Dave Rice 7:21 a.m., May 23
Part 5: Famous Movie Poster Rejects You've Never Seen (Exclusive)
Famous Movie Poster Rejects You've Never Seen Part 5
Hey again, we're back with more never-seen rejected movie posters, from a private collection I photographed some 20-odd years ago. Links to previous entries below.
As detailed in part one, the collection included original painted artwork, photo proofs, concept mockups, and final proof prints, almost all about the size of actual movie posters. They were created for producer clients, mostly in the '80s, long before generic electronic design homogenized the entire movie poster industry so thoroughly that it looks like the same three guys hack out every poster for every movie being made.
Most of the photos were shot with an old 110 Instamatic camera, over the course of the few hours I handled the originals: it just seemed like a good idea to archive what all was there. In response to email queries, the collection's owner sold off the entire lot piece by piece years ago. I have no idea if any ever made it back into the marketplace.
I frankly haven't thought about this photo album for years, and I'm just this week discovering (viva la Google) how my old pics compare to the final printed posters! We're pretty much discovering these rare pop artifacts together as I dust them off, you lucky Reader readers...
Today, we're looking at attempted "cult" flick Voyage of the Rock Aliens with Pia Zadora, the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon/Pee Wee Herman surf comedy Back to the Beach, psycho-ex thriller Fatal Attraction, alleged comedy Planes Trains & Automobiles, James Woods in Cop, the Tom Cruise hit All the Right Moves, drive-in horror hit Deadly Blessing, the re-release of Roger Corman's original Little Shop of Horrors, import sex comedy Perfect Timing, historical drama Hanoi Hilton, Stallone sequel Rocky V (under its original title Final Bell), and Nothing But Trouble, back when it was still known as Welcome to Valkenvania.
The Pia Zadora stinker Voyage of the Rock Aliens was a cynical attempt to create a "cult" film (co-starring Harold & Maude icon Ruth Gordon), but the above rejected poster couldn't make up its mind WHAT to showcase. I can't say final poster (below) is any improvement. The trippy guitar-shaped spaceship all but obscured in the reject gets a sweet makeover (with tuning pegs instead of satellite dishes on the headstock), and there's still a (space?)hydrant leaking onto a (space?)dog, but most of the other proposed elements were ditched. Did they really need to add a guy climbing out of a (space)urinal, though?
Above concept art for the (pretty cool) Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon/Pee Wee Herman vehicle Back to the Beach is SO bizarre, words fail me. In this case, the final poster (below) is a VAST improvement! The only holdover from the nearly deranged mockup was the title logo.
I'm really impressed by the design qualities of above concept art for the Michael Douglas/Glenn Close thriller Fatal Attraction, even though it looks like Douglas' stunt double posed for the pic rather than him. The final poster (below) works well now that we all know the storyline, but I can't help but feel the reject would have been a much stronger pre-release promo. Ahh, whaddo-eye-no, the ghastly thing was a monster hit anyway (in support of my many rabbit friends, I'm still boycotting that one - my duck friends won't let me watch Journey to the Center of the Earth either).
The James Woods Cop mockup was pretty similar to what ended up being used.
Welcome to Valkenvania (above) was later retitled Nothing But Trouble, with a few shifts done to a couple of characters in the final artwork as well (below).
An inexplicable misfire: above painting was intended for sports dramedy All the Right Moves. WTF?! I mean, it's well rendered. I suppose. If it were a vintage National Lampoon cover. But...WTF?? An orgasmic beer mug getting football-teabagged, what looks like Lou Ferrigno's arm, and a boob shot right outta Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher"?! It's hard to imagine anything other than the famed final version below with Tom Cruise in all his scientologistical splendor!
Deadly Blessing reject (above) VS final poster below. Only major changes are the rejected tagline "Beauty Comes to an Evil Climax" (coupled with the pic, maybe it looked like the movie was about an evil beauty, um, climaxing?) and some kind of satanic-looking logo that got cut. Also, note how the overlay text is lowered several inches on the final print, the better to reveal MUCH more glowing blue cleavage...
