The best Star Trek film of all time is Wrath of Khan. This is an undeniable fact. The reboot may be the best looking. The Voyage Home may be the most fun. But Wrath of Khan is the best overall film. The story is fantastic. Building upon one of the greatest episodes of the original series (Space Seed for those of you don’t know your episodes very well), we get to watch the violent return of the best villain in Star Trek history. But you also get to watch Kirk deal with the fact that he’s getting older and what that means. What do life and death mean to a man who’s spent most of his years travelling through space instead of building a home and a family. Wrath of Khan is intelligent, fun, and action-packed. And it had some really posters too.
This week we’re going to continue a theme we started last week with Dune: unfairly maligned sci-fi/fantasy films. Highlander is actually one of my favorite fantasy action films from the 1980s. And while it has some problems (some of Christopher Lambert’s acting, Sean Connery as a Spanish nobleman), it has plenty more that is wonderful. Highlander spawned an impressively longrunning franchise that according to Wikipedia includes, “five Highlander movies, two television series, an animated series, an animated movie, an animated flash-movie series, ten original novels, seventeen comic book issues, and various licensed merchandise.”
It says something about the original film if people continue wanting to experience continuations of the story for that long. Especially when Highlander II: The Quickening is one of the worst sequels of all time. The idea behind the story is fascinating. A race of immortals living among humans and slowing battling among themselves until there is only one of them left. And when you couple that with a soundtrack by Queen, you have a something that will grab most anyone’s attention. They also had some pretty fantastic posters to catch your eye if the Queen music failed.
David Lynch’s 1984 version of Dune is one of my favorite films. I know its the director’s least favorite of his own films, but I love it. I love the music by Toto. I love the huge desert landscapes. I love how epic the whole thing is. No, it doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sense at times. And yes, it is extremely long. And I’ll even admit that the internal monologues (that I happen to think are kind of a cool touch) might be a little off-putting at times.
But I still think its a great film. And its one that I re-watch every couple of months (along with Conan the Barbarian and From Russia with Love). And the posters are pretty great too. They really convey the same feeling that you get from the opening narration of the film: Everything is on an epic scale, and you probably won’t quite grasp it all.
The seventies were a wonderful time for the American film industry. Scorsese, Milius, Spielberg, Coppola, and many more were just beginning to hit their stride. Animation was starting to become experimental with people like Ralph Bakshi. And blaxploitation burst onto the scene. Really, exploitation film in general burst onto the scene, but my favorite kind is blaxploitation. The characters are usually more interesting, its funnier, and the music is always incredible.
One of my favorite things that blaxploitation did was branch into horror films. Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, JD’s Revenge, and Sugar Hill are just a few examples. But the crowning jewel of the blaxploitation horror movement was Blacula. Today, many people write the film off because of the cheesy title. And their are definitely some cheesy parts to the film. But its much more nuanced than people give it credit for. With some genuinely creepy moments, a very interesting plot, and a groundbreaking example of homosexuality in film (and by an interracial couple no less). Plus it had some great posters.
While not the first science fiction film, Metropolis is one of the earliest greats. Master filmmaker Fritz Lang brought us a world that still seems remarkably possible. A world where society is completed divided by the “haves” and the “have-nots”. The poor live beneath the rich (both literally and figuratively), and do all the work to keep the city going and functioning. And there is a beautiful robot that drives everyone crazy. Which is nowhere near happening right now, but is still pretty cool.
Anyway, Metropolis helped show the world how powerful science fiction could be when its utilized correctly. Even today, this is not done enough. But when it is, some amazing things can happen. Enjoy this small peek at our possible future.
We’re finally here. Valentine’s Day. And the latest film to come out of Tarantino’s encyclopedic mind, the revenge-slavesploitation-western Django Unchained. He continues to reference the films that influence him in both the movie itself and the posters that advertise for it. And we continue to benefit from it with some of the coolest posters to come out in years. I have to wonder how much he’s been influenced by working so much with the Alamo Drafthouse over the years as well. Some of these posters look very similar to Mondo posters stylistically. And that’s definitely not a complaint.
Death Proof is the Tarantino half of the Grindhouse experiment. In 2007, Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez decided to each make half of an old school exploitation double feature. Rodriguez brought us a zombie apocalypse thriller in Planet Terror, while Tarantino gave us the story of a crazed stunt man that murders helpless girls with his car, and the women that decide to fight back. Just like his other films, Death Proof has fantastic posters. And, as usual, they are very reminiscent of the films his movie is referencing. In this case, 1970s exploitation cinema. Enjoy.