VHSaturday:: Anguish (1987)

Who in the world is strong enough to resist the VHS box for 1987’s ANGUISH? Why, it’s positively hypnotic! I’m not sure why the good people of KEY VIDEO (one of my all time favorite distributors) decided to drop ANGUISH’s charming eye-filled theatrical poster art and simply zoom in on ZELDA (POLTERGEIST) RUBENSTEIN’s scowling mug encased in a swirly spiral (which makes sense only after you’ve seen the movie) but I’m going to give them high marks for thinking outside the box anyway. And really, what kind of person is going to pass up a tape that comes emblazoned with an urgent warning stating: “contains scenes of powerful hypnosis, shocking crimes and unrelenting terror!”? I hope you all appreciate that I had to put on my glasses to relay that fine print for you. But wait; hold up! The best part is on the back! ANGUISH pays tribute to the fact that at least part of this Spanish produced motion picture takes place in a movie theater with an adorable illustration depicting a tub of popcorn and two un-torn movie tickets! I will marry this box.

Because ANGUISH partially takes place within a movie theater (that is showing a movie called THE MOMMY) the optimum way to view it is in a theater (as I did because I’m that old) because it adds to the forth wall breaking paranoia (sorta like the beginning of SCREAM 2). If that option is not feasible than I’d recommend the DVD because this movie is reliant on its tactful visuals. In other words I’m not recommending you watch it on VHS at all but I like having this old tape around anyway because the DVD cover art is drab as hell. According to the security labels inside, this tape was once a former rental at TOWER VIDEO (but I’m pretty sure I picked it up at a used joint in Philadelphia not too far from the theater I once saw the actual movie in which is now a hideous pharmacy). Not much more to say about the tape itself but I will always respect this strange movie for doing its own thing and being so against-the-grain bizarre. I’ll also admit that when I first saw it, I didn’t care for it that much because it was a lot to take in and ZELDA’s acting style can sometimes be a little rough around the edges (sorry Z!). Eventually though, I learned to love it so there’s your tip for the day, never be afraid to give a flick a second chance! Ciao! Arrivederci! Have a nice Saturday! Stay woke!

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