READS: VHS Video Cover Art

VHS Video Cover Art Large

If you were around during the 1980’s and owned a VHS player a trip to the video store was probably something done a few times a week in order to check out some good to awful films you hadn’t seen previously or had caught in a theater and wanted to experience all over again. The better video rental shops were part museum, offering up box after box of wildly re-imagined art that didn’t always match what was on those tapes you wanted to rent. From scantily clad ladies beckoning you to pick up that case to painted explosions that guaranteed at least if the film was atrocious stuff would blow up really good, it was a boom time for “B” movie fans. Over in the UK, movie fans got even wilder cover art to ogle from a wide range of artists of assorted talent covering genres from sci-fi and horror to comedy and assorted exploitation flicks.

Whether you’re a fan of the period or just want a great art book to show off to friends, Schiffer Books’ VHS Video Cover Art ($34.99) comes very highly recommended. Compiled by Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge (a great movie poster artist inspired by this period), the 12″ x 9″ hardcover book is 264 pages of eye-popping artwork. Some of it great, most of it cheesy to an extreme. Here in the US that cheese factor is most likely going to be the appeal to many buyers who may only know some of these films through their western movie posters and/or VHS cover art which was more often than not straightforward studio commissioned art and photos.

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Fred Dobbs, You’re Nuts In Any Decade!

(thanks, Danios12345!)

Ha. I just realized while watching The Treasure of the Sierra Madre for the zillionth time that the name Fred Dobbs appears in another memorable (but for the wrong reasons) film and is played by a great actor that livens up the proceedings significantly. That film would be 1980’s sci-fi horror(/unintentional comedy) hybrid (They Came)Without Warning and that actor would be the great Martin Landau. The Greydon Clark-directed cult flick is actually one of those great guilty pleasures worth tracking down because of its oddball cast (Jack Palance, Cameron Mitchell, Larry Storch, Neville Brand and a young David Caruso among others) and pre-Predator plot about an alien come to earth to do some hunting.

(thanks, metal4472!)

As I’m a bit off-kilter (and proud of it!) I’d do a back-to-back double feature with these two even though the tone is vastly different between the two films. Or you could go from the first film to Raiders of the Lost Ark with Without Warning and Predator for an all-day marathon of interesting genre flipping and blending. But I’ll leave personal programming choices all to you fine folks out there. Enjoy!

VHS Video Cover Art – May Blooms Up A Killer Book From Schiffer

VHS Video Cover Art Book

Oh, yeah. As someone who grew up in the VHS era and had a rather huge collection of films (long sold off, sadly), seeing a book like this coming in May from Schiffer Publishing gets me all giddy. VHS: Video Cover Art by Thomas “The Dude Designs” Hodge (and yes, that nickname sounds straight outta the eighties) is a 9″ x 12″ hardcover, will feature 264 pages, 570 color photos (and an index, of course) and cost $34.99, a pittance for the sheer amount of nostalgia guaranteed to be on display.

For me, this one is a “shut up and buy it” book if there ever was one. I’ve looked over the first 24 pages and had a huge grin on my face that’s still lingering. This one’s going to do well amongst the collectors out there and any movie fan looking for an excellent gift will want to keep an eye peeled for when this drops into stores in a few months. Color me excited, folks. Between this and those Mill Creek collections I’ve been picking up for dirt cheap lately, my teenage years are coming back full force. Er, without the awkwardness around the ladies and doing stupid stuff for fun part…

E3 2014: Risen 3: Titan Lords Trailer: One For The Fans Who Appreciate The ERPG…

Here in the west, I’s bet most gamers only know developer Piranha Bytes’ Risen series from the two console ports, which weren’t great because on the visual front, they distilled a game made for a decent 3D card down into a somewhat mushy-looking mess with some interesting gameplay elements and quests of decent length and challenge. As with other European-made RPG series such as Two Worlds and to some extent the Gothic games, Risen seems to sell well enough overseas on PC to garner more installments and I believe the console versions of these games do well in Europe as well. Here in North America where some are a LOT more picky about visuals and take some elements of their games too seriously, the combination of so-so looks, comedy bits that may seem out of place and perhaps simplified for game pad control schemes seem to turn some gamers off, leaving these titles to find a more niche audience.

Now, I’m a fan of the Risen games on console, warts and all, but I can see why some aren’t exactly jumping off their seats at this announcement trailer. On the good side, at least Deep Silver isn’t calling this CGI trailer a “gameplay” trailer at all. Now, I want to see how this looks in action on whatever it’s coming to so I can pick it up and play it whenever it’s released. Which, by the way will be August 12, 2014 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. The pirate theme from Risen 2 is gone and the more familiar “medieval” fantasy look is back, so that’s a fine start. Not that I don’t like the whole pirate themed RPG thing, mind you…

Dexter’s Finale In A Nutshell: Monty Python Did it MUCH Better in 1969…

(thanks, Chadner!) 

Oh, brother… I haven’t been so annoyed at a season of any TV show in ages. Granted, in the grand scheme of things, Dexter has its ups and downs, but this final season was so wretched that I had to post something about it in a mini-rantless post. Too many new characters (and way too many serial killers) were introduced only to be killed off, forgotten about or tossed into the last few shows as terrifically poor plot advancement as the episodes dragged out. And so forth and so on until that woeful finale where Deb finally gives up the ghost. Spoiler: she got shot (AGAIN!), but expired from an off screen affliction related to the coma she was in and Dexter shutting off her life support at the hospital, then carting her body off during the daytime during a not well shot chaotic scene as a big hurricane was brewing up. Bleh. I guess his killing clothes make him invisible to onlookers or something. Anyway, he ends up leaving his kid in Argentina with the escaped female serial killer he was sleeping with last season (don’t ask!) and he fakes his death (Kenny Powers did it better!) only to pop up in the Pacific Northwest as a lonely bearded lumberjack sitting in his creepy cabin as the show fades out forever. Yuk, bluck, What the F#@k?! Yeah, well… good thing I have a sense of humor (and YouTube)…

Frankenstein’s Army: *Ding!* Your New Guilty Pleasure is Ready…

OK, class: clipboards out! Let’s see now:

Cheesy “B”-movie title and “found footage” plot played dead semi-seriously? Check! Nice old-school PRACTICAL effects for the creatures (whee, no CG!) Check! Actors playing Russian and German soldiers not speaking in their native tongues (thus making it easier for lazy Americans who refuse to get more language into their lives and may be of those descents to get what’s going on without all that subtitle readin’)? Czech! No game license to ruin the film (or make it better because the game is awful and rushed to market)? CHECK! Well, this one’s looking like a gory good time, so on the “watch it when it comes to cable or go borrow the inevitable Blu-Ray/DVD” list, I suppose. Richard Raaphorst’s nifty little horror flick should be an instant cult classic once it gets the audience it deserves, so step right up and keep this one on your own list when it hits theaters and On-Demand on July 26, 2013.