Original horror film poster artwork from collection of top critic Alan Frank comes to auction at Ewbank's

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Original horror film poster artwork from collection of top critic Alan Frank comes to auction at Ewbank's
Designs by two of the top artists, including one lost for years but now rediscovered, expected to sell for thousands.

LONDON.- He was the doyen of celluloid terror, writing books like The Horror Film Handbook and Horror Movies, Monsters and Vampires. Now original horror film poster artwork from the collection of the late film critic Alan Frank (1937-2023) comes to auction at Ewbank’s on May 30.

These are not just any pieces of artwork, and they are expected to take thousands of pounds in the Entertainment & Memorabilia auction. Created by two of the most celebrated film poster artists of the 20th century, Tom Chantrell (1916-2001), who designed the iconic posters for Star Wars, and Bill Wiggins (1917-2012), known for his 007 James Bond designs, as well as Hammer Horror films among others, these are classics of the genre and a must-have for any serious collector.

They include Chantrell’s original artwork for the 1967 Hammer Horror Frankenstein Created Woman. Starring Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein. The mixed media on board is the original prototype artwork created for the British Quad and Double Bill posters.

The imagery is a close match to the British Quad Poster, the difference being that the artwork only shows one branched tree on the left slope and, importantly, the Quad poster shows the girl clothed.

It had been thought that this original artwork had not survived. Offered with it will be the corresponding transparency. The estimate is £3,000-5,000.

Also on offer in this sale are two further pieces of poster artwork, one by Wiggins, the other almost certainly by Chantrell – both for Frankenstein. The Monster From Hell (1974). Wiggins’ design was eventually used for the film, which also starred Peter Cushing, alongside Dave Prowse (later The Green Cross Code Man and Darth Vader), Patrick Troughton (the second Dr Who) and Bernard Lee (the original M from the James Bond films).

Each of the pieces of artwork is pitched at £2,000-4,000, and they are in mixed media on paper. Wiggins’ design, with the monster looming, hands outstretched, was eventually used for the film, while the other, was not.

Alan Frank, a friend of Peter Cushing, was the film critic of the Daily Star for 35 years, retiring in 2014 from what he called the best job in the world. He also acted as an extra on occasion, appearing in The Guns of Navarone (1959), among others.

The auction includes a presentation copy of Cushing’s autobiography. A first edition hardback inscribed by the author, it is guided at £200-300. Other lots from the Frank collection include furniture, paintings, film memorabilia and clothing, such as T-shirts, crew jackets, signed scripts, and transparencies.

Alan Frank had first become hooked on cinema when growing up in Africa and aged 11, he encountered Clark Gable on the beach in Kenya and was then introduced to Ava Gardner, swiftly followed by Frank Sinatra. They were filming Mogambo, a John Ford adventure that was eventually released in 1953.

It was only when Frank to the University of Cape Town that he became immersed in the genre that was to make his name, Horror, having been gripped by a showing of The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

“Alan Frank’s The Horror Film Handbook remains the essential guide for any true fan of horror films,” says Ewbank’s Senior Partner Andrew Ewbank. “As a market leader in Entertainment and Memorabilia auctions, we are delighted to be offering these unique pieces from his important collection.”

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