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The blood dripped from Dracula’s fangs: The golden age of Hammer Horror movie posters

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I still wasn’t convinced, so the sales assistant upped his pitch.

“And these glow in the dark,” he smiled.

I wasn’t buying it. The guy obviously didn’t know his stuff. Dracula’s teeth weren’t supposed to glow in the dark, not even the Wolfman’s teeth did that. Now I was begrudging the fact I had pocketed my school lunch money to walk into town past the prison, abattoir, and graveyard to buy a set of vampire teeth that glowed in the dark but that didn’t drip with blood like Dracula’s.

“Or, would you prefer this set of Wolfman fangs?” he added rustling through packs of novelty teeth.

To give the man his due, I was in a joke shop among the whoopee cushions, fake dog turds, and electric shock handshake pressers. It wasn’t exactly Transylvania. It wasn’t exactly Hammer Horror either which was the very thing that had inspired me to make this little shopping expedition.

On late Friday nights, the local Scottish television network screened horror movies under the title Don’t Watch Alone. My parents were cool enough to let my brother and I sit up to watch these creepy old black and white films featuring Karloff, Lugosi, Chaney, and co. Then one Friday night, on came Dracula with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. The following week, The Curse of Frankenstein with the same two stars and both films in glorious technicolor. My mind was blown. Hideous monsters and blood-red fangs. I’d found a new thrill, a new passion that superseded even my Spidey collection and my hopeless dreams of ever owning an Aurora Monster Kit.

For the next few years, horror movies and in particular Hammer horror movies ruled my life. I dug up, sought out, and tracked down every little piece of what-have-you on Hammer and the films they made. I signed-up for the Peter Cushing fan club. I asked for Denis Gifford‘s classic Horror Movies book for Christmas—which was almost a mistake as he hated Hammer horror but at least his writing on the old B&W movies was superb. I clipped all the horror movie listings in the Radio Times and the cinema ads from the local paper and stuck ‘em all in a big scrapbook which I kept for years until I lent it to some fucker who never gave it back. (Rule #1 kids: Never lend people stuff you really, really want to keep ‘coz they’ll never give you it back. But if you can lend it, then give it freely, but just don’t expect to ever get it back. Because that’s not going to happen.)

Hammer started way, way back in the early thirties when one-half of a double act “Will Hammer” of Hammer & Smith aka William Hinds, a jeweler and theatrical agent, set up Hammer Film Productions in 1934. He had an early hit with The Public Life of Henry the Ninth, a comedy spoof of Alexander Korda’s The Private Life of Henry VIII. Then with the assistance of Enrique Carreras, the company made a series of short, moderately successful films including one starring Bela Lugosi The Mystery of the Marie Celeste.

But Hammer really didn’t take off until Anthony Hinds and James Carreras joined their fathers William and Enrique as directors. Suddenly, Hammer was branching out into sci-fi and then horror films with The Curse of Frankenstein which sealed the company’s success and then, of course, Horror of Dracula which famously had a marquee at the Haymarket, London that dripped neon blood from Christopher Lee’s vampire fangs. Over the next twenty years, a rotation of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and various vampyros lesbos made Hammer the brand name for the best in British horror movies.

So, back to the joke shop where I ultimately went for the Wolfman’s teeth, as those green glowing, non-bloody vampire fangs were pretty damned anemic and being a werewolf was the closest I ever came to having a dog in my childhood.

Now, here for your retinal pleasure is a damned fine selection of Hammer movie posters from early science-fiction to late kung-fu vampirism and devil worship. Enjoy.
 
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The Quatermass Xperiment’ (1955).
 
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‘The Creeping Unknown’ (aka ‘The Quatermass Xperiment’) (1955).
 
More marvellous montser posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.26.2017
10:00 am
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Amazing hand-painted movie posters by legendary Thai artist Tongdee Panumas
05.19.2017
12:11 am
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A hand-painted poster for ‘Apocalypse Now’ by legendary Thailand-based graphic designer and artist Tongdee Panumas. You can see the image above in more detail (and trust me, you want to), here.
 
