Zack Carlson is a gentleman among slothy, frothy psychopaths(and a longtime friend of RPS). He has articulately demonstrated his Halloween spirit by putting together the remarkable list of VHS classics below.
(Zack is the ringmaster of the Alamo Drafthouse's cute and cuddly Terror Tuesday film series(as well as Zzang!!!))
Check out his other RPS lists too!
Many of my pals n' colleagues have already understandably swooped on
some of the top VHS-only horror titles (i.e. THE TOWER, THE RITUAL OF
DEATH), but there's still plenty of DVD-free whoopery to go around on
this unholy night. The following are 13 unstoppable examples of the
form, destined to shiver your timbers without the crutch of post-'80s
THE KILLING OF SATAN
(Dir. Efren C. Piñon, 1983)
be fooled by the crummy bootleg DVD on Amazon. This movie is pure,
unrelenting, big box VHS Filipino fury!! A middle-aged man named Lando
uses his magic elbow to defeat an army of Satan's minions, and then
takes on the Big Red One himself in fearless hand-to-hand, lazer-eye
combat. A heapin' helpin' of South Seas mythology mixes with '80s
effects to send this one into the thermonuclear wildzone.
(Dir. Jag Mundhra, 1988)
child is led to the occult by his Satanic grandfather (power-ham Hy
Pyke), who operates under the guise of a lowly pumpkin salesman. As the
boy becomes a man, he allows heavy metal cassettes to pull him further
into the abyss. On Halloween night, he's expected to fulfill his dark
destiny. This movie features heartbreaking nudity, live rock and
stand-up comedy, each equally awful but as endearing as a legless kitten.
(Dir. Beverly Sebastian, 1984)
with rock horror! Second only to the venerable TRICK OR TREAT in pure
metalpower, this thrasher-slasher from the married couple behind the
GATOR BAIT films features an undead shredder returning to annihilate his
former bandmates, punctuating each vicious homicide with a piercing
rock n' roll shriek. Hairifying!
THE WILD BEASTS
(Dir. Franco Prosperi, 1984)
goshdarn drug dealers have gone and flushed all their PCP straight down
the terlet! Naturally, the narcoticized sewage line links directly to
the local zoo's drinking water, and all the animals find themselves all
jiggered up and ready to rage! Watch a spun-up cheetah knock a
motorcyclist off his hog at 65 MPH! He's all like "Daaamn"!!
THE VIDEO DEAD
(Dir. Robert Scott, 1987)
VHS-era life-remover that rewrote the rules of post-mortem warfare.
These combative corpses exit through your picture tube and can only be
defeated if you shoot them with three arrows. Homemade horror majesty to
NOTE: There's a fakey unofficial DVD version on Amazon that looks like poop. Don't bite the hook.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE PEOPLE GONE?
(Dir. John Llewellyn Moxey, 1974)
misanthropy starring Peter Graves (KILLERS FROM SPACE; POOR WHITE
TRASH) as a well-meaning schlub who wakes up to an unpopulated Earth.
Plenty of wasteland-wandering and city-spelunking in the not-so-ruined
ruins of civilization. A masterpiece of Cold War end-days paranoia. The
only thing more terrifying is a world with all the shitty, worthless
people still in it.
LINNEA QUIGLEY'S HORROR WORKOUT
(Dir. Kenneth J. Hall, 1990)
really couldn't care less about cleavage and suggestive aerobics, but I
can watch guys in rubber monster masks jump up and down all week long.
(Dir.Doug Robertson, 1991)
absolute stinkiest play-on-words in VHS history! Also, a primitive
slash-crazy mangulator concerning a Halloween funhouse being stalked by a
(Dir. Jose Alcalde, 1984)
decades-late Mexican lift of The Little Rascals features adorable
chubby-cheeked munchkins racing shopping carts and irritating Dracula.
The world's most malevolent bloodsucker basically plays Mr. Wilson to
their Dennis the Menace. As a dumb white person, I can't tell what
anyone in this movie is saying, but I bet they're slingin' some real
humdingers 'cuz Dracula's pisssssed!!
(Dir. Renny Harlin, 1988)
Mortensen removes his shirt as often as possible to do battle with a
possessed prison that mutilates, broils and electrocutes its inmates.
From the director of DIE HARD II and several additional movies that
aren't as good as PRISON.
THE MUMMY AND THE CURSE OF THE JACKAL
(Dir. Oliver Drake, 1969)
A herd of drunk uncles stumble around Las Vegas wrapped in toilet paper and Egyptian jewelry. Essential!!
(Dir. Michael Fischa, 1989)
furious dead witch possesses a gigantic, rectangular computer to unleash
her wrath on a workout gym. Originally titled "Witch Bitch," and
featuring an iconic moment where a weight machine tears open a beefy
fella's ribcage just like it's no big thing.
(Dir. Bernard Launois, 1985)
mentioned this one in a column here a couple years back, but I just
can't leave it off this list. Mainly because this French slasher-Nazi
transdimensional mummy opus with man-eating crabgrass and a ghost horse
will forever alter your comprehension of movies. And film synopses.