The posters for the x-rated films of the early 1070s were an eruption of ‘prick-teasing’ graphic design. Promising audiences of sexy scenes that more often that not never quite arrived.
By the late 1970s the VHS had arrived which bought the end of the classic x-rated movie poster. ‘People started watching porn at home, and the films started becoming explicit, which killed the posters,’ says Nourmand, one of the authors of X-Rated Adult Movie Posters of the 60s and 70s. ‘But what I love about them is their spirit. They are the most graphically interesting posters of that period. Look at the number of fonts used, number of techniques used. They’re beautiful.’
Peter Doggett writes in the introduction of the above book:
For connoisseurs of the film poster, porn cinema offers an alternative history of the 1960s and 1970s. Few people ever turned to exploitation movies in search of subtlety: the task of the X-rated graphic artist was to arouse urgent desires that could only be satisfied by a seat in the stalls. Their designs required no decoding.” More often than not the posters were crudely printed “cut and paste” collages featuring the over-endowed regulars of the B-movie circuit. Scantily-clad forms abound suspended above screaming taglines and provocative titles, like the not-so classic Flesh Gordon, Kiss Me Mate, Hot Lunch and Oh! so many more. Very occasionally, this formula was broken: when the soft-core masterpiece Emmanuelle was released in 1974, one of the most respected designers in the business – the original Mad Man Steve Frankfurt – was even persuaded to work on the poster campaign. Of course, such sophistication was an exception. As Peter writes, “Variations on the same glamour-mag approach – women, breasts, buttocks – were routine, with pictures and typography that often looked as if it had been thrown at the poster rather than artfully arranged.
Would you like to support Flashbak?
Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.