Let’s play “Six Degrees of Old Horror Movie Poster Art”!
Otherwise known as “Plagiarism Fucking Everywhere”.
We begin with this image:
This is a piece by fantasy illustrator Les Edwards, commissioned for the cover of the 1976 Fred Mustard Stewart book, Star Child. I tracked down the origins of this image after stumbling upon the VHS cover for an obscure, 1986 direct-to-video clunker called Demon Queen.
I found this site that led me to the source of the original art. However, it was not from Demon Queen that I recognized the image. The art was already familiar to me from seeing it on the alternate poster for Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City (aka City of the Walking Dead; Incubo Sulla Cittá Contaminata; L’Invasion des Zombies) (1980).
Curiously enough, the Nightmare City artwork was also used in part on a Turkish VHS release of The Exorcist (1973), and on the Australian VHS release of Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead (aka Paura nella città dei morti viventi; The Gates of Hell) (1980).
Now, here is where things begin to get a little strange. Here is another poster for Nightmare City (the closest I can come to a source for it is that it was part of the cover art for a much later Betamax release). The girl at the bottom in cutoff shorts comes directly from the poster/VHS art for Troma’s Blades (1989) - a movie about a killer lawnmower.
To make things even more confusing, we have a piece of Italian VHS artwork for Eaten Alive! (1980), also directed by Umberto Lenzi, just before he made Nightmare City (though it has been retitled here as Holocausto Canibal 2, in order to piggyback off of the success of Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980)). In the middle we see an image still incredibly similar to the Star Child artwork, though not quite as obvious. This new image was also copied on a VHS release for John Hough’s The Incubus (1982).
In the above image for Eaten Alive!, take note of the figures to the left and right. Neither of them are from that film. Those images actually originate from the alternate poster art for Bruno Mattei’s Hell of the Living Dead (aka Night of the Zombies; Virus; Apocalipsis caníbal) (1980).
To fans of Lucio Fulci films, something may look incredibly familiar about the zombie in the poster to the right. In fact, I’d say he’s a dead ringer (no pun intended) for the zombie on the U.S. poster art for Fulci’s City of the Living Dead (aka Paura nella città dei morti viventi; The Gates of Hell) (1980).
We have now come full fuckin’ circle. However, there’s still one final oddity. On a much later Spanish Betamax release of Mattei’s Hell of the Living Dead, there is a monstrous face forming in the clouds in the background. Fans of Troma films will notice that it is directly ripped off from the U.S. poster artwork for Class of Nuke ‘Em High (1986).
Basically, older horror films constantly ripped each other off when it came to promotional artwork, especially Italian horror films of the early 80’s. Whether this had anything to do with the decline of the Italian film industry in the 80’s is anyone’s guess.
One can only sit and wonder how they were able to get away with these shenanigans, especially when nearly all of these films were released in the same damn year.
(Seriously, considering how often I notice it, I oughta get paid for spotting these things)
username:666 by nana825763.
After watching that other video, I just had to check out more of this user’s work, and I have to say, their videos are truly macabre masterpieces, and utterly captivating. Usually, with my near-nonexistent attention span, I often find myself pausing in the middle of even the shortest videos to check on other things, but with these videos, I can’t pull my eyes away for even a millisecond.