From the mid-1970s all the way up until the late 90s, the VHS was the only way to go for instant home entertainment. Seen as revolutionary at the time, the tapes brought television and film into the home commercial free (save for the advertisements and warnings at the very beginning of the videos) and without interruption.
For over two decades, it was the best way to see the biggest movie blockbusters post-cinematic release in the comfort of your own home, and the only way to binge watch your favorite television shows in the age before online streaming, Netflix, and digital recording. Speaking of which, the ability to record shows off your TV and re-watch whenever you pleased (albeit at a lower quality) gave viewers a feeling of freedom the likes of which had never been felt before.
However, the rise of the DVD in the late 1990s made the videotape redundant almost overnight. With crystal clear picture and audio, interactive menus, higher memory capacity, and, perhaps best of all, the ability to skip chapters and go back to the start without having to manually rewind, DVDs became the only way to watch your favorite movies outside of the theatre and television broadcasts. DVDs became such a staple that, even today with better quality options like Blu-Ray, it is still the most popular platform of its kind today.
That being said, like vinyl or cassette or any other property that becomes discontinued, there are many VHS tapes that are worth a hefty sum of cash today. So, from rare releases to collector's items to cult classics, let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at some of the most valuable VHS tapes there is. Relax, pause, and rewind…
21 101 Dalmatians (Black Diamond Edition)
A staple of any Disney film collection, the story of two dalmatians and what, we assume, was one crazy labor leading to the birth of 101 little spotted puppies is a firm fan favorite. It touched on our love for dogs while providing us with one of the most reviled Disney antagonists in Cruella De Vil. Next time you're sifting through your old VHS collection, check to see if your copy of this is the “Black Diamond” edition. If so, it could fetch you $700, assuming you have the heart to sell it!
20 The Godfather Saga Box Set
While not breaking the bank at $300 (relatively speaking, of course, it’s still a ton of money for a few VHS tapes), this is worthy of mention for a number of reasons. Firstly, the fact that it contains re-edited versions of the first two movies which, for fanatics of the trilogy, may be worth the price of admission alone. What really makes this worthy of making the list, though, is because even when you consider the appeal of seeing the best two entries in different forms, they’re still so freely available on DVD, television, and even VHS.
19 The Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills
When witchdoctor Salvador Dali puts a hex on Dixie Chandler, the wife of a paleontologist who discovered a dinosaur egg on an excavation, which slowly turns her into a carnivorous pterodactyl which goes on to intimidate the community at large, an ingenious film script was born. This concept turned film (which, frankly, we can't believe a human mind was able to conjure up) will set you back an astounding $2799 on eBay. We know, we know, you can’t type your credit card information fast enough!
18 The Fox And The Hound (Black Diamond Edition)
A "Black Diamond Edition" Disney film here, and while this animated flick wouldn't be considered as popular or acclaimed as its dalmatian counterpart, this VHS is somehow valued at an astounding £1495! As we'll see throughout this list, these VHS tapes do not fetch their prices based on their cinematic quality, but on their rarity and the demand. Still, though, it's hard to see how this tale of the animal kingdom is worth half a grand more than some of the other Disney classics!
17 The Legend Of Hillbilly John
A movie with perhaps one of the greatest concepts of all time, The Legend of Hillbilly John tells the harrowing tale of a wandering balladeer wandering through the Appalachian Mountains who, in a stroke of rotten luck, comes across a sinister bird creature who transports him back in time to do the devil's work. This conceptual and cinematic masterpiece would reportedly fetch you an astounding £1000! Worth every penny if you ask me; there has been something missing from our lives, a hole only Hillbilly John can fill.
16 The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh (Spanish Overdub)
This one is just kind of funny to us. We understand classic Disney movies holding so much sentimental value that people are willing to shell out top dollar for them. Same goes for fans of cult classic films looking to round off their old school video collection, or wrestling fanboys looking for VHS copies of all the WrestleManias. But a copy of the Winnie The Pooh movie selling for a whopping $1025 on eBay just because it has a Spanish overdub? Oh, Dios mio!
Birthdays are meant to be a happy occasion. A time where family and friends get together to celebrate the existence of an individual and supply them with cake, gifts, and pieces of paper with nice things written on them. Madhouse is like that, only you’re being pursued by your demonic twin sister and her ravenous, flesh-eating hound. Probably not the most carefree and enjoyable way to celebrate your special day. Still, that’ll be $200, please.
Another film which earns its place on this list not purely for its monetary value, but for its value in spite of its mainstream appeal, worldwide release, and accessibility. There are few films as beloved as E.T.; grossing big at the box office, it was a well received by critics and enjoyed by kids and adults alike. To this day, it is still easily found in stores the world over, online, and is consistently repeated on television year round. So dropping $230 just so you can say you have it on video? Go home…
In Revenge, a retired US Navy pilot (played by Kevin Costner, for those of you who are a fan of the 1990s Hollywood hunk) makes his way south of the border to Mexico. While there, he wastes little time and falls in love with the wife of a powerful and influential businessman.
Big mistake, Kevin.
Anyway, naturally enough, the matter hits the fan and our protagonist goes on a rampage, taking “revenge” on all who stands in his way. Better give him $1142, so.
