The foreign versions of classic American horror films are so bizarre they’re amazing. If you’re a fan of movie poster art, especially horror films, you’re in for a real treat. When I first saw the Japanese Halloween poster I thought it was a piece of cool fan art, but as I inspected closer I realized that it’s the official poster. There were so many good posters it was hard to pick, but check out my top 10 foreign horror movie posters below.
10. Halloween (Japan)
‘Halloween’ [Credit: Compass International]
What I found so interesting about this poster is Michael’s mask. Almost entirely different, notice it has more human-like features, and they even gave him eyes (the American versions always have dark holes where the eyes should be). Also, take note about the blood. Gore might be a hallmark of the Halloween franchise, but not the original. There wasn’t even one drop of blood in the movie — so why add it in the poster?
9. Evil Dead 2 (Thailand)
‘Evil Dead II’ [Credit: Rosebud Releasing]
Ash is now fighting evil without a head — got it! This poster’s got it all: the damsel in distress, the headless hero and a few evil demons. What more could one want? The poster even encompasses the movie’s camp and sheer chaos. Although Ash doesn’t lose his head, the poster really does contain so many of the film’s iconic moments. For example: the demon locked in the basement, the chainsaw and the memorable skull from the American poster.
8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Ghana)
‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ [Credit: Bryanston Pictures]
This one really threw me through a loop. First, I had to do some research into where this one came from since it’s in English (even though “massacre” is spelled wrong). I later found out it was Ghanaian and spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out what is going on.
Without any knowledge of the movie one would think it is about an insane doctor, not an insane family with a chainsaw-wielding leatherface. One also gets the point that it is going to be a brutal gore fest since the poster literally states “VERY VERY BRUTAL!” The characters depicted in the poster really resemble the monster in the 1920’s film The Golem.
7. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 (France)
‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ [Credit: New Line Cinema]
This poster has all the things that nightmares are made of: Freddy clawing into a boy tied to the bed, a woman’s decapitated head and an eerie house in the background. This version of the poster does play off the American versions featuring Freddy clawing through the poster, and one of the main characters in peril. In this case we see Joey being tied up and pulled by organs.
Oh, and the direct translation of the tagline below Freddy 3 is “The Clutches of the Nightmare.”
6. Poltergeist (Turkey)
‘Poltergeist’ [Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)]
What is most interesting about this poster is we see three key elements of the movie making a scene of their own. We have Carol Anne in her iconic scene reaching out to the TV (and simultaneously reaching out over the cursed neighborhood). We also see Carol Anne stuck inside the TV. I don’t know about you but I never sat too close to the TV as a child after seeing this movie.
When I translated the sayings on the poster I got: “Our children are TV. Be a victim.” Underneath Poltergeist translates to “Bad Soul.”
5. Carrie (Spain)
‘Carrie’ [Credit: United Artists]
This poster represents so many recognizable moments from the movie in such an artistic way. At the bottom of the poster you can see Carrie’s house (or potentially the school) burning and being torn down. Above that we have Carrie’s classic stare as she uses her powers to seek revenge on those that bullied her. Surrounding her is the representation of her fury and the fire that engulfs the high school.
4. The Shining (Poland)
‘The Shining’ [Credit: Warner Bros.]
Now if this isn’t another work of art, I don’t know what is. At first glance you are automatically taken to one of the most famous scenes in the movie where Jack is breaking down the door with an axe while Wendy cowers against the wall in fear.
3. Dawn Of The Dead (Germany)
‘Dawn of the Dead’ [Credit: United Film Distribution Company]
Dawn of the Dead is often referred to as Zombie in other countries. In fact, since the franchise wasn’t copyrighted correctly there is even an Italian sequel to Dawn of the Dead called Zombie. Going back to the aesthetics of the poster, we don’t see anything super recognizable from the movie; however, you definitely get a feeling of dread. The clutching hands appear dead, threatening and zombie-like (go figure).
2. Alien (Japan)
‘Alien’ [Credit: Fox]
Most Alien posters (the original at least) only show the egg, leaving the alien as a surprise. Well, not in Japan! Here we are given the Big Bad alien front and center surrounded by space where, ironically, it meets its demise after Ripley blows it out of the air lock.
1. The Fly (Poland)
‘The Fly’ [Credit: Fox]
Last, but not least, we have this gem. Looks kind of like an ’80s video game doesn’t it? We all know that Brundle is rather grotesque in the movie when he vomits. However, this representation is the complete opposite of how he is depicted in the movie. Although he is supposed to be doing something vile, he is depicted as almost cute and non-threatening. In the movie he melts body parts with his acid vomit.