Thailand-based artist Tongdee Panumas signs his posters using only his first name. Panumas is a legend when it comes to the world of hand-painted movie posters.

Until the late 1990s, film distribution companies in Thailand would routinely commission artists from their own country to hand-paint homegrown original movie posters using stills of memorable characters and scenes from the films as the basis for their renderings. During a span of three decades starting in the 1970s Tongdee churned out a seemingly impossible number of movie posters for classic American films such as Escape from New York, The Terminator, The Silence of the Lambs as well as a myriad of Thai movies, too.

Panumas’ posters are exuberant, appearing as though they could at any moment leap off the page thanks to Tongdee’s masterful use of color, composition, and realism. The artist is also adept at utilizing every inch of his canvas—such as his jaw-droppingly epic poster for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam war film masterpiece, Apocalypse Now which is pictured in all its hypnotic glory at the top of this post. In 2012, an exhibit called Eyegasm: The Art of Thai Movie Posters showcased Tongdee’s posters as well as those of another wildly talented Thai graphic artist, Somboonsuk Niyomsiri (aka “Piak Poster”) in order to help shine a light on the art form that has sadly experienced a huge decline over the last decade or so.

From what I was able to ascertain it appears that Tongdee is a rather private individual, as there is little to nothing written about him on the Internet.  According to the beautifully curated blog Film on Paper written by interaction designer Eddie Shannon, in 2016 he was able to commission Tongdee to create an exceptional poster based on the 1987 film Predator, giving nearly all creative control to the artist. The result is nothing short of fantastic. Of course, the admission for entry somewhat suggests that you too could perhaps engage the services of Tongdee to create the movie poster of your dreams. Some of the images that follow are awesomely NSFW.
 

The incredible ‘Predator’ commission done by Tongdee for Eddie Shannon in 2016.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.19.2017
12:11 am
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Scary Monsters & Super Cheap Thrills: The awesome movie poster art of Reynold Brown

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House on Haunted Hill’ (1959).
 
If I had the money, I guess I’d buy an old abandoned cinema somewhere downtown or maybe one of those big ole drive-ins that’s been long left for dead some place out in the desert. I’d refurbish it then screen double-feature monster movies each and every day. Double-bill after double-bill on continuous performance. Choice picks from the whole back catalog of Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, dear old Peter Cushing, and “King of the Bs” Roger Corman. Yeah, I know, I would probably go bust within six months—but hell, it would have been worth it just to see these classic horror movies and glorious science-fiction films on the big screen where they belong and not on flickering cathode-ray tube of childhood memory.

The walls of this fantasy cinema would be covered with the finest movie posters and artwork by the likes of Albert Kallis, Frank McCarthy, and Reynold Brown—“the man who drew bug-eyed monsters.”

Brown has probably impacted on everyone’s memory one way or another as he produced a phenomenal array of movie posters. Brown supplied artwork for B-movie features like Creature from the Black Lagoon and Attack of the 50ft. Woman, mainstream movies like Spartacus and Mutiny on the Bounty, to those classic Corman horror films House of Usher and The Masque of Red Death. I know I can hang large parts of my childhood and teenage years by just one look at a Reynold Brown poster. Straight away I can tell you when and where I saw the movie and give a very good idea of what I thought and felt at that time. Now that’s the very thing many a great artist tries to make an aduience feel when they look at a work of art. While artists can spend a lifetime trying to achieve this, Reynold Brown was doing it as his day job.
 
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The Thing That Couldn’t Die’ (1958).
 
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Tarantula!’ (1955).
 
More of Reynold Brown’s classic sci-fi and hooror movie posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.28.2017
01:18 pm
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Frank Frazetta wasn’t all Sword & Sorcery, he painted some classic movie posters too

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‘What’s New Pussycat?’ (1965).
 
