Viva VHS #17: Action!

VHS covers in the action genre could be, well, let's just say 'a tad over-the-top'.  They definitely promised a lot more than they could deliver; but, if you were a true video store junkie in the 80s, you didn't much care.  You knew going in that the grade-Z action flick filmed in the Philipines was never going to live up to the box art.... yet, you rented anyway.  There was always the potential that maybe, just maybe, the promises of the cover would be fulfilled.

Of course, sometimes the covers were absolute shit.  Many of the ones that follow fall squarely into that category.  Let's take a look at what's on the racks of the action section of our local Retrospace Video Rental Warehouse....

Oh, God yes.  If Vengeance Squad is even a fraction as good as its cover, I'm happy.

It certainly doesn't look very bloody as the cover promises; still, the cheesecake is enough to tempt a young man to cough up a few bucks.

I love action movie posters and box art which features bigass explosions in the background.  A tell tale sign they're going to be great.

"Star of 'Lambada' and 'Breakin'".... count me in.   There were a million "erotic thrillers" in the late eighties, early nineties that looked exactly like this.

You'll notice that some of the most kickass covers come from our neighbors south of the border.

This one's going to make for an uncomfortable watch in polite company.

It's "a true story" of exploding cars, strangled women, and awesome hair.

The artwork on this one literally takes my breath away.  But it's a genuine Michelangelo compared to the next...

Don't shoot! There appears to be a tiny little man trapped in the barrel of that gun!

Should read "Heaven Behind the Bars", but I guess it depends on your perspective.

Joanna is a beautiful woman.... but apparently not very photogenic.  Maybe it's just bad lighting and they caught her at a bad angle.


One of the best tag lines of all time: "Kick boxing heads or busting beds, Silk goes all the way!"

Eight days is just not enough to hold onto Blastfighter.  You're gonna need a solid month.

"In the tradition of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and 'Romancing the Stone'.   Um, not quite.
And shouldn't it be "Dance of the Dwarves"?

These ladies can kick butt, but can't fasten a button.

Words fail me.  Just. Hell. Yes.


  1. I'm pretty sure I've seen Night Force. I also remember several of these covers from the video store. They invariably sucked, but I feel oddly affectionate about them all the same.

    Warbus was another good bad one (Cover here: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/917ABCYx2AL._SL1500_.jpg)

  2. Man, some of that cover art is God-awful. They look like they were drawn by Napoleon Dynamite.

  3. Ahh, "City Limits" - with James Earl Jones, Ray Dawn Chong, Robby Benson and Kim Cattrall. And that guy who ended up producing "Independence Day" if I'm not mistaken. I saw it on MST3K back in '92 and they eviscerated it beautifully. Just beautifully.

  4. I remember catching "Dance Of The Dwarfs" on A&E back when they showed all sorts of movies during the day. This was around early '86 or so. Don't recall much dancing or any dwarfs.

  5. When you have your kid sister doing your artwork in her 6th grade art class, you know the film's in trouble.

  6. The 80's were definitely the heyday of the airbrush

  7. I am constantly amazed by the bizarre physics that rule the fabric of the women's shirts. The blouse may be nothing but tattered threads, but the strings drape so seductively in just the right places, defying all laws of gravity and nature.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. If you want to see REALLY bizarre physics of women's clothing, check out Art Frahm's artwork.


  8. This really brings back memories for me (somewhat worryingly). My father was a tv repair man and during the very early days of video, he had picked up a number of catalogues for video cassettes. Pure utter trash! Gory horror films, action movies of the calibur shown here. But it triggered this huge wave of popular culture! All.great home media sea changes start with pornography folks!

  9. I would have never guessed that, someday, the "back room" with the X-rated movies in the video store would be a fond memory. It seems so charming compared to the ease with which hardcore pornography is available on the Internet.

  10. Love me some Vestron! :)