Earlier this year I shared some examples of Poland’s bizarre movie poster art. But the Poles don’t have the monopoly on advertising films in odd ways.
In the mid 1980s VCR technology came to Ghana, allowing entrepreneurial types to run their own film screenings.
Armed with their VCR, a TV and a portable generator, these kind chaps would travel around Ghanaian towns and set up a sort of temporary cinema, showing the locals a film then moving on to the next location.
In order to promote their screenings, they hired local artists to create movie posters for them. Sometimes these posters were little more than paintings of the actual VHS cover, but sometimes – often when the artist hadn’t actually seen the film – the results were a little more bizarre.
These days Ghana’s economy is beginning to thrive and this practice is far less common, mainly because many Ghanaians are able to afford their own televisions and DVD players. But it’s fun to take a look back at how it used to be back in the day.
Note: In writing this article, in no way am I attempting to mock or belittle the actual screening process – I’m obviously delighted that Ghanaians were given the opportunity to enjoy films despite the fact that many large areas of the country were in terrible poverty (and, sadly, some still are).
But, at the same time, a rubbish poster is a rubbish poster and it can be funny to see how classic films are interpreted in a different culture.
Freddy’s an ugly sod at the best of times but apparently in the Ghanaian version of A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child, he’s also played by Alexi Sayle.
I’m assuming this is supposed to be based on the Alien: Resurrection poster, but I’ve no idea what else is going on. I don’t know why half of Winona Ryder’s face is exploding and I don’t know why there’s a double-jointed person holding a weird knife thing by the blade.
Anaconda here, apparently starring the mum from Nickelodeon TV show Sister, Sister in the Jennifer Lopez role.
There’s certainly Big Trouble In Little China when a weird Die Hard version of Kurt Russell (who looks more like a fake action figure you’d see in Poundland) has to protect Weird Al Yankovic from demons.
Look, I’ve seen Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest. I’ve even reviewed it on this site. There is absolutely nothing in it that’s even remotely anything like what you see above other than the fact that, yes, there is corn in it.
No wonder Child’s Play is such a terrifying film. The tale of a midget Ken Dodd who runs around stabbing random gloved hands while Courteney Cox stares on in horror? Chilling.
Cujo is Stephen King’s horrific tale about a rabid dog that attacks a family. In the book and the film, Cujo is a St Bernard dog. It is not a confident-looking yet wob-eyed Basset Hound who grins knowingly at the camera after it eats someone. No wonder Marilyn Manson looks pissed off in the background.
Looking at this, you would swear Dog Soliders is about a man who kills people while wearing a wolf mask on his head. It isn’t.
Apparently Bram Stoker’s Dracula isn’t exciting enough without two exclamation marks in the title and the wolves on Dracula’s emblem being able to shoot fire at the moon.
If I can be really nerdy for a second, this pose is from Army Of Darkness, which is the third Evil Dead film, not Evil Dead II. Also, just a minor note, but neither film starred Sylvester Stallone or Roseanne.
Bizarre Jimmy Carr illustration aside, I’m almost certain Face/Off doesn’t feature a triple-barrelled gun that is seemingly designed by the same guy who made the famous ‘Impossible Fork’ optical illusion. Trust me, I did my research at the worryingly detailed Internet Movie Firearms Database.
I’m sorry but I can’t make a suitable comment on this poster for The Spy Who Loved Me without offending men with raisins for faces, unconvincing cross-dressers or fish that look suspiciously like penises. And I don’t know what the fuck is going on with that car in the background either.
Look at the top half of this poster and you’d think: “Fair enough, that’s a reasonable rendition of Freddy Vs Jason.” Sorry, I mean Jason Vs Freddy. Then you look at the bottom half, spot that weird snake thing with arms and the subtitle The War Of Doom and discover exactly where the hallucinogens kicked in.
Look, just trust me, this is about as far away from Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood as you can get. That was a film about a psychic doing battle with Jason, not… whatever the hell this is.
Amazingly, I’m almost certain this Fright Night poster is based on the box art for Pro Evolution Soccer 3, a football game which starred bald referee Pierluigi Collina on the cover. Have a look and see for yourself – it has to be, because this guy sure as fuck isn’t in Fright Night.
It takes a hell of a lot of skill to make From Dusk Till Dawn seem even more of a “what the fuck” movie than it actually is.
Another example of a poster being ‘inspired’ by another, this effort for Hostel is actually taken from the poster for ’80s slasher film Maniac. See for yourself.
If the titular monster in Leprechaun really did eat people’s arms and eyeballs you can bet your arse Jennifer Aniston wouldn’t have starred in it.
I could go down the easy route and point out that this looks like Nicolas Cage preparing to assassinate one half of The Proclaimers, but instead I noticed that this version of The Matrix apparently stars “Laurence Reeves”. I did some research, and… well. Yes.
Yes, Planet Terror is about an erotic dancer who has her leg removed and replaced with a gun. However, the gun doesn’t have five fucking barrels (what is it with Ghanaian artists and unnecessarily-barrelled guns?) and said erotic dancer is played by Rose McGowan, not a confused Britney Spears just realising someone’s glued her mouth shut. Oh, and she doesn’t subtly bleed from the arm either.
Remember The Mummy Returns, which featured The Rock as the Scorpion King? Sorry, did I say The Rock? I of course meant former British TV comedian Les Dawson, having seemingly just beheaded bin Laden.
Finally, here’s Poltergeist 2. I’m not even going to say anything, just spend a good five minutes looking at everything going on. It’s maybe my favourite poster ever.
New to That Was A Bit Mental? Craving more silliness? Try out my review of the atrocious Movieland Wax Museum in Niagara Falls, or check out the Proper Mental List for an index of reviews of truly odd horror and non-horror films. Alternatively, if you’re more of the bookish type, have a gander at the outlandishly inexpensive That Was A Bit Mental ebook.