20 Awesome Polish Posters

This week, we've been mostly digging through an archive of spectacular Polish promo one-sheets.

They're strange, lateral and really rather wonderful: striking colours, bizarre fonts, and, unlike their western counterparts, dripping with outside-the-box thinking.

Oh, and did we mention that a fair few of them are also totally and utterly bonkers...?

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: It'd be the curious animated tale of a rainbow-quiffed transvestite (who is that supposed to be, anyway...?) with a crippling addiction to those old 54321 chocolate bars. In a cage.

Would we actually watch that? Who cares!? We want a copy of that poster, and we want it NOW. Preferably sooner.

Next: Duel [page-break]

Duel (1971)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Rather than a white-knuckle cat-and-mouse thriller featuring poor old sweaty-mug Dennis Weaver and his brush with The 18-Wheeler From Hell, it'd be a revealing documentary about...er, paedophile road signs?

We're not really sure to be honest, this one's just mental .

Next: The Godfather Part II [page-break]

The Godfather Part II (1974)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: The whole thing would be set a century earlier, and either the protagonist would be an irredeemably narcissistic chain-smoker, or David Cronenberg would later be sued to hell and back for his 1981 head-'splodin masterpiece Scanners .

Next: Blue Velvet [page-break]

Blue Velvet (1986)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: There's a fairly good chance a lot of people would've taken their children to see it, assuming it was a feelgood musical romp about Feltwoman's beautiful singing voice and its ability to repel nasty things like knives, shooters and hotdogs with tongues.

Next: They Shoot Horses, Don't They? [page-break]

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Good grief. Something about the rise of a highly illegal new party game? An epoch-shattering exposé of MPs' weekend dress-up habits? We dread to think, but it looks deeply unsavoury all the same.

Two for the late showing, please.

Next: Nashville [page-break]

Nashville (1975)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: We'd be in for a gritty, grainy, Tobe Hooper-esque shockfest about a rifle-toting serial killer slaughtering 1920s hookers on the Tennessee carnival circuit.

Rather than, um, a light-hearted comedy musical poking gentle fun at the indigenous blues-country scene. Which is what it actually is.

Next: Once Upon A Time In America [page-break]

Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Sergio Leone would look somewhat out of his depth behind the tiller of this arthouse-as-hell pseudo-biopic, focussed as it would evidently be on a wisecracking '60s gumshoe with a career-threatening penchant for epic shoulder pads and stupidly ostentatious earrings.

Next: Alien [page-break]

Alien (1979)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Well, it sort of is, isn't it? For our money, this one does a particularly brilliant job of articulating the claustrophobic, face-hugging horror of the franchise debut.

Although at a push, it could be mistaken for a transparent school-sponsored morality tale about The Boy Who Kept Chewing In Class .

Next: My Own Private Idaho [page-break]

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Again, this one takes a pretty solid stab at distilling the grim and grimy essence of Gus Van Sant's homoerotic hustler tragedy.

We'd rather it didn't look quite so much as though the pink guy had just bitten off the grey guy's knackers, but hey - it's probably a metaphor, or something.

Next: Days Of Heaven [page-break]

Days Of Heaven (1978)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: We'd be hiding behind the sofa before the opening credits even started rolling. What the bejesus is going on here, seriously?

It looks like a bloated infant corpse being dredged up from the depths of a haunted lagoon, the very idea of which puts us right off our popcorn nearly. *Crunch*

Next: Cabaret [page-break]

Cabaret (1972)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Sigmund Freud's ashes would be first in line on opening night. Of course, it very much summarises what the film is essentially about, we must agree.

That doesn't alter the fact that whoever designed this cacklingly demented one-sheet (that's Liza Minelli's face on a swastika bumcheek , if your mind somehow refused it like a horse at a water hazard) is clearly working through some very deep-seated issues indeed.

Next: Raiders Of The Lost Ark [page-break]

Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: It would be awesome, frankly; the entire Indy franchise would've had a distinctly different aesthetic if this glorious PR piece had made it on to the mood boards prior to shooting.

Hell, far from embodying Temple Of Doom 's knockabout panto vibe, Short Round would probably have been a shapeshifting Lovecraftian Cthulhu or something. Sigh.

Next: Adam's Rib [page-break]

Adam's Rib (1949)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: We're thinking depressing British kitchen sink drama with an astringent subtext of domestic violence - something along the lines of Saturday Night And Sunday Morning meets Poor Cow .

Or possibly a dryly instructive public information film entitled Snogging: You're Doing It Wrong .

Next: The Fly [page-break]

The Fly (1986)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: The Man With The Golden Sick . Critics unite in branding this needlessly puerile instalment the weakest in the Bond franchise to date.

Apart from A View To A Kill , obviously.

Next: Weekend At Bernie's [page-break]

Weekend At Bernie's (1989)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: How drastically does the promo artist have to misread a film's vibe before the distributor insists on a do-over?

We can picture the plot synopsis this designer was sent: 'Young professionals unearth corporate fraud. Boss dies. Protagonists must create illusion he's still alive to avoid their own assassination.'

"Yes, I memo'd the poster guy. Yes, I definitely emphasised 'infantile comedy'. Pretty definitely. Happy hour, you say? Sure, see you downstairs in five!"

Next: Trading Places [page-break]

Trading Places (1983)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Then in all likelihood, this would be the most inaccurately marketed film of the '80s.

"Duuude, did you see that film with the crazy Lizard Mountain poster yet? Seriously, why did they draw that? I couldn't actually concentrate on the movie because I was so tripped out by the artwork. I dunno, I think it was about, like, racism or alcoholics or whatever...I'll be honest, I was pretty blazed."

Next: The Witches Of Eastwick [page-break]

The Witches Of Eastwick (1987)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: It would be X-rated, and set against the backdrop of some shady, massively esoteric and extremely unhealthy fetish scene.

But even so, we very much doubt your average multiplex would tolerate the sickening affront to human sensibilities that is Custard Boner Woman and her agonising Needles Of Wrong. Tear her down and burn her at the stake, stat!

Next: The Runaway Train [page-break]

Runaway Train (1985)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: We'd probably expect something along the lines of Tremors crossed with Nosferatu , as opposed to the resolutely real-world rail romp we'd be getting.

Although it's doubtful that many of us would bother seeing it, since the promo art suggests a thinly-veiled slab of extreme feminist propaganda. Yes, we're saying it kinda reminds us of a horrible bitey cock-monster. No, we didn't design the Cabaret poster. Shut up.

Next: Face/Off [page-break]

Face/Off (1997)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Oh, sure - after decades of impressively arty obfuscation, the movie where two guys have their faces removed and swapped over is the one where you decide to go all literal us, is it?

Still, you've managed to make said scene look a lot more nauseatingly visceral than it is in reality, so we're sure you'll still get a fair few punters shrieking at the box office for their money back. Top work, that man.

Next: Apocalypse Now [page-break]

Apocalypse Now (1979)

If The Film Was Like The Poster: Willard eventually discovers Colonel Kurtz hiding under a cactus.

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