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Tuesday, May 15, 2018 | Culture

I kick ass for the Lord! And of course, all the retro VHS advertisements I can look at in one day.

Back before any and all information about a film was simply a click away, we had to rely on solely word of mouth from friends, family, and physical advertisements from your local video store on the latest in horror movies. But what about the Mom and Pop run video-mart back in that glorious VHS boom in the ‘80s? I mean, unless they had connective insights on what cassettes to stock those nostalgic shelves with, simply buying blind was a bit of a risk. Especially when it came to their pockets as a good amount VHS tapes ran at about $80 a piece and up PER cassette.

With this being the case, enter the VHS sales promos that were sent to retailers persuading those rental chains and local outlets on why they should invest in a bundle of whatever movie they were trying to get into everyone’s Samsung VCRs’. Sometimes they included the stars of the film acting like a sleazy salesman hawking a used Pinto, but nevertheless, they are fun as hell to watch. If anything, it just serves as a wonderful reminder of the days when VHS was King and fond memories of adjusting your tracking in preparation for a Friday night viewing.

Peter Jackson’s US release of 1993’s splatstick, zombie-horror-comedy DEAD ALIVE (or BRAINDEAD for you New Zealanders) is just one of many titles that played the VHS promo game. However, this one, in particular, is one of my favorites because well, it’s a goddamn Halloween promotion that came with an irresistible screaming candy dispenser with a pack of three DEAD ALIVE VHS copies. Who wouldn’t want that in their video stores?! I’ll tell yah, had I been a proprietor of one of these shops carrying various national treasures made from polypropylene, I’d had gone broke buying these bad boys by the bulk. So maybe that’s a good thing I was born in the wrong decade.

Along with the fantastic, and I assume highly collectable diabetes dispensers, the four-minute sales ad also contains some pretty valuable, or useless depending on who you’re talking to, information on “sale units” of other horror gems such as HELLRAISER II, DAY OF THE DEAD, and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW; which was given as a guide to showcase just how well the horror genre was selling on the market around this time. In which case, is pretty damn cool if you’re asking me. The promo also markets some highlights from the red carpet premiere and, even better, the event I may have sold my first-born child to get into- the DEAD ALIVE parade that marched down Fifth Ave in New York City.

What a wonderful little piece of horror history. Special shout-out to YouTuber PhakeNam for uploading this little diddy. Enjoy!



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.