Devil’s in the details

Thursday, April 15 2010
Devil’s in the details

This is a real treat for children of the video nasty generation – a description that those on The Raygun are wont to use to describe their misspent youth watching entirely unsuitable horror films back to back during their school holidays.

And for those that have only ever known DVD and, latterly, Blu-ray, it may provoke raised eyebrows, shrugged shoulders and a muttered “what’s the point in that?” And for some born in the 1990s, it could lead to an inquisitive stare and a query of “what on earth is that?”

It is, for those that know, a VHS cassette, replete here in what is lovingly (or rather was) lovingly referred to as a rental-sized box (used to differentiate between that and what used to be called sell through, ie the videos you could buy).

What’s most intriguing is that it was made this year, a good few years since VHS was seemingly wiped off the landscape.

The VHS was produced by Metrodome to mark the release of the wonderful retro-feel horror House Of The Devil. The film itself is a homage to late 1970s and early 1980s horror films (it is set during that era and replicates the look and feel of films from that time), not least because there are lengthy periods where nothing happens punctuated by sudden bursts of extreme violence and thoroughly frightening moments.

Metrodome duplicated 50 of these throwbacks for promotional activity and their smart little PR stunt paid off – The Obsewrver’s Mark Kermode devoted an entire column to it, whole The Guardian’s Jason Solomons also mentioned it frequently.

We’re just glad our VCR is still working (we knew it would come in handy) and the mere viewing of this film (which really is rather good, incidentally) brought memories flooding back.

But arguably our favourite element of this whole package is the little sticker on the spine, a minor touch that added real authenticity (and prompted a lengthy discussion on rental dealers’ strange and seemingly pointless cataloguing systems. 

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