The last time we revisited those lurid '80s VHS shelves, we found ourselves mining an unexpectedly rich seam of design disasters and layout lunacy. And there's plenty more butt-clenching box art out there, rest assured - in fact, here are another 80 stinkers from a decade the graphics department forgot:
They thought he was too old and boring to go skiing. Well, he'd show them. He'd show them ALL...
Blame It On The Night
Seems a waste when there are so many other, more obvious things to blame this total shambles on. Like the bloke forgetting to plug his microphone in, when it's quite clearly the 3-pin plug-in kind. "Helloooo Cleveland! Are you ready to ROCK? I SAID ARE YOU READY TO hey is this thing on?" etc.
Yeah, that one on the left is clearly so 'desperate' that it takes three enormous cowpokes to wrestle her into position. We bet this film isn't a misogynist atrocity in the slightest.
Stone Age? Really? Might wanna check your dates there, guys - we're no historians, but we reckon you're about...ooh, 63 million years out. Also, what exactly have these ancient monsters got against construction vehicles?
Eat The Peach
You'll be eating the tarmac if you insist on driving at that frankly insensible angle, mate. By the way, is a confused endorsement from a Christian Science Monitor - whatever the hell one of those is - honestly the best you could do? Oh, it is. Oh right.
The Emerald Jungle
That strap line is a thing of awesomely clunky beauty, but why doesn't it mention the church fête where our hero got his belly all painted up like a cat's face? It strikes us as an important part of a not very important story.
"Hi, I'm Wolfman. Yeah, I guess it is a bit of a drag, now you mention it. Sigh."
Actually, the last thing a dying mobster needs is a flying carpet. Or history's most agonisingly laboured strap line gag on the front of his shite-arse video.
Next: Lies! Boobs! Patterns! [page-break]
No Greater Gift
Literally the most shameless placement of a price sticker we've ever seen. And a heinous lie to boot.
Helicopters! Boobs! Uh, beards! And our leather-clad hero speeding blithely off in the complete opposite direction, presumably into a movie much, much duller than the risibly macho box art implies.
A witheringly non-committal 3.5 from Leonard Maltin is nothing to crow about. That's like six-year-olds always saying "...and four months!" when asked their age. Anyway, Patterns ?! Are you shitting us? What sort of patterns? Clearly not sewing ones - that's the worst-fitting suit we've ever seen. Is his tie tucked into his pants..? Jesus man, get a grip.
Phantom From Space
phantom , (n): an appearance or illusion without material substance. Probably shouldn't be trying to carry women around, then. And would a power that 'menaced the world' really qualify as 'secret'? We've never really tried, but we're guessing it'd pretty hard - and pointless - to menace a planet without anyone finding out.
One emergency copy of Roget's Thesaurus to the guys at Force Video, stat.
Not only is 'seven alone' an inherently flawed concept, but unless we've had some kind of eye haemorrhage, there are like 11 people and two horses at this sickening Aryan picnic. You must think we were born yesterday. Which it looks like one of the picnickers literally was. Gross.
Yup - keep standing under that bright light, training a giant magnifying glass on your right tit, and eventually it will.
We've been assaulted by Big Brother many times, but we've never felt driven to attempt history's most cock-brained marriage proposal, unlike this fool. We do hope that's a ring in his other hand, and not like a Hula Hoop or a tramp's tooth or something. Hard to tell, given his giant Mickey Mouse gloves. This guy's weird.
Next: Snakes! School! Spandex! [page-break]
That's not a snake, it's a gun. And that's not really how you eat. Still, given the inexplicable mention of Deliverance and the pointed reminder that he's dirty, maybe 'snake' is just a crude metaphor here.
If the school colours are blood red, then who's this pompom-waving bint lying all over the locker room? Has she somehow managed to arrive at the wrong school today? God, what an idiot. And lazy, too, lazing around on another school's benches all day. She probably deserves whatever the hell is supposed to be happening in this picture.
A swing and a miss! Probably a good metaphor for the movie, then. Which must be why that bloke in the background has opted for a quick nap while the Spandex Homer finishes off his imaginary foe. We fear he may be some time.
The Body Beneath
Don't worry mate - if anyone ever gave us such a sloppy manicure, we'd have hard-boiled eggs for eyeballs too.
