Shock! Horror!: Astounding Artwork from the Video Nasty Era Paperback – 19 Jan 2005
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The place: Great Britain. The year: 1980. The dawn of the video age. With new video companies appearing on a weekly basis, competition for shelf space was fierce. Eyecatching 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. But some brave souls were determined to archive these amazing artifacts, and built up impressive collections from whatever back-street sources they stumbled upon. Marc Morris is proud to have been one of these avid collectors. We have plundered his priceless archive and chosen what we consider to be the most striking, outrageous, rare, valuable and highly sought-after cover designs from the halcyon days of horror! This important historical document will prove to be irresistible for horror fans everywhere. Exploitation artwork is a universal language, and these amazing, audacious designs cross national boundaries - and the ages - with arrogant ease.
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I must say when I first seen it, I was a little dissapointed - it seemed quite small, and the paper isnt quite glossy enough!
However once you start to read the book, you realise just how much effort the authors have put into researching and bringing you the most complete pictorial reference of 70s and 80s exploitation movies ever written. I am a real horror and cult movie fan, but at only 18, I have never seen most of these films and the idea that some of the rarer titles are selling for hundreds of pounds is very interesting.
The book also has the most complete listings of the DPP 39 ive ever seen and all the other movies picked up and dropped along the way.
The reviews section is informative, but as the book itself says, dont go looking for plot analysis here. It does however give brief descriptions, interesting trivia and DVD availability in the UK and the US and Europe which is helpful.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the video nasties that type of movies, and to anyone who wants to complete their collection of such movies, this is the definitive guide. I've certainly made an effort to track down some of these movies since i read the book, and although some appear to have vanished off the face of the earth, many are now released- Vipco have a large horror collection on DVD, most of which are pretty cheap.
There are lots of art books for film fans, but this one is completely
unique, both in its presentation and its scope. The first 2/3 of the
book shows 168 horror video front covers as full page, full colour
illustrations, and makes this great as a coffee-table style book.
Shock! Horror! is a very smart hardback that looks great on the
bookshelf, and all of the artwork in this book is pristine, looking as
good as new. There's much more to this book that just artwork though,
and it's the essays and text in the remaining 1/3 of the book that lift
it to a level way above all other film art books. This is simply the
most fascinating, perfectly condensed history of a specific era I have
The authors understand perfectly what the book needs to achieve, and
waste no space, absolutely packing the book with amazing trivia that is
impossible to find anywhere else. Basically, this is like an
encyclopedia of knowledge about horror videos from the time when the
so-called videos nasties were causing such uproar in Thatcher's
Britain. The focus on the business end of the video nasty era is
fascinating and unique, and the video nasty timeline is an obvious
labour of love, packing more hard facts into a double-page spread than
I have ever seen.
I have been a horror video fan for half my life, but there are still
scores of video covers here that I have never seen before, such as
multiple alternative covers for Texas Chainsaw Massacre, some brilliant
promo covers that were never even released, like Panic, an alternative
Cannibal Man cover, and best of all the withdrawn cover for the
infamous Snuff, which the authors reveal was not officially released
here at all, even though it was banned! If that does not seem to make
sense, they have interviewed the owner of Astra Video, who explains the
whole story. It's little touches like this that completely blew me
To conclude, this is a truly essential book that should be owned by
everyone interested in horror films, movie artwork and of course the
history of video censorship.
Well written and informative with great pictures of the sleeves, it is not just about the official video nasties either but other really obscure films. This book is a great reference point for collectors, I own maybe 45 of these films featured in here and I am actively on the lookout for the rest but I know I may never find all of them.
A true collectors bible.
It is yet another Marc Morris collaboration (along with the peerless 'Art of the Nasty') and another one of many classic titles from the Fabpress library that includes such informative titles as 'Making Mischief'The Cult Films of Pete Walker and 'Wes Cravens Last House on the Left by David A Szulkin.
This book is heartily recommended to anyone with an interest in video artwork from the early 80's
So why have I only given it 4 out of 5??
For one reason only!!! The paper is the only real disappointment I have with the book - It isn't quite glossy enough to display the sleeves in their full unadulterated glory and to be honest when looking through the book the one phrase that springs to mind is 'cheap paper'. This is a great pity as every other aspect of the book gains top marks from the hardcover to the binding(so far - AOTN anyone!)
Go Buy and revel in the kind of video sleeves we will never see again