I cherish the salad days of electronics stores. You know, the days when you could walk into a store and not get bombarded by some scripted asshole working for DirecTV who "wants to help," only has a "quick question" and would love to shake your hand. Anyhow, yes... it was the 1990's, the obvious answer to the 1980's. And Incredible Universe was the obvious answer to RadioShack.
If you were lucky enough to have one near you, you might have experienced it's grand metropolis-like grandeur. Appliances galore, but most importantly for me, they had one hell of a media section. Aisles upon aisles of VHS, divided by genre and, my personal favorite, the "budget section." Not to mention the awesome clearance bins upon entering the department. (A Paragon issue ONE ARMED EXECUTIONER for $3.99?! Don't mind if I do!) And, they had LASERDISCS! A shit ton of 'em! At the time, I didn't have a laserdisc player, but I definitely perused these racks knowing exactly what I was missing. The music section was also just as insane. Where else, back then, could you pick up Alan Howarth's score to HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS and a Buzzcocks compilation? INCREDIBLE UNIVERSE! Did I mention they were INCREDIBLE?!
Sadly, Incredible Universe folded in the late '90s and most all of their locations (I think they had under twenty stores throughout the United States) were converted to Fry's Electronics, keeping the basic designs the same (i.e. exterior). And if you look at their delivery trucks closely, you can still spot the layered IU logo beneath the black paint overcoat.
So, in an effort to "remember when" and collect a few remnants, I thought I'd make a post about it. "Like to hear it? Here it goes..."
Here's an ad for the Arlington, Texas location (which is now a Fry's and also my home away from home)...
Black Friday '97 Commercial (Back when 8 a.m. was considered early... and Black Friday was held on a FRIDAY, unlike the current & increasingly ridiculous steamrolling trend by retailers of the Thanksgiving holiday)...
They also had live demonstrations and live music performances (keep in mind it was the '90s, folks... and a FREE concert)...
You never know what you'll find when searching eBay.
Being the avid Jean-Claude Van Damme fan that I am, I was searching TIMECOP movie memorabilia (yeah, da's right!) when I came across something that truly boggled my mind... a one of a kind painting/mock poster for the Van Damme-less sequel, TIMECOP 2: THE BERLIN DECISION. While I haven't seen the film, I do know that it stars Jason Scott Lee and Thomas Ian Griffith, but not Mick Jagger in a dual role as this particular artwork suggests.
The artist is South African and such works were, most likely, done to promote films at a local video store which might not have had access to the typical publicity materials. Either that or he's a huge fan of re-rendering published artwork as a pastime. Such posters weren't uncommon in decades past, but TIMECOP 2 is a 2003 film and this is the first I've seen of such works within the 21st century.
As I had suspected, there's a slew of mock posters listed among the seller's other items. Again, these are all a bit mind-boggling to me, but so extraordinarily bad (and dare I say kitschy?!), that I had to collect photos of some of the worst of the worst to share here. Happy viewing!
Not a horrible copy, yet the damsel in distress has a bad case of wonky vision.
Upon closer inspection, I don't recall Maria Conchito Alonso being in this. Hmmm...
More like CRAYONS VS. FINGERPAINTS
a.k.a. AGAINST THE PORK
Judging from the "babe" to the right, there's more than one snake threat in this film.
Co-starring Demond Wilson as Carl Weathers and Terry "Hulk" Hogan as "Big Dummy."
Never heard of this one, but I'm oddly intrigued... just not arranging-a-vacation-to-South-Africa-to-rent-this intrigued.
All this time, I thought Michelle Rodriguez co-starred in this BRUTAL FILM!
How do we trick customers into renting BLOODRAYNE 2 instead of the original BLOODRAYNE? (Pssstttt... We won't paint a "2" on the poster!)
"Hi, Valley Home Video? Yes, I was in your store earlier today and meant to pick up that Sinbad movie starring Patrick Wayne, but when I got home and opened the rental case, the tape for THE CALIF OF BAGDAD was in it's place. Apparently, it co-stars a woman who has endured several upon several brick hits to the face ...and I had my heart set on Jane Seymour. I want my 1.50 in shillings credited to my account, please."
Steve Austin or Chunk Voorhees? You decide!
"I need to commission another poster from you. Turns out that neither Johnny Depp nor Omar Epps star in BLOOD DIAMOND."
I've never heard of this one and that's the end of discussion ...2.
Fuck it. I think I'll rent LA BAMBA again.
Obviously not the Clive Barker film and it looks to be a real hack job. Gerf!
When you're IN HELL, advertising that you are "in" IN HELL is nothing short of redundant.
For the uninitiated, this represents the short-lived MORTAL KOMBAT: CONQUEST television series. I was a fan. Better than the movies, in my opinion. Anyway... well, I've got nothing. I just like MKC.
OUTSIDE THE LAW and outside the realm of possibility that we're supposed to believe that's Cynthia Rothrock.
First of all, they've confused their David Carradine with their Martin Sheen. Secondly, this one isn't that bad and a much more realistic build to Carradine's character than the U.S. one sheet boasted. A Cannon Group fave!
I've had little to no interest in seeing QUICKSILVER HIGHWAY and this certainly isn't helping.
Anthony LaPage?! Anne Parilla?! Who the fuck is Joe Gennaro?! While I love John Landis' film, I don't think I'm ready for this alternate version which apparently stars Danny Thomas and Taimak.
You ARE trying to entice viewers, right?
Clearly this isn't THE ROAD WARRIOR, but I'd suspect that it's THUNDER WARRIOR instead, since that definitely looks like Mark Gregory, but that doesn't look like Bo Svenson. Ah, hell... I give up!
Alright, aside from the non-intimidating small henchman in the bottom right corner, this doesn't look too bad.
Fact: I'm a Daniel Bernhardt fan. Another fact: TRUE VENGEANCE is my favorite of his films. Another 'nother fact: Paul Le Mat does not appear in this film. One more another fact: Unless this is a composite version which incorporates scenes from Bernhardt's BLOODSPORT II: THE NEXT KUMITE, there should be no Kumite-leaping action on this poster.
I have no clue what film they're representing with this one, but ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE lawyers should take note!
Just when you thought this post was over, you've taken a second WRONG TURN and are now you're riding an inbred, big wheel nightmare in a cul-de-sac just south of nowhere. Be scared!
I'm a mood-oriented cinema junkie, with a mean lean towards exploitation fare.
My eclectic tastes encompass all genres and eras. I appreciate films for what they are and place no real distinction between the average mainstream film and the "dirt-under-the-fingernails" no budget opus.
Entertainment is entertainment.