Apart from having the most baffling yet simultaneously boring tagline in history, we know this film must be crap because a) those pixelly prison bars were clearly fished from someone's Commodore 64 clipart folder, and b) they couldn't even be arsed to add enough of them to prevent Carol Kane's effortless escape.
The Devil's Rain
We spent five minutes arguing over what a 'Bain' was, before realising we were just naive victims of the most pillocky font ever invented. Neither could we work out what the chronological Polaroids from Total Film 's last Christmas party were doing on here.
Moreover, we strongly suspect that The Most Incredible Ending Of Any Motion Picture Ever might be bollocks. Although for the hapless viewer, any ending must feel pretty incredible.
The Killing Device
we regret to inform you that your patent appliction has been rejected - someone has already registered your design. They called it 'a gun'. Although for what it's worth, we did like your name better.
The Magic Legend Of The Juggler
The Magic Legend Of The Man Who Shat Towns, Despite The Lack Of Any Visible Abdomen
Next: Pits! Axes! Vans! [page-break]
You'd think this local community would be aware of something so massive - after all, our landlady went apeshit when we tried to smuggle a small kitten into the flat. We've little sympathy, then, for the hapless Hooters waitress pictured here. Mind you, the bloke with the groceries checking his watch really ought to be paying more attention - whatever happened to old-fashioned neighbourly concern?
No, see, the prey is the other one. We'll lend you our David Attenborough DVDs if you don't believe us. Also, having an axe but not being human doesn't make you scary. That's why people aren't terrified of fire engines or garden sheds.
Maybe we just weren't ready for this one...after all, we've never seen someone doing an impression of their van before. In fairness to Danny though, that's a fucking cracking effort - it's quite uncanny.
The Wicker Man
Yes, yes - we know it's a cult classic, and deservedly so. But this cover is silly, and not just because it squanders some of the slow-building mystique by showing us the titular behemoth. All that scarificial wealth the locals shower him with clearly burns quite a hole in his pocket. And her forehead, oddly.
"We called it Sand Beach at first, but then somebody thought of this name. I hope the legal guys let us do it."
A rare example of a time when a more pretentious name would actually have been a really good idea. Wonder if it's wholly coincidental that 'Vidmark' sounds so much like something else.
For some reason, we're reluctant to believe that any mishap involving the dude at the top could properly be classified as an 'accident'. Except maybe the one he's clearly just had with a gallon of baby oil. As for the two doofuses at the bottom - are they running with scissors? Good grief. We blame the parents.
Because nothing portrays the glory of the struggle for the West more neatly than a communist guerrilla carrying a My Little Pony past a giant cable dish.
Next: Evil! Bikinis! Arson! [page-break]
Beyond The Door
A new look at the face of evil? So he's been here before? God, we hate these repeat callers. For the last time mate, we are NOT INTERESTED in the Avon 'face of evil' range. If you call again, we're totally taking down your employee number. Now get off our porch!
The locals are attractive, but it struggles to develop much tourist trade due to being the size of a surfboard.
How the hell is she going to find us? She's a drawing. On fire. We're more worried about the junkie arsonists she models for, to be honest.
Curse Of The Demon
Back in the mists of time, he ticked off a witch-slash-confectioner by stealing pick'n'mix. The curse? Never again would he remember to take his strawberry bootlaces out of his pocket before doing a hot wash.
Look, we're sorry, but a staring contest just doesn't count as a dangerous game. No, not even if your opponent is distressingly bog-eyed.
75% of the girls pictured are definitely not dead. Like, at all. And we reckon the remaining one is probably asleep - which is closer, but still no cigar for Bovine Productions. Wait, 'Bovine'? As in cow? God, these guys really hate women, don't they?
Oh wait, did we say 'nightmare'? Sorry, we must've been thinking of something else. We meant destination Grandpa's house.
Dying Room Only
'She's alone. No one believes her.' Uh...there's a fairly massive problem with those two sentences, isn't there? Also, bonus points for an enthusiastic crack at Worst Movie Title Ever . Oh no, wait, there's still Half Past Dead . Whew, false alarm.
Next: Jams! Bin bags! Klaxons! [page-break]
The photocopier jammed, but nobody could muster the enthusiasm to halt the run.