Despite Jack Nicholson only making a brief appearance in the original Roger Corman horror comedy Little Shop of Horrors, it was Jack they focused on for the re-release (above). The design appears to have turned up in poster variants, including a Spanish version (below).
It took me awhile to find a good printed version of the poster for obscure sex comedy Perfect Timing that used above artwork, but here 'tis below.
Above poster design for Hanoi Hilton is pretty much what was used, though an additional fence railing, some chain link fencing on either side of the doorway, and an extra Vietnamese soldier was added to the final print (below), I guess to reinforce the "captivity" theme.
Above concept proof for Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes Trains & Automobiles seemed to favor the titular plane, a motif that turned up in altered form on the French movie poster (along with a train and an auto, tho they were flying too). The whole vehicle schtick was jettisoned entirely for the U.S. version now so recognizable (below), wherein Candy wore basically the same dumpy outfit seen on the proof, while Martin went from trenchcoat to rumpled suit (duh!), and they BOTH lost the stupid hats (who the Hell puts a hat on Martin's million dollar mane?!).
Rocky: The Final Bell (above) was the original title for Rocky V, for which the below poster (wisely) didn't rely on a near-comatose closeup of Stallone.
And, finally, below is another mystery poster that wasn't marked: part one's mystery pic (which turned out to be an oil painting for A Time of Destiny, 1988) got identified by astute reader DarrenJSeeley. Any help on this one????
That's it for now: check back to the Reader site in a coupla dayz for part 6, with rejected art from Off Limits (kinda creepy cool), Mac & Me (worse than you can even imagine), Force III (right out of a biker mag centerfold...in Hell!) and, well, you'll see when we get 'em up here ---
PREVIOUS ENTRIES IN THIS SERIES:
Part 1: Batman, Witches of Eastwick, Supergirl
Part 2: The Fly, Vamp, Fright Night, Howard the Duck, Stallone: Over the Top, Ladyhawk
Part 3: Horror film Near Dark, horsey drama Phar Lap, the Robert DeNiro/Albert Brooks sleeper Midnight Run (still under its working title Running Scared when these two posters were mocked up), 3D cartoon Starchaser: The Legend of Orin, Airplane-style comedy Bad Medicine (with Steve Gutenberg and Julie Hagerty), and war story Hamburger Hill.
Part 4: Collegiate comedy Campus Man, horror hits Wes Craven's Deadly Friend and Blood Diner, and rock and roll horror flop Trick or Treat, as well as Texas Godfather, Vanishing Act, China Girl, 8 Million Ways to Die, sci-fi biker flick City Limits, and war romance Purple Hearts.
Part 6: Horror comedy Return of the Living Dead, Force III, Meatballs III, plainclothes cop thriller Off Limits (Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines), sci-fi McDonald’s commercial Mac & Me, the Diane Lane potboiler Lady Beware, UK comedy Mr. Love, Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle, Walter Bannert’s German-language Austrian film the Inheritors, the Dudley Moore/Eddie Murphy flop Best Defense, Richard Donner’s Inside Moves, William Peter Blatty’s Ninth Configuration, adventure flick Tai-Pan, German musical the Frog Prince with Helen Hunt, and the Rosary Murders.
RELATED ARTICLES ON THE READER WEBSITE:
"Field Of Screens" -- Cover story 7-6-06: Complete theater-by-theater history of San Diego drive-ins thru the years, including interviews with operators and attendees, dozens of rare and unpublished photos, vintage local theater ads, and more. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
"Before It Was The Gaslamp: Balboa’s Last Stand" -- Cover story 6-21-07: In the late 70s/early 80s, I worked at downtown San Diego's grindhouse all-night movie theaters. This detailed feature recalls those dayz, the death of the Balboa Theatre, etc., including interviews with operators, vintage local movie ads, and more. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
"Pussycat Theaters: When 'Cathouses Ruled California" -- for the first time, the inside story of the west coast Pussycat Theater chain of adult moviehouses, which peaked in the '70s but later died out. Company head Vince Miranda owned and lived part time at the Hotel San Diego, operating several other local theaters downtown and in Oceanside, Escondido, etc. Told by those who actually ran the theaters, with a complete theater-by-theater encyclopedia covering every Pussycat that ever screened in CA -- http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...