You see, I could never go see the movies they advertised, both because I was underage (13 years old), but also because my parents would never let me. The newspaper ads were often the only thing I could collect in association with the films I could never go see. So, I could only longingly feast my eyes on the promotional artwork, and imagine how awesome the movie must be. Little did I know then, that what I imagined was so much better than the actual movie. As I know now, the artwork was much better than the film, and misleading as to what you would see.
But you have to hand it to the promoters here: they did a great job of packaging and promoting the films to maximum effect. The titles, picked to capitalise on Romero's zombie movie, though there were no zombies; the artwork, depicting an imaginary character that never made an appearance; and the idea of "three-movies-for-the-price-of-one" which made it a real bargain. Similar to a cheap smorgasboard of crummy food, you might complain that it didn't taste that good, but you had to admit you sure got a lot for your money.
Having such an impact on my impressionable mind, the image stood as the pinnacle in scary movie artwork, and was never surpassed. (Inspired, I drew my own copy of it, being somewhat talented in drawing things I could look at. Using felt-tip markers, I colored in my version, supplying the blood and gore that the paper ad didn't have.) So when, about ten years later as a young man I happened upon the entire press kit for the movies in a south Florida collector's shop, I snatched it up like a starving zombie gnoshing upon a handfull of fresh entrails. This was a true find! And seeing the entire ad campaign made me appreciate even more what went into promoting this event.
Included with the kit was a sample "Madman 1 Sheet," that the theater owner could order to hand out to patrons (see below). On the front here was a photograph of a raving lunatic in a straitjacket, presumably a viewer who was driven insane by seeing the movies. The copy on the other side read, in part: "This is John Austin Frazier. It has been reported that he now resides at a Mental Hospital, the result of attending a showing of "Orgy of the Living Dead!" Because of this tragic event, we, the producers, have secured an insurance policy, insuring the sanity of each and every patron. If you lose your mind as a result of viewing this explosion of terror, you will receive free psychiatric care, or be placed, at our expense, in an asylum for the rest of your life! We urge you to take advantage of this protection! The insurance is free - anyone entering the theater without it does so at his own risk. Remember: WE WARNED YOU!!!
The copy about the handout reads "This hair-raising 'Madman' special one sheet, taken directly from ORGY's key art, is a guaranteed attention-getter! The Madman's distorted face screams out in anguished horror while the text of the poster contains a WARNING note for those about to enter the theater! A guaranteed crowd-raiser that will draw a quick line at the box office!" I'm sure it did.
Back of the handout:
There is also copy in the kit about the trailers, TV spots and radio ads that the owner could order to help promote the event. Of particular interest is the language used to describe certain ones of the radio ads: "Two of the spots have been specially prepared for Black audiences, and all convey the spirit of the show-biz excitement that will draw the crowds to your box-office!" One supposes they sprinkled in some jive-talk in those.