If Paste’s recent list of the 100 most entertaining B movies is to be believed, there are a lot of lovers of low-budget, semi-coherent cinema out there. The perfect B movie may not be great in an objectively judged sense, but they hit us on a primal level, giving an audience exactly what they want to see in order to frighten, titillate or enthrall them in that moment. A great B movie is a people-pleaser.
Posters have always been a great part of the B-movie tradition. Sometimes featuring far better production values than the film in question, they’re the bait that was dangled in front of audiences to entice them to see that week’s most recently questionable strip of celluloid. Here are 20 of the most visually striking posters in B-movie history.
1 of 20
1956 - Earth vs. The Flying Saucers: I like that this one is actually addressed directly from the Flying Saucer People to the Earth People.
2 of 20
1957 - From Hell it Came: Cinema's greatest evil ... walking tree? Perhaps. Other trees aren't monster enough to bleed when stabbed.
3 of 20
1957 - Invasion of the Saucer Men: This is the single greatest depiction of aliens in 1950s sci-fi. What more can you say? Totally awesome pop-art.
4 of 20
1957 - The Giant Claw: I love this one because they knew their monster was so awful, they deliberately went out of their way to hide its face on the poster.
5 of 20
1957 - The Incredible Shrinking Man: SCIENCE IS BAFFLED! It would appear that 1957 was the greatest year in movie poster history.
6 of 20
1958 - Attack of the 50 Foot Woman: Drive-in cheesecake of the first order. She's a woman with breasts, except bigger!
7 of 20
1959 - Plan 9 From Outer Space: Terrible movie, spectacular poster. The color scheme and composition go beyond anything Ed Wood was capable of.
8 of 20
1959 - The Killer Shrews: Effective horror minimalism that hints at the monster without showing it to you. Which is a good thing, because the monsters were dogs covered in carpet squares.
9 of 20
1961 - Reptilicus: SEE: A mighty city trampled to destruction! SEE: Missiles and atom bombs powerless! SEE: Civilization rioting with fear!
10 of 20
1963 - The Raven: A so-called "cast poster," designed to show off the stars, it's a beautifully illustrated tableaux of the macabre.