Harken back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the advent of rental videos astonished the movie-going consumer who could only feed his addiction by going to the theatre or watching chopped up movies in bewteen commercials on TV. Like vinyl, here is the revenge of another analog cast-off: the VHS is once again insinuating itself into American culture, and this bookHarken back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the advent of rental videos astonished the movie-going consumer who could only feed his addiction by going to the theatre or watching chopped up movies in bewteen commercials on TV. Like vinyl, here is the revenge of another analog cast-off: the VHS is once again insinuating itself into American culture, and this book celebrates the anarchic design art of those early VHS boxes.Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box reprints some of the most louche, decadent, minimo-pervo artwork to ever grace a VHS box, featuring such movies as From Beyond, Penitentiary II, Beast of the Yellow Night, Cop Killers, Bay of Blood, Escape from Death Row, and Cocaine Wars. A feast for exploitation cognoscenti, The Lost Art of the VHS Box is a portable grindhouse. Readers will be agog at the plethora of supertrash movie titles, and then move on to rediscover the anarchic box designs. Throughout, editor and cultural historian Jacques Boyreau succinctly narrates the household-piercing story of VHS:“On par with the jukebox, disco, and neon, VHS reformatted the world’s product-intake and boosted a libertarian aesthetic that conquered TV in the same way TV conquered comic books in the 1950s, and allowed us to hold movies in our hands. Posters in the lobby could advertise, even fetishize a movie; credit sequences could identify the participants, but somehow, VHS box-art ‘became’ the iconic equivalent of the movie.”Portable Grindhouse is published in a VHS “format,” slyly packaged inside a facsimile VHS box, and contains almost a hundred reproductions of VHS art with commentary....
|Number of Pages||:||200 Pages|
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Portable Grindhouse Reviews
Portable Grindhouse is a collection of VHS cover art from the 1970's to early 1990's and is nothing short of entertaining. The introduction takes the reader along a trip down memory lane - the smell of fresh popcorn, the feel of the cardboard VHS tape cover, and the sound of the VRC rewinding/fast forwarding all immediately recreated in splendid frame by frame detail. There is something about a VHS, an essence that is innocent and true, a medium to recreate the theatre reel to reel experience like no other; the author understood this; the evidence is in the representation of covers in this collection.Common in Grindhouse movies is the stereotypical buxom beauty portrayed as either slave slash victim or evil mastermind slash heroin and there is no shortage of her gracing the covers here. Likewise, monsters of the deep, zombies, serial killers, bandits, aliens and other such themes all on display for the readers viewing pleasure. Cover art such as 'Color Me Blood Red' wouldn't make it to the Blockbusters of today, while the Dick Tracy cover seemed rather tame to be part of this collection. The Robo Cop 2 cover took me back to the days of childhood while others such as 'Alian Massacre', 'Attack of The Swamp Creature', 'Kiss Me Kill Me' and 'Bloodshed' oozed pulpy goodness. Other notables include 'Toolbox Murders', '7 Doors of Death', '1990: Bronx Warriors', and 'Streets of Fire'. Highly recommended for fans of good art (and bad movies) 5 stars.
This collection of cover art from VHS tapes is sure to provoke nostalgia in those of us who used to haunt our local video libraries looking for the gruesome, the titillating or the outrageous. The lurid artwork on some of these tapes was far more impressive than the movies inside the case.Although the title implies that this is specifically a collection of grindhouse titles, a variety of other kinds of videos are thrown in, which helps to round out the feel of browsing the shelves in the 1980s. There is a safety video starring Gary Coleman, various kids cartoons, some classics such as Network and Vanishing Point, some silly family comedies, and even a how-to video for those who want to hunt dear with a bow and arrow boasting "five vivid arrow impacts".The back covers are also reproduced. It can be fun to see how the hard sell is turned on for some wretched movies. Unfortunately there are a few cases where the text is cut off at the sides, but it is always fairly easy to work out what it says.Jacques Boyreau is, to put it politely, a little eccentric. In his evocative intro he says : The decals on the boxes - pasties that mark genre and inventory methods - are a fascinating kind of graffiti, scars that show what these videos do to survive. Videos are like hookers. Fair enough. But when the gets on to the topic of videotapes vs. DVDs/Blu-rays he trots out a load of contrarian nonsense. The video covers collected in the book often provide evidence of how the videotape era was, in many ways, the "bad old days". Take the cover of Seven Doors of Death which gives a running time of 80 minutes. This is what was left of Lucio Fulci's The Beyond (1981) - re-titled and cut by seven minutes (as it was in the U.S. cinemas) but also trimmed from widescreen to fit your non-widescreen television. There is no doubt that the viewing experience we have access to now is vastly superior to that we had in the VHS days. His arguments about film being better than digital projection may hold more water, but even here he succumbs to ridiculous hyperbole : Saying digital is like film is like saying a speculum exam is like sex because they both involving entering the vagina.Still, the wackiness of the intro makes it entertaining, and the main attraction here is the box art, which is loads of fun.
