Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

The Most Dangerous Mission...The Most Daring Escape...Behind Enemy Lines
April 23, 2014 10:42 AM   Subscribe

VHS Cover Junkie showcases examples of the now lost art of the home videotape cover. [SLTumbr]
posted by Chrysostom (49 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
There was a kickstarted documentary called "Rewind This!" that had some background on the covers. I seem to remember some of them being created before the movies were. They would design a large number of them, pick the most attractive ones, and then make the movie based off that. Here's a Hulu link.
posted by zabuni at 10:52 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Great Tumblr, or Greatest Tumblr?
posted by jquinby at 10:58 AM on April 23


I have owned a number of these, I still own a couple, and I've seen either the box or the actual movie of a whole bunch more.

Rollerblade is really, really terrible. I still own it. Highly recommended.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:11 AM on April 23


I recently got a working VHS player again (I also recently got a working cassete deck and record player again, so that my retrofetishization trifecta is complete). It's so much fun to pick up half-remembered movies from the 80s and 90s for a buck or two each. They're kind of taking over my house.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:16 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


David Carradine would do just about anything, wouldn't he?
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:18 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


First job when we got married was working at the local video store, circa 1990. I remember so many of these ... the "Cult Classics" section of the store always had the stuff that was simultaneously intriguing and terrifying. The store's copy of "Nekromantik" became one of those things that everybody was drawn to and afraid to watch in equal measure, and it was always an occasion when someone was brave enough to rent it.
posted by jbickers at 11:19 AM on April 23


The store's copy of "Nekromantik" became one of those things that everybody was drawn to and afraid to watch in equal measure, and it was always an occasion when someone was brave enough to rent it.

The original Human Centipede. When I got that Netflix disc it sat on my coffee table for days while I came up with excuses to do other things. I was Pee Wee Herman, and Human Centipede was the terrarium of snakes in the burning pet store.

Great Tumblr, or Greatest Tumblr?

The later.
posted by brundlefly at 11:41 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Cannon Group & Golan Globus. Seeing those words appear HBO always meant you were in for a few hours of action.
posted by crapmatic at 11:42 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


I really miss video stores and endlessly browsing. Scrolling through Netflix or Hulu or whatever usually ends in some sort of existential crisis.

Based on the impact it's vhs cover had on me as a child, a part of me still thinks Jason Goes to Hell must be one of the most frightening movies of all time.
posted by AtoBtoA at 11:51 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


I always enjoy the finely printed credits on very bad movie posters/packaging, because even in the shlockiest, there is still a bit of distinction where some actor's agent has angled for a plum placement. Examine the cast of Howling VI: The Freaks, which after listing several unfamiliar names gives us a fine sendoff with and Bruce Martyn Payne as "Harker". Something about the name being last, it being a full name, preceded by and, listing the character name and -- the piece de resistance -- putting the name in quotation marks makes it brilliant (or at least as brilliant as any fifth-sequel, straight-to-video movie about werewolves and vampires fighting can be).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:58 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


I really miss video stores and endlessly browsing.

Yeah, I browsed upon Hardware in a video store years ago, and went home thinking I'd found a treasure. "The Best science-fiction/Horror Film Since Alien". No. No, no no.
posted by cashman at 12:02 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Rollerblade is really, really terrible.

You take that back! It is a serious examination of the issues facing post-apocalyptic fascist-fighting roller skating half-naked magic witch-nuns who heal people with the power of their blessed knives and holy purple smiley face.
posted by JHarris at 12:05 PM on April 23 [5 favorites]


Based on the impact it's vhs cover had on me as a child, a part of me still thinks Jason Goes to Hell must be one of the most frightening movies of all time.

Ah, the one with the mutant hell-worm crawling through the eye-holes of Jason's mask? I remember that one probably too well.
posted by JHarris at 12:09 PM on April 23


Any movie with Sybel Danning is a good movie.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:20 PM on April 23


Jharris, I'm delighted to find another acolyte of Rollerblade. The thing that sticks with me most--and this is nearly twenty years after the last time I watched it--was that little rubber faced creature/homunculus moaning "ow my nuts!" in his annoying voice after, I guess, being rollerbladed in the nuts. I really do need to find a VCR to watch that again.

