Category Archives: posters

Rabies – Don’t smuggle Death (1970’s)

At the tender age of 7, I found myself on an unexpected adventure one Sunday night / Monday morning travelling in a hired small truck, zipping around lockups and warehouse storage areas at Heathrow airport. Besides the obvious thrill of staying up later than I ever had before, the locations were also exciting. Cold, dark and mysterious places full of goods loaded on pallets or in boxes. The place was also pretty much deserted as well, which gave the place a slightly spooky edge. I remember going with my Dad (whose idea this trip was – lest you think this was a solo adventure) into a building at Heathrow, going down a dimly lit corridor, and seeing this;

 The disembodied skull with the rictus grin  was pretty disconcerting. However, this paled in comparison with what waited for me around the next corner of the corridor;

DON’T SMUGGLE DEATH. The DEATH and RABIES in blood red lettering. The snarling wild eyed beast with it’s slavering jaws. The innocent victim. prone and defenceless. There is shock value in the image, and the use of the colour red emphasising the 2 keywords in the advertising. It is a hard hitting image, and a powerful message being conveyed. It affected me, especially in the context of being young, being in a slightly alien, dark and deserted environment. The bitter sweet memories of childhood terror!

Britain had some of the toughest quarantine laws in the world in the 70’s, following an outbreak of Rabies across Europe. With the UK Borders under attack from this unseen menace, the British Government began a poster and TV campaign about Rabies awareness. As you can see, it’s message was stark and uncompromising, with thed TV campaign being arguably the most unsettling;


Fascinating article on how the UK responded to the threat of Rabies;

Poster Images courtesy of the Wellcome Library

The List – The Top 3 Italian Post Apocalypse Movie Posters (1980s)

The Italian Post-Apocalypse film industry of the early to mid 1980s was not much more than an attempt at cashing in on the success (both critical and commercial) of George Millers Australian epic Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior). Although many of these films had a certain appeal, they could not match George Millers original for design, action and the depiction of a lawless wasteland where life was cheap and expendable and some resource (for example, fuel) was the main commodity. The villains in Mad Max 2, Pappagello and Wez, were truly scary and formidable characters – something all the Italian Post Apocalyptic films lacked. Likewise, none of the Italian films had a Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), who was a brooding, powerful presence – a broken man who despite all he had lost managed to maintain his humanity in the most dire and dangerous circumstances.

One thing that the Italian Post Apocalypse films did have though, was great Poster art. Dramatic, stylish and thrilling, this is the TWLB guide to the top 3 (in reverse order) Italian Post Apocalypse Movie Posters!;

No.3) The New Barbarians (1982)

Laser guns, explosions and Fred Williamson in a metal headband with an archery bow. With motorbikes flying through the air. Plus the obligatory customised car. It looks great, the artwork is good and it sells the film (which is one of the better of the genre). Treat it like a visual checklist of some of more obvious elements of these movies, but cherish it for being a damn good marketing tool. I had a huge poster of this in my bedroom in 1983, gained from the video rental shop (Replay) in Fazeley. Because the man who worked there fancied my mom.

Trailer for ‘The New Barbarians’

Finally, the fine Portuguese entry for ‘The New Barbarians’ (aka ‘Os Implacaveis Exterminadores’) – a bespoke cinema poster from 1982. An amazing find!

this image can be seen better here;

Futuresport of the past part II – Death Race 2000 (1975)

Directed by Paul Bartel, Produced by Roger Corman, ‘Death Race 2000’ is the finest future sport film bar none. Released the same year as Rollerball, the film maps out a broken down United States of America exists under Martial Law where what is left of society thrills to bloody, deadly violence masquerading as entertainment. Playing out like a hyper violent version of ‘Wacky Races‘, the film documents the Transcontinental Road Race, and the competitors who race in it, with the main character being ‘Frankenstein’ played by David Carradine. Here the marvellous Japanese Theatrical poster prominently features Sylvester Stallone, who plays Frankensteins main rival ‘Machine Gun’ Joe Viterbo;

The film is full of action, fast customised cars, black humour, over the top violence and political commentary – what more can you ask for? It is about 10 times better than Rollerball, which is waaayy too slow and dull. This is the movie about future sport, with the Schwarzenegger actioner ‘The Running Man‘ coming a respectable second.

Here is the trailer;


IMDB entry for Death Race 2000

Rotten Tomatoes rates it

They tried to make a videogame out of this? In 1976??

Paul WS Anderson has done a remake with Jason Statham (so draw your own conclusions)