VHSaturday :: Screams of a Winter Night (1979)

This may just be my number one most prized VHS possession! This tape may even be worth a pretty penny. Sure, it probably wouldn't fetch enough cash to pay for a single cable bill but it's worth something just the same! Seeing SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT on the big screen was a monumental moment in my horror education and you can read all about that business HERE but for today, let's gawk at the VHS tape itself and all of its humble beauty...

I'll never forget finding this puppy in a video store that was closing in the late eighties. The big deal was that this was before the Internet and so basically you either stumbled across a tape or you didn't. If your video store didn't happen to order a tape of a movie you wanted to see, you might not know if it was even released. I remember searching for 1981's THE BOOGENS for years until it was mercifully distributed in the nineties. I had a similar experience with SCREAMS. I saw it in the theater and then it seemed to fall off the face of the Earth without much evidence (besides possibly a clipped newspaper ad) that I didn't dream it. Back then you could ask around about a title and folks would just shake their heads and scowl at you as if you were begging for change. It sounds sad, I know, but there was also something poetic about allowing fate to decide which movies entered your life. You kids don't know how easy you have it with your low hanging Google fruit (shakes cane, dentures fall out).

Back to the tape! It's a clamshell! Oh boy, these were a bitch to shelve! It's hard to believe that for a while, big-boxed VHS tapes fell strongly out of favor (except in the adult room) because now they are hip as hell (which reminds me, I saw a dude wearing a fanny pack the other day). Geez, they're really courting with a Christmas card look here with the dark green background and red lettering complete with snow garnish, aren't they? Even though there's no snow in the movie, I do enjoy that snow font because it reminds me of a friendly motel ice machine. The central image is straight from the movie poster and I've always loved its swampy Golem vagueness. And I dig all of the tagline wording too because it so swiftly relays that this flick is all about the ancient art of telling ghost stories. Oh and it's VCI Home Video! Those guys sure put out some great titles back in the early days (CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, HORROR HOSPITAL, TOWER OF EVIL) and I guess they saved a lot on ink with their penchant for using a limited color palette!

As much as I love this old tape, this is one movie that I cannot wait to upgrade on either Blu ray or DVD. Having only seen this flick in the grittiest of fashions, I'm planning on a staggering experience. What's even better is that word on the street is that the fine folks at CODE RED are reinstalling for the first time ever, a previously excised segment of this awesome anthology! I know I can be kinda annoying with the exclamation points but:!!!!! That's some horror Holy Grail stuff right there (at least for me)! Still, I'll be holding on to this cherished tape. There ain't no law saying I can't have this longtime favorite in multiple formats.

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5 years ago

A little late to the party here, but I'm so looking forward to that Code Red release. I first heard about this movie through Kindertrauma a number of years ago and while I've thought about checking it out on Youtube a few times since then, I think it'll be worth it to hold out for HD. Seems like they've been working on it for a while now, so hopefully it arrives soon!