Tag Archives: Retro horror

The Art of Horror: Celebrating The Best Horror VHS Cover Art!

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!

[Full Show] The 1991 Horror Hall of Fame Awards!

If you were a blossoming horror fan and of sound mind in the early 90s’, you may remember the glorious annual Horror Hall of Fame Awards. The Oscars for horror films, as they advertised it, only ran from 1990-1992, but goddamn it was the coolest thing ever. Oh, and Robert Englund hosted all three ceremonies. Fantastic times my friends.

The first annual Horror Hall of Fame ceremony at Universal Studios, California in 1990, was really something special in honoring the best of horror films, TV, actors, and special effects designers that would otherwise most likely not get recognized by that snooty little fellow by the name of Oscar. Alongside the induction act, are some really great segments and horror movie trivia from the cast and crew of said honored movies. The fact this only stuck around for three years is a damn shame. Sure, we had the Scream Awards 15 years later, but that since has gotten the ax as well. And sure, we have various virtual awards offered through some great horror magazines, but it’s just not the same. I long await for the day where this could be a thing again.

Anyways, marking 30 years since the 1991 awards returned to Hollywood, let’s focus on the second installment. The awards ceremony kicked off with Englund hosting once more, with the fantastic Cryptkeeper serving as co-host; and by co-hosting I mean slipping some awesomely random puns and gags in between inductee segments. The horror duo together set the stage for a new set of inductees to imprint their mark into the genre’s horror history books. And what better way to open the festivities, than a tip of the hat to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds with a parody starring Freddy himself?

Yeah, I can’t think of anything right now.

The darkly lit stage sprinkled with generic Halloween decorations set the tone for the all-time greats to receive recognition for their hard-earned contribution to the horror genre, and of course, you Fred-Heads may remember this was indeed the year Freddy Krueger was to make his final appearance as the Springfield Slasher on-screen in the form of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; the sixth and presumably at the time, final chapter in the Freddy saga. So along with issuing achievement awards to the likes of Bela Lugosi and Roger Corman, the iconic slasher that Englund had made so legendary in a span of seven years, got his own little farewell tribute in a sort of twisted “In Memorium” piece brought to you by the late, great Sam Kinison. Kinison in true Sam fashion rushes the stage in the middle of Robert talking, takes over the podium, briefly roasts Englund, and goes on to present a tribute video to the fallen slasher, Freddy Krueger. All While Robert is laughing hysterically in the background. Priceless entertainment people.

The program also included make-up bits performed by special effects wizard Steve Johnson and the lovely Linnea Quigley, with sneak peeks for the upcoming and highly anticipated Addams Family movie. The Horror Hall of Fame 2 was every bit as fun as its predecessor the year prior. And some damn fine people got the recognition they so well deserved. 1991’s gallery of horror heroes included the following:

  • Film- Texas Chainsaw Massacre 
  • Film- The Birds
  • Publisher- EC Comics
  • Production Company- Universal Studios
  • Producer/ Director- Roger Corman
  • Actor – Bela Lugosi
  • Award for best movie of the year went to Silence of the Lambs. Nominees included were Misery, Child’s Play 2, Predator 2, and Jacob’s Ladder.

And well, maybe just relive it yourself! With a courtesy upload from Youtuber Doug Tilley, let us thank the Horror Gods for this little slice of treasure that once was, and maybe one day, can be again!

Happy Dirty 30! The 10 Best Horror Films From 1990

The year was 1990. The Hubble Space Telescope sent down its first images from space to NASA. The number one TV show was Cheers, and girl you know it’s true how embarrassed Pop duo Milli Vanilli must have felt that year.

But, arguably one of the most important events to streamline and set the tone for horror in the ’90s, was quite possibly the legendary Tim Curry slapping on a red nose; inducing a mighty fear of clowns into TV audiences everywhere for the unforeseeable future. Thanks Tim!

Beyond the television terrors of Derry, 1990 was a pretty fantastic year for horror. Tasking myself with dwindling down the list down to, what I think, are the ten best, was slightly anxiety inducing. However, I’m pretty satisfied with the results and the lineage of order. Also, if we’re gonna celebrate anything in 2020, it might as well be things from the past that live on to keep us from losing our minds!

Can we at least agree on that?

So let’s get to it! I’ve also included handy Amazon links with the best deals I could find for said features if you feel inspired by this list to add to your horror collection! Also, I won’t bore you with an in-depth analysis of each film. I feel like most of you have seen or at least know the plots of these gems- and if you haven’t FOR SHAME and click the title links to remedy that immediately.

10. Gremlins 2: The New Batch

What do you get when you cross Hulk Hogan, a Grandpa Munster impersonator, and genetic splicer lab run by Christopher Lee? Why, Gremlins 2 of course! I fondly remember seeing this in theaters when I was about eight and I got to tell you, watching the Hulkster threaten the Gremsters with a 24 inch python beating was probably the highlight of my year and deserving of a top-ten slot.

