Monday, Nov. 11, 2013

Underground Movie Posters

Eyecatching alternative to multiplex throwaways

By David Luhrssen
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Remember when movie posters were cool? Especially during the 1950s and ‘60s, movie posters attracted designers influenced by cutting edge graphic ideas. Sometimes they were as artful as the films they advertised.

But as Matthew Chojnacki writes in the introduction to his eye-catching coffee table book, Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground (Schiffer Publishing), in the ‘90s, the “industry’s intention for movie posters lost its way.” The posters became star platforms, billboards for the faces that were expected to sell the pictures. The essence of the film was usually left unexpressed.

In response, artist-fans have been creating their own movie posters, sometimes commissioned by film festivals or specialty cinemas but often just for creative expression. The examples collected in the full-color pages of Alternative Movie Posters show a range of influences, including much homage to the classic work of Saul Bass (Anatomy of a Murder), but also comic books, neon art and even Cuban silkscreen movie posters from the ‘60s.

Every entry is preferable to most anything hanging in the hallways of the multiplexes.

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