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THAT TIME “20/20” SHAMED KIDS FOR RENTING VHS HORROR MOVIES

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 | Culture

I think it’s fair to say that most anyone reading this and grew up in the ’80s, remember the glorious era of the VHS boom. Hell, I like to think the various rows of horrifyingly fascinating art proudly displayed on the cases, is one of the biggest reasons we were compelled to grab that Videodrome flick off the horror shelf. Whatever the reason may be, old-timey mom and pop VHS rental shops were the soda shoppes’ of the ’80s and ’90s. We hung out there for hours on end beaming at various titles, talking film with the clerks behind the counter, and was the doorway to discovering exciting new horror films. Because as we all know, this was a time where the Internet yet to exist. And by the Gods of VCR rewinder machines, it was a beautiful era for the genre of horror. 

THAT TIME "20/20" SHAMED KIDS FOR RENTING VHS HORROR MOVIES

Also, you may remember having disturbing, gross-out parties with your favorite horror movies behind your parents’ backs. Or at least that is something prime-time news source 20/20 assumed was all the rage with us kids back in 1987. In what is an absolutely ridiculous yet, so hilarious segment from ABC’s no-nonsense Saturday night hour at the news desk, a fifteen-minute piece called VCR Horrors aired warning adults about the all dangerous horror genre section of the VHS store.

Just writing that sentence out made me laugh out loud. 

Anyway, while the scare attempt is laughable at best, it does ring all the nostalgic bells for those of us who have such fond memories of our local video shop. It also really puts me in the mood to flip on some Splatterhouse University or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So it certainly isn’t all to be seen as a negative thing. However, the greatest thing about this is the kids that are interviewed for the segment. To watch their little faces light up like Christmas morning as they speak of films like Slumber Party Massacre in such high regard just melts my heart. This was our youth. THIS is how we felt as young horror fans. Except for that Caston Jarvis kid. What a misguided individual that one is. 

More positive highlights of this news story, are interviews with strong genre voices like horror author Chas Balun, horror Queen Linnea Quigley, and Witchboard‘s Walter Josten who defend the nonsense fear-mongering. Josten in particular, who stated so perfectly, “It’s nothing worse than what you would see on the news.” And I fully agree there could never be a truer statement as reality (especially now more than ever) is way more terrifying than any horror movie you could put in front of me. 

Patti Pauley
Lover and rambler of everything in the horror genre, from the present to essentially anything concerning retro horror goodness and vintage Halloween. Patti is an active member of the horror community, writing for several websites over the years, including her own. Count Chocula serves as her Kryptonite.