A selection of ludicrous and entirely unsuitable VHS artwork for films that would either disappoint or horrify anyone attracted by these covers.
Movie artwork, whether it is a film poster of the cover for a home video release, is clearly supposed to sell the film – even if that concept seems rather lost on many mainstream film distributors these days. If a movie is low-budget, then the cover art is certainly allowed a little room for hyperbole, representing a rather ambitious interpretation of the actual film – everyone gets that. But sometimes, the artwork is so far removed from the film itself that you have to wonder just what was going through the minds of those responsible. Here then are a small selection of oddball and misleading VHS covers from the golden age of home video.
You might not immediately get from this ambitious image that Black Werewolf is, in fact, the 1974 Amicus film The Beast Must Die, notable both for its less ambitious monster (the werewolf in the film is very much a dog) and lack of frilly shirts.
Peter Walker’s grimly nasty British morality tale House of Whipcord is here transformed into something closer to an Ilsa film than its grotty reality. Leather-clad hotties are notably missing from the actual movie.
Fred Olen Ray has made many a sexy movie, but his ultra-cheap 1980 film Alien Dead is not one of them. Viewers in search of the stylish erotica suggested here would feel considerably short-changed.
The 1970 Ed Wood-scripted Revenge of Dr X has many things going for it, but hysterical blondes being terrorised with bloody knives are not among them. Imagine renting this and finding yourself watching a perplexingly angry mad doctor battling it out with a giant plant monster.
A misleading title as well here, for the 1967 atmospheric gothic horror The Blood Demon/Castle of the Walking Dead starring Christopher Lee, which inevitably does not contain anything remotely resembling the rather frantic cover image seen here.
A curiously generic cover for the brutally nasty 1977 shocker Fight for Your Life, which doesn’t so much as hint at the savage, racially-charged brutality of the actual film. Unlike the more outrageous covers for mild movies, this oddly plays down the nastiness of the actual movie, as does the art for another video nasty…
I mean, seriously. The MGM cover art makes Wes Craven’s rape-revenge film look like a generic ghost story. Utterly bizarre.
Blood Tide is a somewhat slow-moving Greek/British horror film that you will be unsurprised to hear has no connection to Alistair Maclean and is generally lacking in the saucy nymphets and underwater, Bondesque action hinted at here.
1978 Nazi zombie film Shock Waves is here reimagined as a saucy romp with a swimsuited model laughing as a hand reaches from the depths to snatch at her – a natural reaction if ever I saw one. Peter Cushing looks on with disapproval. A masterpiece of awfulness.
This is, of course, the tip of the iceberg. Readers are encouraged to forward their own misleading and ludicrous favourites.
Thanks to Steven Sheil and David Armour for reminding us of this jaw-dropper – so mad we have to include both sides.
People expecting a violent slasher when renting The Steel Claw – a reasonable assumption based on the cover art – would probably have felt a little cheated once they realised that it is, in fact, a plodding war film made in 1961.
OK, so you knew that this was a bit of a scam – but still, who was actually expecting a murky print of the sluggish 1967 science fiction film Night Fright, opportunistically retitled for this cheeky UK video release?
Another one from Mr Sheil, this perhaps sits on the border between misleading and merely enthusiastic – but is surely too good not to share.
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