It was a painting of Ringo Starr that changed Frank Frazetta‘s life. Frazetta was a comic strip artist contributing to EC Comics, National Comics (later known as DC Comics) and Avon Comics. He was drawing Buck Rogers, Li’l Abner, Johnny Comet and helping out on Flash Gordon. Occasionally he would supply his talents to MAD magazine. That’s how he produced a painting of Ringo Starr for a spoof shampoo ad for the magazine. The picture caught the attention of PR guys at United Artists who commissioned Frazetta to produce the poster artwork for their Peter Sellers, Peter O’Toole, Woody Allen film What’s New Pussycat? For one day’s work, Frazetta earned his annual salary. It changed his life. The success of What’s New Pussycat? led to further poster commissions for a whole slate of movies: After the Fox, The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Night They Raided Minsky’s and The Gauntlet.

The movie work led to book cover work. He painted some of the most iconic covers for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter novels. And most famously redefined Conan the Barbarian as a bulging muscled, rugged behemoth. Frank Frazetta created a whole world of these Sword and Sorcery paintings which defined the genre and became synonymous with his name.

However, I do prefer Frazetta’s movie poster artwork which beautifully captures the whole joyful spirit of the swinging sixties, before progressing towards his more recognizable style in the seventies and eighties.
 
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Frank Frazetta’s painting of Ringo Starr for MAD magazine (1964).
 
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‘What’s New Pussycat?’ (1965).
 
More fabulous Frank Frazetta movie posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.14.2017
10:01 am
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Two Star Movies, Five Star Posters: The B-movie artwork of Albert Kallis

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‘The Beast with a Million Eyes’ (1955).
 
Albert Kallis was working as a graphic artist with Saul Bass when the twentysomething B-movie director Roger Corman met him at a poster exhibition sometime during the mid-1950s. Corman liked the high-end artwork Kallis was putting out for the big Hollywood studios like Paramount and 20th Century-Fox. He wanted to know what it would take to have Kallis come and work for him? Kallis said he’d be only interested if after any “general conversations about the approach to the picture” all decisions on the poster’s artwork and style was left entirely up to him. Corman agreed. And that’s how he bagged the talents of one of the greatest movie poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s.

Corman made B-movies. Exploitation. Cheap thrills. Schlock horror. He knew he could make a ton of money if only he could get the teenagers to come and see his films. This was the time of the drive-in when movies came into town for a week and then were gone. When the film houses would only take on a movie if they could guarantee a hefty profit. What Corman needed was someone to sell his pictures with a poster that made the audience say “I gotta see that!” Kallis fully understood this. He produced artwork that made even the trashiest z-list feature look like it was the Citizen Kane of cheap thrills.

Kallis spent some seventeen years working as art director for Corman and then at American International Pictures—-going on to share responsibility (with Milt Moritz) as head of advertising and publicity. Kallis’s artwork exemplifies the best of movie poster technique and composition, taking key elements from a film to draw in the viewer and excite them enough so that they create their own mini-narrative. One look at these beauties and it’s more than apparent no movie could ever live up to the thrills of Kallis’s artwork.
 
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‘The Day the World Ended’ (1955).
 
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‘The Phantom from 10,000 Fathoms’ (1955).
 
More cheap thrills, after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.08.2017
11:47 am
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The kick-ass movie poster art of Frank McCarthy

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‘Where Eagles Dare’ (1968).
 
I don’t go to the cinema as much as I once did. In large part, because there is too much stuff out there waiting to be seen in places other than the cinema but also because today’s movie posters don’t sell their product. Most of them—and okay there are quite a few exceptions—look like they’re selling something other than a damn good film. They could be hawking deodorant, beer, suppositories—anything but a movie. They’re bland, anonymous, tasteful, safe and utterly in-o-fucking-fensive. They look like they’ve been designed by a committee of cockwombles who are all dressed in identical wool shirts and bowties who like to stroke their imaginary beards and talk about you know nuance.

That’s not the movie posters I like. I want to see the ingredients on the label first before I consume the product. That’s why I dig the artwork of Frank McCarthy.

