Right then, time for a tale.
The local video shop was just round the corner from my house. I would go along fairly often as a young child and would be presented with these huge shelves towering over me full of videos. It was great. There were hundreds of them but, for some reason, the only ones I can really remember are the scary ones.
This is because they were terrifying. Back in the early days of video rental, before the internet, the only way to entice someone to watch a film was with a cover as eye catching as possible. They had to get across the idea of the film as quickly as possible and convince you to pick up the tape and take it to the counter.
None more so that in the horror section.
This was always something that scared me. The horror section was off to one side, down another aisle in the store. The shelves were floor to ceiling so to walk through it you would have all of these faces and images staring down at you.
Wasn’t nice. Not nice at all. And none more so that this cover;
John Carpenter’s The Thing. Obviously, a masterpiece. A superb genre film filled with paranoia and gut wrenching special effects. I know this now but as a small child it was pretty much the scariest thing in the world. I mean, look at that face! It’s horrible! The teeth, the eyes, even the font on the box is scary.
It terrified me. So much that I couldn’t bring myself to watch the film until I was much much older. It constantly had a power over me, just seeing it brought back the image of that cover in my mind and put me back in the place of that scared child.
A true testament to the power of a VHS cover.