Posts Tagged ‘Richard Corben’

Unfortunately the comicbook community lost one of all- time greats recently- Neal Adams, legendary artist on everything from Batman (where he co- created Ra’s al Ghul & Man-Bat) to X-Men, famous for his dynamism and photo- realism as well as his fight for artist’s rights (most notably for Superman creator’s Siegel & Shuster).

But there’s a part of his career that’s not spoken about that often and that is his prolific movie poster work in the 70s. There’s been a number of times that after finding an obscure B-movie I thought to myself- that looks like a Neal Adams cover. And sure it was just that.

Through his Continuity Studio he did some of the best poster of the Kung Fu craze era (and also great cover for the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu magazine) and honestly- sometimes those posters were more impressive than the movies themselves! That’s definitely true for the Bruceploitation one. Beside Martial Arts movies he also did a number of Horror and SF posters that are almost as good.

So here’s our little list of best Neal Adams movie posters with a little bit of trivia thrown in:

05: BLACK DRAGON’S REVENGE (1975)

Released right at the beginning of a Bruceploitation craze Black Dragon’s Revenge aka Death of Bruce Lee (1975) features three rivals factions fighting for a secret manual left over by Bruce Lee ( secret manuals were all the rage back in those days).

Movie features the legendary American Martial Artist “Black Dragon” himself- Ron Van Clief as a detective trying to solve Lee’s murder, Philip Ko (The Boxer’s Omen, The Invincible Armour) and another name we’ll talk about very shortly “La Pantera” Charles Bonet. Hell, it even has a young Yuen Qiu (landlady from Kung Fu Hustle)!

Poster nicely captures both the explosive action and the exotic Hong Kong setting.

04: ENTER THREE DRAGONS (1978)

Enter Three Dragons aka The Dragon on Fire (1978) is a Bruceploitation as it gets. It has not only Godfrey Ho staple Bruce Lai in it- but it has a distinction of being a debut of our favorite Bruce Lee- cloneDragon Lee who plays his brother. Confusingly Lai is called Dragon Hong in this and Dragon Lee is called Bruce Hong so try to keep that straight.

Even thou the poster is monochromatic it still has a powerful triangular composition that works like a charm!

03: DEATH PROMISE (1977)

Death Promise (1977) was an American response to Hong Kong Martial Art flicks of the day with an interesting “evil landlords” gentrification theme. Despite a lot of silly story beats and the obvious low budget– it’s lead, Charles Bonet is great and charismatic action hero and he definitely should have done more!

Adams captures all the crazy energy and I especially like the combination of blood splattered lettering and a rat wandering in front of it. Great detail!

02: PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE

Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) is one of the more eclectic movies Adams illustrated. Combination of horror, comedy and rock music written and directed by young De Palma and scored by Paul Williams.

Poster also has a distinction of being a collaboration of two comicbook legends being drawn by Adams and painted by underground comic legend Richard Corben (DEN,Mutant World)!

01: WESTWORLD

Without a doubt the most legendary movie Adams worked on (although Grizzly has it’s fans too) is Yul Brynner’s Westworld (1973). There’s actually two different versions of this poster but this is my favorite- it shows you all you need to know about the movie.

Bonafide SF classic about amusement park full of cowboy robots (what could go wrong with that) was written/ directed by writer Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Twister). It spawned the sequel movie Futureworld (1976) , sequel series Beyond Westworld (1980) and even contemporary HBO reboot series (2016) that’s still ongoing.

Nothing is ever simple. Especially in the world of B- movie making. See Spookies for example. Movie started it’s life as Twisted Souls and was shot in the summer of 1984.Directing credits were sharedby¬† Brendan Faulkner and Thomas Doran. Now it gets weird. Some legal issues between the producers prevented final post production work from being completed and thus Twisted Souls died a slow death… Only to be RESURRECTED a year later when one of the producers hired Eugenie Joseph to direct more footage which combined with the original Twisted Souls footage became Spookies.

So the original storyline (teenagers take a wrong turn and arrive at the hunted mansion) was inter-weaved with a much older cast, crazed ancient magician trying to revive his bride and (like that’s not enought) bizzare scene of a boy looking for his birthday party (and finding DEATH instead), also- the mysterious Cat- Man that appears on and off throughout the movie seemingly serving to purpose at all.

