Great Horror VHS Art Volume 2


A while ago I wrote a feature on how in the era of video stores, artwork on the VHS of a horror flick was one of the biggest selling points. Images of violence, gratuitous sexiness, and gruesome monsters drew you in and made your choice on what to rent that much harder. Personally countless moments in my formative years were spent gazing at this beautifully macabre art gallery. So in honor of this lost art, here is another collection of some of the best artwork to grace the covers of VHS tapes. If you wish to check out the original selection you can do so HERE.

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The Return of the Living Dead: Zombies are always a fan favorite of the horror genre. They are monsters that are cheap to make and can be a lot of fun to work with. The cover to this 1985 cult classic makes it abundantly clear this is not a thoughtful social commentary ala’ George A. Romero, this is a different kind of zombie flick. If you decide to watch these brain-munchers be prepared for a rockin’ good time, courtesy of a gas which reanimates the dead who are hankering for some brains. This flick was pure violent undead fun for the whole family…..depending on the family that is. 

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Savage Streets: From the start we have horror icon Linda Blair featured front and center. The star of the Exorcist is decked in black leather looking completely badass. Savage Streets features Blair looking for revenge on the scum that murdered her best friend and this image leaves no doubt it’s going to be vengeance of the violent variety. It is very reminiscent of promotional material seen in the female fronted Grindhouse flicks like She-Devils on Wheels, Switchblade Sisters or Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!

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The Mutilator: I think this one image perfectly sums up low budget horror of the 80’s. You have your co-eds/kill fodder all lined up in a row with a giant metal hook in the foreground about to inflict some violence. Naturally the scantily clad intended victim is screaming in terror while the rest of her compatriots have already met their maker. The Mutilator even features a nice little taunting tagline promising the viewer a high and bloody body count. Considering the Mutilator is one of the more entertaining slasher flicks of this era, this artwork is just icing on the cake. 

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Mausoleum: This 1983 flick is one I hold a soft spot for, as it had a nice life at the tail end of the grindhouse era and was still a favorite on VHS shelves. Those responsible for this image were not simply content with a spooky mausoleum to sell this weird possession movie. Just for good measure a towering skeletal being with a bulbous head clutching onto the sides of the burial chamber almost welcoming you in. I also give Mausoleum bonus points for being one of the few possession movies I have seen that actually tries to do something a bit different with the genre. 

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Parents: Far from the bombastic images we are used to, 1989’s Parents plays a game of subtlety. Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt, seem like any other wholesome suburban family, living out the wholesome ideals of Reagan’s America. Perhaps they are preparing dinner after Quaid has gotten home from a long day at work like normal family’s do. One may notice however, that instead of a nice carton of ice cream in the freezer there is a human skull rather than a pint of Breyers Vanilla Ice Cream.

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Microwave Massacre: Another cannibal flick which takes the opposite of subtle approach is Microwave Massacre. This image is in your face with a grotesque severed head shoved in a microwave. Those renting this movie based on this art were surely expecting a loud and campy horror flick with a true psychopath as the villain. Thanks to some honesty  in advertising we see right on the cover that the killer in Microwave Massacre is just a middle-aged schlub who grew tired of his wife’s cooking and would rather have human flesh courtesy of their high-tech microwave.

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