In the ‘80s VHS era, credible weirdness could be hard to come by unless you were well-connected. If you had that one slightly tweaked pal who hoarded nth-generation dubs of Mondo films and suchlike (and of course, some DM readers surely were that guy) you were golden. But otherwise, your average hinterlands video store probably never got any deeper into video arcana than Faces of Death, if even that.
So it was mighty cool of Amok Books to compile and distribute Amok Assault Video. Amok was an LA-based outré bookstore, noteworthy in its heyday for publishing thick catalogs, the 4th and 5th editions of which were themselves more compelling reads than some of the material they purveyed, and which could serve extremely well as a neophyte mutant’s introduction to deeper levels of cultural fuckedup-ery, even surpassing the admirable Loompanics catalog in many respects.
Though it wasn’t the most extreme stuff available, some scenes in Assault Video are nonetheless very intense. It was clearly contrived to cater to the interests of Amok’s more jaded customers—it’s an insane assemblage of footage, including questionable old cartoons, assorted Third-World atavisms, cattle mutilation, behind-the-scenes footage from Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane’s attempted Hawaiian travel doc, after the production of which he was murdered (retribution for offending the island gods?), the infamous CBS Evening News video of a dog attack on an animal control officer, a bonkers occult theory about the cartoon character She-Ra, creepy scenes of an altered seeming Alice Coltrane from her religious TV show Eternity’s Pillar, other televised religious/spiritual nuts, and OF COURSE, that disturbing touchstone of ‘80s VHS-swap culture, the Budd Dwyer suicide.
If you’re at work, you’re hereby forewarned, there’s graphic nudity and violence herein. It’s appeared on and disappeared from YouTube before, so if you’re keen to watch it, don’t dawdle.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Tell me your nightmares: ‘The Asylum for Shut-Ins: Video Psychotherapy” 80s cable access insanity