Back in the 80s’, heading to your local Mom and Pop video store without parental supervision with a group of friends looking for that perfect horror movie, was a rite of passage. Prior in my younger years heading to rent videos for the weekend with my parents, I was left alone to wander and always ended up in the Horror section gawking at the enticing and illustrious covers of films I had never seen. But oh boy, did they sell me on my curiosity enough to want to take it and run with it. Now, my parents weren’t strict or uptight when it came to horror movies. My Dad was a tried and true horror fan through and through and set me on the path of gory righteous at a young age. I was well-seasoned on the Halloween films, Universal Monsters, and hell even JAWS. However, the other parental unit wasn’t so keen on me renting Return of The Living Dead when I was seven-years-old just because I was infatuated by the cover art alone on the VHS rental box. I suppose in a sense she was correct, as Linnea Quigley dancing around naked in a cemetery probably wasn’t the best choice for someone my age. Still, I grimaced at the blue balling of the verdict and humbly walked up to the counter with my copy of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure for the 86,000th time- give or take.
Anyway, the day had finally come when I was around 10-years -old when I got the go ahead to ride my bike around the block to our neighborhood video shop, Action Video and use the rental card all by myself with a group of friends for a sleep-over. This was WAY better than getting dad’s credit card for the day I TELL YOU. The time had finally come where I could go nuts in the horror section and grab the films I had eyeballing for what seemed forever.
This, boils and ghouls, is why the coveted VHS cover is forever a national treasure and cherished for so many. Beyond the painstakingly beautiful raw art that well, we just don’t see these days when it comes to selling movies, it was a window into a world of horror and fantasy of movies we may never have had seen had it not been for the boxed art popping off the shelves. In many cases, when a horror movie went straight to video, this was the ONLY selling point. If you didn’t have a grabbing VHS cover, you were dead in the water; end of story. Case in point, for us nostalgic nuggets, VHS will never die as it remains an important fixture for us in the horror community. We owe a lot to these artists for opening the door to fantastic movies like Dolls and Popcorn. Without the box art screaming at us, “Hey! Pick me up!”, they may have just been lost forever in the dimension of forgotten films.
That being said, I racked my brain to the best of my ability to remember what exactly, were the coolest looking Horror VHS covers to ten-year-old Patti? Well, in the name of science and a lot of memory enhancing coffee breaks, here’s what I came up with!
These are just some that really stood out to me at that age. Oh, and for the record, I popped that solo video rental store cherry with Return of the Living Dead and The Blob.
What are some of your favorite VHS covers? Get crackin’ on those comments Nostalgic Nuggets!