Terror on Tape (1983)

Author: Brett H.
Submitted by: Brett H.   Date : 2008-10-21 04:24

Directed by: Robert Worms
Films featured: Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs!, Color Me Blood Red, Madhouse Mansion, The Eerie Midnight Horror Show, Frozen Scream, Suicide Cult, To the Devil a Daughter, Cathy's Curse, Alien Prey, Vampire Hookers, The Kidnapping of the President, Nightmare City, Nightmare, Blood Tide, The Slayer, Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn, Night Creature & Scalps

Reviewed by: Brett H.

ďAre you quite sure you can handle it?Ē
ďYes, I think so as long as itís not too overdone. But, I enjoy being scared as much as the next fellow, by golly. But, I do suffer from hypertension, hypoglycemia, high blood pressure and a nervous stomach. But, I enjoy a good fright as much as anyone!Ē

Continental Video joined big box rival Wizard Video in the home video compilation film market with Terror on Tape. These tapes are hard to track down and after enjoying Wizardís Zombiethon, I quickly had the urge to sit down and watch Terror on Tape, which improves on the formula in every way imaginable. Whereas Zombiethon was essentially a truncated collection of mediocre zombie films, Terror on Tape is an explosive, lightning paced journey into the most revolting scenes ever filmed. Thereís a nice little story to be told at the fictional ĎShoppe of Horrors Video Storeí on Halloween where our ghoulish host, Cameron Mitchell shares the shelves of his video store with a variety of different customers who reflect the various types of horror fan. You canít help but wonder what Randal Graves from Clerks would think of this guy. Itís quite the horror house, he has skulls of his deceased family members kicking around, smokey mist, cobwebs, a strange creature in a wooden box, posters of all the Continental trash treasures like Scalps and To the Devil a Daughter and even some framed portraits of golden age stars such as Bela Lugosi. It all sounds charming and fun in that cheap shot on video sort of way, but after weíre introduced to three of his customers, things turn much, much more sinister.

Terror on Tape begins with the ultra-casual fan portrayed by a nerdy, spectacled man who just wants a mild little horror film. The horror clerk says he has just the thing and proceeds to show him creepy clips from Return of the Alienís Deadly Spawn, which looks like an absolutely hilarious cheap gore romp. Of course, our ghoul overdoes himself and reduces the man to a stringy haired mess, his brown hair turned grey by the time he follows it up with scenes from the quirky Vampire Hookers starring the man of a million cameos, John Carradine, in a cheesy and wonderful performance. I can recall as a kid that Vampire Hookers was the first Continental release I ever came across and eventually turned out to be the first one I ever owned. I can recall not renting it however, after my friend showed my uncle the movie that I really had wanted to rent over our normal Friday the 13th encounters. It was a joke to him, but it embarrassed the hell out of me. I had a strange sense of deja-vu when I purchased the film years later from a teenage girl video store clerk at the local Movie Gallery.

From there the ghoul presents to him Blood Tide starring James Earl Jones, which can be found today on bargain bin DVDs (my copy cost a dollar) for those who look hard enough. A sweaty, busty blonde does aerobics on the beach to start the scene and little does she know that a sea monster lurks in the waters in front of her (God, I love horror films). When she takes a dip in the ocean, we see the massive monster in all its goofy glory clenching her entire body in its jowls in a pretty gore sequence. The nerd has almost had enough by now and weíre treated to the Canadian/American co-production Cathyís Curse which looks to be really entertaining piece of cheese. Modelled after such films as The Exorcist and The Omen, but much cheaper, the little girl in the film sports a demonic voice and wreaks head splattering havoc. A rather uneventful scene from Madhouse Mansion is played next before the nerd sees a vicious head chop in Frozen Scream, the bloody demonic baby birth from To the Devil a Daughter before capping it all off with the grisly crucifixion scene from an Italian ho-hum take on The Exorcist called The Eerie Midnight Horror Show.