Available for $7.69 at Amazon

9. Puppet Master II

Being as how this Puppet Master installment in particular is my favorite of the franchise, I couldn’t leave it off the list! The puppets return with a very aggressive physical form of Toulon in hopes to resurrect their old puppet party days; along with a few new tricks. A new group is at castle at the puppets’ disposal to slice and dice, but it was those damn “human” puppets that gave me nightmares for weeks on end!

Fun fact: Puppet Master II is playing in the Toyland Warehouse security office in Demonic Toys.

Available for $11.46 at Amazon

8. Arachnophobia

If you weren’t afraid of spiders before the “Roseanne” era John Goodman thriller, I’ll take a million dollar bet that Arachnophobia induced that anxiety in you. Pretty impressive as this IS the first film distributed by the Walt Disney Hollywood Studios label. Way to set the bar there Mickey.

Available for $4.99 at Amazon

7. Tales From the Darkside: The Movie

Quite possibly the greatest horror anthology since Creepshow, the Tales From the Darkside feature presentation-as well as the series– is the perfect love-child for fans of the Romero-King collaboration and the unforgettable Tales From the Crypt with a star-studded cast to boot. Steve Buscemi, Christian Slater, Debbie Harry, and a young Matthew Lawrence who serves as the stories’ introduction opposite Blondie’s Harry. We got a homicidal mummy, an even more homicidal (adorable) cat, and one fucked up gargoyle tale of love and betrayal. Need I say any more?

Available for $5.00 at Amazon

6. Nightbreed

As wild and bewildering as it is, there’s a lot to love about a pen-written Clive Barker film about a mental patient who believes he is a serial killer by none other than, David Cronenberg. The group in the film dubbed the Nightbreed, may look wonky and in movie-terms, scary. But are actually the misfits. The outcasts. And the dreamers. A lot of things I whole-heartedly believe many horror fans can relate to. Love it or hate it- it has a place in my heart.

Available for $11.99 at Amazon- Director’s Cut!

5. Ghost

Ok first off: YES. I know Ghost isn’t a traditional horror film like the others listed here. However, my motto has and alsways been- “If it scares you, it’s a damn horror movie.” And I’m sticking to that. Those demon ink-blobs scared the literal piss out of me when I was a kid therefore this masterpiece gets a slot here.

Ghost has just about everything the average cinema-goer could want in a film. Also could be why it was undoubtedly one of the most popular films of that year. Love, betrayal, drama, thrills, a little comedy, and a cool cat that sees ghosts. Ok, he has a small part but it’s still one of my favorite little quirks about the movie.

Available for $8.99 at Amazon

4. Child’s Play 2

The sequel to the Mancini/Holland endeavor is every bit as great as the original with Chucky really coming into his own in 1990. Sure, the Chuck had some memorable one-liners from the first film. But in the sequel, the pavement has been laid for Chucky’s homicidal yet humorous personality with a dozen or so “you can’t help but laugh” lines and actions that just makes this one so great. Worth mentioning is the opening title sequence of the burnt remains of his body being pieced back together like a fucked up Frankenstein.

Available for $3.99 at Amazon

3. Stephen King’s IT (1990)

BEEP BEEP! I can fondly remember watching the 2 part-miniseries that premiered on the ABC network in November of 1990. I was eight-years-old and by God, as a young brooding horror nerd, this was absolutely thrilling for me to see something so terrifying being aired on a family-friendly network! As with above’s Arachnophobia, the rise of coulrophobia went full steam ahead with audiences everywhere and I hold the magnificent Tim Curry fully responsible for his genius performance as Pennywise for inducing clown-related panic attacks for years down the line.

Available for $7.40 at Amazon

2. Misery

Humorously enough, it was during the mini-series premiere of IT where I caught my first glimpse of that cockadoody nurse Annie Wilkes and the theatrical trailer for Misery during a commercial break. The strong, and ankle-anxiety inducing story from Stephen King for me, is perfectly represented on screen with Kathy Bates. Bates IS Annie and delivers a performance that can be compared to Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector one year later. You love to hate her. That’s not an easy feat for any character.

Available for $6.95 at Amazon

1. The Exorcist III

And now that you’ve exorcised my invitation to the top ten dance, here we are at the very greatest film of 1990- THE EXORCIST III. The film, adapted from William Peter Blatty’s “Legion”, is about as aesthetically pleasing being the first person to walk on fresh snow in the morning hours. Incidentally, it’s also intellectually the one true, and finest sequel to The Exorcist. Brad Dourif (his second appearance on this list-BRAVO), clocks into his One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest days to remind us that he’s a lot more than just the voice of a killer doll for horror fans. The man is an ACTOR. And one of the damn finest alongside George C. Scott who serves as his opposite making way for a beautiful on-screen performance that compliment each other wonderfullly.

Not to mention it has THEE greatest jump scares to this day of any horror film. EVER. And since it hold’s the number one spot, let me endulge you with you possibly shitting your pants one more time with the headless nun!

Available for $19.99 at Amazon

What’s your favorite horror gem from 1990? Sound off below and I’ll be back with a a top ten of 1980 list in the near future! Stay tuned!