When I think back to the video store days, I think back to a time when there was very little to go off of besides some word of mouth and the cover artwork. For independent movies, the cover artwork was the only thing that you could go off of, and Gore-Met Zombie Chef From Hell falls into that latter category. I’d never rented it as a kid, but I’d rented movies like it before. Movies where I was enticed by the poster artwork, and then let down by the movie itself. Movies so misleading, that I’d have to double check to make sure that I got the right movie when the video store worker was matching the box to the tape. It happened to me so many times that my family had threatened taking away access to the video store membership card if I kept bringing home crap. Gore-Met Zombie Chef From Hell falls into that category, with its advertised 90 minute runtime, but actually delivering well under 70 minutes.
I have had a few different releases of the movie over the years, and all of that love came from the cover artwork alone. My most prized release had been the Beta version, which I got in an eBay lot purchase:
Take a look at that artwork. There’s something about the setting that just screams Gore and Class:
Take a look at the back of that cover. The movie was shot in Super 8mm, but the pictures on there look really good. If you’ve seen the movie before, you’ll immediately notice that all of those back cover images were taken by a professional photographer and are not screen grabs from the movie itself. The synopsis also looks pretty enticing, but the images are what sell the movie.
After I directed my first feature film, Video Tape Terror, I got the opportunity to interview the actor that played the health inspector on Gore-Met, Chuc Presley-Clubb. He gave a lot of amazing insight into how the movie was made and marketed:
If you haven’t seen the movie before, then you should watch as much of it as possible. It’s not very long and it represents a period that I miss from the video store days, but I’m glad isn’t an issue anymore…when misleading box artwork could trick you into renting something that wasn’t what you expected. Now we can just look up a quick trailer or review before choosing a movie, but back then, there wasn’t a lot of information at your fingertips to work with. Movies were distributed back then that probably shouldn’t have, because we were all so hungry to watch anything on demand. Video stores were the YouTube of the ’80s. We’ve moved on from then and the bar has been raised. People don’t want to see a movie that isn’t amazing, because we have so many options and so much media coming at us. As a consumer, things are definitely better, but there was a certain magic to going out at night and picking something up and hoping for best…but also thinking….better luck next time!