For me, one of the great things about renting VHS tapes was the trailers that would be presented before the film began. With their distinctive voice-overs and endearing production values, I often found myself searching for films based on the promise of their promotional clips. It’s interesting that these kinds of supplementary materials can be so memorable and become part of the experience of watching and revisiting particular tapes. Foremost among my memories are the following distinctive trailers:
One of my all time favourite horror comedies. I simply had to rent this movie based on the trailer and its opening line, “this is a house, where no-one should live”.
Sakura Killers (1987)
This ninja-tastic flick was one that I was never able to find in a rental shop. I only came across the tape years later whilst browsing a VHS market stall that used to be located in St John’s Precinct in Liverpool. The trailer had always been a favourite of mine because of the lack of a coherent story, the jerky editing and, of course, the scenes of ninjas burrowing under the ground and running backwards along the floor.
This was another movie that I rented in the 1980s based on its classic trailer. My friends and I couldn’t wait to watch this after hearing lines like: “when gymnastics and karate are fused, the combustion becomes an explosion!” and “his only weapon? Himself!”
Do you have memories of particular trailers that encouraged you to seek out and rent films on VHS or any other format? If so, please share them in the comments, or write a more detailed piece and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll publish on the site!