So if you’re confused by some of the beats of the storyline, don’t worry- we are too.

Movie opens with idiotic looking boy is playing in the woods in the middle of the night for some reason. He then runs into a suspicious bearded fellow (probably a convicted rapist). After chatting for a bit the rapist leaves him be (boy is too ugly even for him) and mere seconds later gets mauled to death by the CAT-MAN! Then we cut to the Dr.Frankenstein like old man with computerized voice and German accent. He is a powerful magician Kroan looking at a (somehow) perfectly preserved corpse of his love and vows that he will bring her back to life after 75 years.

Then the camera abruptly cuts to couple of “teenagers” consisting of Italian wannabe badass, his whore girlfriend and the funny-guy. I sincerely hope to see them all dead in a mater of seconds but I’m just not that lucky. Billy is extremely happy to find some presents waiting for him in his home but he founds out that not all surprises are good surprises….

At least Billy’s agonies are over now.

At that point teenaged and some strange grown up couples arrive at the mansion all at the same time. Despite obvious dislike for one another two groups bond over some old school Ouija board, unfortunately that doesn’t turn out to be best way to have fun either. They ask some questions that they don’t want answered like “will we leave this house alive” and soon enough the woman with 80’s hairdo turns into some kind of magically powered zombie creature that goes after the rest of them (that zombie was the original evil mastermind in the first incarnation of the film as Magician didn’t exist). Next thing you know about a million zombies come out of their graves and surround the mansion and things start looking surprisingly grim for our marry little group.

Spookies 1986.mp4_001523600This look is actually an improvement for her!

Also the wizard Kreon menages to bring back his bride to life (just like that).I thought we needed ton of human sacrifices and stuff… it seems not. Anyway to his surprise him bride finally awake after 70 years- want’s only to be left alone and go back to being dead. Evil scientist aka Magician doesn’t seem pleased with that at all. Couples scatter and Italian dude and his ugly girlfriend decide to make out in this dire situation in some creepy- ass cellar. It goes well as any making out business in Horror movies because they get interrupted by some FARTING MUMMIES!!! No, we did not make this up. They also menage to kill them by pouring a really old wine over them- true story.

Classy European lady is abusing her husband just to find him dead. If that wasn’t enough she also gets attacked by a small goblin-like creature all the while Cat- Man enjoys the show watching it vicariously. Anyway the surviving members do manage to meet up again but it all ends up in an all out brawl¬† between the Italian and the elderly businessman. I would call that the most ridiculous thing in this movie but man there’s just too many candidates.

The unhappy bride menages to escape raging Kroan. Some more zombies emerge (man, this mansion sure has a nice graveyard section) and unfunny comic relief somehow ends up fallowing the mysterious Chinese lady… unfortunately it turns out that she is in fact mysterious Chinese Spider Lady. She brutally murders them while the rest of the group faces the Grim Reaper (!!!) that they awoken with their fighting. They do menage to save themselves and defeat the reaper by throwing him off the room and he detonates like a small atom bomb.

05That’s what you get for following a Chinese Spider Lady!

Next up the surviving members face a octopus- like creature with (horribly animated) electric tentacles and that would be the end of them if not for the Bride who finally kills Kroan by stabbing him in the forehead.That still doesn’t stop the zombie force and they keep chasing her all through the woods with a synthesizer beat that sounds like a straight lift from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. She finally sees the car at the end of the woods and desperately rushes inside. The driver menages to get past (or thru) all the zombies and she is finally free! only NOT- because the driver is in fact the mysterious Cat- Man!!! She screams. The End

In the mist of all the poor editing and spliced footage that doesn’t really work together this movie is envisioned as a Horror Comedy with a great emphasis on monster effects. Unfortunately effects are often quite pathetic , comical moments are nothing short of sad and horror bits are the real comedy here.

So, to sum it up for you nicely, the only truly good thing about this movie is a badass poster by legendary comicbook artist and illustrator Richard Corben- if movie was even half as captivating as his work we would really have something on our hands, unfortunately that is not the case.

spookies_poster_01

PS If you got this far and you’re still not convinced that this is NOT a movie for you- well you can might as well give it a shot, there’s full movie over here.