Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Top 10 movies on VHS that I would love to see on DVD?

Some of the most often questions I generally get from my YouTube channel is "recommend me a movie not on DVD" or "what movie not on DVD do you wish was?" Ideally, if a movie is not given proper DVD treatment (i.e. 16x9 anamorphic transfer, Dolby 5.1, commentary, uncut if available, etc) then I really am content with it just being on VHS. The only downside of the VHS format is that it deteriorates over time and in 25 years all you are left with is a fuzzy rolling picture. Now with the technology we have to back up those old VHS tapes to DVDr again leaves me with that same notion... if you are not going to give these films proper DVD treatment then fuck off! My pet peeve is shelling out $11.99 for a DVD and to realize that it's nothing more than a VHS rip on a DVD-- fuck, I can do that myself for fifty cents!

So, lately I have been doing a series of videos on YouTube of VHS tapes that I have that I'd like to see have a proper DVD treatment. So far I have chosen 50- 5 per video- but I will narrow my choices down to 10 HORROR and give you guys a brief description why.

#10) Blood Salvage: This movie has always been a personal favorite and it is available on Region 2 (which does not count) with a laserdisc full frame rip under the name Mad Jake. The great thing about this movie is the overall atmosphere and feel of it being shot in the dirty South (right outside of Atlanta, Ga) and has that whole southern feel to the cinematography. The movie takes you through the life of an auto savage owner Jake and his two half-wit sons. Jake likes to make some money on the side by kidnapping unsuspecting victims and selling their organs on the black market. The special make-up effects is done by the infamous Bill "Splat" Johnson (Sleepaway Camp II, III) however, the MPAA annihilated this film and all of the cut footage was discarded. Sadly, in that respect this movie will never get an uncut release, but I would still love a 16:9 anamorphic transfer with commentary by John Saxon, perhaps?

#9) The American Scream: Again, this movie is by means no gem at all, and in a way pretty bad-- bad in a good way. The American Scream is about a mother and a father who unknowingly takes their children to this resort in the mountains called Wilson Creek. Wilson Creek is a town full of elderly people living in a sort of old fashion way and they do not like kids! For years Wilson Creek has been a place where parents would bring their trouble kids to have them killed off by the townspeople. The American Scream just has this bad 1980's vibe, a simple yet eerie score, comedy, unintentional humor, bad acting, amazing character... it is the slasher answer to Troll II. The movie has a pretty impressive cast with Buck Flower, voice artist Jennifer Darling, master puppeteer Pons Maar and soap star Matt Borlenghi.

#8) Prison: So, again this is available in Region 2 for those lucky people up in the U.K., however it is just a barebones release so it's not like they are so lucky. Prison is a film about a guy wrongly convicted and executed of murder and his ghost coming back to kill the people responsible for his conviction. It stars a very young Viggo Mortensen and special effects by John Carl Buechler. Out of all of the movies on the list, I think this one has the most potential to be put onto a DVD with all of the fixings solely because the the success of Viggo Mortensen. My dream come true would be a commentary track by Viggo, Buechler and director Renny Harlin-- that will never happen.

#7) Hunter's Blood: Much like Deliverance, this movie is pretty much a city slicker's worst nightmare-- being lost in the wilderness with a pack of angry, murderous rednecks after your blood. The movie is just that-- a group of city-dwelling hunters visit the Northwoods for a hunting excursion and stumble upon a group of poachers. The group's leader Mason played by Clu Gulager tries to reason with the hillbillies but only starts a war. This movie is the ideal movie for an uncut release-- only if the gore still exists. With the cuts the MPAA made the movie still has some very gory scenes and a lot of bloody violence as well as a start-studded cast including Bruce Glover, Joey Travolta, Sam Bottoms and Billy Drago-- okay maybe not start-studded, but damn close. The movie was directed by Robert C. Hughes (Memorial Valley Massacre) and is by far his best film. Getting this uncut in 16:9 anamorphic with cast commentary would be my wet dream.

