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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Assorted Bits & Pieces: Mail Order Madness! Horror of the VHS Adverts

I was going through some old VHS advertisements that I held onto from the mid to late 1980's and discovered I still had a bunch of various companies either selling original tapes, or bootlegs of export versions of whatever scuzzy filth a rabid goremonger may be looking for. The following sets of ads are for a company called VIDEO MANIA. Damn, I wish I still had that Super Video VHS of NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST.


I only ever ordered one movie from them and that was BLOODSUCKING FREAKS (1976) on the Vestron label. I tried ordering the Prism tape for INFRA MAN, but I was a bit late since it was a close out sale. These were the days when a monster-horror kid spent what his allowance would allow on whatever trash-gore-sleaze cinema he could get his hands on. Anybody else ever order from Video Mania?

BLOOD SALVAGE...what a crappy movie that was! Evander Holyfield (he has a cameo in the picture) was the Executive Producer. Good cast, but a total waste of time. Note the high prices on VHS tapes back then. Usually, I only had anywhere from $40 to $100 to spend and not keen on blowing all, or most of it on a tape with potential suckage, I eventually picked up a lot of these same tapes at a video store in town that was going out of business.

I SPIT ON YOUR that brings back memories. I remember reading about it in a Roger Ebert review book and his condemnation of the movie (along with an equal disdain for MOTHER'S DAY) only made me want to see both those movies. Eventually, it came to a local video store and a friends dad rented it and I saw it with him and his son. We also saw HUNTER'S BLOOD around the same time. In the early 90's, I was helping out at a Chinese friends restaurant and the young cooks liked renting movies from the vid store in that town. For whatever reason, they decided they wanted to rent I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. It was an uncomfortable moment to be sitting in a room with young and old Asian people as the movie unspooled on the television. Needless to say, about halfway through the rape scene, they cut the movie off.

Two of the most nauseating movies ever made are featured on this advert. Bet ya' can't guess which two it is! NEKROMANTIK became a bizarre party tape for some curiosity seekers who discounted the existence of a (very graphic) movie about corpse fucking. The eyeball slurping, broomstick (with accompanying condom!) sex scene and house cat destruction scene are some of the most grueling, sick bastard cinema moments. Oh, and that totally outrageous spooge blasting, jism jettisoning suicide scene either made'em laugh, or be devastated in unbelievable silence. Ditto for the equally unnerving HENRY.

I love that bit about "any rat film on this page $18.90"

"Andy Milligan is back!" I would be sick on my stomach if I paid $28.00 for a Milligan movie. I've seen two or three of them and that's two or three too many.

REDNECK ZOMBIES was one of only two shot on video movies I halfway enjoyed. The other was VIDEO VIOLENCE: WHEN RENTING IS NOT ENOUGH. For a while there, it seemed anybody with a camcorder was making one and with some snazzy box art, you could get your home movie in video stores across America.

This advert above has some choice Continental VHS tapes. They came in those big, oversized boxes containing incredibly gory and high gloss covers. They even released some double features such as THE SLAYER paired with SCALPS. Several I remember owning (and don't remember what happened to them) from this label are CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD (NIGHTMARE CITY), TERROR ON TAPE, RETURN OF THE ALIENS DEADLY SPAWN (THE DEADLY SPAWN), BIOHAZARD and ALIEN PREY.

BURIAL GROUND holds some memories. What a great trash piece of (non) filmmaking that was! Still, Andrea Bianchi knew his crap. I remember laughing myself silly when Peter Bark bit off Mariangela Giordano's breast. I couldn't believe what I'd seen and had to rewind it several times. I also remember my stepmother swearing up and down that this was the same movie as NIGHT OF THE DEATH CULT (Ossorio's NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS retitled for its VHS release by Sony, but only on the box art). Apparently, they slipped her the wrong movie and even after she saw both films, she still claimed that BURIAL GROUND was NIGHT OF THE DEATH CULT. THE GODSEND is good, too. One of the creepier killer kid movies with Angela Pleasence, Donald's creepy looking daughter.



Richard of DM said...

Holy shit, duder. These are awesome. I love old zine ads for bootlegs.

venoms5 said...

Video Mania was legit, Richard. They sold the actual tapes and not copies. These were included with the tape I bought from them and they sent me some others afterward. I do have some flyers for some bootleg companies like Mondo Video. You remember them? I bought my first copy of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST from them. It was from Venezuela.

venoms5 said...

I got some others to scan, too. I thought it might be cool to share them, or see if anybody else out there ever did the mail order tape route.

Skeme Richards said...

I love those old ads, everything was so DIY not like now where companies are hired to design your ads. Plus they just had a look to them that said "buy me".

Carl (ILHM) said...


My jaw dropped when I grabbed a vintage copy of Fangoria at one of the conventions, $69.99 for a VHS?? Over $100 for some of the rarities and imports?!?!!?! And here I bitch when a DVD is over $10..

Great collection V, oh the nostalgia of it all!

venoms5 said...

Too true, Skeme. I remember wanting to buy all of them, but never the cash to do so. Plus, the more expensive ones, I was always afraid it might suck and I'd be out of a chunk of change. Between $20-$40 was my safety zone. I got some ads/flyers for JARS Video Collectibles, too. You remember them?

I used to buy a lot of Shaw flicks from this place called Dragon Video. I think George Tan ran that place. Anyway, he charged $40 for his bootlegs, but claimed they were uncut. I think the only one I got from him that was complete was a third gen copy of MASKED AVENGERS with awful sound.

There was a local vid store here in Greensboro that rented out a lot of his tapes and this same shop had tons of kung fu movies. They rented better than the newer movies at the time. Not sure if that place is still there.

venoms5 said...

Yeah, Carl, tapes were crazy expensive back in the day. I remember the original ALIEN was $99 to order from Fox. My dad had three copies of the damn thing. I didn't love it that much!

I also remember when video stores first appeared, it cost close to $10 just to rent one movie!!

Damn, I wish I still had that NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST tape, too. The quality was very good and it was uncut. I bought a bootleg DVD-R of it a couple years ago and the quality is average. Under a different title, I think.

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