Having been ripped to shreds by these great scenes, the nerd takes off in horror and a construction worker walks in. The clerk now has someone with a thing or two in common with him, and the two discuss made-up exploitation horror titles and the art of gore and naked ladies in horror films with the same enthusiasm film buffs would speak of The Seventh Seal and Schindlerís List. Already teetering into some gory shit, the film begins to take things a step further seeing as this average joe with scummy tastes is up for anything. Revered slummy sensations such as Nightmare, The Slayer and Nightmare City and others are shown to the workerís amusement. Nightmare is a particularly out-there film, so much violence from the film are as a result of a child doing the murdering which makes everything that much more horrific. The tame, yet genuinely creepy opening scene from The Slayer is featured, complete with the misty silhouette of the dream stalker and his sharp, bloody claws wrapped around a ladyís face. Not much needs to be explained about Nightmare City, the meatball headed radioactive zombies wreak havoc and thereís a whole load of bullets through heads and mangled eyes.

At this point, more hardcore scenes from films that have already been featured begin popping up and the two chums even stop to take a look at a bunch of horror nude scenes, including the slow-mo orgy from Vampire Hookers and the vast brush of Eerie Midnight Horror Show. Just as quickly as it went away, the gore starts again with a hilarious gooey scene from Return of the Alienís Deadly Spawn in which alien creatures attack a bunch of older women. Our next stop? The films of Herschell Gordon Lewis with the disgusting eye gouge and severed leg scene being featured (along with the thumping score) from Blood Feast. This leads to the most insane ghost story ever told, Two Thousand Maniacs!, being captured perfectly with all the zany hillbilly humor and gruesomely amazing deaths such as the barrel roll, where nails are hammered into an empty keg and a man is rolled to his sure death. Color Me Blood Red rounds out the HGL flavor which focuses on the disturbingly beautiful painting of a knife through a womanís cheek and its artist Adam Sorg grinding blood from a womanís innards to complete his work of art.

The construction worker leaves with a stack of videos before the last customer approaches which encompasses the seasoned horror veteran. Appropriately, itís a busty beauty from hell that is sexually aroused by grue and proclaims sheís never been scared before. The clerk has to pull out all the stops here. Gone are his cheesy quips for good time chuckles, itís here when the film really pulls out all of the sleazy stops. The great scene from The Slayer in which a shrieking young lady scrambles to smash a window while the killer methodically inches towards her, pitchfork in hand as the thunder crashes. By the time the window is smashed, she's immediately soaked by the tropical downpour and her white top becomes sheer and the film gives us a glimpse of the marvelous nipples just before the fork pierces right through her chest. That, my friends, is art and encompasses the reason I adore trashy horror films. There are a whole bunch of decapitation scenes, one bloodier than the next and a few scenes from Scalps (guess what happens there) before the film appropriately starts to focus mostly on Nightmare.

To further explain Romano Scavoliniís video nasty, itís a real doozy. It involves an insane man hooked on sex and killing along with a boy who is a prankster who is the only one who knows whatís going on. Of course no one takes him seriously and the blood flows in the form of brutal throat slits, axe strikes and a decapitation so grisly that it must be seen to be believed. Of course, this onslaught of insanity finally scares the girl and she is forever fulfilled from this ordeal. Wow, what an event Terror on Tape is. Itís not for everyone, but itís a perfect encapsulation of the big box video era of the eighties where unlike the commercial successes like Friday the 13th, these ones actually come through with their promise of sickening thrills to go along with some great chills. Although gore is the centrepiece, there are tons of great ideas and creepy scenes that donít involve gore (or are accentuated by it) to be had in these films and something like this only gives you the urge to check things out. If I could, Iíd be down to the old mom & pop shop to take advantage of that 5 movies, 5 days, 5 bucks special on a strictly Continental diet. Those days are long over, but luckily enough I have my share of Continental releases on VHS and those that emerged on DVD to tide me through the days. After seeing this compilation, Iím going to have to track a few more down. Terror on Tape is excessive, degrading, harsh, sleazy and decadent. In other words, itís exactly what you want. Buy it!

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