TRAUMAFESSIONS :: Ryan Midnight on the VHS Cover of CREEPERS


creepers bugs Jennifer Connelly Argento

As I like to think we all did, I had a great mom and pop video store in New Jersey by the name of Showbiz Video in the 80’s before it was run out of town by Blockbuster (who I would incidentally work for years later). One of my favorite past times was to sneak off into the horror section, and look at all the VHS covers with promises of the most horrible things you could possibly imagine. I would dare myself to look at the back covers, which always had more gruesome images, read what the movie was about, and wonder if I could ever bring myself to watch something so terrifying. But one cover above them all I could not even bring myself to even look at, and would turn my head away whenever I approached the “C” section. That film was CREEPERS, the U.S. edited version of DARIO ARGENTO’s PHENOMENA. With JENNIFER CONNELLY’s half-eaten face and hand holding hundreds of bugs, it was just too much for my eight year old mind to handle. I could not even fathom what the movie would actually be, if that was the picture that was advertising it. I never mustered the courage to find out what the back cover said!Now years later I am a complete devotee to DARIO ARGENTO’s work, but I still to this day have not watched any version of PHENOMENA. I’m sure it is no worse than SUSPIRIA or OPERA, but something deep within the dark recesses of my mind will just not let me watch it, let alone rent it before sheepishly returning it unviewed. That is the power of horror film advertising, something which I dare say has lost its oomph in this more glossy day and age.  

Thanks Ryan Midnight of MOVIES AT MIDNIGHT! Ryan’s TRAUMAFESSION is a good reminder that TRAUMAFESSIONS don’t necessarily have to be about the movies and T.V. shows you’ve seen. Remember kiddies, you can write in about music, books, toys, art or even an illustration on a VHS tape as Ryan has done. Anything that freaked out your little brain as a child is fair game. We want to hear from you and trust us, other people do as well!

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15 years ago

That’s a great cover and good movie to. I had a similar reaction to the cover of Charles Kaufman’s 1980 movie Mother’s Day, which depicts Rose Ross’ half-faceless visage seated in a rocking chair holding a gift box which contains a freshly severed head while just behind stand her savage yet dimwitted sons Ike and Addley with bloody axe in hand and the tag line above reads, “I’m so proud of my boys, they never forget their momma!” My written description doesn’t quite do it justice but at 9 years old I could just barely bring myself to look at that image and it would be years later until I could actually stand to watch it.