VIDEO VISIONS – A Look Back At The 80s Horror Scene
As a devout reader of Cemetery Dance Magazine since the early 90s, I still can’t believe I now have a monthly column on their online mag. VIDEO VISIONS is a look back at what it was like growing up a horror hound in the 80s, the golden age of horror.
I start things off with a little tale of the first movie my father rented when he bought the family’s original gangsta VCR – VIDEODROME. Little did he know how much it would change the lives of both his children in profoundly different ways.I hope you take the trip back in time with me each month. Hopefully it brings a smile to your face and a shiver down your spine.
So, what was the first horror movie you ever watched on your VCR?
I miss the old video stores. Nothing was better than running there on Friday afternoon to search for a couple of horror flicks. Unlike bookstores, there was always a horror section. I’m surprised the video store by me didn’t charge me rent, I spent so much time nestled between the rows of stacked VHS boxes.
There was some slick, usually highly deceptive artwork on some of those horror tapes. In fact, the better the box, the worse the movie. That didn’t bother me because I have always been a connoisseur of bad b-horror movies. I like a bad horror movie more than a good, non-horror movie.
Video stores were a shangri-la of discovery. It was there where I was finally able to get my hands on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Freaks. Before the advent of VHS, you either saw a horror movie in the theater, or you were out of luck. Classic underground movies like The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes (both by Wes Craven) were mentioned with a sense of reverance and awe, especially if you were the lucky one to have caught them in the cinema.
When movies came to VHS, our lives changed. Suddenly, the history of cinema was open to us. And a whole new generation of horror films spilled wide like steaming guts on dew covered grass. I’d stroll over to the new release shelf and see Puppet Master and Witchboard. I couldn’t get them in my hands and my money and membership card on the counter fast enough. When my wife and I were dating, we’d spend whole days and nights watching whatever 5 or 6 horror movies we gathered from the video store. In our prime, we must have watched almost 200 horror flicks a year. Yeah, we were dedicated.
Monster Man Jack and I recently took a trip down VHS horror memory lane. In this podcast, I think we mention about 40 different movies. I hope they bring back great memories for you. You can watch our Generation VHS episode here.
Now, we could have talked about movies for hours. What are some of your personal classics? What are your memories of the video store? I look back at that time with no regrets, knowing I appreciated every moment I spent there. And thanks to all those movies, I solidified my status as a Monster Man. Thank you, Demonic Toys. Hail to the Re-Animator! And goodnight, Near Dark.