A glaring omission here is Megaforce. Ace Hunter and his ragtag super commandos flying their motorcycles around, saving Persis Khambatta and generally being totally awesome. I still treasure my VHS copy, along with the CD by 707 that features the theme song. It's sublime. Deeds not words, kids.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:44 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


How is this a lost art? DVD covers have basically the same dimensions; what's changed is the design conventions, and that's also true of theatrical posters.
posted by aaronetc at 12:52 PM on April 23


A glaring omission here is Megaforce. Ace Hunter and his ragtag super commandos flying their motorcycles around, saving Persis Khambatta and generally being totally awesome. I still treasure my VHS copy, along with the CD by 707 that features the theme song. It's sublime. Deeds not words, kids.

Megaforce
was released on June 25th, 1982, the same day as Blade Runner and The Thing. I have admitted on the blue before that as a teenager, the one I was most looking forward to was not directed by John Carpenter or Ridley Scott, but the one from Hal Needham, the auteur behind both Smokey and The Bandit movies AND The Cannonball Run. I see from IMDB that he would go on to do Stroker Ace and Cannonball Run II, so it looks like he had the market cornered thirty years ago on cheesy movies with fast cars and Burt Reynolds.

Later Needham moved onto a series of Smokey and the Bandit spinoff TV movies with colons in the titles, including Bandit: Beauty and the Bandit, Bandit: Bandit's Silver Angel, Bandit: Bandit Goes Country and the intriguing-sounding Bandit: Bandit Bandit .
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:59 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Bandit bandit buffalo bandit buffalo buffalo bandit.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


I went 26 pages deep and saw neither Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn nor The Treasure of the Four Crowns, though perhaps the latter misses a great deal when only seen in 2D.
posted by jquinby at 1:12 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Oh, good. Somebody brought up Megaforce. That means I can link to the animated gif I made a while back.
posted by brundlefly at 1:14 PM on April 23 [10 favorites]


You are not the only one to love Treasure of the Four Crowns.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:24 PM on April 23


Is it just me or do the makers of Archer need to do a Megaforce-themed episode?

I was also glad to see the Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn mentioned here.

My own two VHS cover faves, though, would be SpaceHunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (which sounds like porn and isn't, has Ernie Hudson, Michael Ironside AND Molly Ringwald, and includes the line, "Will you PLEASE stop screaming? I am TRYING to rescue you!")

And, of course...

DollMan : Thirteen Inches Of Attitude which, again, sounds porny but isn't....
posted by Thistledown at 1:33 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Dollman is great. Directed by Albert Pyun, who has unfortunately retired from filmmaking due to health reasons.
posted by brundlefly at 1:45 PM on April 23


It might not take the crown for best cover, but a special citation has to be given to "The Dead Pit".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:04 PM on April 23


How is this a lost art? DVD covers have basically the same dimensions; what's changed is the design conventions, and that's also true of theatrical posters.

It's a lost art because the design conventions for VHS box covers were in place specifically to get people to see the movie. Back when VHS was the most popular medium, if your movie wasn't a major hit, one way to get people interested in it was making the box art super eye-catching so that people in video rental places would rent it. Nowadays, rental places are much less common, there are lots of ways to see movies for free, and there are much better ways to decide whether you want to watch a movie besides looking at the box cover.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:30 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Metalstorm was on there somewhere. I saw that and Spacehunter in the movie theater!

And Treasure of the Four Crowns, which was my VERY FIRST AskMe back in 2005.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:31 PM on April 23


A friend and I wanted to see Nekromantik but it was banned in Canada at the time - I guess it offended someone's delicate sensibilities. Reviews were scarce, but it seemed to be German and twisted and Videomatica couldn't even sneak it in.
I was at work and got a phone call - Nekromantik is playing in Seattle tonight at 7:30! I got off at 5pm, and we made the 2 1/2 hour drive from Vancouver in 2 hours and finally got to see it! Yaaay! It basically sucked, but the effort and the drive down made it sort of worth it. That and we hit The Comet on the way back for drinks, so it was good night all around.
posted by Zack_Replica at 3:01 PM on April 23


VHS Cover Junkie.

BETA.
posted by The Bellman at 3:06 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


psst, megaforce is on YT.
posted by cashman at 4:01 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


So we meet again, VHS slipcase to Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice. I'm sure you remember me, but I am no longer the sweaty 12 year old I once was. You will not find your way into my jacket and under my mattress this time. And never again.
posted by mediocre at 4:05 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


I really miss video stores and endlessly browsing.

Yeah, I browsed upon Hardware in a video store years ago, and went home thinking I'd found a treasure. "The Best science-fiction/Horror Film Since Alien". No. No, no no.


