We talk about VHS quite a bit here on the blog and today, I’m very excited to review the new VHS for HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. Yes….I said that and I can hardly believe it myself. I’m reviewing a new release VHS!
There are a lot of “throwback” products these days. Lunchboxes, toys, t-shirts with the worn look, etc. Most of them are complete trash, so I’m really going to put the screws to this. I’m actually going to go into my collection and pull some VHS out from that era and compare them to the HOUSE OF THE DEVIL release. Let’s see what we find, shall we?
VHS tapes have a long history of amazing covers. Entire books have been written about them and movies were even banned in the UK based just off the imagery on the covers alone(called Video Nasties). To this day, artwork is a MAJOR part of what makes people rent or buy your film. HOUSE OF THE DEVIL understood that and made some of the best poster and box art I’ve seen in a long time. It was even recognized as having the best horror poster of 2009 in Rue Morgue magazine. I really appreciate the fact that they didn’t try to make the art EXTREME or SHOCKING. The people that did this must have a real knowledge and love for the genre.
The HOUSE OF THE DEVIL VHS is packaged in a white clamshell VHS box and has faux weathering on it which I normally despise, but it really works for this project. They added a cool “New Release” sticker on the box like so many other VHS in my collection have, too. Even though they reused the poster art (great choice) the format and layout of the box totally works. They kept everything really simple, didn’t over think it and it came out great.
Here is the VHS next to another big box of DOCTOR GORE. Notice the real wear at the top of DOCTOR GORE compared to the “wear” at the top of HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. From the pictures and even in person, you’d never tell it was designed that way.
Here it is compared to the HALLOWEEN rip-off, THE NIGHT AFTER HALLOWEEN. It totally matches the feel and tone of the old VHS. So far, so good.
The back cover is inspired as well. There are lots of different styles for back covers and they went with text only which I kind of prefer. Some of my favorite big box VHS’ have went this route, too. Many tapes went with the notion of more is better and threw a shitload of images on the back cover of monsters and women. Don’t get me wrong, that’s cool and all, but I much prefer the simpler text. Also, click on the image to zoom in and read the write up. It’s pretty incredible. There are actually some write ups simliar to this that actually give away the entire movie. So much so, that it will end with a line like, “Then Jim killed the demon and got into his car and rode away. The End.”
As you can see, the back cover is almost exactly like the back cover of DEATH DREAM (minus UPC code). It’s also worth mentioning that they were both released by Gorgon Video which was one of the biggest distributors back in the day. Gorgon still carries a lot of weight and get lots of respect from cinephiles and VHS nerds. I thought that they might’ve put the Gorgon logo on the new tape as an homage, but I think it’s an official release.
It’s uncanny! I keep on looking for something they slacked on with this and I can’t find it. IT’S JUST NOT THERE. Even the inner label has been recreated EXACTLY, just inversed.
The video played fine all the way through. I was kind of terrified by the thought of them adding in tracking issues or making the image all fucked up, but thankfully, they didn’t. The video is clean. Speaking of Gorgon Video, they even put the old, AMAZING animated Gorgon intro before the movie. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the video:
I don’t know about you, but watching that TOTALLY puts me in the mood to watch a movie like HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. The only thing better than the Gorgon Video intro was the 80′s HBO intro. I swear to you that the music in the HBO intro is WAY more inspiring than anything in ROCKY. I want it played at my wedding, funeral and at any other major even in my life. Rant over.
When I pulled it out of the package this afternoon, the first thing I thought was, how will this look next to other titles on the shelf? Observe:
It’s totally legit. I guess if I had a bitch at all about the VHS, it’s that I would’ve liked to see the Gorgon logo on the back of the tape instead of the spine, but that’s like saying I’d like 2 cherries on my sundae instead of just 1. The fact that I’m reviewing a new release VHS in 2010 has not been lost on me. It’s kinda unbelievable this exists. The final test…this VHS in with the general population!
This is a dream come true. I did NOT expect this thing to be as quality as it is. From it being a Gorgon release to the design to the goddamn inner label, this thing is perfect. You’ve seen the pics….it totally goes toe to toe with almost any video in my collection and it looks great on the shelf. I hope they sell a billion of these so that maybe Gorgon can start putting out limited runs of VHS tapes for movies in the old style. I know I’d buy them. If MOON came out on VHS with a cool sci-fi case or something like that, I’m in line. Speaking of selling a billion, you can help with that. We’ve actually had a lot of people asking where they can get one and I just looked on Amazon and you can get the DVD and this VHS for only $23.99. Click HERE to buy. That’s pretty nuts. A truly great deal.
Seriously, even if you don’t have a VCR, be ironic and buy this….this is one of my favorite things this year, for sure.