Eyes Of Fire
...dress of binbags. And did you say 'sinister evil'? As opposed to what - the bubbly kind?
Well actually, yes, we did wish for hobgoblins as it happens, because they're so epically unscary that we just wanted to prove OH CHRIST YOU NEVER SAID THEY'D BE BRINGING KLAXONS OHGODOHGOD HELP US
Invaders Of The Lost Gold
You really can't 'invade' gold, unless it's a seriously big chunk - as in, big enough for a nation to have colonised its surface. In fact, we're almost tempted to suggest that these chumps just used the word 'invaders' because it sounded a bit like 'raide-'...nah, couldn't be.
Kickboxer From Hell
Hell is a largely lawless place, as you might imagine. However, it may surprise you to learn that one of the few rules Beelzebub does insist on is 'no kicking' - as the wise owls behind this release are clearly very aware.
The Last Ride Of The Dalton Gang
Please tell us it doesn't involve that poor, poor woman in the middle?
What, like octApus? The zoology fail is strong in this one. Besides, which part of this thing is 'man'? (Apart from his excellent taste in da honeyz, like - high eight for that, brosef!)
What. The. Shuddering. Fuck ?
Next: Grannies! Gasps! Kneeling! [page-break]
As demonstrated by the little girl's "I've just had an ice cube put down my back but luckily I'm already starting to see the funny side" look of 'terror', Grannies are never, ever, EVER frightening. Well, except when they smell sherry. So as long as our young heroine isn't smuggling trifle*, she'll be fine.
*Amazingly, not an inappropriate euphemism
Terror Beneath The Sea
Your chances of survival don't look great here, miss...but you might wanna increase them just slightly by putting your bloody scuba mouthpiece in. Oh wait, we get it - that's what all the GASPing is about, right? Oh, very clever. Carry on.
"I dunno Dave, I mean we've been friends for years, but...I'm just having a hard time believing your 'evil tiny men that you have to kneel down to shoot' story, it all sounds so far-fetc-...holy crap, I think I see them!"
Wherever this 'burning' took place, they clearly have the shittest coroner on earth.
"So, like, I know you're called that, but what is it exactly that you inherited, mate? Oh, hang on - yeah, no, I do see it now. Well, don't get upset; it's probably nothing a a quick whip around with the Gillette won't fix."
Uh...whatever that 'stuff' is, is almost certainly has no place in a kitchen fridge. Christ, haven't the men in this house ever heard of tissues?
Next time you plan to turn up at your mate's dinner party with a bottle of £2.49 antifreeze, think again. It might just have been brewed up in a filthy bong by a wizened old hippie with no skull. NEAR SOME LIGHTNING. Not so cheerfully gluggable now, eh?
Track Of The Moon Beast
Which track do they mean, y'reckon - 1,500m? 400m Hurdles? Maybe it's more track and field. Whatever, he's clearly pretty decent at it - bronze is nothing to be embarrassed about, fella. We bet the other Moon People were very proud of you.
Next: Glue! Hiding! Cigars! [page-break]
A tale of blackmail, eroticism, murder and superglue, by the looks of it. Even the ghosts above the sun have got themselves in a mess. What a palaver - last time any of this lot take a model aeroplane kit on holiday, mark our words.
Huh? He's right there, you idiots, carving up the roast! What is this, like a really lame version of Where's Wally to play while we're rewinding the video? Well, there really wasn't any need to bother - nobody has ever rewound this film, and nobody ever will.
Hate to be pedantic, but that's actually called a 'web'. And we're not surprised she's a widow, given the amount of passive smoke hubby must've sucked down. She probably did alright out of the will, too...man, it's a cruel and twisted world we live in. So can we have a cigar?
Wizard Of Gore
"So we went to this awesome kids' party the other day, and they had this amazing wizard - yeah really, a wizard! - and then we went home and watched Lord Of The Rings , you know the one with the big beardy magician? And...wait, wizards are the ones with the rabbits, right? Ah dammit, I always get them mixed up. Anyway, we had a totally magician time..."
Death In The Shadows
Oh really? The shadows, you say? Er, shouldn't you be running in the other direction then?
