Movie number #600 – a VHS tape this time around – seems like a good moment to talk the home video revolution that took place in the 1980s. Both already released during the mid seventies, it was only in the early 80s that VHS and Betamax became cheap enough to manufacture and to purchase to really became household items. Video rental shops started popping up on every street corner, allowing people to rent out their favourite films and watch them back home at their own pace, any day of the week. Prior to this, if you didn’t own a 8mm or 16mm film projector, the only way to see a movie was to go to a theatre when it was released or catch it a few years later when in was broadcast on a TV.
Home movie watching is so commonplace today that it’s hard to fathom a world without being able to do so and the change was nothing less than a revolution in the film history. Additionally, the whole VCR thing fundamentally changed the way movies could be shot, produced and distributed. Although the aim in most cases was always to get a proper theatre release, by the mid 80s the user base for home movies was so vast that movies could also be released as direct-to-video – particularly sequels to known movies – and still make proper cash. Cheaper VCR alternatives to film cameras were released and could be edited in a home studio with equipment worth a few thousand dollars – a fraction of the cost of producing a movie on film. Needless to say, the amount of movies released per year pretty much skyrocketed.
Sure, some these movies were generally of a lower quality, but sometimes also gave big movie studios run for their money, either taking more risks or more often skipping the whole burden called the manuscript, betting on delivering just some unfiltered entertainment. Sometimes the outcome made Hollywood movies look tame, but even more often the movies became horrible failures – but still in a hilarious and entertaing way!
Overall, It’s safe to say these movies were not written to win awards.
Hollywood Cop is a prime example of late 80s direct-to-video movie that obviously takes cues from many big budget films that preceded it. It checks most boxes you’d expect; from fire fights, to car chases, to (well above average) cheesy dialogue. Made with a home video equipment, it’s the kind of movie where you see plenty of clumsy editing and microphone cords hanging from the backside of the jeans as the hero exits the room – and it’s all somehow much more entertaining than it should be.