Why Horror VHS Artwork Was So Fucked Up

Earlier this year, I shared with you my visit to the Slashback Video exhibit at Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum in Burbank.  The exhibit showcased hundreds of original horror movie VHS tapes in a pop-up video store that took you back to the days of renting VHS horror from your local movie rental shop.  As you browsed the shelves you saw themes of sex, of gore, of terror that dominated VHS artwork in the 80’s and 90’s, and a new video from Entertain The Elk explains why.

In his video essay titled, “Why Horror VHS Artwork Was So Fucked Up,” Adam Tinius explains that the artwork was a result of the AIDA Advertising Method, a method designed to capture someone’s attention, pique their interest and get them to quickly take action.  Because video makers were competing with shelf space and the attention of renters, the horror genre did its part to go above and beyond to draw people in and ultimately get them to buy or rent VHS.

The essay also explores the backlash from the extreme artwork and how it helped in some countries and hurt in others.  It also explores modern movie selection and how the AIDA method has been lost in a world of Netflix, Hulu, and the like.

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