ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE is intended to put a name (and sometimes face) to the talented men and women who created the most iconic images to adorn horror VHS boxes and posters from ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Their art is vital; it’s the reason I (and many of you, certainly) fell in love with horror movies in the first place. This is not only intended as a tribute, but also a minor compendium, meant to collect their works in one single spot. Corrections, additions, or other info? Email me.

Whenever I talk about the 1991 low-budget shocker Popcorn, I’ll get the occasional “I don’t know if I’ve seen that one…” in response. That is, of course, until I show them the cover art: a skeleton clad in a rictus grin and baggy old suit, using the mask of a crying girl with long black hair on a stick to cover his own decaying and terrifying visage, all of it outlined in a creepy green haze. “Oh, THAT movie!”, comes the next response, “I love that cover!”

That sort of recognition proves the importance of the old video covers from the days of yore: you needn’t remember the title – or even have seen the actual movie, for that matter – because you’ll always remember the art. Strange and unsettling imagery indelibly branded upon our brains, forever.

Joann Daley was the artist behind several iconic pieces of ’80 and ’90s horror and exploitation, including The Video Dead, Scanners, Killer Party, and my personal favorite, Creepshow. Featuring another skeleton, this one more fully-realized and clad in a ratty canvas shawl – accompanied by a rat and a spider, naturally – the Creepshow cover sees our frightful host handing out movie tickets to the next shriek-show. It’s a beautiful and spooky image that makes perfect use of it’s limited sepia-toned color palette.

Ever the prolific artist, Daley didn’t just limit herself to movie posters – she also worked on trading cards, book covers (she illustrated the covers for several of Harriette Sheffer Abels’s books), album covers, and did I, uh, mention, uh, book covers?

Lastly, I was able to find a handful of eyebrow-raising illustrations she did of people doing strenuous activities, wherein she emphasized the not-so-subtle sexuality of these particular past times. Even though they’re not horror movie-related, I still wanted to include them because they’re spectacular and I haven’t been able to track many down. You can view them here. — (Update 08/01/16: the risqué images appear to have been part of a series of hip and artsy greeting cards from the ’80s, from the company Paper Moon Graphics.)

According to an associate of Joann who emailed me after I posted this piece, Joann passed away a handful of years ago. But thankfully, Joann’s amazing work will live on forever. Now, without further ado: (some of) the work of Joann Daley.



Screen Used

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Movie Posters

All images obtained via IMP Awards, FILM ON PAPER, and Wrong Side of Art, unless otherwise noted.

15 thoughts on “ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE: Joann Daley”

    1. Hi I am looking for Joann I was her neighbor in Ventura Ox area I have not been home for years I went away to work abroad and would like to contact her if she is still alive.
      Ive written a book and need and illustrator, Its a childrens book based in Alaska no one has written anything like it’s my Rock Star. My name is Marie LaMarr and I’m in Ventura please call me 805.836.5190. Thank you.


    2. Hi Jim, is Joann still working in the illustration field? I’d love to have her do a poster for me for a new feature I’m working on!!! Best, Paul



    ^^This was an online auction for the original Creepshow painting. The artist was credited only as “Joann” as that was the signature. I had NO IDEA of her full name, or that she produced so many other classic horror posters… until now! Thanks for this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy to help! That’s the whole reason I started this recurring piece; as a fan of horror VHS box art, I wanted to pin down the creators – I knew other fans were probably as curious as I was.

      That HD picture of the CREEPSHOW poster is awesome! I mean, you can really zoom in to see the details. I love it, one of my favorite pieces by her.

      Thanks for readin’ the piece and writin’ in! Stay tuned for more Artists Behind the Image!


  2. Joann was an incredible person and artist and friend. I was so blessed to have worked with her. I miss her.


    1. Miss Alohson

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      My name is Susan Poole and my husband and I are film accessory researchers. We run the website Learn About Movie Posters with thousands of pages of articles on movie posters and related film accessories. We also have written a series of books about movie posters. Our current project is a book on American movie poster artists and we are searching for biographical information on Ms. Daley Can you direct us to anyone who could help us in this regard. Thanks so much. Our website is


  3. Fantastic piece! I’m still fascinated by the art found on older posters & video boxes, and was always saddened by the shift to the “floating head” style that dominated movie posters after the success of “Scream”. Glad to see some of these artists receive their due. Looking forward to the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s one of the things all horror fans agree on, “the cool box art”. It really was an art! It’s starting to shift that way again with the low-budget stuff – more handcrafted, well-designed covers – but there’s nothing like the boxes from the heyday of ’80s horror. I have many more of these lined up – can’t wait to post the next one!


    1. There was a book released last year called “VHS Video Cover Art” which got some traction among the horror and VHS nerds, but I didn’t buy it so I’m not sure if this info is already contained within it. Maybe it unlocks all of these VHS mysteries and I’m the only one missing out – I’m not sure. I think I read some reviews that it covered mainly UK art. Anyway, if you wanna check it out, here’s a link to the website:


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