Movie posters are more than just simple advertisements, but an art form. Not only are they expected to sell a film to potential ticket buyers, but they also need to look good, grab people’s attention, and make a lasting impression on everyone who sees them. The idea of what makes a good poster varies from person to person, and even between cultures, nationalities, and nations. This means that a poster in one country could look almost completely different in another, even if it’s for the same movie.
Making a movie look palatable to a foreign audience must be difficult, otherwise, how can one explain the myriad of bizarre, often weird posters for Hollywood movies around the world. Don’t believe us? Here are 10 international movie posters for American movies that are truly amazing in their weirdness.
10 Army of Darkness - Japan
Whoever made this poster must have thought that comparing Bruce Campbell’s last name to Campbell’s soup was absolutely hilarious. Why else, then, would they have his name plastered to the side of a soup can? This poster is the very definition of sensory overload. Though probably the weirdest part is the fact that they tried to pass off Army of Darkness as a colorful romp, which is exactly what people think of when they see a guy with a chainsaw for an arm.
9 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Turkey
Jack Nicholson’s signature film about life in a mental institution didn’t get a release in Turkey until 1981, six years after its first debut. By that time, Nicholson had already established himself as one of the best actors to play mentally unstable characters, which is probably why the Turkish distributors of the movie decided to put scenes from The Shining on the poster. The poster even features zombies and Christopher Lee’s Dracula, which we’re pretty sure never ended up in the film.
8 Peter Pan - Lithuania
Seriously, guys? This was your poster for Peter Pan? For a movie about the colorful imagination of children, a poster that looks like it could be replicated on the back of a napkin is a slap in the face to Disney’s animation department. Perhaps someone at the Lituanian distributor considered the more unnerving aspects of the plot, like how Peter Pan is a literal man child who kidnaps children, and couldn’t bring himself to draw anything more than a dootle. Perhaps they were trying to make children disinterested in the movie, in order to prevent kids from getting into the back of a stranger’s Lada. Either that, or the copier ran out of color.
7 To Kill A Mockingbird - Croatia
Unlike other entries on this list, we sort of get what the artist was trying to accomplish. Whoever created it was likely thinking of the plight of Tom Robinson, the titular African-American character whose plight is the basis for the movie’s plot. In execution, though, the poster looks more appropriate for an independent horror movie, rather than the adaptation of a Pulitzer Prise winning novel. Either that or the artist thought the movie was literally about killing mockingbirds, which probably would not have been as fondly remembered.
6 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Poland
As we’ve mentioned before, not only are there some truly weird Star Wars posters out there, but Poland produces some of the weirdest posters imaginable. We can make a list about all the weirdest posters that are just from Poland, because most of them blur the line between promotional piece and abstract artwork. Star Wars definitely seemed to spark the imagination of Polish poster artists, as evidenced by this hodgepodge of different colors and shapes that barely resemble anything from the movie. Is that Luke in the center? Who knows. Just trust us when we say that this won’t be the last time a Polish poster appears on this list.
5 Star Wars: A New Hope - Russia
Russia initially missed out on Star Wars when it first came out in 1977 because of a little conflict called The Cold War. However, the fall of communism resulted in an influx of western pop culture and in 1991, Russians finally got to see George Lucas’ space opera for themselves. Yet, somewhere along the line, the Russian distributor saw all the past posters for Star Wars and figured that they can do better, resulting in some of the weirdest posters in the franchise’s history. This poster, obviously meant to reference the whole ‘space western’ aesthetic, features a cowboy on horseback, made up of what appears to be the contents of a dumpster behind a Best Buy. Does it make sense? Absolutely not. Does it look good? That probably depends on how vodka one’s had.
4 Ghostbusters - Cezch Republic
Much like Poland, the Cezch Republic is prone to adding some truly weird and abstract designs to their poster art. In fact, some quick digging around the web would reveal that the two nations seem to be in an arms race over who can make the weirdest posters. For more proof, look no further than the Cezch poster for Ghostbusters, which could be easily mistaken for a lost Picaso. Seriously, what is that supposed to be? Honestly, we don’t think the designers of the poster knew either, probably because of all the fumes they accidentally inhaled while in the printing room. Maybe the artist took design cues from a Ouija Board. Who knows, but that thing doesn’t look like anything imagined by a mortal mind.
3 Alien - Poland
The artist for this poster probably heard that the xenomorphs from Alien like to burst out of people’s chests and just went with it, hence the ribcage with eyes. Or is that a heart? At this point in the list, asking questions is meaningless, so we just have to assume that whoever drew this took inspiration from the movie’s footnotes. That said, it is a really cool design, like something one would see on a heavy metal cover or as a boss in a video game.
2 Weekend at Bernie’s - Poland
Thought we were done with freaks of nature with big, scary eyes? Wrong! To be fair, the plot of Weekend at Bernie’s is a bit grim, and could easily pass as a horror movie with just a few minor script alterations. The Polish artist who drew this embodiment of madness probably thought so too, and thus produced this freakish design. Whatever possessed the artist to use such a bleak color palate and such disturbing design elements is baffling. They must have overheard someone talking about the movie’s story, and let their mind go to that dark place where monsters are born. Yes, Googly-Eyes Finger-Puppet Man is real, and he’s been tormenting this poster’s artist for over thirty years.
1 Bullitt - East Germany
When one thinks of the 1968 Steve McQueen action flick Bullitt, they probably think of that iconic car chase through the streets of San Francisco, and the green Ford Mustang that stole the show. They probably don’t imagine a raving lunatic who also has magical cloaking abilities, but somehow or another East Germany felt otherwise. Trying to make sense of this abstract nightmare would drive anyone to the brink of sanity, so it’s probably best to let this one simmer in its own crazy broth. As for easily scared readers who were unfortunate enough to land on this page, we’re sorry, both for the nightmares and the lost sleep.