Don’t judge a book by its cover. We all know that, right? So when you see the cover here (as posted on Goodreads), do NOT assume that the posters herein are of the same, ’60’s head-banger-high-collage ilk. No. In fact, the posters within are clear, strong, vibrant works of art that enhance the anticipation or experience of a film (not that the cover image for what I assume to be a poster for Taxi Driver isn’t all of the above … it’s just that this very stylized image, along with the word “Underground” in the title definitely had me expecting something much different).
Ever since I started seeing the alternative posters for the individual Star Trek episodes (by Mondo, and Juan Ortiz, and others) I became fascinated with this film art genre. I had no idea that this culture was out there, but now that I know … count me a fan!
Not too long ago I reviewed a beautiful book of pen and ink drawings from the turn of the century (Treasury of American Pen and Ink Illustration). One of the only things that I didn’t like about that book was the lack of information to accompany each drawing. This book does it perfectly. Each artist has a very brief bio, a description about how the poster(s) came about, their favorite films/directors, the first film they remember seeing, and their preferred medium to work in (and their websites so we can follow their work). This is precisely what I would want to know about these film poster artists. And the information is delivered consistently and simply and does not take away from the valuable presentation of the art.
It is impossible for me to pick a favorite or even a batch of favorites. With almost every turn of the digital page I “ooh’ed” and “ahh’ed” and expressed my appreciation and desire to own so many of these. There are so many, I can’t even begin to follow all of those artists I like on their web sites! This is, simply, a stunning, superb collection. There are more than 200 posters, from over 100 different artists. It is an amazing collection and there almost has to be something that will appeal to everyone herein.
Let’s face it … movie/film posters have become sterilized and boring. When I drive by my local multiplex theatre, the posters nearly all look the same. Here, the posters are as varied as the artists who create them. And each artist clearly understands the film and has taken time to create something unique for the film. Look at these two screen shot samples below (chosen somewhat randomly for their different appearance):
While it’s difficult to make these out clearly (I WANT you to go buy this book), these are posters for Weird Science and The Wizard of Oz, and I think they exemplify how different the art and styles are inside this book.
Typically, once I’ve read and reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of a book, I delete it from my e-reader. This will be my first exception. I know I will want to look on these works again, and while I have placed a hard copy of the book in my Amazon wish list, I will say that the e-version displays VERY nicely on my Amazon app on my Samsung tablet.
I know I’m gushing a bit, but you just can’t go wrong with this collection.
Looking for a good book? Whether you like art, retro-art, ‘underground’ art, movies or films, this coffee-table style art book of alternative movie posters needs to be in your home.
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Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art From the Underground
editor: Matthew Chojnacki
publisher: Schiffer Publishing
hardcover, 204 pages