VHS Tapes That Are Worth More Than Your Entire Blu-Ray Collection
VHS tapes are a thing of the past. Unlike vinyl, which loyalists claim delivers a better, richer sound than CDs or MP3s, these ancient home video casettes are significantly worse in quality than DVDs — and especially Blu-ray and 4K UHD discs. It’s no wonder many resale shops sell them for pennies. However, there are still some VHS tapes rare enough to fund an entire home theater renovation … if you can find them.
Attack of the Killer Refrigerator
With the title Attack of the Killer Refrigerator may not inspire confidence in film connoisseurs, VHS copies of the film go for a few hundred dollars online in part because they’re so rare. The film tells the horrifying story of a sentient refrigerator who seeks revenge on the drunk teenagers who abused him in their intoxicated stupor.
With only 3,000 tapes in existence and most probably gathering dust in an attic, Goodwill or the middle of nowhere, this low-budget horror film is now in higher demand than anyone probably thought possible.
The Monkees: The Complete Series
After the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Beach Boys came the Monkees. Fronted by Davy Jones, this 1960s boy band might be the most unabashed Beatles knockoff group to come out of the era. Their piggybacked fame granted them a short-lived show in the late 60s.
It’s actually kind of funny that The Monkees: The Complete Series on VHS goes for a lot more than even some Beatles memorabilia does. One VHS boxed set went for over a thousand dollars on eBay — and that’s not even considering what an unopened set might sell for.
Dragon Ball Z: Complete Dragon Box Set
Arriving toward the tail end of the VHS craze, popular 1990s series Dragon Ball Z remains the quintessential anime fighting show. Still, no amount of popularity explains why a complete set of all seven “Dragon Box” releases can go for nearly a thousand dollars online.
The Complete Dragon Box Set is an incredibly coveted possession for any Dragon Ball Z fan (or VHS collector), and even lower-quality collections go for closer to $500. Those lucky enough to have scored one are sure to go Super Saiyan trying to protect their merch.
What typically happens when someone tells you you can’t do something? You only want to do it more, of course. This was the case with Anthropophagous, an Italian cannibal film that British censors deemed far too graphic and inappropriate to be seen. Obviously, a designation like this made it an instant cult classic.
A pristine VHS tape of Anthropophagous can land a lucky seller a check for a few hundred dollars. A lower-quality edition can still bring in a couple hundred, give or take. It’s not a bad deal, especially considering Britain’s attempt to keep the film from being distributed in the first place.
Hong Kong Butcher
Another classic example of some obscure low-budget horror film going for way more than it’s worth, Hong Kong Butcher arrived with very little fanfare back when it was released in 1985. Based on true events that occurred in 1982, the movie didn’t gain traction until it was passed around by cult horror fans after release.
Today, nearly 35 years after its release, VHS copies of Hong Kong Butcher can earn a seller over 250 bucks. The film’s not available in any other format — no DVDs, no Laserdiscs, definitely no Blu-ray — which might explain the high-priced auctions that surround the campy flick.
While plenty of people likely have a copy of 101 Dalmatians somewhere in their home, die-hard VHS collectors are desperate to get their hands on Disney’s Black Diamond Edition of the film. Released in the early 1990s, over three decades since the film’s premier, this special edition’s limited printing instantly made it a hot commodity.
Offered to the public just a few years before the studio’s live-action remake of the film, this special tape’s current selling price of over 750 dollars certainly makes the DVD and Blu-ray editions seem like a bargain by comparison.
You might be wondering what’s so significant about some esoteric Spanish-language horror film from the late 80s. Whatever the answer, Trampa Infernal, also known by its English title Hell’s Trap, was deemed important enough to get its own special screening at a recent Fantastic Fest, a prominent Austin, Texas film festival, where it was dubbed “Mexico’s most notorious unseen video-era masterblast.” Trampa Infernal‘s sudden reintroduction to contemporary audiences has turned it into something of a hidden treasure among many VHS collectors. Since its latest screening, copies of the horror film about a killer Vietnam vet have been selling for more than 250 dollars dollars.
Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas
Jim Henson was the master puppeteer behind such children’s classics as The Muppets, The Dark Crystal and Sesame Street. On top of that, he was also responsible for smaller made-for-TV projects such as Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.
A one-off special that aired in both the U.S. and Canada in the late 70s, Emmet Otter has become something of a rarity for home video collectors. While it’s available on DVD and online, the actual tapes are much rarer. With only a few thousand VHS made, Jug Band Christmas tapes frequently auction for over a thousand dollars.
