Saturday, January 10, 2015

Behind the Phantasm Ravager Teaser Poster

In this calm before the Phantasm Ravager storm when there is little news to be had, I thought it might be nice to take a look at the creative talent that put together the film's teaser poster. We've all studied it endlessly, that giant red roman numeral, the spheres flying into darkness and that elongated Tall Man inside the roman numeral. It's a perfect tease of what's to come - just enough to set your curiosity wild without giving too much away. Or giving anything away, really.

Continue reading this post to learn the artist's identity and more about his work. If you're a Don Coscarelli fan, you've most likely already seen his handiwork and not realized it.
The artist behind the Phantasm Ravager teaser poster is none other than graphic designer Aaron Lea, co-founder of the Pixascope Creative Agency. Pixascope has been among Coscarelli's most regular collaborators in recent years for posters, websites and other design needs. Lea has an impressive portfolio of work that was more familiar to me than I realized. A Google search reveals that creating great art appears to simply run in his bloodline. One of his family members was even an animator on Walt Disney's 1940 Pinocchio! (source)

I've highlighted four of my favorite pieces Lea has done below. You can click on any poster image to enlarge it. See more of his work with Pixascope at their official website.

If you're unfamiliar with Paul Bunnell's 2012 sci-fi musical comedy, familiarize yourself at once! It features the always great Reggie Bannister and sadly marked the last onscreen appearance of genre legend Kevin McCarthy.

Lea's poster design is wonderfully retro and fits the tone of the movie perfectly. I actually own a copy of this one-sheet signed by writer/director Bunnell. Up until today, I had no idea whose talented hand was behind it.

This poster was commissioned by the Vincent Price Estate to mark the horror icon's 100th birthday celebration. The Price quotation reads: "Do you ever rub your eyes and suddenly find you're awake and not asleep as you'd grown to suspect you were?"

I find Lea's design here an appropriate mix of both classy and creepy. I love the small details around the image's border such as the titular creatures from The Tingler (bottom left) and The Fly (top left). Lea has done other artwork for the Price Estate, but this piece remains my favorite. Prints of the poster signed by Victoria Price can be obtained on their official website.

I have to tell you first that I love this film. Don Coscarelli knocked it out of the ballpark and Aaron Lea, in turn, provided an excellent poster for that home run. This artwork intrigues the observer with every detail. You've got young Elvis, the outline of some hideous undead creature and an African-American JFK. That is really all you need to know going into this film.

I also own this poster and, like with Ghastly Love, had no idea that it was by Lea. Definitely another winner that nails the spirit of the film it depicts.

If I'm not mistaken, this was one of the earliest teaser posters for this film. It certainly works as that because everybody who sees it should immediately wonder, "Why is that nail-bat covered in pages from the Bible and whose blood is that?" If you had already read the David Wong novel, you might have known the answer, but the rest of us were intrigued as hell.

Lea did several other artworks for John Dies at the End, but this one was my favorite. It carries a "What the actual hell" vibe that the film also had in great supply. Then again, isn't that bizarre unpredictability a lovable staple of most Don Coscarelli films?

And now we're back to the new Phantasm sequel. Lea's artwork has spread like wildfire throughout the phan community. It's now available as both a mini-poster and a fashionable t-shirt from Don Cosarelli's new Phactory website.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if Lea has created additional artwork for Ravager that Don Coscarelli has yet to unleash upon the world, either in the form of a poster or website design. Regardless, my fingers are crossed that we will see more from Lea and Pixascope related to the Coscarelli universe.

If the past is any indication, we surely will.

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