When VCRs were first introduced to the market in the 1960’s, they were an expensive status symbol available to few families. But by the middle of the 80’s prices dropped and nearly everyone could afford a home video player. That meant a huge demand for videotapes to watch, and the market quickly tried to meet that need. Thousands of videos were quickly and cheaply produced. Some were great, but many, many more were not.
Thanks to the inexhaustible folks over at The Found Footage Festival, we’ve got a gallery of the worst of 80’s and 90’s home video. We’ve got direct-to-video schlock masterpieces. We’ve got celebrities looking make a quick buck. We’ve got the niche-est of niche videos. We’ve even got a few videos made by a lone weirdo with a camera and a lot to say.
Sure, they may not offer anything of entertainment or educational value, but their covers are a delight. Let’s give these forgotten artifacts a moment in the sun.
1. “Identifying Machine Made Marbles”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been scammed by someone claiming to sell me a handmade marble only for it to be machine-made. Lost multiple friendships over it.
2. “Regis Philbin: My Personal Workout”
I know when I want workout tips, my first choice is fitness icon Regis Philbin.
Also, I love that Gelman had to be in the video.
3. “Cowboy In Sweden”
Thanks, but I prefer “Viking In Wyoming.”
4. “Mugsy’s Girls: First Mud!”
At last we get to the true purpose of the VCR. The VCR truly was a life preserver for horny suburban Dads everywhere.
5. “10 Crunchy Carrots”
It turns out “10 Crunchy Carrots” is a singalong video for kids, and not an ASMR video of a lady eating carrots. Disappointing.
6. “Dare To Bare: Erotic Shaving And Sexual Pleasures”
“Erotic” shaving? She’s shaving sideways. There’s nothing sexy about razor burn.
7. “The Grabowski Shuffle”
8. “Gary Coleman: For Safety’s Sake”
Did you think this was a Honey I Shrunk The Kids knockoff where two siblings are terrorized by a gigantic Gary Coleman? Too bad. It’s a safety video. Womp womp.
9. “Carving A Santa Face”
Gene Webb even explains what to do when your carved Santa Face tells you to do things.
10. “Astrology Songs”
A great home video made by a man who, by the looks of it, makes his home in an abandoned school bus in the woods.
11. “Flirting With Magic”
When does she get a video that explains how to avoid creeps who hide their harassment behind card tricks?
12. “How To Seduce Women Through Hypnosis”
There’s a LOT wrong with this video, so I’ll just focus on the obvious: terrible title design. C’mon, brah, at least slap a bevel on there.
13. “It’s OK To Say No To Drugs”
14. “Balloons For The Restaurant Worker”
How did Dennis Raglan become America’s #1 strolling balloon artist? Let’s just say a lot of blood was spilled.
15. “America’s Judgments”
16. “American Bounty Hunter”
18. “Dirty Tennis
19. “Escape School: Abduction”
This video a) was produced by a national chain of funeral homes and b) teaches kids how to spot a potential abductor. Are we all sufficiently confused? My brain now hates me for making it aware this video exists.
20. “Fart: The Movie”
“The movie they said could never be made!” is another way of saying “We pitched this to every respectable production company in Hollywood, they all said ‘no,’ so we had to get our funding from a Chinese pesticide conglomerate.”
I live in LA. I know how this works.
21. “Adventures In Customer Courtesy”
You know you work for a great company when your employee training video has a special effects budget.
22. “Barroom Brawling”
Nothing quite says “This video has been banned in 8o countries” like a cover that shows a guy about to stomp another guy in the face.
23. “Bowling For Women Only”
The “Only” in the title is great. “Hey, men! this video offers you nothing whatsoever! Just stay away from it!”
24. “Caught In The Web: Staying Safe In Cyberspace”
So, to stay safe in Cyber Space you need: hoverboards and pajamas. Got it.
25. “Catfishin’ With Willie P. Richardson”
No, it’s doesn’t teach you how to trick other people on the Internet with a secret identity. Willie P. Richardson is a comedian famous for his prank phone call cassette tapes sold in the finest truck stops, as well as for using blackface. And now he’s an expert in cooking catfish.
In other words, he should be receiving his Mark Twain Prize for American Humor any day now.
26. “Beezbo’s Adventures: An Entertaining Guide To Children’s Manners”
Hey kids! Want to learn manners from Z-List ET? Didn’t think so!
27. “Country-Hip Hop Dancing With Diane Horner”
Because why stop at ruining just one genre of music?
28. “Fast Boats & Beautiful Women”
A copy of this videotape comes free with every new subscription to Coke Dealer Monthly.