Viva VHS #5: 1983 VHS Catalog

I came across an old VHS catalog and, I must say, it was quite an eye opener.  It brought back a lot of memories.... specifically, memories of how bad the VHS selection was back in 1983.  Of course, nowadays I'd pay good money to see half these movies again, but they're mostly lost and forgotten. 

Download the whole catalog if you're interested in perusing every page.  If not, check out some selections from the catalog, like this one from the "family" section... 

10-1-2010 7-52-37 PM

A modern DVD catalog family section has Pixar films, Spongebob, Disney, etc. This one has... Flush? Again, don't mistake me - I would pay cold hard cash to watch Flush.  However, back in '83, I don't think we had an appreciation for junk.... back then it was just junk.

Here's the Action & Adventure section...

10-1-2010 8-04-53 PM

I've seen The Mack - it's an excellent movie with a great message.  As for the rest, I can't say I remember them.  Mad Mission 2? I don't recall there being a Mad Mission 1.

Hey, look what new "Drama" is coming soon to VHS... close your eyes, kids.

10-1-2010 8-14-47 PM

Remember, this is not an adult movie catalog - this is your standard VHS catalog.  I was a teenager when VHS hit the shelves, so I guess I wouldn't have been traumatized, quite the contrary in fact. 

Daddy can order Hell Penitentiary and Junior can pick from the wide selection of Mr. Magoo tapes. Oh, look.  There's a VHS tape on dart throwing - just we've been looking for!

10-1-2010 8-21-55 PM

The horror section is actually pretty good.  I remember liking Superstition - seems like there's a witch that comes out of a pond in their backyard. I'm fuzzy on this one.

1983 VHS Catalog

For a second, I thought The Frighteners was referring to the Peter Jackson - Michael J. Fox film... but that wouldn't come out for several more years.  The Frighteners is just a cheezy way this catalog refers to horror movies. I've seen all of the movies below except The Strangeness.  I wonder if it was any good.

1983 VHS Catalog

The Shape of Things to Come is actually their way of saying "science fiction".  Looker was a pretty cool movie about plastic surgery in the future, but I don't recall ever seeing The Junk Man.

1983 VHS Catalog

I hate to do this to you, folks, but I have to.  From the final pages of the catalog comes this little gem - Aerobersize!

1983 VHS Catalog


  1. Mad Mission was the first Hong Kong flick I ever saw. I have no idea what I'd think if I saw it today, but it existed, I can attest to that! :-)

  2. oh crap! I remember my dad getting one of the first VHS players in the neighborhood. We used to drive all the way to Uptown because that was the only VHS rental store in the Minneapolis area at the time. We would pick out 2 movies to watch for movie night over the week. Wow, crazy times. Thanks for making me remember!

  3. I remember all the awful videos that the video stores had at the time. Stuff so low or old that HBO wouldn't even bother with it. And HBO showed A LOT of lowbrow stuff in them days. Not so much a horror fan, but Redneck County and SuperVan were right up my alley.

  4. I remember renting Mad Mission 3 from my local video store in the 80s. Sort of like Jackie Chan comedy adventure. I still want to see The Incubus. And the woman on that aerobicise tape is Brinke Stevens, former wife of Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens. I met her at a comic show in 1994.

  5. Based on the actors listed and the description of the plot, it looks like "Redneck County" was also known as "Poor Pretty Eddie". I had the chance to see it under its other title during Turner Classic Movies' "Underground" segment late Friday nights. It's actually pretty good for a low budget grindhouse kind of movie.

  6. Nigel M....
    I have completed this catalogue i have every available film in it it took me 6 years

  7. Gizmo! is awesome. A ton of fun. :) I have a 4 movie box set of the Mad Mission movies, too.