Gary P. Cohen’s schlocky, gore & satire-dripping shot-on-video sequel “Video Violence 2″ (1988)

By on February 12, 2019

Gary P. Cohen’s bloody Video Violence 2: The Exploitation is, like its predecessor, a 90-minute camcorder-shot snuff film parody presenting an abundance of blood-spurting decapitations and dismemberments on a live, late night cable access TV talk show hosted by a couple of maulin’, murderin’ sickos.

Watch this 1988 VHS cult hit on Night Flight Plus!

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Video Violence: When Renting Is Not Enough (1987) — originally produced, directed, edited and intially distributed by Cohen himself — was deemed successful enough by the filmmaker that he thought it deserved a sequel.

The storyline here follows the return of the two backwater psycho killers from the first movie, “Howard” (Bart Sumner) and “Eli” (Uke Kowaluk).

They’re now hosting their own WGOR cable TV channel talk show, broadcasting secretly from a basement (complete with a Paul Shaffer-style band leader!) and dispatching victims on live TV in vignettes cut up with “Slice N’ Dicer” commercials!

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In Video Violence…When Renting Is Not Enough, Art Neill played a former NYC movie theater manager named “Steven Emory.”

Steve had just moved to Frenchtown, a suspiciously quiet suburb in New Jersey, to run his own video rental store, The Video Studio.

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His business was successful but, after awhile, Steve began to be a bit perplexed as to why all these unfriendly local creepos only wanted to watch gore-filled horror titles and the occasional X-rated smut tape.

After his assistant “Rick Carlson” (Kevin Haver) finds an odd little unmarked snuff film tape in the store’s overnight return bin, depicting the savage torture and murder of the town’s postmaster, Steve comes to understand that these onscreen victims aren’t actually actors, but townspeople people who were planning on leaving this unfriendly suburb as well as transients just passing through town.

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Steve soon learns — along with the town’s sheriff (William Toddle) — that the entire town is involved in some kind of psychotic serial killers conspiracy.

It all leads to him finding out that Howard and Eli are actually the masterminds behind an underground snuff film empire, feeding directly off the local townsfolks twisted desire to see depictions of death on depraved homemade videos.

Steve and his wife “Rachel” (Jackie Neill) ended up on one of the videotapes when he and his wife tried to move away from all the bloody suburban madness.

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By the time this no-budget slacker slasher deathfest arrived on video store shelves in the late ’80s, typical horror movie buffs had become fairly inured to savage depictions of death onscreen, and seeing bloody decapitations and sawed-off limbs wasn’t all that outrageous anymore.

With obviously zero production values, Video Violence 2 — picking up the bloody pieces where Cohen’s first gore & satire-dripping shot-on-video hackfest had left off a year earlier — continues with the barest thread of that plot (although we’re guessing that having an actual story isn’t really the point here, it’s all about the creative way that adoring fans violently dispatch their victims in “D.I.Y.” videos).

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There are a few more laughs this time around, though, which is supposed to remind us not to take it all too seriously, it’s just a “horror movie.”

The satirical humor — not to mention the NSFW busty naked ladies and at least one gore-drenched orgy — couched it all as light entertainment for passing the late evening hours while we all sit around waiting for our own inevitable deaths (hopefully they won’t be as bloody as anything you’ll see here).

Read more about the film’s director, Gary P. Cohen, below.

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As you might expect, writer and director Gary P. Cohen came up with the idea for Video Violence while working as a video store clerk and realizing that much of the store’s clientele really only wanted to watch slasher films.

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He remembers being amused by one woman who asked him whether a particular video, 1972’s R-rated I Disremember Mama, contained any depictions sex, because she didn’t want her children to watch any sexual content.

She had no problem, however, with them watching graphic and bloody violence, and she rented the videotape after believing that it was “appropriate” enough.

That very same scene takes place in the first film, Video Violence (only I Disremember Mama is switched to the shot-on-video title Blood Cult, also streaming on Night Flight Plus).

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Cohen shopped around Video Violence to multiple film distributors, eventually making a deal in 1987 with L.A.-based Camp Motion Pictures because they offered to design the video box art, vitally important to the film’s rental or for-sale VHS tape success.

The original video box art for Video Violence 2 claimed it was nominated for Best Drama by the American Film Institute and the entertainment industry bible Billboard in 1987, but we have to believe that’s a joke Cohen got away with without any repercussions.

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Video Violence and Video Violence 2 (in addition to another title, Captives a.k.a. Mama’s Home, which Cohen directed between the two VV movies) are all three available from Camp Video in their so-called Basement Collection.

Other than directing films, Cohen — who was also at one point a theatrical agent for the William Morris Agency — has mainly worked in the world of theatrical plays, producing, directing and acting as well as designing the sets and creating lighting rigs for numerous New Jersey Theatres.

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In addition to founding his own theater company, the Celebration Playhouse, he’s worked for the Bickford Theatre, the Forum Theatre, and he’s more recently he was the Producing Director for Middlesex County, New Jersey’s Plays-in-The-Park.

Watch Video Violence 2: The Exploitation on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.