Withnail and I (1986)
Yes, that’s a Ralph Steadman poster for Withnail and I. Hunter S Thompson’s favorite artist creates a poster for one of the greatest films ever? We’re sold.
A Boy and His Dog (1975)
It’s hard to know where to start with this. It features a cute, fluffy dog and a boy who looks vaguely like Marlon Brando – according to IMDb, boy and dog “communicate telepathically… as they scavenge for food and sex” in some sort of post-apocalyptic setting, which presumably explains the poster’s half-naked woman and its claim that the whole thing is “rather kinky.” All this considered, the artwork does a pretty admirable job of communicating this, um, interesting piece of plotting.
After Hours (1985)
Sure, the film is well-known – it’s not quite up there with Mean Streets, Raging Bull, and Taxi Driver in the Scorsese canon, but it made $10 million and won Martin a Best Director award at Cannes. That poster, though, if you actually look at it – it’s creepy as hell, isn’t it?
Don’t Look Now (1973)
And while we’re on creepy – Don’t Look Now is a masterclass in building tension over the course of a film, and the constant glimpses of the little dead girl in the red dress throughout the film are disconcerting enough (particularly given the ending, which we won’t give away for anyone who hasn’t seen it). The film’s Japanese poster takes it to a whole new level of eeriness, though, rendering the girl as some sort of possessed porcelain doll. Eeep.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Jake and Elwood are reduced to their component parts – i.e. hats and sunglasses – in this decidedly strange Japanese interpretation of The Blues Brothers. We’re not sure how the stars of the film would feel about having their faces excised from the poster, though.
Bad Man (1973)
We’ll be honest – we’ve never heard of this film before, but it looks amazing.
Doomed to Die (1980)
Apparently this film even trumps Cannibal Holocaust as far as Italian gross-out cannibal horror films go – it was released in the rest of the world as Eaten Alive! and features, among other things, scenes of castration, rape, impalement, and a python eating a monkey. But the poster is even more disturbing, because it appears the cannibals feed exclusively on airbrushed bronze women who were born without nipples.
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
It’s somewhat reassuring to know that bad image compositing pre-dates Photoshop.
Sexy Beast (2000)
Rock posters have a long and proud tradition of not having a great deal to do with the bands they’re promoting, but film posters are generally pretty literal – a recreation of a scene from the film, a portrait of the main characters, etc. This poster for Sexy Beast is very much an exception to the rule – it’s a pretty great piece of artwork, but it doesn’t really reflect what you’re actually going to see when you watch the film. This, we hasten to add, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s interesting. Oh, and if you’ve not seen it, this is a fantastic film.
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Lest we forget, this man spent eight years as the Governor of California.