CollectingFilm HistoryGeek

Why I Am A Collector

My original movie poster of John Carpenter’s ‘Escape From New York’ from 1981. One of my most wanted that I recently was able to get.

I collect a lot of movie things. I love movies. Probably more than almost anything else. When you love something you like to surround yourself with it. When it comes to movies, posters tend to be one of the main things to collect next to the films themselves. They are the one thing associated with the advertising of a film that people remember so it’s the thing collectors, like myself, gravitate towards. Especially in the days before the internet when sometimes your knowledge of a film was limited to the advertising or what was written up in a magazine. As a kid when I would stand in the lobby of a movie theatre I would look at the poster of a movie that was “coming soon” and the more imaginative the poster the more it sparked not only my interest in the film but my own imagination as well. So many times as I tried to imagine what that film was going to be like I would end up creating my own film in my head. As I’ve said before, the filmmaking gene (or mutation?) has been there since day one so it’s funny to think that I was even thinking up my own films before I realized it. Inspired by the artwork that was on those posters.

As I grew older and started going to movie conventions or memorabilia shows I started buying posters. Not just any posters though. They had to be original movie posters. The ones that were printed to go to theatres. I wanted the ones that I saw at the theatre. Or ones that I knew were used, or intended, to be seen by people as they went into a movie theatre. How many other kids were inspired through the years like I was? I wanted a little piece of that history because I felt like I was a part of it.

I was in high school when I started actively collecting them. So over the years I have put together quite a collection. However, my collection is specific.

My original movie poster of Lucio Fulci’s ‘Zombie’ from 1979. Also one I have long wanted and recently got.

I have never once bought a movie poster that I figured would be worth something. I never bought one thinking how much could I one day sell it for. Every poster I have stems from that original feeling of being a kid and staring at those posters at the movie theatre. The ones I have in my collection are the posters of some of my favorite movies, ones that remind me of my childhood, or ones that I just love the artwork for that are usually from the 70’s or 80’s since it takes me back to the time when I was a kid. They all have meaning for me.

Outside of the movie theatre another place I was inspired by movie posters was at the video store. During the 80’s most VHS boxes used the movie poster artwork as the VHS box cover. As is well known I have a special love of horror films outside of films in general. I don’t look upon them as the evil stepchild of the artform. They are just as amazing to me as any other genre of film. The artwork done to help sell horror films has been among some of my favorite. When I was a kid at the video store I would stare at the artwork on the VHS boxes of movies I was not quite old enough to rent. So my imagination would go wild. What could that movie be about? So the artwork for many of them holds great appeal to me. Whenever I can I love adding some of those to my collection.

My original movie poster from 1980 for ‘Zombie Holocaust’ which was released here in the US under the title, with a truly amazing poster, ‘Dr. Butcher, M.D.’. I finally found one last year. The poster not the doctor.

Most of my collection are of films I grew up on. Ones that mean something to me. On those occasions when I get to meet people from the film I love getting them to sign the poster. I have started getting more cautious about which ones I get signed. One day I’ll be gone and the posters will go on. I want to keep as many as I can in the best condition possible for future generations. If I do meet, or know I am meeting, most of the people from a film then it takes on a different thing for me and the signed poster becomes something extra special. Last year I got to meet almost the entire cast from The Return Of The Living Dead and I had them sign my original poster for it. In that case the poster becomes something more than it was even intended to be. Something more valuable to me than any dollar amount.

My original poster for ‘The Return Of The Living Dead’ from 1985 that I had signed by almost the entire cast.

I have a few posters I am collecting (ha!) signatures on as well including ones from some of my favorite films and filmmakers. It makes going to conventions all the more fun when you know you can get a bunch of signatures from the people from a specific film.

Collecting original movie posters is definitely an expensive hobby. While I do have a couple of ones I did spend a bit on luckily most of the posters I go after have sentimental value and are not in huge demand. Though there are a few that hopefully one day I can afford to get. I would love an original Star Wars, Taxi Driver, Jaws 2 teaser poster, and maybe one day a Revenge Of The Jedi.

Collecting is not something you want to do but almost something you must do. When it is something as personal as this is to me it takes on a really special meaning that sometimes makes it hard to describe. I’m not sure I was even able to touch the surface of what it actually means to me. Movies mean everything to me both as a filmmaker and a film buff. Movie posters are an extension of that. My love of movies can not only be shown by the (too large) collection of films I have but also by the collection of film posters I have collected. However, at the end of the day it cannot be expressed any better than the smile on my face when I look at them and the memories and inspiration they create.

My original 1978 ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ movie poster signed by the main cast, some of the crew, and the man himself, one of the most influential people to me, writer, director George A. Romero.

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