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These Hand-Painted Movie Posters From Ghana Are Just Nuts

Updated September 27, 2017 730 votes 113 voters 4.7k views43 items

List RulesVote up the craziest interpretations of movies.

The collection of crazy hand-painted movie posters from Ghana on this list provides a microcosm of how local cultures appropriate global cultural product. As foreign films arrived in Ghana in the '80s and '90s from Hong Kong, Bollywood, Nollywood, and the United States, movie theaters hired local artists to hand paint posters to attract audiences. In doing so, they unwittingly created unique, personal interpretations of foreign marketing material and entertainment product, many of which are highly coveted and sell for thousands of dollars decades later. These bizarre painted movie posters dominated theaters in Ghana until the early 2000s.

The objective of the Ghanaian artists was to get butts in seats. Cue random acts of violence added to family films like Mrs. Doubtfire, and the distinctive giant fish in The Spy Who Loved Me advertisement. The artists tackled all genres with their unique style, from B-grade horror films to cult classics and world-renowned action flicks. They typically painted on the backs of canvas sacks used to cart flour around. 

While companies like Mondo make money hand-over-first selling limited-run, specially commissioned posters for cult classic films, artists in Ghana made completely unique, one-of-a-kind, hand-painted posters for a pittance. Yet they were part of a cultural movement that still bears examination decades later, as it ties directly into economic growth in Ghana and the increasingly global nature of cinema at a time when grindhouse theaters were begging for imported product from all around the world.