ThrillerVideo was a home video series released between 1985 and 1989. Most of the schlocky horror flicks were narrated by Elvira, but she refused to host a number of the more graphic titles, which were released in a less sexy format. You can see the full catalog here.
Archive for the 'Home Video' Category
The quintessential ’80s scream queen, you have to admire Quigley’s pluck and wry self-promotion. The direct-to-video “cult spoof of exercise videos and fright films” was recently re-released, and you can get an autographed copy through her website. Read a good review of the original video at The Betamax Rundown.
You can see an interview with Quigley in “VCR Horrors,” a 20/20 panic piece from 1987.
The slime is extra. Via Ecto-Containment.
The Ghostbusters “videocassette” was released on October 31, 1985, one day after the home video release of Beverly Hills Cop. The latter, in a bold move by Paramount Pictures, was priced at $29.95, while the former (a Columbia Picture) was priced at the standard-for-the-time $79.95. Says this September 1985 Los Angeles Times article:
It’s hard to imagine `Ghostbusters’ outselling `Cop,’ considering both are aimed at the same audience. In fact, `Cop’ will probably be stealing customers from `Ghostbusters.’
In fact, Ghostbusters set a record for first-day sales (400,000 units), beat the following year by Rambo (425,000 units), although both Beverly Hills Cop and Star Trek III, also priced at $29.95, went on to beat Ghostbusters in total year sales. Check out the February 1986 Gainesville Sun article below for some interesting figures.
(Original image via Reddit)
From Peter Hartlaub’s column at the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a camera store cleaning out its “video tape” inventory.
Remember, this was considered “price-cutting” at the time. The Empire Strikes Back was released on home video in 1984 and sold a record 400,000 copies at $79.98.
The ad is from Starlog #93 (April, 1985).
Charles Band started Wizard Video in 1980, distributing a number of horror classics (and trash classics) as well as introducing the “big box” VHS format. The big boxes splashed graphic art and were a signal innovation that changed the market. You can see a whole bunch of awesome brochures here. Wizard Video also released two obscure, ultra-violent video games for the Atari 2600, Halloween (1983) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1982).
(Image via Monster Memories)
Great find by Camera Viscera, the photo accompanies a June 1986 Los Angeles Times article about the home video boom, specifically the struggles of “independent video specialty stores” against “video superstores” and non-specialty stores. Here are some choice quotes:
About 30% of the nation’s TV-watching households now own videocassette recorders…
The average wholesale value of a VCR is about $390, contrasted with about $830 in 1981…
The price breakthrough may have been the wildly successful release last Christmas of the “Beverly Hills Cop” videocassette at $29.95 by Paramount Home Video, the industry leader in price-cutting since 1982. In comparison, RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video released the “Ghostbusters” videotape at $79.95 at about the same time…
One of the marketing consultants quoted in the article says that the mom and pop video shops aren’t likely “to capsize like little sailboats in a storm,” but that’s exactly what happened. The one I worked at opened in 1984/1985 and closed in 1987/1988. The Wherehouse is cited as “the largest renter of video movies in the nation,” but that wouldn’t be the case for much longer. On August 25, 1986, the first Blockbuster franchise store opened in Marietta, Georgia.
Here are the videos I spot in the photo above (help if you can):
First row: Alien (thanks, David Augustyn), Android, Barbarella, The Beastmaster, The Black Hole (thanks, David Augustyn), The Blade Master (thanks, doerrhb), Bladerunner, A Boy and His Dog (thanks, Ricky Zhero), Brainstorm, Clash of the Titans, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Conan the Barbarian
Second row: D.A.R.Y.L., Defcon 4, Demon Seed, Dragonslayer, Dune, Explorers, Flash Gordon (thanks, Ricky Zhero), Iceman, Ice Pirates, Krull
Third row: The Neverending Story, Night of the Comet, The Philadelphia Experiment, Red Sonja, Runaway, Spacehunter, Star Trek II, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III (x2), Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back (x2)
Fourth row: THX 1138, Timerider, Tron, 2001: A Space Odyssey, ?, ?, ?, ?, Westworld (x2)
More video stores here.
The Kenner Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back stuff starts at 2:43. Brother and sister demo the Wipeout set at 4:04.
The mother of all Christmas morning Star Wars videos is here.
The “Super Electronic Gun” was a promotional item given away with purchase of The Last Starfighter on VHS. Nothing resembling it appeared in the movie, but no matter. The phallic, ribbed tip lights up after you “pull the battery magazine out for battery inserting.” If only it vibrated.
UPDATE (3/17/15): The gun was in the movie, as seen in the screenshots below. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be part of robot Alex’s equipment or Louis’ toy, but there it be!