In Ghana, movies have always been popular and most large towns had large cinemas that were leftover from the days of British colonialism. Unfortunately, as spare parts for the cinemas’ 35mm projectors began to become harder to source, the theatres began to close down.
By the mid-1980s films on VHS had become the main source of movie entertainment. Small operators took films out to be shown in the villages and small towns, often using gas-powered generators if there was no electricity supply.
Local artists were hired to hand-paint lurid posters for these mobile video showings, using flour sacks as a cheap and easily obtainable alternative to canvas. The number of mobile video ‘cinemas’ declined in the mid-nineties due to the greater availability of television and video; as a result, the painted film posters were substituted for less interesting/artistic posters produced on photocopied paper. The often graphic hand-painted posters that were designed remain a testament to the imagination of the artists’ that drew them, sometimes featuring images from unrelated movies!
The horror film posters below are mainly from Ghana, with some from nearby Nigeria.
We are grateful to a vast number of online sources – too many to mention – but Ephemera Assemblyman in particular.