Archive for the 'Movie Posters' Category

Movie Posters: Def-Con 4 (1984)

Defcon 4 Poster 1984

On the shortlist for my best movie posters of the ’80s, I slobbered over the VHS cover for years, even after watching the dull-as-post-apocalyptic-sand indie it was meant to (mis)represent. The artist is Rudy Obrero, who, aside from poster art (the pumped-up Mad Max 2 international one-sheet, for starters) and a massive amount of advertising art, was one of the defining illustrators on Mattel’s early Masters of the Universe packaging. He painted the box covers for the Wind Raider, Battle Cat, and Castle Grayskull, among others. (See an interview with Obrero at Poe Ghostal.)

The Def-Con 4 poster is not as original as I thought, however. The painting below is by Angus McKie and comes from the cover of The Year’s Best Science Fiction #8 (Sphere, 1976), as well as a British sci-fi/fantasy art tome called The Flights of Icarus (Paper Tiger, 1977). While Obrero’s changes to the original are pretty ingenious—the movie is about astronauts who return to a mutant-infested Earth after watching World War III unfold from space—there’s no doubt that the enduring motif is McKie’s.

Icarus McKie 1977

(Angus McKie art via Ski-Ffy, where you can see more work from Flights of Icarus)

Movie Theater Marquees: The Evil Dead (1983)

Marquee Evil Dead 1983-1

The Prince Charles Cinema, London, 1983

The Evil Dead premiered in the UK on January 17, 1983. The photo is from “the definitive Evil Dead website,” The Book of the Dead, specifically the section on Graham Humphreys, the artist/illustrator who handled promotion of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II in the UK. His theatrical quad posters are below. See more of Humphreys’ work at Horrorpedia.

Evil Dead Quad 1983

Evil Dead 2 Quad 1987

 

Watership Down Lobby Card, 1978

WD LC 1978

General Woundwort: “Come out!”

Bigwig: “My chief’s told me to defend this run.”

General Woundwort: “Your… chief?”

Destroy All Computer Generated Monsters (Part Four): Mikey Walters’ Top Five ‘Guilty Pleasure’ Kaiju Films

1. King Kong Escapes (1967)

King Kong 1967

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: An evil genius has trouble getting his giant mechanical ape to dig for Element X, so he decides to capture the real King Kong to do the job.

Why It’s Unique: I can’t help it, Mechani-Kong is just fantastic.

Favorite Scene: Kong’s battle with Gorosaurus is fun, but I also like the effective Tokyo Tower close-ups of girders crushing as Kong and Mechani-Kong climb and fight.

Watch the English trailer here.

2. Space Amoeba (1970)

Yog Lobby 1971

American lobby card, 1971

What It’s About: An extraterrestrial amoeba inhabits various Earth creatures and mutates them into kaiju.

Why It’s Unique: This is a super fun triple kaiju (giant squid, giant crab, and giant turtle) film, and just thinking about it makes me wish I had a toy Gezora.

Favorite Scene: Gezora’s huge eyes and floppy tentacles are so much fun to watch moving upright on land!

Watch the original trailer here.

3. Latitude Zero (1969)

Latitude 1969

American theatrical poster illustrated by Jack Thurston

What It’s About: Rival super-scientists pit their super-submarines against one another over a super-utopia at the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line.

Why It’s Unique: Truthfully, this is more of a straight tokusatsu film than a kaiju movie, but at least there’s a giant flying lion, and everyone needs to see Cesar Romero’s performance.

Favorite Scene: Malic (Romero) is deliciously insane as he uses a rotating saw and a hand drill to perform a human-lion brain transplant.

Watch the English trailer here.

4. Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)

Gamera Guiron 1969

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: Gamera saves children from alien cannibals on another planet.

Why It’s Unique: Guiron is a giant knife who slices up his enemies, and he also shoots throwing stars out of the side of his head just for fun.

Favorite Scene: Guiron is introduced by defeating a Space Gyaos, and after the battle he proceeds to sushi-fy the dead creature!

Watch the original trailer here.

5. Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)

Gamera Jiger 1970

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: Gamera meets Fantastic Voyage as kids pilot a small sub into the giant turtle’s body to save him from a baby kaiju.

Why It’s Unique: Jiger essential lays an egg inside Gamera, a pretty unique method of attack!

Favorite Scene: Pre-teen boys show absolutely no fear entering Gamera’s huge mouth. “Wow, a big tonsil!”

Watch the trailer here.

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Parts one through three of Destroy All Computer Generated Monsters are here, here, and here, respectively.

Movie poster image credits: Wrong Side of the Art (x3), Lost Video Archive, and Godzilla Wikia

Destroy All Computer Generated Monsters (Part Three): Mikey Walters’ Top Five Kaiju Films Not Featuring Godzilla

1. Mothra (1961)

Mothra Poster 1961

1962 U.S. theatrical poster

What It’s About: Infant Island’s kaiju protector retaliates against atomic testing and the kidnapping of the Shobijin (“small beauties”).

Why It’s Unique: Filled with wonder, beauty, and mysticism, Mothra’s introduction is essential viewing.

Favorite Scene: The Shobijin’s “dinner show” featuring the famous Mothra song is entrancing, but watching Mothra emerge from her cocoon in her full winged glory is even better.

Watch the original trailer here.

2. Rodan (1956)

Rodan Poster 1956

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: Giant pteranodons awaken and wreak havoc.

Why It’s Unique: Another great kaiju introduction, made even better by the suspenseful plight of miners being attacked by giant insects.

Favorite Scene: I love kaiju films that build the tension as long as possible before the first reveal, and Rodan manages to build for 45 minutes before the flying beast appears.

Watch the original trailer here.

