In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Blank Tape Bazaar Vol. 4

As like my own piles of recordable VHS, when looking through my mom's old stash (which is ninety-five per cent old Days of Our Lives episodes) I noticed some brand trends. Also like me, the older tapes were Embassy Gold & Studio, but when they blinked out of existence, my mother seemed to settle on BASF.

BASF may be the brand that kept its jacket designs the most similar over the years. As you can see, they stuck to the grey with rainbow highlight, only changing up the emphasis on the 6-hour recording length. I wonder if I could call them out on their lifetime guarantee if need be.

On the tail end of my VHS recordings, I found myself recording more television shows than movies and the brand I predominantly used for this was Maxell. During HBO's uncontested years of the 2000's, I found myself taping shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Carnivale for people at work.

They'd supply the tapes which just happened to be those blue Maxells. I'd put two on a tape and they'd get passed around. That was before the age of rampant Internet spoilers so they didn't mind waiting a week or two to see the next episodes. Also, I liked using the sleek black ones below for anime, or as I called it back then - Japanimation.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Bouncing... On The Beach!

This week's VHS is David DeCoteau's 1993 alien sex comedy Beach Babes From Beyond.

Three babes from space (Sarah Bellomo, Tamara Landry & Nicole Posey) crash land on Earth and quickly find themselves at a California beach party. Wacky misadventures ensue!

With the Deadly Ten being shot right now, I'd thought I would pull out a Full Moon title I'd never watched, but always wondered about. Beach Babes From Beyond was the first release of Full Moon's off-shoot company Torchlight that specialized in movies of a more erotic nature. It's a little weird to me that Full Moon's other major side project was the kid-friendly Moonbeam. I wonder if they ever mixed up those tapes at the factory. I would have totally switched Prehysteria with Virgin Hunters given the chance.

Anyway, DeCoteau was credited as Ellen Cabot for this movie and I'm sure there is a story behind this. Ten bucks says it's a money thing. I wager that his other job on the movie was way more important.

Beach Babes From Beyond had the distinction (and they let you know this on the poster and the trailer) of featuring four famous relatives in Joe Estevez, Don Swayze, Joey Travolta and Jackie Stallone. You throw in Burt Ward and Linnea Quigley and you've got quite the genre buffet here. Man, without his moustache, it is quite remarkable how much Estevez looks like his brother, Martin.

Space Babes Sarah Bellomo (left) Nicole Posey & Tamara Landry.

As far as movies go, it's your average sex comedy template that gets a LOT of mileage out of its beach party footage. I would guess that half of this movie's seventy-minute running time is musical montages featuring multiple helpings of such hits as “Bouncing on the Beach” and “I've Got a Woody”. I will give it points for having a character named Hymen Hassler though.

Beach Babes delivered on the nudity, but the love scenes are best described as exercises in enthusiastic licking. Overall, it was amusing enough, but even I have to admit it's barely a movie. To be honest, if you want a more entertaining version of this, check out Scott Schrimer's Space Babes From Outer Space. It may not have as many boobs, but it makes up for it in practical creature effects.

Since this was a Full Moon production, you can always count on the Videozone segment, which featured a making of featurette (where the cast talked about doing the aforementioned love scenes on their first day of shooting) and trailers for Trancers 4, Subspecies 3 and Virgin Hunters. Say what you will about Charlie Band's empire, but he basically invented the concept of home video BTS. And he continues to evolve it with the Deadly Ten.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Blank Tape Bazaar Vol. 3

In the inaugural BTB post I mentioned that, much like their rental counterparts, recordable VHS often had colourful covers to catch the eye of the consumer. This week I wanted to showcase some of the louder examples and considering it was the eighties you can imagine they were cranked to eleven.

You may have noticed that black and grey were the industry standard so I think Polaroid had the right idea in shaking things up. Perhaps taking a cue from Key Video they added in an instantly recognizable rainbow motif.

Now thankfully - for archival's sake anyway - my mother still has totes full of tapes with old Days of our Lives episodes on them so if you're thinking that there would be several one-off brand VHS in them... well you would be correct!


Damn... Towers?! That is going back aways. That's it for now, but I've still got plenty more to post in the future so stay tuned.

