Modern American movie posters suck: They're boring, over-edited, passionless displays that tell you more about the special effects budget of a film than the heart of it. Somewhere along the line, art took backseat to top-billing and cheap photoshops, and now all we get is an endless parade of floating heads hovering above explosions and that is somehow nowhere near as awesome as it sounds. But that doesn't mean the art is dead. It's just been outsourced, like everything else, to South Asia: Places like India and Pakistan took the raped and abandoned husk of our artistic integrity, jacked it up on mescaline, lit it on fire, and jumped it over a schoolbus. And when they were done, this is what they gave us back:
Khatarnak! In waves of fire he comes, the two-headed Sasquatch of hell! Khatarnak is easily the most terrifying movie monster ever conceived: An all powerful yeti-demon with the heads of Kenny Rogers and Will Ferrell, pictured here absolutely destroying his arch-nemesis, Indian Stretch Armstrong.
The name of this movie is Gunmaster (which, incidentally, is also my new profession according to the six thousand business cards I just ordered). And in addition to an entire city exploding in the background (presumably by virtue of guns and the mastery thereof,) Gunmaster also promises us the re-animated corpse of '80s era Vince McMahon in a starring role -- a feat of booking that would require not just murder, but also necromancy and time travel. So you keep blowing your budget on CGI, Hollywood, but until you're willing to invest all that special effects money exclusively into the Black Arts and Flux Capacitors, you will always lose to Gunmaster.
Anmol Moti asks one of the greatest philosophical questions of our time: When you strip us of all our modern conveniences, our petty differences, our fleeting ideologies, and you really break our lives down into their core elements, aren't we all the same? Aren't we all just... trapped by the limbs of a giant retarded octopus? We wrestle with our brothers, forgetting that we are all trapped by the limbs of a giant retarded octopus. We smile wryly up at our stabbing knives through our impossibly thin moustaches -- as though the blade has just told a particularly distasteful joke -- and all the while we are trapped by the limbs of a giant retarded octopus. We indulge in complex perversions, like blindfolding our titties (because there is no way that was ever a bikini top to start with) just to try and forget for one brief moment that we are still, every one of us, trapped by the limbs of a giant retarded octopus...called loneliness.
The Burning Train
The title of this movie is The Burning Train, and its poster is, sure enough, a burning train. This is a movie doesn't make a lot of promises, but it intends to deliver on the ones it makes: You're about to spend two hours watching a train hauling ass and being on fire and buddy, if you wanted something else, maybe you shouldn't have bought a ticket for The Burning Fucking Train, huh? But don't get disheartened, a burning train can be loads of fun! Just look at the poster. See those people in back? They're having so much fun, they don't even want off! They're just hangin' out on top of a fiery locomotive, flailin', burnin' and trainin' about the countryside without a care in the world.
Well, except for all those bastards apparently trying to dropkick them from helicopters.
You don't have to go the overt route -- shoving great cats and explosions down your audience's throats until they barf flaming tigers - to create a manly movie poster. You can make just as lasting an impact with subtlety and class, as the poster for Amir Garib proves: It's a simple composition, to be sure, but something about the juxtaposition of Arabian Steve McQueen, a gay sheik, and a suicidal Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis provides an aura of sophistication, suavity, and psychosis that terrifies every bit as much as it intrigues.
Zanjeer's poster takes a more classical approach to the art. Notice the subtle play of 'chick with switchblade' against 'possibly undead chubby guy with beard.' Appreciate the soft interlude of 'inexplicable flames' with 'bloody foreheads.' Sure, it doesn't exactly break new ground (you can see all of those same basic elements in every South Asian movie poster,) but sometimes all the fancy tricks and advanced techniques in the world cannot compare to the appreciation of the simple classics, like a man ramping a motorcycle into another guy's neck while bitchin' infernos and inexplicable chains writhe around them.
Sultan Rahi's Entire Career
And now we meet the Zen master of posters that punch your brain in the face: Mr. Sultan Rahi. I have never seen any of Mr. Rahi's movies, but you know what? I don't think that matters. There doesn't have to be a story behind that image for it to change me forever. I need nothing more than this picture to understand absolutely everything about the man. Sultan Rahi, as far as I am concerned, could star in posters alone, and I would still be a fan. Find me something - anything - that can compete with the sheer badassery of a silken-pajama-clad, moustachioed man screaming in rage while stabbing two lions through the top of the skull as they eat him alive, and I will show you... well, another one of Sultan Rahi's posters. There are plenty!
Here he is, apparently cosplaying Street Fighter II's Ken Masters using a costume sewn together from bathmats and curtain tassles, and firing snakes instead of fireballs. It's like he took all of my childhood aspirations and married them to my deepest fears, and then starred in a movie about it.
Take note here, furries. You want to be one with the animal kingdom? This is how you fucking do it. You don't sew a teddy bear costume with a dickhole; you steal a predator's god damn face and unleash a devastating war cry at anybody that looks at you sideways for it.
It takes a true connoisseur of insanity to appreciate Jaani Dushman. Sure, it's got the blatantly strange stuff: There's a wolfman with Down's Syndrome, there's an obviously stock black and white photo recklessly spliced into an image that is otherwise entirely in color, and if you'll direct your attention to the right border, you'll even spot one half of an Arabic Ron Jeremy. But if that's all you see, then you are missing out on the true beauty of this piece. You're missing this guy right here:
Nobody in the history of facial expressions has depicted this darkness, this madness, this insatiable fury. When they posed for this picture, the photographer probably asked him to tone it down a little. He was all: "Hey listen, Rahul, I appreciate your passion here but it's uh...it's a bit much. Can you dial it down some? I mean, you're supposed to give me 'determined,' in this shot. Like, you're 'determined' to beat this monster. But you're giving me 'raped.' Like, 'I am going to rape this wolfman.'"
"...Rahul? Hey, I'm sorry, Rahul. Look, we can...we can do this your way, okay? I'll just take the picture and you do whatever you want. Rahul? Say something please. Rahul? I-I can't move my legs anymore. What's happening? Oh god, I'm scared, Rahul. Please, man, I...I have kids. I have kids, Rahul. Little Tara and Sami...Sa...I can't remember. I can't even remember my children's names! What are you doing to me?! RAHUL PLEASE MY MEMORIES ARE GONE! The eyes...oh god, oh god no please THE EYES..."
"THE EYES! THEY FOLLOW ME! THEY FOLLOW ME INTO MADNESS!"
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