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Video Violence

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Video Violence (Film)
Directed byGary Cohen
Written byGary Cohen
Paul Kaye
StarringGary Schwartz
Chick Kaplan
Distributed byCamp Video
Release date
  • 1987 (1987)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

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Video violence, also known as Video Violence... When Renting is Not Enough, is a 1987 American Independent horror film directed by Gary Cohen and starring Gary Schwartz and Chick Kaplan. The film is part of the SOV (Shot On Video) genre of films, as it was shot on a VHS camera.


Unsuspecting couple Steve and Rachel become completely immersed in a town of blood-drunk crazies. Led by sickos Howard and Eli, these backwater psychopaths produce and watch their own snuff movies, in which the victims are outsiders or citizens trying to leave the close-knit community of killers. One day an unmarked tape shows up in the return bin of Steve's just-opened video store, and it's the town postmaster being savagely mutilated. "Can it be real, or just a gag?" wonders Steve. He'll soon discover the horrifying answer...



Writer and director Gary Cohen came up with the idea for the film while working as a video store clerk. A fan of the Golden Age of Hollywood, he was disheartened by the fact that horror films, particularly slashers, were the most popular films among his clientele. The idea for the film came about one afternoon when a young mother with her children asked if the film I Dismember Mama contained any sex. Cohen informed her that he was unsure about the film's sexual content but that he knew it contained graphic violence. The woman decided to rent the film, telling Cohen that as long as the film were devoid of sex, she considered it appropriate viewing for her children. The same exchange occurs in Video Violence, concerning the film Blood Cult.[1]

Cohen had initially secured the use of a local access television station to edit the film over the course of two six-hour shifts. When the station owner found out that Cohen was editing a horror film, he reneged on the agreement and only permitted Cohen the use of the station for two hours during the second shift. After the film's editing was complete, Cohen shopped it around to multiple distributors, only two of which responded. Cohen sold the rights to Camp Video because they were the only ones to offer to design video box art.[2]

Cohen has claimed that the film had a budget of $6.[3]


Video Violence was first released in 1987 and per Brian Albright, was "one of the most widely distributed SOV horror films of the era".[4] The movie's video jacket featured an endorsement from the parody religious group, the Church of the SubGenius, and the claim that Camp Video released "more movies by low-budget auteur Ray Dennis Steckler than anyone else in the world."[5]

In 2007, Camp Motion Pictures released the film on special edition DVD including the sequel Video Violence 2.[6] Cohen also directed a sequel: Video Violence 2 as well as Captives, shot between the two VV films. All three have since been re-released by Camp Video as part of their Basement collection. Video Violence has been screened several times at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations as part of film festivals and retrospectives such as the 2018 film festival VHStival in Raleigh and the "Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens" series in Yonkers.[7][8][9]

In 2013 Cohen screened Video Violence: Redux Deluxe, a mashup of the first two films, at the Cinedelphia Film Festival.[10]


The film score for Video Violence was released in 2020 through Graveface Records's Terror Vision imprint.[3] The label also held a limited screening of the film in October of the same year.[11]


Bleeding Skull reviewed the film in 2018, stating that it "should be admired for its prominence in SOV history, rather than its actual entertainment value."[12] A reviewer for DVD Talk was highly critical, writing "a big, fat, hairy, parasite-infested and pus laden set of sores on anyone who believed that this pair of productions had any meaningful motion picture merit whatsoever".[13] The Oklahoma Gazette reviewed both Video Violence 1 and 2 as part of a set released by Camp Motion Pictures, noting that the first film "takes itself seriously, whereas “Video Violence 2” somehow realized there was a joke at stake, and it was past time to get into it."[14]

Cohen has referred to Video Violence as "a piece of wonderful, campy trash".[15]


  1. Cohen, Gary. Video Violence DVD commentary
  2. Cohen, Gary. Video Violence DVD commentary
  3. 3.0 3.1 Galil, Leor. "When shot-on-video horror met the Hot Mix 5". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  4. Albright, Brian (2012-10-24). Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews. McFarland. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-7864-7227-7. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. Kerekes, David; Slater, David (May 2016). Killing for culture: from Edison to ISIS: a new history of death on film (Revised and expanded ed.). London: Headpress. ISBN 978-1-909394-34-6. OCLC 995605473. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. "Video Violence / Video Violence 2 (Double Feature)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
  7. Cook Johnson, Daniel (October 19, 2018). "Sorry, Betamax. The Alamo Drafthouse is hosting a festival to celebrate all things VHS".
  8. Cacioppo, Cristina. "Pop-up Events in July and August". Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  9. "NY: "MAN BITES DOG," "[REC]" and more Killer Tapes at Yonkers Alamo Drafthouse this month". Rue Morgue. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  10. "Cinedelphia Film Festival Wrap-up Part 1". Cinedelphia. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  11. "Video Violence Film Screening". Graveface. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  12. Ziemba, Joseph A. "Video Violence (1987)". BLEEDING SKULL!. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  13. Gibron, Bill (April 8, 2007). "Video Violence 1 & 2". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  14. Lott, Rod. "The Basement: Camp Retro '80s Collection". Oklahoma Gazette. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  15. Coyle-Saeed, Sharon. "Gary Cohen: The Me Everybody Knows". MyCentralJersey.com. Retrieved 2020-12-29.

External links[edit]

This article "Video Violence" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Video Violence. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.