McCarthy (1924-2002) produced a staggering and unparalleled selection of movie posters, book covers and magazine illustrations during his long and respected career. When I look at one of McCarthy’s film posters I know I’m gonna go and watch this movie—even it turns out to be a piece of shit—because he sold me the damned thing in a single image.

McCarthy started out copying frames from his favorite comic strips. After high school, he attended Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute where he majored in illustration. And so on and so on, into his career as a commercial artist. But you know an artist’s life is rarely as interesting as their work and McCarthy’s film work is the best. Just look at the way he gets the whole thing down to a few key painstakingly detailed scenes. That’s how you sell a movie.
 
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‘The Chairman’ (1969).
 
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‘Danger Diabolik’ (1968).
 
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‘The Dirty Dozen’ (1967).
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.30.2017
07:24 am
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Iconic: Movie posters for classic films redesigned around their famous props and sets
12.05.2016
11:15 am
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‘Amelie.’
 
Most movie posters plug their product with suitably emotionally involving imagery from their content. You know the kind of stuff—action heroes with all guns a-blazin’; or slightly forlorn yet still ridiculously upbeat figures battling through some deep emotional trauma; or smug smiling idiots who want you to believe their comic misadventure is going to be really really funny.

Photographic artist Jordan Bolton has kicked that approach into touch with his series of iconic and beautiful film posters which use only the props and sets as seen on the screen. It’s a novel approach that certainly works.

For each movie poster, Bolton selects and creates the relevant props or set as featured. Each object or room is handcrafted. The finished objects are displayed together and then photographed. Bolton describes his work this way:

By focusing purely on the objects and colour palette of the film, I see the posters as providing an interesting and fresh perspective on the film’s themes and characters even for someone who has seen the film many times.

More like especially for someone who has seen one of these films multiple times.

It’s fair to say, Bolton has created a kind of dialogue with the viewer—but it’s one that’s self-reflective and that probably works best after you’ve already seen the film, and not before. Then the viewer knows what all these objects mean and how they reflects on their taste and intelligence. That said, I do admit that having missed out on the joys of a couple of these films—one look at Bolton’s splendid posters has placed these movies on my “must see” list.

Jordan Bolton’s posters are available to buy on Etsy and more of his work can be seen here and here.
 
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‘Fantastic Mr. Fox.’
 
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‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’
 
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‘The Shawshank Redemption.’
 
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‘Carol.’
 
More of Jordan Bolton’s “iconographic” posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.05.2016
11:15 am
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These gruesome horror movie posters from Thailand really know how to sell their shit
10.17.2016
09:26 am
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Zombie Holocaust’ (1982)
 
You could say the best kind of movie posters make their pitch—entice an audience—without giving too much of their story away.

On the other hand, these kickass movie posters from Thailand don’t bother with such niceties—they go straight for the choice cuts, chop ‘em up and serve ‘em fresh on a lurid day-glo platter. The end result often means the posters are better than the films they’re selling.

In among this lurid gallery of grisly delights are some fine movies—To the Devil a Daughter, The Changeling, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II, George A. Romero’s Martin and (a personal fave) John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. Of course, there are quite a few bombs too—including George Clooney’s film debut Return to Horror High, Subspecies II and Manhattan Baby.

In the end—it doesn’t really matter as long as these posters succeeded in making each of these films look like two thumbs up.
 
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The Beyond’ (1981)
 
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The Changeling’ (1980)
 
More lurid Thai horror movie posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.17.2016
09:26 am
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‘Thar She Blows!’ Amusingly illustrated ‘X Rated’ movie posters from the 60s and 70s
10.10.2016
10:29 am
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An illustrated poster for 1971’s ‘The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio.’
 
I’ve seen my fair share of what your Mom refers to as “dirty movies” in my lifetime and I’m sure most of our Dangerous Minds readers have too. As I also know that many of you have a thing for movie posters it is with particular amusement and pride that I bring to you a collection of illustrated movie posters advertising various ‘X-Rated’ films from the 1960s and 1970s. Pretty much no topic was off limits back then apparently. There was even an erotic flick based on the sexploits of Pinocchio. Which I suppose makes perfect sense when you think about it (ahem) long enough.

