VHS Video Cover Art: 1980s to Early 1990sVHS Video Cover Art: 1980s to Early 1990s by Thomas Hodge
My rating: 4/5 cats
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when i was dragged along on my mom’s errands as a little girl, i would get bored with the “waiting in line to pay” portion of the excursion, and if we were at ann & hope or almacs, i would peel myself away to the VHS rental area and spend what felt like hours absolutely rapt before the mosaic-wall of movies i would probably never see, studying the cover art and the taglines – never actually taking them off the shelf to discover what they were about, just visiting my favorites like we were old friends.

i was particularly drawn to the horror section, because even as a little sprout, i had an appreciation for that winning combination of horror and humor, and this was the 80’s after all, a time when vanity and john stamos got top billing:

action heroes were not required to be shirtless and toned:

every other movie was about a giant killer vehicle:

and all of the horror movie covers were hilarious:

so when this book came out, it seemed to be the perfect way to recapture that memory of awe and bewilderment and celebrate the cinematic triumphs of a bygone age.

which it mostly did. it’s not a perfect nostalgia for me; many of my favorites were absent – seriously – no april fool’s day??

and i didn’t even recognize a lot of the ones included. what the hell is this one?

which, it must be noted, won an award for “best special effects” because yowza

the book is broken into sections: action, comedy, horror, kids, sci-fi, thriller, but i would love to assist in the curation process for a second volume, one which focuses exclusively on horror, because everyone knows that’s where the most fun is to be had.

i mean, come on…

the comedy section of the book is the least interesting to me now, and was the least interesting to me as a kid killing time. it’s pretty much just boobies on parade, but the tone was so different from the boobies on parade on the horror covers – these made boobies seem silly and cartoony

and since i was at a boobless age when these half-understood things made me shy, they held no interest for me.

i’m old enough now to appreciate the gleeful middle finger to subtlety, but it’s still nowhere near as appealing as this wheel of madness, with its still-exploitative but somehow less demeaning approach to sexuality

interestingly enough, the lines between horror and comedy were further blurred for me by covers such as these, filtered through my little-girl brain:

monster in a toilet = funny

being spied on in the shower = scary

so, even though the book was not like visiting forgotten friends, it did introduce me to a lot of new ones that i might need to actually track down and view. because i need this in my life:

and in two years i’m gonna watch this one to see how close it came to predicting the fuuuuutuuuure:

my guess is – pretty damn close

and THIS! a must see!

even if it does look like a ripoff of the warriors

speaking of rip-offs, is this movie basically goonies?

and this one:

this one makes some pretty bold claims for a movie NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD OF EVER

this is also one i must track down:

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so much information on the back

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and look at these maniacs!! it’s like a high school production of the thriller video

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all the love in my heart for these covers.

and now for a parade of taglines:

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and my favorite:

this one is the most baffling:

i do NOT know what! am i being obtuse?

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some other gems:

does unconscious woman-toting not affect weapon-accuracy?

do they mean CANADA??

some of the synopses are also pure gold:

you will be on the edge of your seat for ALL 88 minutes.
well, approximately.

then there is this one, which is both too much and not enough information:

and continues to entertain:

but once again what??

i love how honest some of these boxes are:

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definitely for the kids. adults not so much.

the book is not without its familiar faces, like the gem i manage to mention in 43% of my reviews:

and some films i actually own on vhs, although in both cases, i prefer the cover i own to the one featured in the book:

mine is less sensationalist, but more accurate to the movie itself:

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i also own this one:

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my cover is better:

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but that still on the back of the book-featured back cover is pretty rad:

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both are fine movies you should watch for yourselves, along with blood of heroes, which i also own on VHS.

while i’m bragging about my excellent VHS collection, i am going to take the opportunity to show this off, a fillum shamefully neglected by this book:

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if it’s not apparent, there is a layer of liquid blood beneath the plastic here, that you can move around in a most satisfying way with your fingie:

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you need to see this one. it’s GOLD.

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one of the best things about this book is its size and shape, shown here with maggie for scale

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it makes her ferocious!

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and then abashed

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all in all a really fun book, even if it didn’t have the strictly-horror focus i craved. thank god for pinterest!!…

read my reviews on goodreads

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this feels gauche, but when i announced i was starting a blog, everyone assured me this is a thing that is done. i’m not on facebook, i’ve never had a cellphone or listened to a podcast; so many common experiences of modern life are foreign to me, but i’m certainly struggling financially, so if this is how the world works now, i’d be foolish to pass it up. any support will be received with equal parts gratitude and bewilderment.

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