Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The video box that helped turn me into a man

Hey you guys, I was at my local Dr. Wax recently picking up the new Busta Rhymes and I stumbled upon a copy of a video called "Secret Weapons" (look for a FTTF in an upcoming issue) whose cover art mesmerized me during my oh so impressionable youth, perhaps because it combined two things that terrified me most as a neurotic 10 year old: Communism and women.

Like so many video covers "Secret Weapons" lurid cover art acts as a low-rent, vaguely dishonest carnival barker beckoning sleepy video store patrons with an irresistible hard sell: boobs! The KGB! A Secret Sex School For Soviet She-Spies! Drama! Intrigue! Linda Hamilton! Geena Davis! Utterly gratuitous footage of nubile young women in tight-fitting workout clothes!

Illustration for article titled The video box that helped turn me into a man

As a ten year old the box offered a transgressive glimpse into a secret adult world. As a kid I would wander around the video store for hours even though I didn't have a VCR. Each box (or entry in a Leonard Maltin film guide) served as a tantalizing coming attraction of something forbidden and decadent.

I remember being hypnotized as well by the box for "A Clockwork Orange" along with the plot summary on the back. I couldn't envision anything more wrong or strangely exciting than the notion of drugging milk. As a child of the "Just Say No" era I wholeheartedly bought into anti-drug hysteria so the idea that something as innocent, pure and all-American as milk could be defiled by ghoulishly painted-up ruffians of the future was just about the biggest outrage I could imagine.

So what about you guys? What video store boxes mesmerized you as a young person? Assuming you ultimately saw the movies they advertised did they ultimately live up to the fevered expectations of your youthful imagination?

Having just seen "Secret Weapons" I can vouch that it most assuredly does not live up to its box (Linda Hamilton does look damn good in tight-fitting workout clothes though) while "A Clockwork Orange" certainly does.

C'mon, you A.V Club-reading dearies. Do take a trip down the video store aisle o' memory lane with me.