VHSaturday:: Cousin Wil on Hard To Die (1990)

: Hey, look! Our old pal Cousin Wil sent in a love letter to his HARD TO DIE tape! If you have a favorite VHS tape you’d like to write about feel free to do the same and we’ll feature you in a future installment of VHSaturday! Here’s Cousin Wil…

During the blogging boom of 2006 an alleged clip from an unreleased sequel to Sorority House Massacre hit the internet. I owned a major horror website at the time and decided to investigate the clip which led me to an email conversation with Jim Wynorski. I had planned to write an article about Wynorski’s career, and not knowing what I was doing I decided I needed to do a full interview with the director. Since I had already planned the article I actually didn’t have any questions for Wynorski except about the clip. So I emailed him a bunch of silly questions just to say I had interviewed him.

Around the same time my roommate produced a VHS copy of the film Hard to Die, which is kind of a spiritual successor to Sorority House Massacre II. This was before VHS had been totally replaced by DVD, and while the movie wasn’t readily available I wouldn’t really call it rare. While I was watching Hard to Die for the first time Wynorski had actually responded to my email, and he wasn’t pleased with my simple questions. Wynorski graciously completed the interview because he said he knew I was a fan of his films, but he only gave one-word answers. I eventually scrapped my planned article and I never got to the bottom of the alleged clip. Today I still have no idea if there is an unfinished sequel to Sorority House Massacre floating around, but I did come away as a fan of Hard to Die.

Fast forward ten years later and distributors like Scream Factory and the internet have all but killed the collectible movie market. Most hard to find out of print titles have now found new life as expensive collectible Blu-rays. Movies like Slumber Party Massacre II and The Video Dead are now only a few clicks on a computer away for anyone to purchase, and the fun of hunting for rare VHS titles at video stores is all but a distant memory. However, this doesn’t mean collecting physical media is a totally dead art. A few nostalgic hunters such as myself still enjoy digging through old dusty thrift stores for rare DVDs and VHS.

In Philadelphia we have a local shop called Thrift for AIDs. It is a thrift store that sells donated items to help fund AIDs research. Outside the shop everyday there are several green totes full of free items the shop can’t sell. One day while walking by I decided to quickly check out the free items and to my surprise there was a VHS copy of Hard to Die at the bottom of one of the bins. Most of you reading this probably understand why this was a big score. To my knowledge Hard to Die has never even made the transition from VHS to DVD. There may be some kind of bootleg version floating around, but I’m pretty sure there has never been any official release. Hard to Die has also escaped the likes of Scream Factory, Synapse and all the other distributors currently releasing old cult films to Blu-ray. Hard to Die can occasionally be found on Amazon and eBay listed at insane prices, making it one of the rarer VHS tapes floating around.

My copy of Hard to Die on VHS is very special to me. Not only does it remind me of my ill fated Wynorski interview, but I rescued it from the trash. The tape is in good condition for being a dumpster baby, and it even has a “remember to rewind” Blockbuster sticker on its side. This allows me to know where it originated from and it gives my copy some backstory. Hard to Die is a great VHS classic and a must see for all Wynorski fans. It stars most of the same actresses from Sorority House Massacre II, and Peter Spellos reprises his role as Orville Ketchum. It has been called both a sequel and a remake, and it has a strange history surrounded by many rumors. I encourage all Wynorski fans who have never heard about it to do a little googling to learn more about this mostly forgotten film.

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