Book Review: Alternative Movie Posters (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, October 31, 2013
The market for alternative movie posters has transformed into a booming industry, flush with monumental bouts of creativity and encircled by clouds of fluffy admiration. And so the task before author/poster curator Matthew Chojnacki is simultaneously jealousy inducing and unenviable. As someone who has recently agonized over which prints to frame for a new office and which to store, I can sympathize with the difficulty inherent in selecting what to include, but the degree and quantity are worlds apart. Chojnacki has composed a symphony for the visual context, and readers will find hundreds of awe inspiring, full color prints within the bindings of Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art From the Underground ( Schiffer Publishing, $34.99), out this week. With an eye for the weird and the wonderful, Alternative Movie Posters navigates the seedy alleyways hidden behind Hollywood's assembly line motion picture poster machine. These corpulent husk of creatively bankrupt cut and paste jobs form the perfect fertilizer, which has nurtured a thriving alternative poster scene. Featuring posters which can be found in the long digital lines of Mondo, at conventions spread across the country, and at repertoire film screenings such as those of The Alamo Drafthouse or The Colonial Theatre, your eyes will get a spare tire feasting on this rich visuals. They've become coveted collectables and even earned despicable piracy (a sure sign of having reached the sphere of influence).
Collected within the pages Alternative Movie Posters is a visually stunning cross section of posters from all of these events, plus some which were only ever part of artists' personal collections. Every single time I've opened this book I fall in love with a new poster, enshrining it as my favorite du jour. From Jesse Philips' amazing Iron Man release ala Mondo, Josha Burdich's beautiful pen and ink Rocky Horror Picture Show one sheet for the Poster Collective, and James Gilleard's striking Creature from the Black Lagoon piece, to Chris Garofalo's off the chain Black Christmas print and Johnny Destructo's wicked Poltergeist art (both for Colonial Theatre shows), this stunning book is filled to overflowing with talent and creativity.
With over two hundred high fidelity posters included in this oversize hardback, Alternative Movie Posters is THE coffee table book for genre film fans. Each poster is accompanied by biographical information on the artists, allowing fascinating insight into their influences, creative process, preferred medium, and favorite films. Care for both the art and artists was clearly built into the bones of this work, giving fans a coveted look behind the curtain.
For horror and cult film fans, this is an absolute must purchase, but that shouldn't preclude a broader audience. Alternative Movie Posters casts a wide net, showcasing posters for films like Up, Rushmore, and Anchorman, alongside those for Street Trash, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and The Warriors. Those who miss the halcyon days of inspired movie posters and those who love killer art should already be ordering this book in another browser tab.
Matthew Chojnacki's Alternative Movie Posters releases this week and is available now from Schiffer Publishing in a handsome coffee table hardback for $34.99. I cannot recommend this impressive collection of visually resplendent artwork any more fully. Now if you will excuse me, I've got art to lustily pore over.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.
Mania Grade: A+
Author: Matthew Chojnacki
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Genre: Poster Art
Format: Large Hardcover, 207 pages