When video stores starting to pop like mushrooms in the 80’s, there was a whole bunch of Grindhouse movies of mindless fun exploiting carnal kitsch of the decade. At the tail end before aids enveloped the globe and these movies just dropped out of favor. The covers of these sub par movies grace the Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box book that mimics an actual VHS box. The Fantagraphics Books will thrill the Quentin Tarantino fan who thrives on remaking some of the worst of the Grindhouse cliche movies and turning them into gold for the movie studios.
Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box is a feast for exploitation cognoscenti, reprinting some of the most louche, decadent, minimo-pervo artwork to ever grace a VHS box, featuring such movies as From Beyond, Penitentiary II, Beast of the Yellow Night, Cop Killers, Bay of Blood, Escape from Death Row, and Cocaine Wars. Readers will be agog at the plethora of supertrash movie titles, and then move on to rediscover the anarchic box designs. Throughout, editor and cultural historian Jacques Boyreau succinctly narrates the household-piercing story of VHS: “On par with the jukebox, disco, and neon, VHS reformatted the world’s product-intake and boosted a libertarian aesthetic that conquered TV in the same way TV conquered comic books in the 1950s, and allowed us to hold movies in our hands. Posters in the lobby could advertise, even fetishize a movie; credit sequences could identify the participants, but somehow, VHS box-art ‘became’ the iconic equivalent of the movie.”