Shock! Horror! Astounding Artwork From The Video Nasty Era by Francis Brewster, Harvey Fenton and Marc Morris is a wonderful British compendium of movie posters and VHS box covers. These are the titles that were demonized by overzealous British censors on a foolish mission to impose their own sense of morality on the horror loving public. During the 1980s, horror movies were seen as the root cause of corrupting youth, violence and pretty much all of society’s ills.
The Conservative government passed the Video Recordings Act of 1984, which gave the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) the power to ban and enforce cuts on movies. Previously released films also had to be resubmitted to bear the scrutiny of the censors. Some of the highest profile titles to suffer the wrath and be deemed obscene were Driller Killer, I Spit on Your Grave and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The years leading up to the video nasty era featured some of the most vibrant and imaginative film posters and video covers you would ever see, way better than what you get today. Back then, instead of the plethora of message boards, reviews, websites and social media, it was the humble video cover that had to convince you to watch the movie. It had to shock and hook you to get an edge over rival titles. There was a lot more competition from smaller studios too, each vying for viewers for their films.
Shock! Horror! covers mostly the lower profile independent and small label horror movies. The artwork is fantastic and well reproduced in this book. It’s in full color, with full page movie posters. It’s a must for horror and exploitation film fans – the ultimate coffee table book. Most of the book is made up of posters and then at the back are the full VHS covers with details about the films, why they were banned, details on cuts and production information. The commentary and information provided is rich and fascinating, adding a further dimension to the book. It’s a wonderful examination of one of the most interesting periods of horror home video.
This book is an absolute joy and I never tire of flipping through. It will make you want to try to find as many of these horror treasures as you can.
Here are a few samples of the movie posters you can enjoy in the book.
Book Cover Blurb:
The place: Great Britain. The time: the early 1980s. The dawn of the video age. With new video companies appearing on a weekly basis, competition for shelf space was fierce. Eye-catching video cover designs were essential to succeed in this saturated marketplace. Video was new, unregulated, and out of control. These were the outlaw years.
The glory days of horror video cover design spanned barely five years, and the legal crackdown of 1984 swiftly removed the vast bulk of these crazy designs from rental shop shelves forever. Presented in this book are the most striking, outrageous, rare, valuable and highly sought-after cover designs from the halcyon days of horror. All covers are shown full size and in full colour. Titles covered in this comprehensive book include all the official ‘video nasties’, and many more.
The authors have decades of personal experience as horror video collectors and, backed up by unparalleled access to original archive material, they have uncovered never-before revealed facts and anecdotes about the ‘video nasty’ era. This book explodes myths about banned videos, and presents the world’s first ever complete and unexpurgated ‘video nasty’ timeline, charting which videos were seized and prosecuted, and exactly when these key events unfolded.