I may be the only one in the entire world excited about this, but to your right is the back cover illustration for the paperback copy of Strange Beasts in a Small Town. Clicky on the pic to see it all great big and legible and stuff.
The image, which shows the novel’s climactic battle between the kaiju King Vislor and Rubbish, was created by my father, Louis Armour, and is based on the U.S. poster for Godzilla vs. Mothra, retitled Godzilla vs. The Thing on this side of the Pacific. You can see that poster below and to the left. Wave hello when you get there.
Although my love for that particular Godzilla flick is as pure as the title character’s love of a freshly crushed Japanese man, I’ll be the first to admit the poster is a slight misrepresentation of the final product. Rather than 90 minutes of abject terror, most viewers are likely to experience 90 minutes of businessmen trying to swindle people intermittently peppered with Godzilla duking it out with a couple of silly string-spitting worms and, inevitably, a giant moth. You remember Mothra, right? The giant moth? The one that doesn’t have spiky Lovecraftian tentacles? The one that never “destroys the armies of the world?” The one that hangs out with a couple of naysaying do-gooder pixies who like to spontaneously burst into song? That Mothra?
Like I said, the poster exaggerates a bit. A big bit. Really, a huge fucking bit. You can’t see the top of the thing, it’s so huge. Tokyo-crushing huge. One might claim it’s an outright lie, in fact…a first in advertising.
While working on the back cover illustration, my father talked a bit about seeing the original poster as a child. He said he was actually afraid of seeing the movie, it was so terrifying. All that “CENSORED: WATCH THIS AND YOU WILL DIE” stuff really worked on him. I’m not sure if I can ever personally claim to have had any sort of similar experience with a movie advertisement. I’m kind of jealous.
Wait, scratch that. Back in my high school days, when I was working at a local movie theater, we received a really nice display for a little movie called Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows. The display was incredible — a huge tri-folding thing littered with bits of creepy information about Maryland’s fictional Blair Witch, complete with old-timey photographs and sound bites summoned by the press of a button. I remember reading all of that stuff and listening to those weird audio clips and becoming totally chilled, right there in the brightly-lit lobby of the theater. I couldn’t wait.
That movie was a total piece of shit, by the way. One of the worst things I’ve ever seen.
That said, the back cover of my book isn’t misleading in the least. All of the stuff either illustrated or mentioned there is 100 percent guaranteed to between the covers at some point. I promise. No, really.
I can’t really guarantee my book’s not a total piece of shit, though. The makers of Blair Witch 2 probably though they were making gold, too.