80 Awesomely Bad '80s Video Covers

The best/worst cassette classics

 

Downloads, DVD, and Blu-ray are all very shiny and convenient, but we do miss the '80s indie video shop...

Tawdry treasure caves of knock-offs, 'nasties' and oddities bashed out on the cheap by tiny production companies chasing the 'home entertainment' gold rush...

So, today, we celebrate our independence days, with the best of the worst of the VHS/Betamax era...

 

The Alternative

Sensitive! Provocative! Umm, a cheap statue of a urinating boy that can be found in any garden centre!

 

Angry Joe Bass

Shotgun and chainsaw! Hell hath no fury like a fisherman who hasn't caught much.

 

The Arousers

Badly drawn woman rummages around inside her head while awkwardly reclining on a fence. Hot enough for ya?

 

The Asphyx

Beware the killer dish-rag!

 

Battle Of The Bullies

But surely now the bullied has become the bully? Uh, with the help of a mighty flag-waving army found in all '80s schools.

 

The Best Of Sex And Violence

Yeah, but sex or violence first? Ah, dry ice... '80s win.

 

The Black Cat

WHERE IS THE CAT?

 

Body Parts

Constipated Marilyn Monroe lookalikes must be stabbed! Unrelentingly!

Next: Body Shop, Fat Ethel II[page-break]

 

Body Shop

'Meating'! Haha. Oh, wait... 'Dismembers!' Amazing... We're not sure if Body Shop is some kind of serial-killer abattoir or a prosthetics specialist.

 

Bog

1. Drowning people don't thrust their hands out of water. 2. Looks more like a lovely Caribbean lagoon than a BOG. 3. Shirt sleeve too dry.

 

The Boogey Man

'Boogey'? Really? He may be a terrifying nightmare of childhood but dammit, he just loves to dance.

 

The Children

Tsch. '80s kids today! Always playing with clipboards and geometry implements in graveyards. Blame? '80s parents.

 

Fat Ethel II

Is this 'Crazy' crossed out and replaced with 'Fat Ethel II' or is it 'Crazy Fat Ethel II'? Either way - she loves to eat. And stab. Not the shampoo type, though.

 

The Curse Of Big Foot

Big hairy man-in-a-suit ass. Having a wee in the woods.

 

Dead Line

Presumably, STEPHEN YOUNG and SHARON MASTERS are journalists who spike stories. WITH KNIVES.

 

Death Cheaters

Has the guy hanging on the chopper actually got a gun? Or is he just reaching out, wishing the violence would end. Does look a bit like Jesus, actually...

Next: The Dentist, Dreamaniac[page-break]

 

Death Train

Uhuh. No train? No tracks? And yet the train and the tracks are in plain sight. No sign of death riding the rails, though. Lies!

 

Delta Heat

Mmmm... musky.

 

The Dentist

IT'S BEEN SIX MONTHS!! TIME FOR YOUR CHECK-UP!! AT THE DEEEEENTIST!! Er, yeah. Fair enough. Probably a good idea... Oral hygiene is important.

 

Don't Go To Sleep

Well, the bed's on fire so A) it'd be easy to heed the title's advice and B) clearly, the bed-person can just scramble down and off to the bottom-right of the bed. Then call the fire brigade.

And where the hell is this thing under the bed that's supposed to be alive? We see no Valance-Beast!

 

Doomed To Die

Cannibals! Giant golden women! Bearded stabsmen! People being pushed out of helicopters! And what the creeping Christ is that staring, monster-faced monkey thing?!

 

Dreamaniac

Gotta admire the audacity. Being bare-faced enough to name-check the movie they're ripping off.

And the loving couple don't seem that bothered about the massive knife-freak monster crashing through the wall behind them...

Fantastic spin, too. 'An original made-for-video feature film' (couldn't get a theatrical distribution deal)... 'Too gory for the silver screen' (couldn't get a theatrical distribution deal).

 

Endplay

Ummm... So, there's this wheelchair killer with a bow and arrow, yeah? But he only kills women in their underwear! Women in their underwear carrying bicycle pumps - the filthy strumpets!

 

Escape From Death Row

Woah! We want a go on Lee Van Cleef's mental spinning-supergun thing. It's like a nunchaku crossed with a machine-gun. And it makes cracks in the ground, too!

Next: Flesh Eating Mothers, Frozen Terror[page-break]

 

The Executioner

Erm... 'Fingered' by The Godfather? Then 'nailed' by The Executioner?

The Executioner 2: sodomised by The Terminator, tromboned by The Equaliser...

 

Flesh Eating Mothers

Is that training-shoe stew? And who bit off more than they could chew, anyway? The mothers? Or the people whose flesh the mothers are eating? Grammatical clarity, people!

 

Frozen Terror

The look on his face barely screams terror, more bewilderment. Also this is a fridge. The title should be 'Chilled Bewilderment'.

For a busy serial killer type, this guy has a remarkably well-stocked fridge, though everyone know you never keep the fresh veg and the severed head together!

