Tuesday, 29 July 2008


If your around my age, you'll remember the video revolution. It seemed to start with the wealthier families, they suddenly had these new fangled boxes in their living rooms that could actually record television. More exciting for me was the fact you could choose films from the newly opening video rental outlets.

These are my fondly recalled early videos:-

The Wanderers - I haven't watched this since about 1981 so have no real idea whether it was any good. I'm guessing it wasn't.

The Warriors - I've still got a soft spot for this. For months it seemed that the corridors of my school ringed with "Warriors come out to playeee"

Rocky - Everyone's dad always wanted to watch this. Twice usually.

Flesh Gordon - Camp erotic parody even watched by parents. Dreadful I thought.

The Exorcist - Does anyone know why this loveable mouthy film critic Mark Kermode's favourite film? I watched it a couple of years ago and found it dull.
This and A Clockwork Orange and ET seemed to be around in a dreadful unwatchable pirate copy version.

Evil Dead - I remember feeling very uncomfortable watching this, as I'd been told it was the scariest film ever. Watched today it seems tame and funny.

I Spit On Your Grave - and the other video nasties (or video tasties, as my mate Mark re-christenened them). The Hills Have Eyes or Nazi Experiment Camp anyone? Didn't think so. The Last House on the Left rings a bell as being unpleasant, but it's OK 'cause it was made by Wes Craven?

The Thing - Still a firm favourite, and far scarier than Evil Dead.

An American Werewolf in London - Scarier than The Thing in parts, but hilarious in other. Jenny Agutter took her clothes of in this (and every*) film.

*OK she didn't take all her clothes of in The Railway Children, but she did wave her pants at a train.


John Q Wagonwheel said...

Lots of old-person nostalgia posts lately. Thought of getting a job as a designer for Hallmark cards?

Valentine Suicide said...

Alas no JQW, my talents lie elsewhere. Lots of youthful wisdom though. Thought of getting a job as a waiter?

Alberto Balsam said...

I saw The Exorcist at a special cinema screening while it was still banned on video, people were actually sitting in the cinema laughing at its ridiculousness. One particularly brilliant chap even going "Woo-ooo-ooo", in the manner of someone telling a ghost story.

You missed off Death Race 2000, by the way.

Thumper Plowman said...

Can I throw in "The Champ" and "Porky's"?

I seem to remember early video libraries consisting approximately of :

50% Horror Films
10% Confessions of a Window cleaner etc and Electric Blue titles
10% "Under the counter" stuff
30% Films

Ishouldbeworking said...

My friend J was the first of us whose parents got a video, and she invited us round to watch a copy of 'The Shining' that she'd got hold of. We were all so excited, but imagine our distress when bossy J revealed that she'd already watched the film herself, so she'd "run it forward during the boring bits"' ('BORING BITS??? IN 'THE SHINING'???).

She ended up reducing the film to about fifteen minutes of Jack gurning and blood gushing out of a lift. Ruined! The spoilt cow.

Dominion said...

A few of my favourite films in that list. No prizes for guessing which ones.
(takes a swipe at JQW for being a cheeky yoouth)

Beth said...

RE 'The Exorcist' I saw it for the first time a few years ago and thought it was dire. But then, we watched 'The Wicker Man' the other night and I thought that was dire too.

My mum & dad got a video sooner than most of their friends because they came up on the premium bonds. What a pair of wastrels!

Valentine Suicide said...

I listened to Audiobook version of the The Exorcist during some communting to the North East a couple of years back. That's well worth a listen, was read by the author as I recall.. I'd like to argue wuth Mr Kermode about this film, but somehow doubt if I'd get a word in..

Good call on 'Death Race 2000', though I only remember David 'Kung Fu' Carradine was in it and nothing else. Whilst i'm at it wasn't 'Kung Fu' the most anti-climactic show of the seventies?

How could I forget 'Porkys' (though if anyone knows of a lobotomy that would help, I'd consider it) 'The Champ' was surely one for The mums and sisters?

I'm undecided on 'The Wicker Man', Beth. I remember it as being good, but also watched it a couple of years ago, and found the singing and dancing very odd.

It's odd you should mention 'run it forward through the boring bits', isbw. I was having a dialogue with someone the othe day about doing just that with 'American Werewolf'. What IS IT about Jenny Agutter?

Mr H said...

Garn, kids today. When I were a lad we had to make do with magic lantern shows and silhouette porn.

Don't know they're born...

Planet Mondo said...

I was at a girlfriends house years ago, and her parents hired us a vid' for the evening as they were going out, and the film they picked ? Cannibal Holocaust!! Honestly. I used to be a terror for 'splatter' films. Early pre-cert' and indpendent video shop classics were..

Happy Birthday To Me
The Burning
The Howling
My Bloody Valentine
Nightmares In A Damaged Brain
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Excorcist
Driller Killer

Ooh, I might have to dig out my old Fangorias now. And wasn't a there a mandatory £50 deposit when joining up at most places

Dominion said...

'The Wicker Man' is a brilliant film as is 'The Exocist'. 'nough said so no arguments and agree with the black hearted female!

John Q Wagonwheel said...

Not the Nicolas Cage one, though. That's just plain awful.

Beth said...

what's brilliant about them though?

Matthew Rudd said...

Any Amy Grant in those movies...?

I don't do films and never have, but Jenny Agutter being a) in a nurse's uniform, followed by b) naked in a shower, is quite acceptable, really...

Dominion said...

I haven't seen the Nick Cage one and nor do I intend to. Why oh why they have to remake a perfectly good film is beyond this gal, (what, apart from the big cash what-sits to be made), and Nick Cage is a complete tosser while Edward Woodward is a grand old geezer.
What's good about it?
Well, it's a horror film which is always good.
It's got Christopher Lee in it.
Weird stuff is going on.
Someone dies a horrible death.
Ticks my boxes.

Beth said...

Fair enough.

I did like the masks; other than that ... must just have different boxes I s'pose.

Dominion said...

I guess the key to it all is whether ot not you're a HUGE horror flick fan Beth?

droach75 said...

We had a video player early on, it was a BetaMax. However my dad didn't belive in renting videos. I can't remember if they rented out BetaMax vids. My dad's reason he gave us was they wopuld mess up our tape heads. It took me 7-8 years before I was old enough to rent a 15 video (still underage),,fein sickenss from a family outing to stay home and watched Blind Date with Bruce Willis. I think at the time I must have had a thing for Kim Basinger,,and Willis was in Moonlighting at the time. By now our BetaMax had died and we had a regular video player. Once we convinced our dad we could rent stuff our first proper rental was RoboCop

The Warriors, Rocky and Evil Dead are some of my fav films. American Werewolf scarred the shit out of me when it premiered on TV. The Thing just blew me away,,there are scenes in that film were your jar drops and like one of the charcters in the film you say "no F**kin' way" or something to that affect. The FX holds up today,,I have been a Carpenter/Russell fan ever since. The Thing was in fact my first DVD I bought,,along with Steven Soderberg's Out Of Sight, in a bargain deal of 2 for 30 quid.

BPP said...

I've got a great idea for a new cinema called 'The Shiterama'. You go in, sit on a toilet, and watch the film whilst you have a big shit.

If they sold boiled eggs, beans, pickled onions and dog food intead of hot dogs and popcorn, you could probably squeeze two or even three out during a film of the length of, say, WALL-E.

The Dark Knight's so fucking long, I reckon you could easy do eight shits.

A big auditorium could easily 'old seven hundred toilets, probably. That's a lot of people all shitting at the same time.

The stench would rattle the fillings in your teeth.