Category_Cartoons, Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Videovores in the Wild: Oversights, Silver Linings and the Thrill of Live Action Excitement!

Over here in Lunchmeat Land, we’re staunch proponents of live-action tape hunting as opposed to the now-more-popular-than-ever online tape transactions. Don’t get me wrong now: there are incredibly cool communities out there that foster groovy tape trading and sales like Horror VHS Collectors Unite and the Horror VHS Trading Center on The Book of Face, and secondary auction sites such as eBay can open doors to rare-ass tapes you may never get your claws on otherwise; but there’s a distinct and heady rush of tingling excitement when you’re rifling through a box of two for a dollar tapes, just waiting for a copy of Toxic Zombies on Videatrics Home Video to spill out and make your analog dreams come true (Yes, this happened to me - see below!). The stark thrill of discovering an ultra-rare video by way of a flea market find or Goodwill bin is one of most gratifying experiences in the life of a Videovore.

Remember when you could buy ultra-rad tapes and still have enough left over for a burrito and a goddamn liter of cola? The magic of dirt malls can remind you.

So, when foraging for delectable analog delights in the wild, it’s good practice to adhere to the commandments of tape raiding, many of which are mentioned in LUNCHMEAT #2’s Raid, Rummage and Rejoice: The Dubious Art of Collecting and Preserving the VHS Tape. And perhaps the most imperative checkpoint when searching for slabs of analog amazement is inspecting the tape to make sure it corresponds with the case. You don’t wanna grab some super-groovy title like the Raedon trashterpiece Desert Snow and then unsheathe it at home only to find you’ve actually purchased a copy of Modern Masters: How to Apply Venetian Plaster. While potentially groovy for the home improvement aficionado, for the cinematic trash craving tapehead, it’s a proverbial punch in the face. Now I always do my best at all times to adhere to these tape raiding regulations; but recently, in the high heat of the moment at a South Jersey Goodwill, as I was surrounded by 25 cent tapes consisting of Young Ones Episodes, TMNT cartoons and an incredible slab of had-to-be-analog-only insanity called Light Sculpture ... Man… I just started grappling shit up and completely neglected to employ any sort of tape hunting precaution. I was balls out here, people.

What?! What is this?! 60 FASCINATING MINUTES?! I have found the greatest slice of video horseshit EVER! LIFE IS COOL!

I mean, just look at this tape. I was too enchanted (read: distracted) by the prospect of groovin’ on home, feeding this bad boy to my VCR and experiencing the magical wonder of 60 minutes of outdated, faux-trippy disco dancing colors while grooving to the mellow Muzak provided by the tape (and then subsequently vying for my own soundtrack as recommended by the box!). I had just scored one of the goofiest slabs of video bullshit I’d ever come across, and I was STOKED. But when I got my back to my place and slipped the tape from the case… yep, you guessed it: DUNT DUH DUHHH - SOUL CRUSHING DISAPPOINTMENT. It wasn’t Light Sculpture tucked away in the case like it should have been. Instead it was a home video dub of what looked to be All Dogs Go to Heaven (which appeared to be scratched out), Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry and something called “Dad’s Moto Movie”. It sat on my shelf for about a week and then I said to myself, “Well… what the hell… I’ll pop it in, anyway… see what’s crackalackin’ on this damn thang…”, because as we all know, old-school home video aficionados would dub stuff many times over, not always re-titling the tape properly. Feeding it to the machine, I was prepared for any kind of video adventure.

Dad's Moto Movie? This could be PURTY INTERESTING. And, lo and behold, it WAS.

As the tracking bumped and jumped and the warmth of the analog came into focus, I realized it wasn’t All Dogs Go to Heaven or Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. It was a direct dub of a 1993 Showtime airing of the seldom seen and STILL video-only gem Masters of Menace! So, that’s what Dad’s Moto Movie means! Makes sense! And Dad RULES!

Why this straight outta the 90s comedy gem isn't on DVD (or more widely recognized), I have NO CLUE.

A biker gang called The Roadmasters break parole to bury their brother (played by Jim Belushi!) after he “explodes hisself!” while doing a killer stunt trying to break the land speed record. The boys hop on their hogs and are en route to deliver their fallen biker buddy to his home, but wackiness ensues as a local politician relentlessly attempts to get them arrested. John Candy shows up as a beer truck driver and has possibly the best line in the film, and Dan Akyroyd appears as a former member of The Roadmasters turned stuntman with sage like wisdom and more nuts and bolts in him than a hardware store. Candy and Aykroyd are on top of their comedic game here as this flick came out right before their best work together (IMHO): a little film called Nothing But Trouble! If you’ve never seen that flick, check it out. Digital Underground makes an appearance, and who could pass up a ride on Mr. Bonestripper!? But back on Masters of Menace, it’s an uncouth riotous romp that’s a must-see for cravers of obscure video-era comedy. Also look for Lee Ving of FEAR fame (he’s also in the cult classic VHS-only flick DUDES), Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley and Tino Insana: the guy with the awesome name who wrote Masters of Menace, sounds just like John Candy and voiced Uncle Ted on Bobby’s World. It’s groovy stuff, man. So, ultimately, I didn’t get a copy of Light Sculpture. But I DID get a copy of a video-only obscurity that I was totally unfamiliar with, ended up loving, and would otherwise be harder than hell to find (or cost me $125 - $260 aparently!?) . The Analog Gods were smiling on me that day, and it just goes to show that venturing into the wild for your video fix has the ability to provide an analog adventure that you'll just never get by clickity-clicking your mouse. And that's mad groovy. Josh Schafer

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