Blood cults

Historicising the North American “shot on video” horror movie

Authored by: Johnny Walker

The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138950276
eBook ISBN: 9781315668819
Adobe ISBN:


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In an article recently published in the Journal of Film and Video, Daniel Herbert (2017) examines the curious phenomenon of “VHS distribution in the age of digital delivery”, surveying a range of independent companies which, over the last five years or so, have issued several horror films on videocassette for contemporary fans of cult film. Herbert, chiming with other scholarly interventions into the relationship between video technology and cult cinema (Hawkins 2000; Egan 2007; Church 2014a; Walker 2014), argues that independent North American distributors such as Intervision, Massacre Video and MPI, and the customers they serve, “appear to long for an imagined ‘golden age’ of VHS”. Through exclusively releasing obscure horror and exploitation films, such companies, Herbert maintains, “reformulate the cultural meaning of VHS technology by yoking it solely to cult movie texts” (2017: 8). In many instances, such “cult” movies also happen to be horror movies and include such no-budget titles as Sledgehammer (1983), Black Devil Doll from Hell (1984), Tales from the QuadeaD Zone (1987) and Things (1989).

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