The one that started it for me, the UK quad poster. Perhaps because of his Hammer associations, Chantrell was the only artist to include Peter Cushing in a poster.
|1982 - based on the illustration by Berni Wrightson|
|Tom Chantrell with his in-progress Star Wars artwork, 1977|
Leaving Allardyce Palmer in 1972, he went freelance with his reputation as England’s most successful and experienced poster artist serving him well. A decline in cinema audiences (theatres were being adapted to have several screens in one venue) at the time meant more exploitation films reached the screen (sometimes British, sometimes Continental), which in turn required lots of poster art. Working for the likes of Eagle, Tigon, Hemdale, ITC, Brent-Walker, Alpha and Cannon Entertainment (and what a nostalgic rush those names induce), sexploitation was most popular but closely followed by horror, kung-fu, cheaply produced war and sci-fi flicks, French arthouse, American Grindhouse and teen sex comedies, it was said that if you needed ‘an appropriately gratuitous poster to pull in the punters, Tom Chantrell was your man.’ In addition, he picked up contracts for blockbusters, such as Star Wars as well as illustrating movie soundtrack sleeves and novelisation covers for Hamlyn.
Into the 80s, he produced VHS and Betamax cover art but rising production costs and the arrival of affordable digital art meant traditional painted posters were soon out of fashion. He suffered a heart attack and, after being admitted to hospital, passed away on 15th July 2001.
He was married twice and was survived by his second wife Shirley and their twin daughters, plus a son and daughter from his first marriage.
Guardian obituary, by Sim Branaghan
The Art Of Poster Maker Extrardinaire Tom Chantrell