I've been a long-term believer that most foreign horror posters are far superior to our own domestic output, especially since the awful '90s trend of "floating heads" syndrome - where four or five actors' faces are plastered on a one-sheet or DVD cover next to the movie title - basically the creative equivalent of the Powers That Be writing, "We just don't give a shit" in big bold letters.
Our friends across the pond are also responsible for some of the more outrageous, head-scratching artwork out there, and yes, I wholeheartedly advocate this and really think it needs to be showcased. My idea for this post came about after seeing what I think is a German poster for An American Werewolf in London - it really is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen.
Now, AAWIL is one of my favorite horror movies, ever. I used to watch it on Bravo every Halloween, and the special edition released in 2001 was one of the first DVDs I ever owned (behind Saving Silverman and Hannibal, oddly enough). I bought the Full Moon Edition the second it came out, and proceeded to enjoy both the exceptional Beware the Moon documentary and the movie again this weekend. It gets better with each viewing, and in my opinion is the ultimate werewolf movie (sorry, The Howling).
So imagine my bewilderment and confusion when I stumbled upon the poster above. I'm assuming the artwork is depicting the scene in which the main character David is waiting in line outside wearing a woman's coat. The reason for his strange wardrobe choice, of course, is because he wakes up in the zoo completely naked after a night of terrorizing the populace of London, and decides to steal it from a lady in the park (after a hilarious encounter with a kid and his balloons, I might add).
Perhaps more troubling, however: why is the guy standing to the right of David transfixed on his chest with a creepy smile glued to his face? The answer to that may be more terrifying than anything the movie itself can offer.
The only indication that this is an actual horror movie is that David's left leg is more hairy than his right. I don't know any lycanthropes that only have one body part transform while the rest remains human, especially since this doesn't happen in AAWIL. Imagine if John Landis told Rick Baker, "You know what? Screw Academy Award-winning special effects. We don't need a groundbreaking, full-body metamorphosis. Just do one leg - that will get the audience's blood pumping." Thank goodness they ended up setting the bar a bit higher.
Honestly, it's frightening to think this is how distributors wanted to promote the movie: "If you love cross-dressing creatures of the night (who could pass as the long-lost twin of Dr. Frank N. Furter), this film is right up your alley." I can't help but think if this poster had music accompanying it, I'd undoubtedly expect Q Lazzarus' "Goodbye Horses" to play on loop; it would fit perfectly.
As a nice bookend to this column, I'd like to present a close runner-up, this one focusing on David and nurse Alex's relationship:
This should not come as a shock to anyone, but yes, this batshit craziness comes straight from Japan. Basically everything that comes out of that country could have been created by someone condemned to life in an insane asylum (i.e. hentai, 'nuff said), but I think it's this loony-bin quality that gives most Japanese culture its charm.
And the red coat makes another appearance!