Movies & TV / Columns

The Man Movie Encyclopedia: The Best Action Movie VHS Covers

January 9, 2017 | Posted by Caliber Winfield


Greetings, all.

During October I ran an article where I took a look at the cover VHS for Nightmare on Elm Street as well as Friday The 13th, doing a bit of reminiscing on my days as a kid at the video store. Pretty crazy that my generation is the first and last to have memories of such a thing, which is a fucking bummer for all others, because the video store was motherfucking awesome. Most kids I knew didn’t care too much about new releases. We were always mobbing around genre sections, because there was a lot more to choose from, and so many damn covers to look at. Also, man, if your video store had a video game section, then look the fuck out, because shit was really gonna jump-off. I remember when I finally got an SNES, I felt like I was part of high-class society. Like, pssh, peasants, go look at your NES games, I’ll be over here with the 16-bit bad boys. Ooh, F-Zero!
So, join your boy as we take a look at some of my all time favorite action movie covers from my days of stomping around the video store.

Say what will you will about Cannon Films, but dammit, they knew how to make a movie poster/cover. Enter The Ninja was always one of my favorites because they were selling the holy hell out of that deal. I mean, you got the cat in the back with the maroon suit with shuriken attached to the back of his hands, which is both fashionable and functional. Then you’ve got your classic black ninja in the forefront, and he isn’t fucking around. I mean, whatever he’s attacking that’s off screen is gonna get it, because not only is this dude coming foot-first, he’s got TWO freaking ninja swords ready to go! Fucking amazing. He’s probably jumping off a tank that’s off-screen.

You had to know that a Rambo film was going to pop up. Look at this motherfucker! First off, we’ve got Rambo, shirtless, reppin’ the scars and mean muggin’ the shit out of you, while holding a bazooka. What’s in the background? Oh, I don’t know, EXPLOSION. That’s it. Just an explosion. Now, you’re asking yourself “Who did this explosion? Clearly Rambo. Man, that’s a lot of explosion. And his bazooka round is still chambered. How the hell did he do this? With his fists? Oh man, what’s he gonna do to the Russians?!”.

PG-13? No, PG-13 doesn’t exist in this world, because this is the world where Robocop is fucking ROBOCOP. This is a gorgeous looking poster, first of all, with all the fantastic and cooling colors that drench Robocop’s awesome design. Now, as you look at this bad boy, you’re thinking, “Oh shit”. Because there isn’t a smile on Robo’s face, quite the opposite. It’s Frown Town, and he’s the motherfucking Mayor.

Cannon Films, making a twopeat on this list, with American Ninja. This one would always grab my attention, because it’s rare you see a movie poster that has a soldier sword fighting a ninja in front of an American flag. You really only see it during Oscar season. Regardless, how could this not grab your attention? I mean, how big is that flag? What’s it doing there? Was this some sorta presentation, and some America-hating ninja showed up, looking to rain on the parade before some brave soldier, who also had a sword, was all “Not on my watch, motherfucker!” and pissed in this dude’s Wheaties?

Terminator, man. This bad bitch is all about not playing games, no hidden agenda. It says “The Terminator”, and it shows you exactly just who is the Terminator. And how does he terminate people, you wonder? Well, wonder no more, because it’s right the fuck there; a giant hand-gun with a laser scope. And he’s rocking fingerless gloves, because he ain’t the kind of bitch to wear gloves, and he ain’t the kind of bitch to NOT wear gloves.

Cannon Films, going for the threepeat. As a kid, I loved ninja movies, and there was, and still is, the greatest of them all: Revenge of the Ninja. Looking at this cover, if you had no idea what a ninja was, you got your answer right quick. He’s a super-cool bad-ass who’s armed to the fucking teeth. I mean, he’s throwing shuriken while blasting a fucking flame-thrower, in MID-AIR! You look at this cover and immediately know that ninjas, or at least this ninja, doesn’t respect gravity at all. You’re instantly wondering just who this guy wants to get revenge on, and which of his 1363 weapons will he use? These questions would HAVE to be answered, and you’d have to rent it.

Man, crime is a disease, so who’s the cure? Oh, there’s the cure, Cobra! The cover grabs your attention first off with the giant, red-splashed background, and Cobra just standing there, fuck lawbreakers. We can see in the reflection of his glasses that it’s nighttime, which means he’s all about breaking social norms, probably years before Cory Hart. Beyond that, he has a sweet sub-machine gun, with a laser scope so bad-ass it looks like it’s shooting flames. And if that fails? Oh, then how about a sweet 9mm that’s tucked into his pants that has a COBRA drawn on the handle! That shit was probably custom, too, since his name is Cobra and all.

Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.
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I post almost daily with workout related stuff to help you cats out, along with what’s coming down the pike via the MME, and general pop culture from the 80s and 90s that I can’t seem to let go of.
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