Perhaps there should be a warning. Maybe something like: “These Ghanaian movie posters may have no relationship to the actual film you are about to see.” But that kinda ruins what these artists are trying to achieve. Their remit was simple: Get as many people to come and see this film no matter what—so paint lots of blood and guts and monsters and big, big, huge breasts. Anything. Just so long as it gets some butts on seats and some moolah in the box office coffers.
The Ghanaian artists who created these posters probably didn’t make much money for their efforts. They probably could earn far more painting walls or street signs or putting down road markings. Each poster could take up to three days to create depending on the subject matter and what the artist could find out about the movie. Their one big advantage was that they could paint whatever they liked so long as it created interest. This inevitably led to a few well-worn tropes: snake women, skeletons, zombies, witchcraft, and even the occasional giant fish—as seen in a few James Bond posters. Some of these efforts are far better than the films they advertised—Van Helsing, for example.
The so-called “Golden Age” of Ghanaian movie posters is cited as the 1980s—1990s, when the boom in VHS players meant films could be screened in the smallest of venues, Most of the posters from this era were painted on grain sacks or just large pieces of cloth. These now fetch around a thousand bucks a pop at the more fashionable L.A. art galleries—considerably more than the few cedis the artist originally made.
More handmade Ghanaian movie posters, after the jump…