Oh, horror movie VHS covers — was there kid alive during the 80s that didn’t creep away from their parents’ side while at the video store to sneak a peek at the contents of the horror section? The boxes were gory, creepy, goofy, covered with half naked butts and boobs and just sitting right out on the shelf for all to see! They offered a brief voyeuristic glimpse of the kind of adult entertainment that was usually hidden from our young eyes.
Of course almost all these movies were terrible letdowns once we actually got to watch them, but it didn’t matter — their covers were still permanently burned into a generation’s grey matter. So, as Halloween approaches, let’s skip the crappy 80s horror movies, and just appreciate their wonderfully absurd cover art. Hit the jump for the 25 best horror VHS covers of the 1980s…
Thanks to Critical Condition for reminding me of a lot of these.
25) Slumber Party Massacre
A pile of boobs and guy a with phallic drill — this one made a man out of me.
24) Halloween II
Guys…it’s a pumpkin and a skull all in one. It doesn’t get any Halloweenier.
23) Mardi Gras Massacre
…or maybe it was this one that ushered in my manhood.
22) Silent Night, Deadly Night
I…what are you doing Santa? Did…did some kid ask for an axe?
This cover achieves the nigh-impossible task of making slugs seem somewhat threatning.
20) I Spit on your Grave
So yeah, this is kind of a ugly movie about rape and whatnot, but all I knew as a kid was that it had a big, dirty, sweaty butt on the cover, which I’m kind of a sucker for.
19) Night of the Creeps
True story, as an afraid-of-the-dark little kid I used to see this guy outside my window all the time. F–k you Night of the Creeps.
18) The Return of the Living Dead
80s punk zombies. ‘Nuff said.
Most of the art on 80s VHS covers was, to put it delicately, garbage. This on the other hand is a legitimately cool, twisted piece of art.
That’s right, Squirm makes the list twice. Not bad for a movie that appears to be about throwing gummy worms on naked ladies.
Brrr, that’s one creepy bastard. The alien behind him’s kind of scary too.
14) Chopping Mall
Who doesn’t like a few good dismemberment puns?
So uh, yeah — the guy on this cover totally has a boner, right? I’m not just seeing things?
12) Critters 2
This is quite the vision of unfathomable Lovecraftian horror for this sequel to a Gremlins ripoff.
11) Slumber Party Massacre II
Holy s–t. How do you improve on Slumber Party Massacre’s awesome cover? Have the drill guy’s drill come out of a super cool devil guitar and have drill guy direct the devil guitar towards a girl’s butt. The cover for the first SPM made a man out of me — this one made me into some sort of lumberjack-like super man.
Heh heh, he’s coming out of a toilet. I’m not exaggerating when I say I tried to get my parents to rent this one literally every single time we were in the video store.
9) Street Trash
If I couldn’t find Ghoulies this one would also do.
8) April Fool’s Day
So, I used to stare at this one a lot, because, I dunno, the girl in the pink dress sort of looks like she has a nice ass. Anyways, after years of looking at this cover I finally noticed the unnecessary, totally ridiculous detail that her hair is braided like a noose, and my mind was blown.
7) The Night of the Demons movies
All the Night of the Demons covers are the same, and they’re all great.
6) The Driller Killer
It seems like every video rental place had this one, which is kind of surprising, because it features a guy straight-up getting a drill to the face.
5) Evil Dead 2
Has nothing whatsoever to do with the movie, but it’s still a great cover. In fact I originally watched the movie entirely because of the cover and kept wondering when the skeleton with the creepy eyes was going to show up.
This one gets points for directness — take the grossest zombie from your zombie move and put it on the cover. Call the movie Zombie. Done.
3) Monkey Shines
I was very disappointed when I discovered this movie features an actual monkey as the bad guy instead of this cymbal playing scamp.
2) The Video Dead
Hooooly s–t! Zombies in the TV!
1) Return to Horror High
Here it is, the greatest 80s horror VHS box of all time. Guys, it’s a skeleton in a cheerleader’s outfit. Need I say more? It’s the pretty much the perfect mix of creepy and sexy. Er, did I say sexy? I uh, just meant creepy. Just creepy.
What about you folks? Got any favorites you think I missed?