Rental Regrets: Junior (1985)

Here we go with one of my favorite recurring posts about VHS horror movies that I wish I would have rented, but never did.  Now – there is one movie that always sticks out in my head that I passed over in my many trips to my local Mom & Pop video stores in the 80’s. The cover was enticing.  The tagline was even more enticing.  But yet I wasn’t enticed enough to ever rent it.  And that movie is……………Junior!

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Sorry for the subpar quality pic – it’s the best that Google Images could offer.  But anyway, I can’t tell you how many times I picked up the VHS copy of Junior and put it down.  The artwork is actually pretty sweet considering this was 1985.  The burning boat in the background is intriguing as well because it makes me want to know why the boat is on fire and who is in the boat when it’s on fire.  Genius marketing on their part.  Considering I still haven’t seen Junior, I have no real clue as to what it’s about other than that it’s going for the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre knock-off‘ gold.  Good thing we have IMDB to clarify about the plot:

K.C. and Jo are two hardened female ex-cons who decide to build a marina on a lake in backwoods Texas to start a life for themselves, only to be hassled by the redneck locals who do not like outsiders, and that the lakeshore is their own regular hangout. But K.C. and Jo’s worst troubles come from Junior, a slow-witted psycho redneck who gets the ok from his equally demented mother to kill the two. 

Oooooh – two hardened female ex-cons, huh?  I see Caged Heat potential sex going on here.  And what a shocker – redneck locals who don’t like outsiders and a psycho redneck with a psycho mother.  Nevertheless…………….oh wait – BREAKING JUNIOR NEWS! Here’s another poster that popped up on Google Images:

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Ehhhhhhh.  I’ll stick with the original artwork.  As much as I love seeing Junior in his wife beater overcompensating for his probable small penis with his large chainsaw, the original cover art is far superior.  And how the hell do you leave ‘The‘ out of ‘Friday The 13th‘ at the top of the poster?  Nice touch using the chainsaw as an ‘I’ in the title though.  For those curious about this movie (and how the hell could you not be?), there’s a full version up on Youtube.  Let’s all waste an hour and a half of our lives together and see what kind of wacky situations Junior gets himself in…….

Rental Regrets: The Supernaturals (1986)

Back in the day, I was a VHS renting madman.  That sounds a lot more ominous than it is.  Basically, I’ve rented a lot of horror movies in my lifetime – more specifically from the 80’s and early 90’s when renting movies was actually a thing.  But there were always those movies that eluded me for one reason or another.  I could never quite pull the trigger and rent them.  And because of that, I’ve had regrets that haunt me in the deepest channels of my mind.  Maybe not that dramatic, but regrets can still be a bitch.  The next movie on the rental regrets list:  The Supernaturals.

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That’s still one of the best looking VHS covers of all time in my book.  So why didn’t I ever rent The Supernaturals?  Possibly because there wasn’t enough gore on the back of the box.  I do like my gore.  Or maybe because I was prejudice against Civil War zombies? Who knows.  The story itself sounded simple enough:  Rebels were slaughtered during The Civil War and over one hundred years later, those rebels come back to get revenge on the innocent descendants of their murderers.

The bad news is that The Supernaturals has never seen a proper DVD or Blu-ray release.  The good news is that the VHS rip of the film can be seen on Youtube if you search for it.  So guess who’s going to be watching that VHS rip while drinking a beer or two very soon?  This guy!  That’s right – I don’t want to hold onto these regrets for too long. If you’ve seen this movie, feel free to share your thoughts.  I do know that LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation fame is in it.  But even more random is that Maurice Gibb of The Bee Gees is also in it.  The hell you say?  Oh wait – I have proof!

Is The VHS Cover Better Than The Movie: The Video Dead (1987)

One of the joys of my youth was running to the local video store in town to check out the ‘Horror’ section and see if anything caught my eye.  And an appealing VHS cover would sometimes be used for covering up a foul stench, with that smelly stench being the movie that you were about to watch. Speaking of which, easily one of the most enticing VHS horror covers of all time came to us in 1987 courtesy of The Video Dead:

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The first time I saw this, I think my eyes almost popped out of my head.  Then I realized that I was looking at the cover for Reform School Girls instead. Nevertheless, the VHS packaging for The Video Dead remains a highlight as far as VHS packaging goes.  The question is, was it better than the actual movie?  Well – yes and no.

The premise for The Video Dead is both simple and stupid at the same time.  I don’t think this movie was made to make anyone use a giant amount of brain cells though, so stupid works in this case.  Basically, a TV is delivered to a house in the woods that randomly spouts out a variety of zombies for no apparent reason.  And that’s the gist of it.  Probably more so classified as a horror/comedy, The Video Dead is the definition of a guilty pleasure.  Aside from being viewed on VHS, it had a strong following on the USA Network’s, Up All Night and Saturday Nightmares weekly shows.

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As far as whether or not the VHS cover is better than the actual movie, I would begrudgingly have to say yes.  The artwork is honestly stellar, especially for an independent film with a budget of $80,000.  And had it not been for that artwork, I wouldn’t have even thought of picking it up to rent.  Mission accomplished there.  Let it be known though, I do have a soft spot for The Video Dead as an actual movie. It’s just that if you mention the name to me, I automatically think of the cover, not of the scene where a zombie bride somehow hides her entire body in a washing machine before strangling a lady. What kind of zombie strangles someone btw?

If you have seen The Video Dead, you might find the zombie dinner table scene very reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s in 1992’s Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead).  Is Mr. Jackson a closet fan of the movie?  Perhaps.  If you haven’t seen the movie though, Scream Factory recently released a double-feature Blu-ray version with TerrorVision being the companion film.  And the good news is that they kept the original cover art for their release!  Which makes me happy and makes writing this post all the more worth it.