Friday, June 14, 2019

In The Year Nineteen Ninety-Two!

This week's VHS is Charles Band's 1982 flick Parasite. I acquired one of those infamous Wizard “big boxes” while working the Full Moon booth last weekend and decided to crack it.

A scientist (Robert Glaudini) infected with his own creation escapes his captors and searches for a cure in the barren wastelands outside futuristic Los Angeles.

I had never seen this movie and almost immediately realized I had no idea what it was about. I watched Prophecy last year and am now pretty sure I may have always thought these two were the same movie. I certainly did not know this one was set in a post-apocalypse where cash was no longer accepted and the only three things on the menu were canned fruit, canned beer and canned soup. And this universe had laser guns by 1992. How progressive!

Parasite was originally released in 3D and much like my childhood watches of Friday the 13th Part III you can tell which parts are made to cash in on that - my fave bit being the guy who gets impaled by a length of pipe... and bleeds oil apparently.

Despite its low budget underpinning, it did possess a good amount of pedigree, as Stan Winston designed the creature, Richard Band did the score and boasted Demi Moore in her second ever role. Former Runaway Cherie Currie also turned up randomly as one of a gang of toughs.

Demi Moore as Pat Welles in Parasite

I appreciated the world building in this movie, even if the exchanges were a little stiff scene to scene, especially the ones between Moore and Glaudini. That's okay though, because once the creature got let out of its container, it became the star anyway. I feel like this giant tadpole with teeth motif got used a lot in the eighties, but like the saying goes - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Parasite concluded with a cool full body burn and our heroes living happily ever after. Well, as happy as one can be in a post apocalyptic world I suppose.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Short of the Week #70: ABE

At E3 this week, Hammerhead Studios announced a VR game called ABE that is based on this 2013 short film of the same name by Rob McLellan.

I'm in. ABE first screened in 2013 so this project has obviously been gestating for some time. In the meantime, McLellan has been keeping himself busy as a visual effects artist as well as making a few more short films (Always the Sun in 2014 and Explorers in 2017). No release date for the game has been set, but this teaser has certainly piqued by interest.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Blank Tape Bazaar Vol. 2

Now as I said before, there are likely millions of blank VHS (if they haven't been melted down) made by dozens of different electronics companies languishing out there. At the end of their run, they cost peanuts, but in the early eighties they were actually quite expensive. When I was a kid, VHS tapes were often used as stocking stuffers at Christmas and oft requested items for birthdays.

I don't remember buying my own in great quantities until I started working at the video store. When it became a Blockbuster in 1992, they had their own brand and I frequently snapped them up using my employee discount. 

I found those orange ones above to be significantly good quality, so I used them for a lot of my important recordings.

I obviously just keep these first ten or so for nostalgic purposes, but I really liked how they looked all lined up on my shelf back in the day. About a decade later, after when the BBV brand stopped being made, I switched over to Memorex because their affordability and durability.

I think by the time VHS was on its way out, I could get a ten-pack of the gold one above for about $12.99 at Wal-Mart and they are definitely the ones I have the most of still. Memorex also gave you many different length options, which I appreciated because I was still recording tons of stuff.

I shudder to think about all the time I wasted re-dubbing televisions shows in order to take out the commercials so I could fit eight episodes per six-hour tape. And the final rub is that now I wish I had those commercials because of their historical value. You really can't win! 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Full Moon Over Niagara.

I worked the Full Moon booth at Niagara Comic Con yesterday and it was a gas. It had been sometime since I'd been to a non-horror con and the cosplayers were out in force. It's always fun to see what those crazy and creative cats come up with every year.

I should take this opportunity to mention The Deadly Ten. Full Moon is making ten features back-to-back all over the world. In fact, Halloweed Night starts shooting in Vegas tomorrow. Now, the really cool thing is that by going to the website you can watch live streams of these films being made.

Even if you're not a fan of the FM catalogue, you gotta admit that is kind of cool and unique. No one knows how this is gonna go, so why not check it out and be a part of history!

Anyhoo, enough shilling. I was chained to the booth most of the day, but I did get to grab a photo with this super soul swallowing re-enactment of the Evil Dead cabin. I asked if I could sit in the chair and read the book and they said, “sure, just not out loud.”

Good times!