VHS Video Cover Art Review

Author: Thomas Hodge


After a few pages of written introduction this one literally lets all the pictures do the talking!

Back in the 80’s when the internet didn’t exist, coverage of film on television was limited, and even in print you only had so many places to go to get your movie update. Hard to believe in today’s day and age when that’s all anyone wants to talk about – but your portal to new movies was often taking a trip to your local video rental store. There you could peruse the shelves looking at the various cover designs on all of the boxes. This was often a home entertainbment edition of a film’s biggest marketing tool – the artwork on the cover.

And this is often how you picked what you rented by looking at cover art and perhaps reading the back blurb as well.

VHS cover art was sometimes, well, an “art form” all unto itself. More often than not the art itself sold you on a film that barely existed inside the cover. How shocked so many people, must have been to have arrived home with a tape for what seemed like a multi-million dollar action action/fantasy muscle-fest only to get a cheaply shot video quickie, featuring bearded men who were more oiled than muscled.

This books has a few prime examples of such offenders. Divided up into some of the main film genres (Action, Comedy, Horror, Sci-fi, Thriller). Each page is a high quality scan of the entire VHS cover so as well as the cover art of the front you also get the entire Spine and back of the cover as well. There isn’t anything in the way of commentary for each design except a line at the bottom of the page giving the information about the name and year of the title and (if available) the name of the artist responsible for the artwork – making the book more of a visual encounter, which is no bad thing. We are guessing that people won’t buy this by accident, so are going to be into letting the art work do the walking and the talking.

This does beg for another volume to come out in the future though as there is so much more out there to explore in this specialist area.

4 Stars



Steven Hurst

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