Movie posters are a dying art. Today, most are little more than quickly slapped-together Photoshopped montages. But back in the days before the internet, posters really had to sell movies, which meant hiring artists and photographers with enough creativity to (sometimes deviously) get butts planted in theater seats. In the tradition of P.T. Barnum, sometimes the best posters were used to entice moviegoers into seeing the worst movies...
THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 (2007)
The Hills Have Eyes was a surprisingly solid remake (both critically and financially) of Wes Craven's original classic. So it was no surprise a sequel followed soon after, preceded by this beautifully disturbing teaser poster, which ended up being banned by the MPAA. It was modified to depict feet protruding from the sack (instead of a clawing hand), which was somehow deemed acceptable. Go figure. At any rate, this brief bit of controversy is the only memorable aspect of this dull retread.
THE CARS THAT EAT PEOPLE (1974)
The original Australian film, The Cars That Ate Paris, was retitled by its American distributor to push it as a horror film (which it really isn't). Too bad, because who wouldn't want to see cars literally devour a bunch of poor bastards on the highway as depicted in the poster? Unfortunately, it's about the folks of a small town who earn a living by causing car accidents and salvaging the wreckage. The film itself is mostly remembered today as director Peter Weir's first feature.
Look at that buff dude on that badass bike, sword raised high as he roars defiantly down the highway! Guess what...there's nothing remotely like him or that bike anywhere in this Roger Corman-produced, no-budget 'sequel' to Death Race 2000. But unlike the cult classic, all the laughs here are completely unintentional.
DEEP BLUE SEA (1999)
While few would ever defend Deep Blue Sea as a good movie with a straight face, most would agree it's a hell of a lot of goofy, ridiculous fun, especially Samuel L. Jackson's semi-classic death scene. This promotional poster had it all...great tagline, super-hot Saffron Burrows and a shark's maw big enough to swallow a volkswagen.
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
This film has its admirers, many who might have an overly-nostalgic attachment to it. That still doesn't make Friday the 13th any good, and even director Sean S. Cunningham admitted he was just trying to capitalize on the success of Halloween, having the chutzpah to place ads in Variety magazine before he had anything but a title. Aside from its creative kills (courtesy of Tom Savini), the film is poorly acted, badly written and clumsily directed. Still it was perfectly marketed, and this beautiful poster is a true work of art.