Bless the internet. And in particular You Tube because you can always find some of the strangest oddities on there. Sometimes it’s commercials or weird late night things you vaguely recall seeing as a kid. Other times, it’s promotional videos that serve as a time capsule, a relic of a time now long lost much like this following VHS promo for the first CHILD’S PLAY movie.
With the announcement of CULT OF CHUCKY last week, the 7th installment in the CHILD’S PLAY series, a friend of mine forwarded this to me and it brought a flood of memories back. Check it out first, and then I’ll explain…
Chucky is such a pimp! And I love that Brad Dourif was always game to do these sort of things. (One of my personal favorite appearances as Chucky was at the Horror Hall Of Fame!)
So, you may have questions about the above video. For example, VHS tapes for $89.95?
Well, this video was created specifically for video retailers, the owners of the now long-gone mom & pop video stores. Back in the late 80’s, VHS tapes were not available for sale to the general public. They were priced specifically at $89.95 to discourage people from buying them, except for video retailers. A retailer would pay $90 bucks per tape, and rent it out for $3 bucks a piece. So, it would take a month or two, but eventually they would recoup their cost and be in profit after the tape rented a certain number of times.
My vague memory is that this was the norm until Tim Burton’s BATMAN came out in 1989. Back in those days, it normally took a full year for a movie to leave theaters and get a video release. But BATMAN was so ginormous that summer that video tapes were rushed into release for that December of ’89, just in time for the Christmas season and priced at the incredibly low price of $19.99. It’s the first example I remember of a title being priced for a general audience to own. And then from there, was born the “previous viewed tapes” for sale market! (Which is how I got a lot of my first horror VHS tapes.)
The above video was usually presented to retailers in a pretty fancy magazine package. (Or a series of one sheets with all the retailer details on why they should order this title for their store.) Below, I found another video of the magazine version of the CHILD’S PLAY promo. Again, fun to see now in retrospect!