For the Love of Movies – “Video Violence”

For the Love of Movies – “Video Violence”

(Box art is copyrighted by its rights holder, used for illustration purposes only)

Back in the 1980’s, VHS box art was important to get people to rent your video. Sometimes the art had nothing to do with the movie, or included scenes that were cut from the film (false advertising at its finest). Sometimes it just jumped out at you from the shelf screaming, “Rent Me!”.

The box art for “Video Violence” did just that for me back in 1988. The video had two things going for it, it was a ludicrously large box with a flip cover (most vhs boxes were cardboard sleeves or plastic clam-shell cases). The second thing was the photo of the bloodied/shredded hand feeding a tape into an old VCR with the question, “Could this happen at your video store?”.

The plot is rather simple, a couple moves from New York City where the husband was the manager of a large movie theater and the wife was a paralegal to a small town upstate in search of a slower-paced life. The town is not kind to outsiders in the least, and as the film progresses you find out why.

Re-opening the video store in town and hiring the only other “outsider” (a young man that had grown up in town but went off to college), the new owner notices that the majority of his clientele are renting slasher horror & porn movies which he finds as peculiar. An unmarked tape lands in their return slot containing some horrific video. Is it real? Who are Howard & Eli and what have they unleashed?

The movie spawned a less-stellar sequel that finds Howard & Eli on their own pirate television network spewing their own brand of blood & violence for the eager masses. The distributor released a DVD compilation of both films back in 2007, since gone out of print. Used copies can be found on eBay for around $30 & someone posted it online (with Spanish subtitles)…

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