These days, anyone can hop onto Amazon and order a Blu-ray copy of their favorite horror film within moments. In the age of the video store, stockpiling your collection took a bit more effort. Despite the ease and immediacy of the video store experience, shelves weren't exactly flooded with thousands of copies of every movie you wanted to get your hands on. People had to look around, plan accordingly, and make an effort to build their VHS libraries as if every tape was a treasured collectible of the horror genre.
Some movies were more readily available than others; some tapes practically disappeared over time. Years later, there are several rare horror VHS tapes available to anyone with the time to hunt them down and the money to buy them.
Another aspect of the collectibility of rare horror movies comes from the often subversive and socially unacceptable content of the movies themselves - or even just the cover art. Some of these movies were pulled from shelves due to obscenity laws concerning cover artwork, while others were banned in certain countries. Others still are more recognizable, even iconic horror achievements - John Carpenter's Halloween, for example - whose original VHS copies have become scarce over time.
With all that in mind, anyone with a basement full of old horror VHS tapes may want to take a look and see if they could make themselves a little richer by selling any of the flicks on this list to an avid collector.
- Photo: New Line Cinema
After The Evil Dead's release in the UK, video rental shops found themselves raided, and Sam Raimi's seminal horror film was confiscated for supposedly breaking obscenity laws. After a court fight cleared the movie and its VHS cover, distributor Palace Video shipped out replacements for the confiscated copies with a gray insert declaring "Not Guilty! The Evil Dead Is Back" on the cover.
Fears about more raids plagued video store owners; in some cases, the movie still wasn't put back on the shelves, and found itself in the trash instead. This made the surviving copies with the "Not Guilty!" banner worth a lot of cash on the collectible market. One copy sold in January 2018 for $1,258.
- Actors: Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Scott Spiegel, Ellen Sandweiss
- Released: 1981
- Directed by: Sam Raimi
Media Home Entertainment released the horror classic on VHS in 1979, spelling the title HalloweeN on the cover.
The distribution company went out of business and the release went out of print, making it a must-have for collectors. One sold in May 2013 for $13,220 on eBay.
- Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence, Sandy Johnson, Charles Cyphers
- Released: 1978
- Directed by: John Carpenter
'Don't Open the Window' (AKA 'Let Sleeping Corpses Lie')Photo: Hallmark Releasing
Also known as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, among 14 other names, this Italian and Spanish horror flick has an estimated value of $1,300. The alternate title and cover artwork is easily found on eBay for $10-25, but the drawing-like cover with the title Don't Open the Window is much more rare.
The film's cult status (and its varied titles) makes it a must-have for collectors of obscure horror.
Lemora, Lady DraculaPhoto: Media Cinema Group
Some versions of this movie include the subtitle A Child's Tale of the Supernatural, and it's also known as The Legendary Curse of Lemora. A second variant cover listed on eBay for $311.97 features an illustration of a child and various ghastly adults, while another cover proclaiming the movie as "banned for 21 years by the Catholic Film Board" is listed for $99.75.
The version with Lady Dracula as the title and a filmstrip of scenes on the back has an estimated worth of $1,300 due to its rarity - and the film's supposed anti-Catholic themes.