Thursday, July 1, 2010

VHS Finds [or... Judging a Movie By Its Cover]

As I have pointed out (and had pointed out for me) lately on The Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema, I have obviously been neglecting my blog as of late. I even stopped playing Red Dead Redemption and drunk touching myself like a lazy cat.

Well, in an attempt to jumpstart my half assed creative process, I thought I'd share time to time the random VHS tapes I cheaply come across.

VHS is a format I haven't really messed with in quite awhile. To be honest, the lazy toucher cat in me hasn't even allowed me to dig my VCR out of the attic and set it up. But lately I have been in a lo-fi nostalgia kind of mood. For example, I've been playing a lot of the original Nintendo Famicom (the older brother of the Nintendo Entertainment System here) lately... games like Popeye and Excitebike.

Anyway, while I still love my small yet growing collection of blu rays, and certainly love the new trend of DVDs getting cheap cheap, I have found a new appreciation for digging here and there for inexpensive VHS tapes... really the underappreciated, never-digitized (mostly action) films that more often than not have cases and illustrations almost as entertaining as the film itself.

There is a bit of a collector's market for VHS tapes, and I am not quite there myself. I'm skipping over the stuff on DVD really, and I am just not mentally ready to pay more than 5 bucks or so for a VHS from some greedy store or seller when there are much easier ways to find the movie if I really want to see it. But these cheap tapes I am finding are a lot of fun to track down, and hopefully I'll actually sit to watch them soon.

I wanted to start a kinda-somewhat-maybe regular series here where I just kinda show off the cool cheap tapes I come across. And I am always open to suggestions from any of you loyal readers who may still be around.

I found all these tapes today at a local used book store. It's a great haul if you ask me! They came out to about 2 bucks a piece, and in my quick and dirty cell phone research, were not released on DVD unless that DVD was just a copy of a VHS anyway. And keep in mind I haven't seen any of these movies before.

And these are all my quick cell phone photographed, online edited photos of the actual cases! Exciting!

Armed Response

Explosive action thriller, indeed. I've never seen a Fred Olen Ray film as far as I know. I do know he is known to have put out some trash of the highest (lowest?) order. But trash starring David Carradine and a very elderly looking Lee Van Cleef has to be entertaining on some level, right? Add in Michael Berryman, the bald creep from The Hills Have Eyes (or from Weird Science as I like to remember him) faded in the sky, and I can't help but drop a couple bucks on this beauty.

Not the most exciting VHS cover ever, although I do like the cheesy ARMED RESPONSE crackly type.

P.O.W.: The Escape
(a.k.a. Behind Enemy Lines)

I guess after Chuck Norris kicked his ass in Lone Wolf McQuade, Carradine wanted to get back at him by ripping off his Missing In Action movie.

This cover rocks! I love the over the top, painted stuff that was so popular (especially for action films) in the 1980s. Again, I know nothing about the film. The gun blazing, shit blowing up... what more do you need? Oh, and for a couple bucks and no DVD. I win!

Black Cobra
(a.k.a. Eva Nera, a.k.a. Emanuelle Goes Japanese)

I gotta admit I wasn't super stoked about this one upon seeing Jack Palance's head, especially along with "Erotic desires"..... ehhhh, but then I saw Ms. Laura Gemser.

Ms. Gemser got me through many a lonely pubescent night as Emmanuelle back in the day. I have no clue what this film is even about, but I am even happier I spent the 2 bucks since it is what appears to be at least an unofficial Emanuelle movie! Oh joy! Softcore porn doesn't hold the same place in my heart (pants) that it once did, but the pants need a trip down nostalgia lane too, right?

The director's name Joe D'Amato sounded very familiar as well. Not sure I have seen any of his work either, but he was certainly a busy man and had a film called Porno Holocaust, so yeah...

Florida Straits
OK, I bought this one on cover alone. I mean, it has Raul Julia and Fred Ward, but those two alone wouldn't be enough for a blind purchase. The typeface at the bottom is pretty hideous, but the painted cover is certainly a selling point. I didn't even read this one, but I am disappointed to see that it was apparently made for TV.

Oh well, they can't all be winners.

Pretty sure this one only cost $1

The Annihilators
Ohhhh baby

I've never heard of any of the actors, but look at these credits:
Christopher Stone from The Howling and Cujo..... ok
Andy Wood from Rambo First Blood Part II....... no clue but ok
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs from Welcome Back, Kotter......... HAHAHA
then Jim Antonio from The River and Gerrit Graham from Pretty Baby..... I don't know those films at all.

Quite an ensemble cast of no names... at least to me. But it's totally the overblown image that makes this pick up a win. These badasses are BURNING THROUGH THE PAPER to come and rock your face off!

Look at the fucker in the mask! Holy shitballs!

They fought for their country,
Now they're fighting for their friends.

This tape cost the most out of the lot ($3), and has the worst rating on IMdB. Guess only time will tell on this. I am hesitant to watch it now as not to ruin the awesomeness that is the cover.

Quite an exciting trip to the store when I wasn't even expecting to find anything. I hope to write more of these as I find cool little video treasures around town or on amazon, etc. I love just coming across these new things, and I am sure when I finally hook up my VCR, I will love that nostalgic feeling of actually using the damn things.

Stay tuned!


bigwilly0469 said...

shame the Fred Ward and Raul Julia one probably won't live up to the promise of it's cover.. I also have The Annhilators on VHS and it's ok. I love that you're digging through the dust bins for the gold baby!

Reel Distraction said...

Great post. I love reading about VHS finds. BLACK COBRA is pretty special.