3. War of the Gargantuas (1966)

War Gargantuas Poster 1966

French theatrical poster

What It’s About: In this sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), which almost made the list, humanoid kaiju Gaira and Sanda battle in all kinds of terrain, from mountainside to city.

Why It’s Unique: Humanoid kaiju allow for some great battle scenes and highlight the detail of the wonderful forest and mountain miniatures.

Favorite Scene: I’m a fan of all the Maser Cannons used in the film, but the “shock” scene winner has to be Gaira casually swallowing a woman whole, then spitting out the bouquet of flowers she was holding.

Watch the trailer here.

4. Gamera (1965)

Gamera Poster 1965

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: A prehistoric giant turtle who consumes fire and flies with rocket power must be stopped.

Why It’s Unique: The first film of the second most popular kaiju series has a serious tone—unlike the rest of the franchise, aimed squarely at children—and features wonderful effects.

Favorite Scene: While Gamera destroys a ship stuck in the ice, tiny animated figures run away from the wreckage. Also, as Gamera stomps through the city, people can be seen running by in building windows (achieved with a filmstrip-like effect).

Watch the original trailer here.

5. Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)

Gamera Poster 1995

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: Through a mystical bond with a young girl, Gamera awakes to defend Earth against his ancient foe, Gyaos.

Why It’s Unique: Gamera’s first Heisei film features incredible effects and a more mature tone, so this is a great one to show your friends who don’t “get” kaiju.

Favorite Scene: In the middle of fantastic fighting and destruction effects, watching poor Asagi (the young girl mentioned above) feel Gamera’s pain is intense!

Watch the trailers here.

___________________________________

Parts one and two of Destroy All Computer Generated Monsters are here and here, respectively.

Movie poster image credits: Wrong Side of the Art, Godzilla Wikia, Wrong Side of the Art, Movie Poster Shop, and Wikipedia

Star Wars Poster Art by Noriyoshi Ohrai, 1982

 SW Noriyoshi Ohai 1982

SW Noriyoshi Ohai 1982-2

My Favorite Star Wars Episode IV poster, with the Millennium Falcon appropriately cast as the hero, didn’t come out until 1982. It’s by master artist Noriyoshi Ohrai for the 1982 Japanese re-release. Ohrai also did exquisite posters for The Empire Strikes Back, The Road Warrior, The Goonies, and The Beastmaster, all of them equaling or bettering their American counterparts, in my opinion. He is accomplished in paperback, toy and game illustration as well. Inexplicably, he has no American fan site that I can find.

You can see many of Ohrai’s posters, including the Heisei-era Godzilla beauties, at Film on Paper. See his Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) poster at Pinterest.

The Star Wars (1982) poster is via Pinterest and Film on Paper (detailed views available).

Destroy All Computer Generated Monsters (Part Two): Mikey Walters’ Top Five Godzilla Films

1. Gojira/Godzilla (1954)

Godzilla 1954

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: Godzilla terrorizes Tokyo in the midst of a love triangle and scientific sacrifice.

Why It’s Unique: The original, classic Godzilla defined the kaiju genre. It has everything from serious drama to groundbreaking special effects.

Favorite Scene: Godzilla’s breath melts electrical towers that were painstakingly constructed of wax to achieve the effect.

Watch the original trailer here.

2. Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

Godzilla Mothra 1964

Japanese theatrical poster

Godzilla vs. The Thing 1964

American International Pictures falsely advertised Mothra vs. Godzilla for the American release. The poster art is based on an original design by acclaimed artist Reynold Brown.

What It’s About: Mothra and her larvae save Japan from Godzilla, even though, ultimately, greedy businessmen are at fault.

Why It’s Unique: Always a kaiju fan favorite with an excellent Toho kaiju crossover plot. Mothra’s mystical nature is explored, while Godzilla remains a ferocious force.

Favorite Scene: Unique Godzilla reveal as he rises up from underground rather than the ocean. Also, the webs the larvae use to battle Godzilla were an incredible effect for the time, created from liquid Styrofoam.

Watch the original trailer here.

3. Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

Invasion 1965

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: Planet X steals Godzilla and Rodan through trickery and unleashes them on Earth along with King Ghidorah.

Why It’s Unique: Alien invaders become a staple of the series and Godzilla does a famous dance.

Favorite Scene: There are some amazing optical effects of the Xians and their huge flying saucer, but Kumi Mizuno steals the show as Miss Namikawa, convincing Glenn her love is real by saving his life.

Watch the original trailer here.

4. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

Terror 1975

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: Cyborg love (spoiler alert) helps Godzilla defeat Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla.

Why It’s Unique: Last film of the Shōwa series with excellent continuity from the previous Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974).

Favorite Scene: There’s a beautiful “real sky” shot of Titanosaurus (kaiju were rarely shot outside of a studio), and Mechagodzilla often becomes a giant fireworks display as he blasts his array of weapons all at once.

Watch the original trailer here.

5. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

Giant Monsters 2001

Japanese theatrical poster

What It’s About: Godzilla is revived by the spirits of World War II Japanese soldiers and can only be stopped by a trio of kaiju guardians.

Why It’s Unique: Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Baragon are “re-cast” as mythical guardians.

Favorite Scene: A terrified woman, helpless in traction, screams as the possessed, white-eyed Godzilla stomps past her hospital room. As she breathes a sigh of relief, Godzilla’s tail swings around to destroy the entire building!

Watch the trailers here.

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Part one of Destroy All Computer Generated Monsters is here.

Movie poster image credits: Wikipedia, Wrong Side of the Art, and Skreeonk

The Coolest Movie Posters of the ’80s?

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I name my favorites today at UnderScoopFire! Check it out and let me know what you think.


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