12 The Little Mermaid (Black Diamond Edition)
Ok, so we promise we’re (almost) done with the “Black Diamond Edition” Disney Classics.
But c’mon, at $999, this one is another doozy!
Most Disney fans have a soft spot in their heart for this aquatic adventure, with its catchy musical numbers and Ariel’s odd and uncomfortable allure, but is she really worth a thousand dollars? All we can say is that this is turning into quite an expensive collection of old Disney videos, under the sea or on land.
A drama here based on the activities of Robert Mathews, this film actually got a pretty big release, even debuting at number 2 in the box office and going on to gross an very respectable $25 million. Critically, the film received mixed reviews, but was praised by many for its subject matter and emotional acting. In spite of all this, getting a copy of this film on VHS will set you back $1200, meaning you’d want to be one of those who acclaimed it upon release.
10 Song Of The South
“Zippidy do dah, zippidy day! Give me $200 and be on your way!” That’s how the song went in this half live action, half animated Disney film, no?
In any case, that’s how much a copy of this film will cost you if you wish to relive it on VHS, as it was originally released.
There have been accusations leveled at this film in hindsight. I’m not a film historian or SJW so I don’t care; all I know is those effects must’ve blown peoples minds in 1946!
9 Let It Be
Let It Be is a documentary made about the recording of The Beatles’ final album release (not the last one recorded, that was Abbey Road... nerd fact). The Beatles are the biggest band of all time, loved by most fans of popular music, and while not their biggest album, any fan would be fascinated by a documentary of this type. Given that they were active during the era of vinyl and VHS, perhaps the $100 price tag is the biggest surprise on this list.
8 Don’t Open The Window
The horror movie is very common among VHS collectors. There are a litany of B-movies in the horror genre which garner cult status while failing to go into major circulation, meaning that years after release the demand copies can be quite high, especially if they’re looking for a video copy. That is why a film like the European science fiction horror flick Don’t Open The Window is valued at $1000. We don’t know what’s spookier: the film or the price tag.
Another cult horror flick here, and another European one to boot! This 1985 action horror splat-fest had, among other things, a huge number of mid-1980s glam metal bands such as Accept, Motley Crue, Billy Idol, and Saxon among others, only adding to the spookfest. However, if you want to rock out to the wild tunes and spooky imagery on screen, be willing to dish out upwards of $700 for a VHS copy. Billy Idol may have identified as a rebel, but he’s still a rebel who wants his royalties paid in full!
6 Journey Into The Beyond
The first “documentary” to make it on this list, Journey Into The Beyond takes a look into the conspiratorial world of the supernatural, analyzing subjects such as voodoo, black magic, exorcisms, paranormal activities, and psychic powers.
Narrated by John Carradine, this was a controversial film which was received in a similar fashion.
Still, given the small but intense core of conspiracy theorists and those who believe in the supernatural, it honestly doesn’t surprise me that a video copy of this goes for £1000.
5 Nightmare Maker
Perhaps of all the films we’ve discussed so far, this one has the strangest premise of all. A jilted woman becomes fascinated with her nephew, whom she is raising as her own son. It’s already so, so dodgy. Naturally enough, when her pride and joy starts bringing girlfriends back to the house, the jealous aunt begins disposing of them one by one. The price of being scarred for life? $300 on VHS. Next time, just don't watch this kind of thing...
4 WCW The Great American Bash (1986)
A pro wrestling video here, and another one from WCW. Filmed over 30 years ago, this pay-per-view contained a host of classic wrestlers, including The Road Warriors, Steven Regal and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. While not the most star-studded or popular era in the wrestling promotions era, it is still a fascinating slice of history for fans. That being said, while we could see some fans splashing out a fair bit of cash for a copy, the estimated price tag of $4950 is just… outrageous.
3 Frankenstein’s Castle Of Freaks
One of the many Frankenstein spinoffs in existence, Frankenstein’s Castle Of Freaks is the story detailing the good doctor's antics involving him turning two cavemen from the stone age into his own monstrous creations.
The good doctor never learns, does he?
Aside from being a terrible concept that rips off the original premise of the first story, Castle Of Freaks is also a diamond in the collection of anyone (now) fortunate enough to own a copy. Estimated at a whopping $1,700, it’d be worth resurrecting your old copy and giving it new life on eBay.
2 Lemora: The Lady Dracula
Also known as Lemora: A Child's Tale Of The Unnatural, this story is about Lila, a wholesome girl raised by a reverend.
She is rescued from a gang of vampires by a mysterious woman named Lemora who, spoiler alert, turns out to be a vampire herself.
Worth £900 and receiving mixed reviews from critics (unlike many on this list who were totally lambasted), be sure to give this a second viewing before you drive a stake through your collections heart.
1 Beauty And The Beast (Black Diamond Edition)
In a way, considering how prevalent they’ve been on this list, it is only fitting that we end this list with another “Black Diamond Edition” of a Disney film.
Beauty & The Beast is one of the most popular classic Disney films.
Not only that, it is by far one of the most acclaimed, even getting a Best Picture nomination at the 1992 Academy Awards. So, how much does this piece of animated art sell for on VHS? $5000. $5000 for a video. Let that sink in…