Hey, Hardware had much to love. Iggy Pop as Angry Bob the DJ? Lemmy as a taxi driver?

I still quote Iggy Pop on bad days: "As for the good news? THERE IS NO FUCKING GOOD NEWS!"
posted by McCoy Pauley at 4:22 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


[Rollerblade] is a serious examination of the issues facing post-apocalyptic fascist-fighting roller skating half-naked magic witch-nuns who heal people with the power of their blessed knives and holy purple smiley face.

For almost a full minute I thought you were talking about Rollerball and I wondered if I'd experienced some sort of brain aneurysm.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:22 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Gah! David Heavener! KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!
posted by mediocre at 4:32 PM on April 23


Last one, I swear. But this used to scare me so badly all the fuck in my body came out my nostrils. Never saw the movie, but damn that cover is scary.
posted by mediocre at 4:45 PM on April 23


Scary? More like hilarious. That guy speaks Wolfese, the language made up of actual wolves.
posted by JHarris at 5:03 PM on April 23


Even hearing the words Angela Landsbury send me into frozen shock.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:46 PM on April 23


Hardware is one of maybe ten movies I've walked out on, and I go to the movies about 50 - 70 times a year.

and perhaps a quarter of the movies I watch are sub-Roger Corman-level horror movies. Devil's Rain, anyone?
posted by zippy at 5:46 PM on April 23


VHS Cover Junkie.

I remember these things being called tapes or videotapes, and they were played in a VCR. The internet seems to have decided they were called "VHS's" and were played in a "VHS player" (like with DVDs)
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:55 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


@thistledown

I like her. I LIKE HER FOR THE MAZE.
posted by hearthpig at 6:23 PM on April 23


brundlefly: "I was Pee Wee Herman, and Human Centipede was the terrarium of snakes in the burning pet store."

This is a beautiful, beautiful sentence.
posted by Bugbread at 8:01 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Hardware is one of maybe ten movies I've walked out on, and I go to the movies about 50 - 70 times a year.
So the guy who directed this is interviewed in Jodorowsky's Dune. When he first appeared, Gentleman Caller turned to me and whispered "Who's THIS asshole?"
posted by pxe2000 at 6:26 AM on April 24


Yeah, I browsed upon Hardware in a video store years ago, and went home thinking I'd found a treasure. "The Best science-fiction/Horror Film Since Alien". No. No, no no.

You gotta admit, the soundtrack was pretty excellent. PIL, Ministry, Motorhead... good stuff.

[Rollerblade] is a serious examination of the issues facing post-apocalyptic fascist-fighting roller skating half-naked magic witch-nuns who heal people with the power of their blessed knives and holy purple smiley face.

For almost a full minute I thought you were talking about Rollerball and I wondered if I'd experienced some sort of brain aneurysm.


Me, I thought we were talking about Solarbabies, which had rollerball AND the apocalypse AND a mystic with a magic owl or something, based on my incredibly fuzzy memories.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:17 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Rollerblade, mentioned above, is really something special. I think I was actually doing it some injustice with my description, as it's actually even weirder than that.

It took me a while to find it on Everything Is Terrible's website (which has become a bit harder to navigate in the last year), but I've located their condensed 3-Minute Movie version of it. It's one of the best of the genre. It is age-restricted on DailyMotion though due to breasts, so you'll have to click through an age check to get there.
posted by JHarris at 1:39 PM on April 24


(Breasts and butts actually, I was just reminded.)
posted by JHarris at 1:52 PM on April 24


I thought we were talking about Solarbabies

I thought you were talking about Prayer Of The Rollerboys.
posted by mediocre at 3:28 PM on April 24


I didn't know there were so many post-apocalyptic roller skating movies. What the heck inspired such a genre?
posted by JHarris at 6:58 PM on April 24


You will all find out in 2019.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:29 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I can't believe there are people who don't like Hardware. I mean, Kevin O'Neill's influence is all over it.

(Now, The Island of Dr. Moreau .... that was a stinker, for as much blame as Stanley has to wear for it) .

I can also second Rewind This. Fantastic film.
posted by Mezentian at 4:39 AM on April 25


It's been 14 years since I've worked at Blockbuster, and maybe 4 since I've set foot in one, and I still find myself wanting to sort all these titles so I can grab them in batches of about 30 and reshelve them with minimal backtracking through the library section aisles.

And my store didn't even carry most of these.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:11 AM on April 28


« Older Photographer Ami Vitale was allowed exclusive acc...  |  Introducing Sociology: Tim Kre... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments