Movie posters artists used to be a fairly mysterious bunch. Like the artists who graced pulp novels, their work was often individual enough for fans to immediate recognise it – and often associate it with specific genres and nations – but the names of the artists responsible were for the most part unknown. These days, of course, the internet and obsessive fandom has given a name to some of the characters behind this work – Tom Chantrell in Britain, for instance. But back in the day, the best we could hope for would be a signature that gave a clue as to who the artist might be.
Take, for instance, the name ‘Sciotti’ that appeared on a host of Italian exploitation movie poster art in the 1980s, often making its way to the UK video releases. Who was this artist, who’s slick and stylish – and immediately recognisable – work was so omnipresent on the works of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Joe D’Amato and various other filmmakers? Sciotti’s work felt as much a part of the final days of wild and outrageous Italo-sleaze as the films themselves.
Enzo Sciotti was, in fact, a prolific graphic artist, born in 1944, who ground out over 3000 film posters in a long career. His work transcended Italy and also made it to American and British productions, as well as comic book covers and record sleeves. He also produced localised posters for US movies, back in the days before everything was standardised globally. And while his work covered all genres, it’s his horror film posters that are best-loved by fans. For me though, I think his erotic work has the edge. But for both genres, Sciotti managed to make the films that he was illustrating look simultaneously more sleazy and more sophisticated – quite a skill.
Sciotti is still working at the age of 73, though the market for his kind of poster – and, indeed, the sort of films that he used to provide artwork for – has diminished considerably. One of his most recent works is a new piece of artwork for a special edition video release of the Maniac reboot, showing that he has not mellowed in his old age.
Sciotti has published a book of his artwork. You can buy it here: http://www.enzosciotti.com/galleria/libro-il-cinema-dipinto-di-enzo-sciotti/