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David F. Walker
Category: Movie Poster of the Week

A celebration of the art of the movie poster (though not necessarily the movie itself).

Movie Poster of the Week – FIVE FOR HELL

The poster for Italian director Gianfranco Parolini’s Five For Hell is the embodiment of what Movie Poster of the Week is all about.  This is a terrible movie. I mean craptacular to the ultimate depths of crapitude. But the poster is awesome (it is the Italian version). Great movie posters make you want to see garbage like Five For Hell, even though the poster is the only thing worth looking at.

Movie Poster of the Week – EAGLE’S SHADOW

Here we have a true classic, the first major film starring Jackie Chan, Eagle’s Shadow (a.k.a. Snake in Eagle’s Shadow). Chan was a total unknown in America when this film was released, as evidenced by the incorrect spelling of his name. This was not only Chan’s first major film, it was the feature debut of Yuen Woo Ping, who would go on to become one of the greatest kung fu directors/choreographers of all time. They would team up again for Drunken Master, the film that would establish them both as superstars. The artwork for this poster is done by none other than comic book legend Neal Adams. Adams illustrated several movie posters during the 1970s, but he will always be known for his work in comics. He also did some of the best covers for Marvel’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, which may explain why so many of his movie posters were for films like this one. Below is one of Adams’s most memorable covers for Deadly Hands of Kung Fu.

Movie Poster of the Week – PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE

A friend of mine recently requested that I include Phantom of the Paradise in the Movie Poster Hall of Fame. Actually, he didn’t request it, he demanded it, because that’s the kind of obnoxious person he happens to be. But since I was planning on featuring this poster sooner or later, I simply decided to get around to it sooner. In his demand to showcase this poster, he erroneously credited the artwork to Neal Adams, but that’s not who did this painting. Nor do I believe this is the work of Richard Corben, as some people think. I’m pretty sure John Alvin did the art for Phantom of the Paradise. Below is the second style, which is not as commonly known. I don’t know who did the art for this other one.

 

UPDATE: I got an email from Swan Archives, a badass site dedicated to Phantom of the Paradise, and it seems that this second version of the poster is indeed by artist Richard Corben, and it based on a sketch by Neal Adams.  Definitely check out Swan Archives if you want to know more about this film (and by more in mean everything).

Movie Poster of the Week – SUPER FUZZ

BadAzz MoFo’s celebration of the art of the movie poster (though not necessarily the movie itself).

Sergio Corbucci directed some of the greatest spaghetti westerns of all time—some of which have posters that will eventually be the Movie Poster of the Week—but then he also directed some jaw-dropping turkeys. Super Fuzz is one of the latter. An action comedy that is short on both action and comedy, the best thing about this movie is the poster. Seriously, not even Terence Hill, best known for starring in the Trinity films, or Ernest Borgnine, who’s simply badass in general, can make Super Fuzz work as anything more than a silly, kiddy matinee flick. So, while the movie borders on being unwatchable, the poster is something you could stare at for hours—or at least 90 minutes. And if you did that, you’d probably be more entertained than if you simply watched the movie.

Movie Poster of the Week – GODZILLA vs. MEGALON

I can’t lie, the poster for Godzilla vs. Megalon is terrible. I mean absolutely terrible. But here’s the deal, I saw this movie in the theaters when it came out, entered a contest, and ended up winning this poster. This was the first movie poster I ever owned (though I have no idea what happened to it), and is partially to blame for my obsession. But seriously, this is a terrible poster, and is pretty much a rip-off of the poster for the 1976 version of King Kong (below). Godzilla vs. Megalon came out in Japan back in 1973, but it wasn’t released in the United States until ’76. The World Trade Center is prominently featured in both posters, though I don’t recall if Godzilla and Megalon actually squared off atop the twin towers or not.

Movie Poster of the Week – THE MAN FROM HONG KONG

BadAzz MoFo’s celebration of the art of the movie poster (though not necessarily the movie itself).

