Rad '80s Movie Posters

Oliver Lunn

They sure don't make 'em like they used to. 

Let's be honest, the golden era of the movie poster was the 1980s. Over the past couple of decades, we've had far too many drab posters for comic book adaptations, or tacky posters for TV series-turned-movies. What happened to the colour, the playfulness, the wit and the overall sense of fun? And don't get me started on the taglines. Do you really think a tagline like "Hot. Reckless. Totally insane..." would exist today? 

We feel today is a better time than ever to share our favourite movie posters from the '80s, possibly in the hope that maybe some creative poster-making types out there will take inspiration. And if not... well, at least we had ourselves a good time along the way, hey. 

They Live (John Carpenter, 1988) 

Apart from featuring the film's eye-grabbing title in a rad font splashed across it, this poster features cool shades and scary skulls... SKULLS, PEOPLE. 

Fast Getaway (Spiro Razatos) 

Really, every last one of Corey Haim's films from the '80s and early '90s had a film poster worth bringing up in a nostalgia-fuelled conversation. The main thing we take away from this one, though, is those chunky kicks and rolled up denims, not to mention that charming pose. Corey really was ahead of his time, wasn't he? Say, whatever happened to...?

Prayer of the Rollerboys (Rick King)

"We must have a homeland. Those who would deny us, they are the enemy, and they shall perish!" Oh Gary Lee, how ever did you manage to persuade all those young boys to join your clan of "rollerboys"? Surely it wasn't those long, beige jackets or the way you swing your arms stupidly high when you skate. Still, it makes for a brilliant and hilarious movie poster. As you were, Gary. 

Basket Case (Frank Henenlotter, 1982)

The monster from Basket Case has to be one of the strongest horror icons to grace our screens – and, it turns out, our movie posters. The great thing about the film's poster is that it doesn't mess about. There's a monster. There's a basket. There's a basket case. Geddit? 

Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)

Look! A magic car! And a tough-looking white boy with a gang of gun-toting weirdos. This must be like Back to the Future meets Boys n the Hood or something. Well, not really. So this poster sort of miss-sells Alex Cox's cult comedy sci-fi caper, but it doesn't really matter because... look, a magic car!

License To Drive (Greg Beeman, 1988)

Oh boy, here's our third Corey Haim film. But unlike the others, this one features two Coreys, the other one being, of course, Haim's pal and fellow '80s kid-star Corey Feldman. The poster also features a misleadingly diminutive Heather Graham. Seriously, why would the Coreys be attracted to a girl that small? It just doesn't make sense. 

The People Under The Stairs (Wes Craven)

More skulls! Are we alone in thinking this would make a great T-shirt, in addition to an enticing movie poster? Looking like an advertisement for a Metallica gig, this one blasts the majority of bleak, sepia-tinted horror posters out of the water. It must be the purple clouds.

Parents (Bob Balaban, 1989)

Honestly, we didn't plan this. It just so happens that skulls were a prominent feature among the finest '80s film posters. If you haven't seen this film, let us point you in the direction of its IMDb synopsis which should no doubt have you salivating at the mouth: "A young boy living in 1950s suburbia begins to wonder where his parents get their meat from..." See, told you you'd be salivating.

Society (Brian Yuzna, 1989)

"Society. It's all about fitting in." Which must be pretty hard if you look like this, is what the film seems to say. And everyone knows crazy deformities and freaky faces make for great movie posters. 

Thrashin' (David Winters, 1986)

"Hot. Reckless. Totally insane." With a tagline as bold as that you would have thought they'd at least remove all the pads and safety gear for the film's poster. Reckless youths were obviously just so safety conscious back in the '80s. 

Share your favourite '80s movie posters in the comments below. 

Follow Oliver on Twitter: @OliverLunn

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