This one's brilliant, actually - a really clever combination of optical illusion and psychological misdirection. You stare and stare, and you can tell that the title is kinda supposed to be a clue, so you stare some more, and right when you're about to give up you suddenly catch like a tiny glimpse of a lizard or a dragon or something in the middle, and then it's gone again, and you're not even sure whether it was really there at all. It's crazy, you should totally try it!
Nice try, yellow sticker - but even your horribly unjustified text can't distract us from the real issue here. Something mighty odd has occurred around this plucky young woman's chest area - we're thinking a sort of reverse spot-the-ball contest might help us work out exactly which ungodly angle this queasy, boob-mangling shot was taken from.
Chamber Of Horrors
Well, armour. And steps. But for anyone harbouring a phobia of both, this movie will freak the living shit out of you.
Next: Fish! Tractors! Doors! [page-break]
Rule #1 of strap line writing: if caught between two deliciously witty puns, just pick one. Don't be a hero and try to squeeze in both - you'll end up eating into the art development time, and the intern will have to do all the Photoshopping in his lunch break. Which usually results in wretched, faintly baffling scribbleturds like this one.
Dixie Changing Habits
There's no way we're watching it to find out, but we assume the story goes something like: "Rich poser one day goes mental and steals a tiny roadsign. A nun tries to lead her back to virtue, but ends up becoming corrupted herself, and the resulting crime spree culminates in grand theft tractor. Think Thelma And Louise meets...well, a chronic lack of funding for a profoundly toss idea."
Don't Open The Door
Hooray For Howie Would
Hooray indeed. His story of triumph over adversity must be a huge inspiration to all people born with chopsticks for legs.
The Fourth War
The Fourth War is often omitted from history books, largely beacause it took place between two blokes in a pond. In fact, it was more or a scrap than anything. A freelance field commander turned up at one point hoping to score himself a bit of extra work, but it was all over bar the shouting within about eight or nine minutes, and neither side really bothered with tactics as such. It is commonly referred to as The Rubbish War.
Full Metal Ninja
"Alright then, half metal. Still not buying it, eh? Um...a quarter then? Ok, well his sword is definitely metal. Apart from the handle, I think that would probably have been ivory - I dunno, in all honesty I didn't do that much design research on this one. Look, just gimme my cheque and I'll piss off, yeah?"
Dance With Death
Common Photoshop Disasters #581: The missing limb. And no, trying to pretend it's just because your cover star is humping a giant gun doesn't really cut it. Step back a bit and look again. If you're at all worried it might be stupid, it almost certainly is. Actually, if you're at all worried it might be stupid, you're probably not an '80s video sleeve designer.
Murder By Natural Causes
If there was a single gun-shaped piece in a whole otherwise regular-shaped jigsaw, what brand of moron wouldn't use it as the starting point? Plus another honourable mention here for services to genuinely atrocious titles. Half Past Dead , while not exactly threatened, is certainly glancing over one shoulder.
Next: Chains! Exams! Animals! [page-break]
Night Of The Strangler
You can't murder someone who leaves the door chain on; it's basically a guarantee of short-term immortality. Which is why nobody's ever been murdered by a stranger, or 80% of victims know their killer, or whatever. Look, we're not murder statisticians; we just believe in the infallible power of the little slidey chain. We need to. Please don't take that away...
"Failed to put the dummy into the proper recovery position, but showed advanced understanding of her optimal body position in relation to that of the victim. Some frenzied stabbing, but dealt confidently with the multiple choice sections of the test. Recommended grade: B-."
In a surprisingly crowded genre, the undisputed king of all zoology fails.
The Invisible Maniac
"You can not be serious - it's been what, like fifteen minutes? Seriously girls, I'm fucking through with mail order."
It's Called Murder Baby
No, it's called...actually, we haven't got a clue. We don't even know how on earth it could possibly come about. Anyone got a Kama Sutra handy?
The only thing the graphics department were hoping to vindicate here was the depressing amount of time they spend coding 2D space shooters on their bedroom ZX Spectrums. They failed. What the hell is this movie about?
The Violent Professionals
If you will insist on having a keyhole the size of a small car, you deserve everything you get. Trivia fans: all of Sir David Frost 's drawings look like this.
Rule #2: For bonus points, use your Survival Stick to bounce the inflatable hedgehogs into your team's coloured basket. Whichever team baskets the most hedgehogs by the end of the game earns 10 additional Survival Points - it could make all the difference!
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