#6) Humongous: I am a huge sucker for 1980's woods slasher films, and quite honestly it's the reason why I hold this movie so dear to my heart. Much like other 1980's slasher movies we start off with a flashback setting up a killer and a premise and then quickly jump to modern day where we have a boat full of teens. The boat has a mechanical fire and sinks leaving the teens stranded on an island. When they go look for help, they stumble upon a dark secret hidden in an old dilapidated house. Humongous is a brutal film with some very intense scenes, even though the killer really is never shown there are some creepy moments-- like the infamous eye through the keyhole scene. This movie has to be one of the lost gems out there-- still no DVD release... this baby would look awesome restored and viewed on a HD TV. The cinematography in this is pretty reminiscent of Friday The 13th (1980) and that is saying a lot since I hold the cinematography in the film way up on a pedestal.

#5) Terrorvision: Even though I love those set-in-reality serious slasher movies, I still love those cheesy good 1980's films like Terrorvision. This movie just screams 1980's with the aerobics-infested wardrobe, hair-band hair, the language of the era and the whole emphasis on technology taking over and causing the end of the world. The movie revolves around a family and a tech-savvy father who invents a satellite dish that gets every station crystal clear. The only problem with his new gadget is that it also creates a portal for aliens to invade his home in a plot to take over the Earth! Again, John Carl Buechler knocks the cheesy monster make up out of the park with some of the corniest, cheesiest creations since Troll. This movie is one of those so bad it's amazing films like Troll II and The Stuff and pretty much follows in the same genre.

#4) Summer Camp Nightmare: I know I said "horror" movies- this movie is not horror, but pretty much as close to horror as you can come without being horror. The movie stars some familiar horror faces; Tom Fridley (Jason Lives) and Chuck Connors (Tourist Trap) in a movie about what happens when a bunch of rambunctious rowdy kids are denied fun and games from uptight, mean camp counselors. A bunch of older campers devise a plot to capture and lock up all of the counselors and take over the camp. The tone of the movie turns from a Meatballs type movie to a Lord Of The Flies type when a kid is accused of raping another camper and is hanged to his death. This movie was a staple of my youth and really has a large cult following. I have no idea why this movie doesn't ever get referenced even today.

#3) The Boogens: Being one of the last good slasher movies not on, or coming out on DVD, The Boogens is a classic style monster movie about an abandon mine being opened and unleashing reptilian creatures to kill. The movie starts off with telling a story through newspaper clippings of trapped miners, a closed down mine and then present day. The movie's atmosphere sort of reminds me of My Bloody Valentine and I am not sure if that is because of the whole 'mine' thing, but I think it's because of the cold atmosphere and look to the movie. In short, I really think the directing and cinematography of this movie is brilliant.

#2) Ticks: Being yet another movie not available on DVD in America, but available on Region 2, Ticks is a cheesy-great creature movie with special effects by KNB studios. Ticks is basically about steroid-infused giant ticks terrorizing weekend camp for inner-city youth. I have a feeling that an uncut Ticks would be an icky-gore fest seeing that the movie is basically sick as it is cut to pieces. It stars Ami Dolenz, Alfonso Ribiero, Seth Green, Clint Howard amongst others and is probably one of the most fun and down right cheesy films on this list. There's a scene where Alfonso Ribiero turns into a tick and it's just nauseating and funny at the same time-- classic shit.

#1) The Town That Dreaded Sundown: Okay, so this movie should not be number one based on the movie itself, however the hype and cult following this movie has puts it up here. The movie most notoriously has a sack-headed killer that has been rumored to have inspired the look of Jason Voorhees in Friday The 13th Part II. It takes place in post-WWII Texarkana, Texas with a killer stalking and killing people at night. One of the things that makes this movie stand out is the killer himself-- brutal, relentless and he has a sense of humor (look out for the trombone!). The police force really add a lot of calamity the a somewhat dark and macabe tale and add that with the whole Texas look and you have a really good slasher film with atmosphere. Apparently this movie does exist somewhere on 16:9 format because of the trailer on a Bluray release of horror film slashers-- someday... we can only wish!


  1. Prison is available on dvd. You can buy it from Amazon.

  2. Not on Region 1- it's available on Region 2, not in America. I just went through 21 pages under "Prison" and DVD for shits and giggles and all I saw was the Region 2available at the UK Amazon. The Region 2 release is bare and with a Laserdisc rip.

    But, it's not available on DVD in America except on bootleg sites.

  3. Awesome post. Really love all this VHS stuff you've been doing lately. You've brought a lot of gems to my attention that I never even knew about before. I just put this post on the hit list on the sidebar of my blog =)