One of the more amusing aspects of these film posters is the cheesy tongue-in-cheek copywriting that accompanies the posters that’s supposed to help sell you on the idea that the Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio would be a good time because “his nose isn’t the only thing that grows!” A few others are also are based on stories originally conceived for kids such as Cinderella (“the sexiest comedy of 1977 Cinderella 2000”), Alice in Wonderland or 1969’s The New Adventures of Snow White which I believe I’m safe in assuming involves sexytime with at least seven dwarves. At least I hope it does.

If you’re digging them like I do most of the posters featured in this post can be purchased over at Heritage Auctions and other online auction sites. It should go without saying I wouldn’t be doing my job right if I didn’t say that many of the images in this post are NSFW. You already knew that, right?
 

An X-Rated musical version of ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ 1976.
 

‘Cinderella 2000,’ 1977.
 

‘The New Adventures of Snow White,’ 1969.
 

‘Thar She Blows,’ 1968.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.10.2016
10:29 am
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Sleaze up your crib (almost free) with this treasure trove of worldwide classic B-movie poster art
06.24.2016
09:42 am
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I think it’s fair to say that most of the staff here at Dangerous Minds has an appreciation for lurid B-movie poster art. It’s a topic we enjoy posting about from time to time. I’m a huge fan, especially of ‘60s-‘80s exploitation and horror posters. Over the years I’ve amassed a decent collection of original one-sheets, picking them up cheap here and there at flea markets and junk shops. Unfortunately eBay and the collector’s market has really made it difficult to find classic exploitation paper in the wild. Nowadays if you’re looking for, say, an original Ilsa, She Wold of the SS poster, you can expect to pay no less than two hundred bucks online. It’s a hobby that can get expensive quickly.

If you’re not stuck on the notion of owning an original, and have access to a decent printer, you can decorate your dwelling from floor to ceiling with classic horror, erotic, grindhouse action, and kung-fu poster images taken from one sheets, half sheets, daybills, locandinas, and quads from all over the world.

I recently discovered a site called Wrong Side of the Art, which apparently has been around for years, yet under my radar. This site is a treasure trove of cult and trash poster images with an emphasis on high-resolution—meaning that if you have a good printer you can have rather nice prints of hundreds of classic poster titles. Of particular interest are the foreign posters… those are always the coolest.

My printer will go up to 13"x19”, so I was able to print off a few decent-sized prints before my toner went bye-bye. I’m not sure how the image quality maintains on larger prints, but if you have access to a poster printer, give it a shot and let us know how it works out. I was able to print these just now:
 

They look especially impressive in person
 
Wrong Side of the Art is one of those sites that makes me truly appreciate the Internet. There’s so much cool, well-curated stuff there that you can easily get lost for hours scrolling through classic Italian Giallo, Japanese Pinku, and good ol’ American women-in-prison prints. There are hundreds of titles and the quality is the best I’ve seen online. The amount of work that’s gone into maintaining this site for the benefit of B-movie fans is apparent and should be applauded. Thank you Wrong Side of the Art!

Here’s a brief gallery of posters you can find high-res prints of. The site has hundreds more. Go there now. It’s seriously one of the best things on the Internet.
 

 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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06.24.2016
09:42 am
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Awesome Japanese movie posters from the go-go Sixties
06.26.2014
02:02 pm
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The Trip
The Trip
 
Why is it that these Japanese posters of American and British classics from the 1960s seem so much more swinging than their Anglophone counterparts? Has the U.S.—or even Great Britain—ever had a period when movie posters were this cool? Whatever, I fully expect to start seeing these in living rooms everywhere, they’re just too fantastic!
 
Alfie
Alfie
 
Bedazzled
Bedazzled
 
Hud
Hud
 
Blow Up
Blow Up
 
Modesty Blaise
Modesty Blaise
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.26.2014
02:02 pm
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