POSTERS & LOBBY CARDS
Quite a few posters (all using the same image of cartoonish, punk zombies in a graveyard) hit U.S. theatres. The first were advance posters. A 27x41 one-sheet and 16x20 window card-sized posters with white bands on the bottom reading Opens August 16th Everywhere. These are common in movie shops today. The colors stand out more than their one-sheet counterparts. A 40x60 size on heavy stock paper is rarest, even more so than the 35x58 lobby standee. These both have darker colors and lighter green zombies. Later, Thorn EMI/HBO Video re-issued the one-sheet with sharper definition and save for a red banner on the corner of the poster reading ‘Thorn EMI’ it was identical to the one-sheet. Artemis licensed a 24x36 commercial version of the theatrical art sold at music stores. There are quotation marks fore and aft the blurb, which is in a different font. The tombstone color is lighter, so the title stands out more. The bands are not written on the small square grave at the bottom, nor are their credits. At risk of redundancy, I stuck an image of the advance one-sheet here.
The British marketed the film with a full color photograph of the legless zombie in the rain.
The French emphasized Return’s comic-book texture and sexuality with a painting of the scantily-clad Trash surrounded by zombies (taken from Bill Stout’s production art). A series of door panel posters borrowed some of the zombies from this composition. Belgium used the same artwork, toning down the colors.
Germany’s two poster styles included a brighter reproduction of the U.S. poster art (with the spray can zombie’s head removed), and a lurid comical painting of Ernie standing beside a gravestone with ghouls all around. Australia, Spain and Brazil re-used the U.S. art as well. An Australian 27 x 40 photo sheet made up of six black and white lobby cards was also produced. To check out Aussie posters - disclaimer/border) and photosheet poster .
There were two Italian posters issued in three sizes. The 55 x 79 4-sheet and 13x27 locandina illustrated zombie faces around title while the much more desirable 39 x 55 2-sheet emphasized a painting of Trash’s curvy zombie silhouette with the melting Tar Man above.
The most lurid posters came from the Orient. The Thai 21 x 30 collage by Tong Dee also used a centered shot of Trash rising from the dead with smaller illustrations of Tar Man on left and Half Lady beside.
The ultimate posters are
undoubtedly Japanese, all photographic. Each of the three half sheets are 20 x
28.5: style A is the most popular with Tar Man taking up most of the poster, a
police barricade on bottom and helicopter lights above. Superimposed is the
ubiquitous half lady which appears on all the posters. Style B has an unfamiliar
image of men in biohazard suits on left bottom and crematory door on right. Tar
Man is at bottom in front of shadows of the dead. Style C is of half Lady corpse
only. The rarest of all Japanese posters is the 28 x 41 one-sheet with half lady
corpse and a couple of stills within the grid framework similar to the Battalion
LP. Chirashi were issued of style C as well as of a Commando double bill.
Unusually, the half lady reappeared on the Battalion 2 chirashi and promo
material (along with stills from the original). A video poster in the standard
20 x 28.5 size was also issued using a scheme similar to the program book cover.
Tar man Horror World exhibition poster, possibly the rarest of the Japanese posters. Even though they used William Stout's design, he didn't see one penny from these.
A 11x15 Fangoria poster from of the Half lady corpse on the slab was included in issue #52.
US set of 8 color 8x10's (also in 11x14 size). Over 18 stills are known to exist in black and white (promo stills). The British press kit included 6 color stills.
Italy set of 8 color 18x28 Fotobusta
French set of 12 color 8x10's or 11x14's
Spanish set of 10 color 9x13's
Germany set of 12 color 9x13s
Thailand set of 8
Japan set of 10 b/w or color