 

Galaxy Invader

Creature from the Black Lagoon with Han Solo's blaster and the plot of Predator. Why isn't Don Dohler running Hollywood?

 

The Girl In Blue

Is that her? He should probably keep looking...

 

Gold Runner

What? Looks like the box art of a bad ZX Spectrum game. Also, it appears that the lead actor is named 'Richard Loser' - after this, he probably should be.

 

Guess What We Learned In School Today?

Um... how to take a bra off? That is a lesson TotalFilm.com would have definitely attended. Taught!

 

Horror Planet

Where's the Planet? Is it tiny? Invisible? Is it claw shaped? What's with the Wonder Woman headband on the disembodied space-eyes? What is that laser doing to those women? Too many questions!!!

 

Next: Jaws Of Death, Kick Or Die[page-break]

 

House Of Death

Plenty of death, definite lack of house. Also, this guy has a graveyard in his mouth.

 

Human Vapor

Is this a movie about a killer fart? The human vapour seems to take the shape of a skull and a hand. Why not a giant bum, spreading it's fart-based evil across the city.

 

Jaguar Lives

Ah, the old wall of flames approach. Flames = danger, danger = cool. Especially when there is a randomly barefoot action guy kicking nothing, and an old man looking slightly drunk.

Guess Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee needed the milk money.

 

Jaws Of Death

No prizes. No ingenuity either. Don't get us started on the buoyancy of a severed hand.

 

Kick Or Die

Looks like he's badly kickfighting a giant blue man. If you don't kick, how will you die? Is it a circulation issue? Pretty sure it's called Kick-Boxing anyway.

 

The Killer

Well he looks about as menacing as Wayne Newton. Does he try and sell you a used car before he kills you?

 

The Killing Of Satan

Tasked with killing Satan? We'd suggest taking more than a stick. Perhaps the answer to the strapline question is 'Tom Selleck Moustache', as it appears that is the only kind of power this guy possesses.

 

Lady Street Fighter

That doesn't look like the behaviour of a lady to us - though the skimpy clothing could prove to be a good distraction. And notice that she brought a stick to a knife fight. Tsk tsk.

 

Next: The Lift, The Meateater[page-break]

 

The Lift

For God's sake! Take the emergency exit right out of this entire premise. they give away the fatal flaw right there in the strap.

 

Mary Mary Bloody Mary

We don't know why all her lovers die, but we do know why they become her lovers - she seems to be allergic to shirts.

 

The Mean Machine

What, no Danny Dyer?

 

The Meateater

Design! A, T, H, F!!!!! In red!!! Don't get it.

 

Miami Horror

Can you be unborn and undead? Doesn't that just mean you don't exist? Also, that man appears to be shooting flame from his groin, a flame which can bring down helicopters. We'd like to suggest it isn't the aliens they should be worried about.

 

Mongrel

No wonder the dog is pulling that face - the beast is hideous!

Monster

Wow John Carradine has starred in some shit. Also, does the monster live in the bathtub?

 

Million Dollar Hockey Puck

Um... mystery solved. The hockey puck is full diamonds.

Can we leave Canada now and never, ever return? Bet the world famous Montreal Canadian's Ice Hockey team were thrilled that a bunch of kids were portrayed as their intellectual superiors. Still, if we know anything about hockey, which we don't, that's probably fair enough.

 

Next: The Lost World: Jurassic Park[page-break]

 

Nail Gun Massacre

Oh, the wit to come up with that qualifier!

Quite why the nail gun killer is dressed like a ninja turtle is anyone's guess. And where's that pneumatic hose leading? There isn't an air compressor in sight!

And there does seem to be a glaring flaw in the killer's MO - he needs to have an extremely heavy, exceptionally load bit of machinery with him in order to carry out a kill.

 

The Navy Vs The Night Monsters

Top Gun saw a rise in applications for the US Air Force. Not quite sure this equally shameless propaganda will have the same effect for the sailors...

 

Night Beast

Apparently the Night Beast can be fended off with a flash of light. So instead of 'nothing can save you now...' it should say 'Don't turn off the light!'

 

Night Nurse

The best way to sell a concept called Night Nurse is most definitely with a tantalising pic of an archaic wheelchair - 'cos a shot of an actual nurse would just be sexist.

 

Night Of Bloody Horror

'What have I done?' Isn't a quote from the film, it's the last words of the poster designer before he shot himself, hence the blood.

 

The Northville Cemetery Massacre

Country music score? Say no more. We're definitely not going to bother now.

Nothing sells the story of a cemetery-set story like a bright orange background by the way. Good work.

 

One-Armed Executioner

Does he really only have one arm - or has it been replaced by a woman in a bikini and a man holding her hostage?

Surely he can hold a gun there somewhere. Also, he seems to keep a tiny karate man in his top pocket and an exploding car crash in his jeans. Nice.

 

Patrick

Patrick: Evil Gets A Lobotomy.

 

Next: Raw Head Rex, Return To Horror High[page-break]

 

The Power

Woah! We're coming up on something we took in a big tent sometime in 1994.