The best movie posters of all time are those that really sell the movie, even when selling it as something a bit more than it is once it’s projected onto a screen. This poster for The Man from Hong Kong is one of those posters. The artwork is phenomenal. The movie, on the other hand, has a really great poster to make it look awesome. Other than an opening fight sequence with Sammo Hung, you really won’t see anything in this movie that can compare to the poster. Even lead actor Jimmy Wang Yu—of One-Armed Swordsman fame—isn’t as badass in the movie as he is on this poster. At the end of the day, I’d rather stare at this amazing piece of artwork for two hours than actually watch the movie again. Likewise, I’d stare at this other poster for The Dragon Flies, which is the same movie, just with a different title.

 

Movie Poster of the Week – VIGILANTE FORCE

BadAzz MoFo’s celebration of the art of the movie poster (though not necessarily the movie itself).

Up until very recently I had never even heard of Vigilante Force. I was simply looking for a usable image of the poster for Bill Lustig’s supremely classic Vigilante, when I stumbled across this work of beauty. How this poster or this movie slipped under my radar all these years is beyond me, but now I’ve got to see the movie (and maybe even get the poster, which would look great in my living room). Just check out this design. From the primary image of a shirtless Kris Kristofferson squaring off against Jan-Micheal Vincent (who’s looking a bit like Ron Howard) to the secondary images that provide those telling moments of sex, violence, and intrigue, this is a truly classic work of cinematic advertising art. Of course, this second design…well…it doesn’t quite do it for me. Maybe I’ll just skip this one.

Movie Poster of the Week (Special Edition) – FRIDAY the 13th

Seeing how today is Friday the 13th, it seems appropriate to feature the poster for the classic hack ’em-n-stack ’em flick of the same name. Believe it or not, I’ve never seen the original Friday the 13th, but I’ve always been fascinated with the poster. With more sequels than anyone can really keep track of (only a few of which I have seen), the first film in the series definitely has the best poster.

 

Movie Poster of the Week – THUNDER (a.k.a. THUNDER WARRIOR)

BadAzz MoFo’s celebration of the art of the movie poster (though not necessarily the movie itself).

I absolutely love the poster director Fabrizio De Angelis’s shameless First Blood rip-off, Thunder (a.k.a. Thunder Warrior). Seriously, this is one of my all-time favorite exploitation posters (this version is from the Italian release). The irony, of course, is that this movie is more than a piece of shit, it is an entire pile of steaming shit. But as I keep saying over and over again, the Movie Poster of the Week has nothing to do with the quality of the movie itself, as it does the pure beauty of the poster. And this poster is gorgeous—at least within the context of the genre. Even lead actor Mark Gregory, best known for his work in 1990: The Bronx Warriors, looks kind of like an actual action hero in this image.  As a bonus, I’m also showcasing the poster for Thunder III (a.k.a. Thunder Warrior III), also directed by De Angelis (a.k.a. Larry Ludman), this poster for the video release is pretty badass too, but not quite as bombastic as the first. And it should come as no surprise that the third movie also sucks. For some reason I’ve never seen the second film in the Thunder series, which may explain why I have so much trouble sleeping at night.

Movie Poster of the Week – AMIN: THE RISE AND FALL

BadAzz MoFo’s celebration of the art of the movie poster (though not necessarily the movie itself).

I’d be a liar liar, with my pants on fire if I said Amin: The Rise and Fall (a.k.a. The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin) was a good movie. It’s not a good movie—it’s a great movie!!! Of course, by “great movie” I really mean that it is an exploitative bit of grindhouse schlock from the sadly neglected ripped-from-the-headlines genre that once cranked out classics like Guyana: Cult of the Damned. But more important—as it relates to the Movie Poster of the Week—this is one badass, kickass, bat-shit-crazy poster. Check out both versions of this poster. The painting of buggy-eyed actor Joseph Olita as the kill-crazy Ugandan dictator Idi Amin captures almost everything you need to know about this flick.

The only thing missing from either of these versions are the decapitated human heads in the refrigerator and cannibalism (both of which are in the actual movie). Still, this is a much better poster than the one for the disappointing movie The Last King of Scotland, which sadly did not go far enough in portraying Amin as the lunatic he was. I mean look at that poster below, and tell me which movie you would rather see.