Woefully Misleading Movie Posters

A collection of movie posters that promised patrons something rather different than the film that they would eventually see.

Inevitably, our look at woefully misleading VHS cover art has sparked your imagination, with other examples being forwarded. Some of these have been movie posters rather than video sleeves, and rather than muddy the waters, it seemed sensible to do a separate follow-up piece. Let’s face it – this ‘misleading art’ series could run and run!

So here are a few movie posters that shamefully miss-sell the movie in question. Again, mere hyperbole and hype are not enough – these posters need to actually mislead. Enjoy!

Let’s start with possibly the greatest film poster of all time…

Where to begin? It’s hard to say just what film this even is – probably the 2005 War of the Worlds, though of course that wasn’t directed by James Cameron or from ‘the best director of Van Helson’, so who knows? I think that we can be certain that whatever the film being advertised here is, there is no way that it could possibly match the magnificent promise of the poster. Thanks to Steven Sheil who first unearthed this work of creative genius.

Thanks to Alex, here are two Italian crime thrillers – poliziotteschi as they are known – retooled by cunning distributors to look like horror movies. The Cauldron of Death is better known as Ricco: The Mean Machine, while Almost Human had an English title that I guess cried out for marketing as a horror film. Admittedly, this genre is a notoriously violent, brutal and outrageous one, so viewers expecting horror might have only been briefly disappointed.

Jennifer was a 1978 Carrie-copy, notable for the lack of carnage and near-naked women being crushed by giant snakes as they rampage through the streets. Well done to the French distributor for giving it their best with this one.

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep/Godzilla vs the Sea Monster began life as a King Kong sequel before Kong was replaced by Godzilla. Unfortunately, no one seems to have told the Italian poster artist.

Jean Rollin’s haunting Requiem for a Vampire is here transformed into a chicks-in-chains trash fest by Harry Novak’s Boxoffice International. Viewers looking for wall-to-wall bondage would have felt screwed.

Despite the implications of the Troma promotional team, Combat Shock is neither Rambo nor The Exterminator, and its junkie protagonist is rather less buff than is implied here.

Polish viewers attracted by this poster were perhaps disappointed to find that James Cameron’s Aliens was not psychedelic erotic science fiction drama and more a macho shoot ’em up. Top marks for artistic creativity, though.

And thanks again to Mr Sheil, here is a remarkable piece of confusion from Pakistan. OSS117 Is Not Dead is a real film, but the cast and director listed here belong to The Assassination Bureau, which does not remotely resemble the Bondian romp pictured. Which film would you actually see after you’d handed over your money? Who Knows? Chances are that it would be neither of them.

As ever, we encourage reader submissions – this is, of course, the tip of the iceberg.

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  1. The monster on the poster for ALMOST HUMAN is the demon Astaroth from the 1920 version of THE GOLEM.

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