Jason Goes to Hell has Jason using a shovel, his machete was becoming a bit tiresome obviously. He also has pink colored dread locks because that is not how his skin looks in the films. Not sure who the random woman trying to stab Jason is or the weird floating legs behind him but nether of them are having fun. The knife that has been plunged into his chest by persons unknown has to be one of the most dramatic stabbings I have ever seen put to page. I love the maggot Jason too.
The New Blood poster looks like it has been drawn by someone who was giving a brief run down of how Friday the 13th movies work and allowed to go crazy. The movies would never have been allowed to do anything this explicit. Naked half cut open women, barbed wire choked women and Jason brandishing what looks to be something like a hedge trimmer from the Dead Rising games. I know Jason is meant to be deformed but what I did not know until this poster was that the deformity applied to his arms and legs to.
5) The Shining (1980 – Polish)
If Stanley Kubrick made an HP Lovecraft movie then this is what I would expect to see. Not quite sure if Wendy Torrance is meant to look like the classic piece of art The Scream or one of Cthulhu fish men but either way it is terrifying for all the wrong reasons. She does scream in the movie (quite a lot) but nothing that ever comes close to making her look like an alien.
4) Demon Knight (1995 – Ghana)
Well the artist at least attempted to copy the style of the film poster but slipped up somewhere along the way. The brief case man looks nothing like Billy Zane and I am not sure why the deformed brother from Basket Case has appeared at the top right of the poster either. The most shocking thing here is the Crypt Keeper himself with his deformed body and his head. What is wrong with his head? He is a corpse so naturally he is not the best looking chap but this horrifically drawn mix of horse skull and flesh makes him look completely different from normal. And his hands are a different colour than his head.
3) The Howling (1981 – Belgium)
What I really like about this poster is that it has created a completely different creature for its poster than the werewolf of the original movie. Not quite sure what it is – some kind of dog man maybe or a very sinister vampire. It looks incredible but is nothing like anything you will see in the movie. Also not sure why the woman running is wearing a silver jump suit but that is the least of this poster’s worries.
2) Alien (1979 – Polish)
This is actually quite an ingenious poster showing the alien within, the creature lurking in the rib cage just waiting to burst out of your chest. It looks incredible but if I had not told you this was the film Alien there is no way you would ever know. It looks a lot like the art from Alone in the Dark. I can safely say the director of that film did not see this particular poster before making his own.
1) Cujo (1983 – Africa)
A Chinese woman instead of an American, a young boy with a turtle neck and a dog that is completely the wrong breed for this film are not the things that interest me about this. The thing that gets me every time about this is the fact that the dog is bleeding tears of blood while casually lying down and staring at the viewer. Nothing like the frenzied dog attacks you actually see in the movie but in some ways even more scary. Or weird, take your pick really.
This is a very small selection of some of the more interesting and just outright bonkers posters that are available to view on the internet. Some of the Polish posters especially are unique and confusing all at the same time. They all share a sense of wonderment and originality that you very rarely find in the English counterparts. Is it the lack of money for promotion that drives the poster artists abroad to be so unique or is it the distribution of movies over there. If a film is sent to foreign countries later than in say the States and the UK you know if it is a success or not and can play around with it a tad. Who knows and to be frank who cares? These are great looking posters and I for one, cannot wait to see more of them hit the internet very soon.