Viva VHS #7: Post-Apocalyptic Cover Art

This 1983 VHS cover would fit nicely in with the "Star Wars pose" as detailed in Artful Conceptions #10.  A totally awesome piece of art that fulfills all its obligations as cover art: it makes me want to watch this movie even though I know it's probably going to be horrible.

Movie posters, album covers, and book cover illustrations get a lot of attention in the retroverse, as well they should.  However, I think it's time that VHS box art is paid its due respect. So, consider this the first of many posts paying homage to the underrated artistry of the video cassette box cover.

The VHS era was big into dystopian post-apocalyptic movies (i.e. Mad Max, Escape from New York), and the low budget studios were only too quick to follow suite.... on the cheap.  So, we'll focus on those this time around.  By no means is this a comprehensive catalog of the genre, but it's a start.

To those of you sci-fi nitpickers, I realize that all of these aren't "post-apocalyptic".  This isn't a sci-fi blog, so cut me some slack.

Is this the greatest movie illustration ever created? Quite possibly. Explosions, a big-ass gun, a super hot chick, car crashes..... it's tough to think of one better.  Yentl, this is not.

Linda Blair was in some of my favorite low budget movies of the late-seventies and eighties: Chained Heat, Hell Night, Grotesque, Roller Boogie.... the list goes on.

I actually saw this in the theater.  If memory serves, it was in 3-D.  It came out around the same time as Space Hunter, a very similar 3-D film starring Molly Ringwald (which I also saw at the theater).

I don't read many movie review blogs, but I can't help but check in each week at The House of Self Indulgence.  A great review of the movie here.

I actually watched this on Netflix Instant not that long ago.  Cheesy as all get out, but a lot of fun.

You'll notice that a lot of my VHS covers are not in English.  Try to scout around the internet for even moderate quality scans of VHS covers - there's barely anything.  You will have to either procure the videos yourself or find some goldmine buried deep within the interwebs.  

Of course, the same could have been said of album covers and pulp fiction covers not too long ago.  Now, the internet is bursting at the seams with them.  Give it time.  The VHS cover will see its day in the sun.  The internet is nothing if not capricious and obsessive.

Grotesque (1988)

What in God's name? There's a friggin' Sasquatch with a boom box! It's like the year 3000 version of Breakin' or DC Cab.  

Another "Star Wars pose" for the archives.


  1. Savage Streets is a great revenge flick. Even "serious" critics hailed it for including a scene were Linda Blair is naked in the tub that was well justified (!?). Linnea Quigley also appears with her natural assets, before any volume added.

  2. AnonymousJuly 06, 2012

    I'll translate the Swedish for you if you're interested, Gilligan. "Blondinen slår till i New York... Sexig, hänsynslös och läderklädd..." The Blonde strikes in New York... Sexy, ruthless and dressed in leather..." (Necropolis)

  3. Super cool! I just scanned a bunch of VHS covers this week! I was going to post them, but if you want I'll send them to you and you can give me a shout out. I was inspired to do it because I just picked up a book in my library called Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box.

    1. Please do. I'll definitely give you a shout out. You d'man.

  4. Not only did I see Metal Storm in the theater, I also saw MegaForce. Persis Khambatta with hair! Fresh from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

  5. Ah, 80's films. Even though the world was in chaos, buildings were in ruin, food and water was scarce yet the heroes still found shiny leather outfits and the woman always had large supplies of make-up. Oh and headbands, the people fighting in the rubble covered, scorched ruins always seemed to find plenty of headbands to wear.

  6. I might have a few to contribute. Do you have a copy of The Jet Benny Show? That's one I could forward to you.

  7. If you add any more to this post-acopolypic mix of 80s wonders, please don't include "Yor: Hunter from the Future"! I got an RCA Selectavision videodisc player in the mid-80s & selected 'Yor' as one of my freebies; I still have the scars (from clawing my face while watching) to prove it!

  8. For those curious, the motto on the uniform Barry Bostwick wears on the MegaForce poster. Such reads, in English, Deeds not Words, which originates from the personal motto of founding American President George Washington,

  9. AnonymousJuly 09, 2012

    Robert "T-1000" Patrick. Probably the only good reason to watch that movie. And everytime I see the late John Vernon's name, I can only imagine him pronouncing "double-secret probation" on some bad guy. Unless he's the bad guy.

  10. "MetalStorm the Destruction of Jared Syn" was indeed in 3-D. One memorable sceen a tree branch came right at your eyes!

  11. I must note America 3000 is one hot plastic movie! By the word of prez-e-dent you must see this one! Don't be some cold-neggie plugot from the contams, watching this should be part of the regs.

  12. I picked up a copy of "2020 Texas Gladiators" today at a thrift store. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083565/)