A truly weird movie deserves an equally weird and wonderful movie poster. As cinema became the dominant art form of the 20th century, it spawned another visual medium, the film poster, which at some point broke free to emerge as a significant and enduring international Pop Art phenomenon. Various movie-loving nations cultivated their own top artists and unique styles. The American movie poster had a sweet run, about 70 years, before distributors began to ditch illustrated posters for cheaper—usually lamer—photographic options. In Europe, chiefly France and Italy, they kept poster art going for another ten years. And even though it looks like Photoshop is here to stay, appreciation for the art of the movie poster is at an all-time high and constantly growing.
I’ve been collecting original movie posters since I was 3 years old (starting with the US one-sheet for The House That Dripped Blood), and I have always been drawn to the salacious and macabre. When I was closing in on 3000 pieces, I converted the collection to WestgateGallery.com (named after my childhood porno theater in Bangor, Maine), an online movie-art boutique specializing in classic, cult, exploitation, giallo, Golden Age XXX and horror posters, the more striking and outrageous the better. They’re historical artifacts and unbeatable design elements that belong on walls, not in storage. Here’s a small selection from my store that are especially relevant to this great website. Anyone who decides they need one of these, or anything at Westgate Gallery, mention “366” or “Weird” for 25% off any order, through the end of the year.
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Andy Warhol’s Bad (USA, 1977): While waiting for a long-overdue special edition uncut Blu-ray release including the complete dropped-baby-hits-sidewalk splatter-scene (what?? it wouldn’t stop crying), you can honor this gleefully toxic deadpan dark comedy cult classic with a 55 x 78″ Italian subway 2-panel, featuring Almoz art so stunningly surreal this poster could easily be Polish. True Baddies will recognize the blonde ‘do, handful of cash, cruelly white fur and vagina dentata as hallmarks of Queens electrologist/hit-girl dispatcher Hazel Aiken (Carroll Baker, perfection in the role), the meanest woman outside of a film.
Blue Velvet (USA, 1986): Depicting some Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) torment from the hour of scenes deleted from ‘s final cut, this Italian 39×55″ poster is many a fan’s favorite, thanks to the overwhelming sleazy darkness expertly conveyed by legendary maestro Enzo Sciotti.
Desperate Living (Baltimore, 1977): The official New Line mini-posters with the iconic Peter Hujar rat dinner photo are cool, but they’re burnt-vermin leftovers next to the gorgeous Italian paintings of the brilliant Tino Avelli. All three sizes are musts, but this 39×55″ is the best: blazing colors appropriate for this Disney-on-diet-pills fractured fairy tale, with ravishing portraits of the criminally underrated (and lovely in person) as “snotty bitch” Continue reading THE ART OF THE WEIRD: TWELVE SEDUCTIVELY STRANGE MOVIE POSTERS, 1973-1992