A great decade for films, a terrible decade for posters! Movie posters were invented as a marketing tool to help boost ticket sales. 

Movie and marketing executives make good and bad decisions for movie poster art, but the following is an example of some poor choices that led us to this fun post.

What’s the purpose of a movie poster? They are meant to provide intrigue and get you to stop in your tracks and walk straight up to a cashier and buy a ticket for that movie immediately because you can’t go one minute longer without seeing it. 

With this in mind, you wonder how some movie posters were ever given the go-ahead. Just think about it… an artist had to design it, and it must have been their best idea, their boss had to like it, then it was sent over to the movie studio, and all the way up that chain, people must have liked it, for it to be given the ok to go up on thousands of cinema foyers.

These people obviously didn’t read our article, 9 Most Important Elements of Movie Posters and Marketing, and if they had, perhaps these visual miscues would not have happened.

Here are some genuinely horrendous movie posters that we picked out over at IMP Awards.


10. Victory (1981)

The tagline is ok, but the font is a Microsoft special. Is that the best they can do? Then they have Stallone, Caine, and Pele drawn like sex dolls, but there is no payoff.

The V for Victory they are making would be better with just two people; instead, they look like The Thing got locked up and tried to escape by winning a football match instead of killing everyone.

Let’s not mention the “clever” way of giving different translations of Victory because, well, everyone hates the Nazis.

Over The Top

9. Over The Top (1987)

Another Stallone classic here. The poster does sum up the movie, I suppose; he drives a truck, he gets annoyed by a child, and when he means business, he turns his cap backward.

“Some fight for money, some fight for glory, he’s fighting for his son’s love” well, actually, he is arm wrestling.

I have had many an arm wrestle with my mates on a night out. That’s not fighting!


8. Zapped (1982)

Interestingly sexual assault was A-OK in 1982 apparently. The poster shows a young Darth Vader… sorry Anakin using his powers to make girls fall over so he can get a classic upskirt shot.

His friend looks like all his birthdays have come at once. Maybe if he had politely told Anakin that sexual assault is not cool, he might not have been pushed into some lava resulting in his terrible case of asthma.

Blue Lagoon

7. The Blue Lagoon (1980)  

Well, erm forget; this film is about two kids, that are cousins, grow up together, and get it on, which makes it creepy, wrong, and Game of Thrones-ishly disturbing.

The poster is terrible; it’s just a still from the movie with the worst tag line ever, well tag sentence, well a tagged paragraph, well actually it’s basically a page from a book it’s so long, and numerous other mistakes were made. Speaking of mistakes, here is an article dedicated to movie poster mistakes.

Heart Beeps

6. Heartbeeps (1981)

No matter how bad a film poster is, at least it is obvious what the film is called. Well, you would think that is the minimum requirement.

This movie was clearly the inspiration behind the Usual Suspects, but surely someone at some point before the poster was sent out said, “why is the film now called wanted?”

The car that looks like a Dalek is pretty cool, though!

Star Trek

5. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) 

The one with the lovely LGBT rainbow, where the titular heroes are clearly confused by a Punk and a member of the Village People.

I am sure there is a hidden meaning with the traffic light on red, do not enter sign, and a no right turn sign… or maybe I am just reading too much into it.

Probably the worst thing, though, is that the rainbow makes it impossible to read the tagline and the fact that it is a Star Trek film… maybe that was the point!

Great White

4. Great White (1982)

As good as the Jaws poster is, this is bad.

I can only presume that the teenage daughter of the producer designed this poster. It can’t have been the producer’s son as the girl on the inflatable Lilo still has her bikini top on.

The font is awful; the water looks terrible. Is it a ghost shark? And it must be huge if a woman can lie in is mouth without noticing. 


3. Crocodile Dundee (1986)

Let’s insult Oz by calling it the most backward country in the world; then what the hell is the tagline about… “There’s a little of him in all of us!”

Are we all stereotypical versions of what Americans think Australians are? Throw another shrimp on the barbie; I am done. Never mind the parting the skyscrapers like they are grass crap.


2. Inseminoid (1982)

Let’s be honest the faces the men are pulling are a face most would make at any birth, never mind the fact that it is a “far from human birth.” WTF.

Then why is the woman just covered in a small sheet when the men are in full space suits? Would the sheet not just float away?

I do feel sorry for the alien though, it is halfway out and just trying to get its baring’s, and four high-power torches are shone directly in its eyes: bad form, guys. 

Teen Wolf 2

1. Teen Wolf Too (1987)

As soon as you know Michael J. Fox is not in it, you know the film is going to suck, and the poster confirms it. I hate the “Too”… it surely should be “tooOOOOOOoooo.”

Then he seemingly has a full body hair suit going on, but his face is entirely normal. However, what makes this poster ready for the bin is the titles on the books… “Fangs for the Memories” OMFG!

A clear example of a 50-year-old man trying to be funny as ever I have seen.

Final thoughts

In general, we are still in the artist’s drawing style, but most of the artists seem to be obsessed with sex dolls. Was that a thing you could buy celebrity sex dolls in cinemas too? 

If the studio could not be bothered to get an artist to draw a poster, then you saw more and more often just a still from the film, with some writing over it.

No imagination whatsoever. 

But there are plenty of movie posters out there, and if you are into collecting them, these articles should catch your attention.

Also, be sure to check out our YouTube channel with movie poster tutorials.