This is the absolute bare minimum of work one would have to do to get a book published.There is a bit of a preamble, which is mostly the guy who compiled this describing in many film-schoolish words that he has a viewing fetish for VHS over digital. That's fine for him, but it doesn't make much sense objectively.So then we cut to the meat of the book, which is quite literally scans and pictures of VHS boxes. That's it--no context. Turn a page and you are treated to a two-page spread of a single VHS box. First page, the back of the box is scanned full on, so you can read the text. Second page, a 3/4 or so image of the front of the box. I really can't think of any explanation for putting the back of the box first, as it is a complete inversion of the experience you would have had at any rental store. Also, a lot of the images are sub-par. I get the idea of including the rental stickers on the boxes, but why are some of the backs missing whole swaths of text? Is it because the vendors cut the boxes to make them fit in the plastic cases? I suppose I get that, too, but really now.So we get a mishmash of movies. Most of these are b-horror movies, sci-fi, some oddball stuff that you used to find in the "General" section, and some movies are just there (Network). The author seems to have a taste for the crappy and ridiculous, as do I, but he leaves out a lot of sub-trends by focusing on this. For instance, where are the embossed and raised covers with the blinking lights?Then it ends exactly on page 200, as if to say, "I have completed my contractual obligation."It's a shame, because it's a good topic. He could have spoken about the evolution of VHS covers from the early '80s up to their death in the mid '00s. He could have broken them up by genre and discussed the variations. He could have compared the full film poster covers from VHS' heyday as compared to the laziness of actor's faces we get with DVD.Basically, he could have done any more work than he did and it would be a better book.Since you can find a lot of VHS covers similar to this at any decent used media store, I recommend you just head there and nose around for your nostalgia fix. However, the movies picked in this book are something of a hoot, so if you find this book used for on the cheap, by all means go ahead and buy it for your coffee table or bathroom.
I guess I should've realized... since this is an art book that there wasn't going to be a lot of text. I was a bit disappointed having waited for this book to be published for about a year. Anyway, it is still a pleasure to look at. I feel like I'm transported back in time to the old mom-and-pop video stores. Ah, the good old days. The choice of videos they display in the book is a bit weird. They have the word "Grindhouse" in the title and so you assume they will be displaying certain genres... but then they stick in covers that are so out of place. Maybe it's meant to be weird, I don't know. Anyway, it's pretty cool if you miss the days of VHS. I was hoping for a bit more commentary. For the price, it's not bad.
A bit of a misnomer using "grindhouse" in the title since many of these movies do not quite fall into said catagory, while others do not belong at all, e.g. an animated Barbie movie, documentaries on Johnny Bench and Norman Schwarzkopf, hunting videos, and a Jerry Lewis romp. The packaging is nice, but the interior design seems backwards; the front cover the the VHS box is angled offset, while the rear of the box gets a flush full page reproduction. This, coupled with old video store shelving stickers still on some of the boxes, as well as the overall lack of cohesion in movie choices make for a pretty low rent book. Bummer.
A nice little coffee table book. It's a collection of VHS box art from the early days of home video. The collection leans towards horror, much like the market itself did, but there's a nice variety as well. I agree with a lot of the criticisms I read in reviews of this book, particularly the fact that some of the boxes are cropped seems particularly egregious. Still, it's worth a flip through at the bookstore.
This book was one of my Valentine's day gifts (because Keith is totally awesome). It's a wonder that some of these movies ever made it to the big screen. The art is campy, weird, and at times, downright hilarious! This is a must read for anyone that loves movies (especially cult films!).
Some memories of the video rental place were summoned. This seems mostly a coffee table book, without any info on the movies or the art. Amusing for a flip, but unless you're a film buff I don't see actually purchasing it.
cool pictures mostly, not exactly ALL grindhouse material, but still neat to own nonetheless.
Awesomely bad. If these are the covers that made the book I can only imagine what failed to meet the standards.