Rupert Pupkin Speaks: VHS Gems Guest Post: Steve Scarlata ""

Thursday, October 25, 2012

VHS Gems Guest Post: Steve Scarlata

I’m a huge fan of VHS. Growing up in the 80’s, I spent most of my days riding my bike around, renting movies from four separate video stores around Long Island. Every time my family would stop at a strip mall, I had to run in to the local video store and see what movies they carried. I was a movie fiend. To this day I still search for videos I remember seeing at those video stores.
This list comprises of the VHS tapes I have in my collection, not available on DVD.

1988 was just pure madness. One of my favorite years of oddball cinema. So many unique films were popping up in my local theatres like Action Jackson, Dead Heat, Maniac Cop, Phantasm 2, Mac and Me, Night of the Demons. VHS was exploding with films like Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Paramedics, Waxwork, Rejuvenatrix, Force of the Ninja and the Wing Hauser classic The Carpenter.
Tougher Than Leather is a straight up 1980’s blaxploitation movie that fits right in this beautiful year. Tougher Than Leather feels like Rick Ruban took blaxploitation 101 and got a C. Every white man is a bad guy. Run DMC are just terrible playing themselves, Beastie Boys show up for lunch, every Def Jam artist is played in the back round.
Acording to Wikipedia, Tougher Than Leather was briefly available on VHS, but went out of print within two years due to poor sales and a rumored injunction by the Beastie Boys and Capital Records, their new label. For this reason, it is almost certain that New Line will never release it on DVD.

 NAKED CAGE (1986)
This movie is so sleazy, the chicks sweat baby oil.
I remember waiting on line to see The Hitcher and staring at this poster in the lobby. Fixating on the word NAKED then the word CAGE. The poster looked sic, chicks with guns and prison riots. I was like man, I should have asked my dad to take me to see this instead.
My local video stores never carried it and I never caught it on cable. Years later I found it on ebay and finally was able to watch it. Loved it. Just as raunchy as Reform School Girls, but way less campy.

If you’re a fan of Tron and that Emilio Estevez video game segment of Nightmares, and bad movies in general, you may want to seek this fun film out. There’s something like seven segments, which kind of creates multiple versions of Charles Band movies rolled into one cheesy good time. Rock monsters, zombies, cave beasts, Richard Moll and Blakie Lawless of W.A.S.P. battle it out with Jeffrey Byron, the poor mans Miles O’Keefe.

STRYKER (1983)​
Anther post apocalyptic casualty that never made it to VHS. The hero looks like a cross between Kip Winger and the star of Megaforce. I try to collect films like this and 1990 Bronx Warriors, Escape From the Bronx, Warriors of the Wasteland on VHS just so I can replicate the back corner of the video store I’ve spent most of my time in growing up. I think the artwork alone I may love even more than the movies them selves.

This movie is more extreme than Dorito Tacos dipped in Mountain Dew. The first 15 minutes of this film should be played in a loop in the museum of moving images, because it’s beautiful, this is art. Tony Anthony the man with two first names throws down the gauntlet by attempting to out do the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark and takes it to the next level. Find it and watch the opening, and watch the very ending.

The first extreme anime I have ever seen. I don’t think I ever watched this tape again since the first time I saw it in the mid 1990’s. The only memory that lingers is the Nazi Death Rape Machine. I don’t know what else to say about it. Maybe were all lucky it’s not out on DVD.

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