 

Rawhead Rex

Check out those shoulder pads! Definitely the '80s.

 

Return Of The Alien's Deadly Spawn

Umm is that the severed arm of a baby? If so, does this thing just eat babies? That's wrong.

Perhaps to avoid any grammatical confusion they should have gone with Return of the Deadly Alien Spawn - though when you're busy badly ripping off good sci-fi you have no time to consider these things.

"Survival of the Fittest: Man Vs. The Ultimate Killing Machine" sounds uncannily like a TotalFilm.com feature. Watch this space.

 

Return To Horror High

We would.

 

Silent Night Bloody Night

John Carradine again! Umm... why is that skull bleeding?

 

The Spectre Of Edgar Allen Poe

Er, remind us of the Edgar Allen Poe poem where someone gets an axe to the face...

 

Spirits

Great. A movie about the depressing culture of binge-drinking among priests.

 

Stigma

Tubbs just isn't the same without Crockett.

 

Next: Summer Dog, Teen Mothers[page-break]

 

The Strangeness

What M. Night Shyamalan was doing before The Happening.

 

Summer Dog

Yes, but what does it do? Is it rabid? Demonic? Where's John fucking Carradine?

 

Surabaya Conspiracy

Seems like a pretty good reason to betray someone...

The person who designed this probably thought they'd be hailed as a genius: 'Oh, it's puzzle pieces! How amazing! You're the next DaVinci!'.

 

Tammy And The T-Rex

And you thought Charlie Sheen was responsible for what became of Denise Richards.

How evil is John Franklin that the dinosaur isn't the most sinister thing on this video cover?

 

Teen Mothers

Not that controversial to be honest. Where TotalFilm.com grew up, if you didn't have a baby by 14, they lynched you.

If it said 'She was 14, he was 47' that might get the kind of reaction the filmmakers were after.

 

The Telephone

The creative meeting went something like this...

"Hey, Whoopi Goldberg is hip right? She's street, she's down with the kids. Let's go crazy and outlandish with colours! Jazz it up all funky like that graffiti all those kids are doing. Yeah. Awesome!"

Result: a VHS cover that looks like a close up of Mr. Motivator's crotch. Still, though - Whoopi sure does use the shit out of that 'phone!

 

Terror Out Of The Sky

Oh so this is where all the bees have gone - getting angry somewhere in the sky, and not in hives where the normally live - you know, nearer the ground.

 

Three On A Meathook

Well, there are two women. Neither is on the meathook. One of them doesn't even look too bothered by the meathook.

Fail.

 

Next: Twinsanity, The Willies[page-break]

 

Trained To Kill USA

We've actually seen this film. It was called Rambo. D'oh!

 

Twinsanity

Um... why does the girl also have a moustache? Cos she's evil? It's Twinsania!

 

Warbus

Is that George Clooney? Seriously, the guy in the middle, it's totally George Clooney!

And it might just be us, but the guy at the front looks just like Corey Feldman, and, wait for it, the guy at the back is the spit of Corey Haim! The Corey's and The Cloon, together at last!

 

White Fire

The raw terror of a man with a gun stuck to his face.

 

Who Killed Mary What's 'Er Name?

We're going to go with 'Whoever took this picture.'

 

The Willies

Ha, you said 'willies'.

Why does the paedo/monster have the face of an owl and also a claw-like hand? Where's Freddy when you need him?

 

The Witching

Enter the world of the occult... and be eaten by Orson Welles. Careful, he may also try to peddle you some G&G whiskey.

 

Zondar Invader From Venus

How did a New York city cop get on the surface of Mars? Why aren't they on Venus? Is that a handglider? Confusion!

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Comments

    • SCY385

      Oct 12th 2009, 21:50

      These video covers are pretty bad but these titles are too. DAMN! 'Who Killed Mary What's 'Er Name?' That's just wrong on soooooo many levels.

      Alert a moderator

    • irish

      Oct 13th 2009, 0:33

      I thought the nail gun joke was funny. Surely the guy at the back on the warbus poster is David Duchovny

      Alert a moderator

    • docemmettbrown

      Oct 16th 2009, 11:46

      Ah memories. Great article guys! Poor David Carradine.

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    • Mozkiwi

      Oct 18th 2009, 7:23

      Naw... you got it wrong, the guy at the back on the Warbus poster is George Michael, without his sunglasses. Wonder what happened to most of those actors... Thanks - I had a good laugh...

      Alert a moderator

    • rxillos

      Feb 28th 2010, 8:38

      Well, it's pretty easy to criticize the cover art but you should be aware of the factors behind it's creation... I am the guy they hired to come up with the cover image. Quick turnaround. No reference other than a copy of the vid and the budget was equally bad as the movie! That was a long time ago. I'm glad to be out of that business and onto better jobs! :/

      Alert a moderator

    • rxillos

      Feb 28th 2010, 8:44

      Above comment - referring to Nail Gun Massacre. (Didn't realize all 8 films share the same comments)

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