There are multiple movie tie-in books that deal with art, but VHS Video Cover Art offers something different: a trip down memory lane.
Author Thomas Hodge is also known as The Dude Designs, an artist that harks back to the heyday of the video store, and you'll recognise his style from the DVD covers and posters for films such as Hobo with a Shotgun, Wolfcop and The Innkeepers. Here he has collected a wide and varied selection of full VHS video covers - front, back and side - that celebrate the old school ways of promoting a film to the casual viewer who'd popped into their local video store. Hodge was given access to the collections of two of the biggest VHS collectors out there, and the pure breadth of films on show even suggests that there probably could have been a second book.
There are six different sections, highlighting the genres of action, comedy, horror, kids, sci-fi and thriller. Within these, Hodge has deliberately left out the art of the big guns such as Drew Struzan and Neal Adams, instead choosing films that may not have had big budgets. There are a few better known films here, such as Return of the Living Dead and The Evil Dead alongside the quirkier titles, but the popularity of the films is not the most important factor here. It is the art.
From the actual hand-drawn covers that try to dazzle the renter in the store to the blurbs on the rear that are sometimes mistakenly hilarious, there is so much to appreciate here in comparison to the dull, photoshopped banality of today's posters and covers that all appear to follow a specific dynamic.
There is a reason why companies like Arrow and Scream Factory make a killing on rereleasing the older titles on DVD with newer, sometimes fan-made, artistic covers. This book explains why.
If you are of a certain age, then prepare for nostalgia to pour out of these pages as you sit and peruse the covers inside. There will be a few titles in here that you'll remember seeing on the shelves, some you probably even rented and forgot about pretty quickly afterwards, but there is some untapped gold in here as well.
This is a weighty tome, but is a great conversation starter that should be left on your coffee table.
Ah, the good old days.........
INFO: VHS VIDEO COVERT / AUTHOR: THOMAS HODGE / PUBLISHER: SCHIFFER PUBLISHING LTD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW