Terror Tape of the Day: Scared to Death

Posted by Brian Salisbury - August 2nd 2011 @ 11:00 am


I, like many of the HND writers, am an avid collector of VHS tapes. To some, collecting out dated technology is less a hobby and more the early warning sign of a serious psychological disorder. But there was a certain magic to VHS tapes that never made the transition over to DVD or, subsequently, Blu-ray. Sure the picture quality isn’t as good, but that is by no means the point of collecting. VHS represented a new and incredibly lucrative home video market and there were bajillions of films released on the insanely popular format. Many of these were horror movies and many of those never made the jump to DVD; the tragic orphans of technological progress. So therein lies one facet of their appeal. But even those films which are now readily available on the “superior formats” suffer from inferior cover art. In fact, compared to the beautiful, intricate, and often hand-painted VHS box art, lazily photo-shopped DVD covers are embarrassing. In other words, these movies came standard with genre-tastic pop art in tow.

In an effort to celebrate these works of art, we will be featuring one horror movie VHS cover every day. Be kind, rewind, and click on through to see this week’s tape…

Scared to Death 1980



When searching for gorgeous VHS cover art, there are few words to look for. Yesterday we noted the greatness of Vestron with Burial Ground and today’s entry, Scared to Death, is the product of another of those hallowed names: Media. Here again, we have a movie that is unrepentantly terrible. But the design of the monster and the near flawless recreation of his female victim are what make this tape such a great edition to any collector’s catalog. The use of line and shadow to reveal just enough features of the beast while obscuring others is sensational. I also enjoy the blood-red font and the single, careless splotch accenting the top left corner. The filmmakers wanted to create a film as interesting as the artwork on its VHS release…they failed.

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  1. August 2nd, 2011 | 2:49 pm | #1

    I remember this box very vividly from my youth, used to scare the crap out of me. That there on the cover is a Syngenor (SYNthesized GENetic ORgansism). In fact, some versions of this movie were released as SCARED TO DEATH: SYNGENOR. There is an early ’90s sequel (that I think is more fun than the first mainly because David Gale is SUPER crazy in it) called, simply, SYNGENOR.

  2. damonswindall
    August 2nd, 2011 | 2:50 pm | #2

    Great cover, great creature design. The sequel, SYNGENOR, is much better.

  3. damonswindall
    August 2nd, 2011 | 2:51 pm | #3

    Damn you BTSjunkie! How dare you post while I’m typing?!

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