Plenty of cult curators are well-aware of 1991’s Samurai Cop. Like The Room or Birdemic, it’s often regarded as one of the finest examples of a movie so bad it’s actually good. For this reason, it’s been released on DVD and Blu-ray countless times. Of course, that’s never enough for collectors.
A Samurai Cop VHS tape dating back to the 1990s can bring a lucky collector nearly 300 dollars from the right site. Who knows how much a mint condition tape could bring in? It’s enough to make you want to search every resale shop around for a good copy.
The Fox and the Hound
With the launch of Disney+, many collectors feared that their most prized (and expensive) items might not retail for very much — after all, the once-secured “Disney Vault” is now wide open. Luckily for them, tapes like the Black Diamond Edition of The Fox and the Hound are still no less valuable.
Starring Kurt Russell and Mickey Rooney, the film was an early 1980s addition to the studio’s illustrious animated filmography. Collectors can add the Black Diamond Edition to their collection for nearly 1,500 dollars.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
After the smash hits that were the Monty Python films, Terry Gilliam successfully managed to break into directing moves . It worked out well for him, with the director putting out plenty of memorable films over the years even to this day.
One such film, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, ended up being more successful than the others, and it’s not because the content was any better or worse than his other films. It’s because the VHS version of the film racked up incredible value in the years since — tapes can go for roughly $2,500.
Produced by Italian horror icon Dario Argento, 1985’s Demons is a shocking bit of supernatural filmmaking straight from Europe. If Argento wasn’t a big enough sell, the film also has a strange soundtrack consisting of gloriously gaudy 80s artists like Billy Idol and Motley Crue.
Demons is readily available to stream and purchase on DVD. That’s no fun, though. It’s all about the hunt, especially for collectors who sometimes shell out more than 700 dollars to get their hands on a VHS copy of Dario Argento’s classic.
The Legend of Hillbilly John
A recurring theme among many of these VHS treasures is the oddity of the films themselves, and The Legend of Hillbilly John just might be one of the oddest. Following a musician as he travels through Appalachia and encounters a demonic bird who sends him back in time to work with the devil, Hillbilly John is nothing short of original.
VHS copies of The Legend of Hillbilly John have almost become legends themselves. In recent years, tapes of director John Newland’s 1972 feature have sold for around 1,100 dollars each at auction.
Night Ripper, sometimes stylized on certain tapes as Night Ripper!, is another key addition to the ever-expanding schlocky 80s horror film canon. That might already make the movie appealing to some movie lovers, but there’s more: it also stars the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. It’s a truly baffling bit of filmmaking.
Perhaps that is why the film’s VHS tape has accumulated such immense value in the decades since its release. At an estimated auction value of 800 dollars, Night Ripper would be a worthy addition to any cinephile’s collection.
Don’t Open the Window
The VHS tape might read Don’t Open the Window, but the film was actually put out in theaters under a different name: Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. Two very different commands, one very eccentric 70s horror film. Tackling hippies, the Manson family, zombies and pollution from DDT, Don’t Open the Window-slash-Let Sleeping Corpses Lie really has it all.
Given its insane premise and mixed bag of subjects, it’s no wonder at all why VHS copies of this particular film go for a thousand dollars or more on sites like eBay. There’s just nothing else like it.
Black Devil Doll From Hell
Every once in a while, there comes a title that really says it all. Black Devil Doll From Hell is one such film. What’s it about? Well, a woman buys a black doll possessed by a demonic spirit from hell. It’s that simple. And of course, copies of the film on VHS are extremely lucrative.
One of the most sought-after VHS titles in the home video format’s history, Black Devil Doll From Hell typically goes for around 500 dollars but has actually gone for hundreds (if not thousands) more in past auctions. Here’s hoping the tape’s not possessed.
There’s a common denominator when it comes to rare and expensive Disney movies on VHS: the Black Diamond Edition. There are eighteen different titles in the collection, but only a select few actually have any value. 1941’s Dumbo is one of them.
Not to be confused with the recent Tim Burton remake, the classic version of Disney’s Dumbo on VHS from the Black Diamond Collection tends to sell for around five hundred dollars or more, depending on the auction. Some can go for much cheaper, of course, but at the right time and the right place, your Dumbo VHS could make some bank.
Not to be confused with the horror classic of the same name House made in Japan in the late 70s, House was released in the United States States in 1985. Directed by infamous horror director Steve Miner, House, as one could probably surmise, is about a writer who unknowingly moves into a haunted house.
The movie’s widely considered to be somewhat mediocre, but the selling price is a lot better. If anyone happens to be in possession of a special version of the film enclosed in the original light-up case with detachable cardboard cutout of the titular house, they could make roughly $500.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Another Black Diamond Edition, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs stands as one of the most expensive VHS tapes ever sold. It’s likely aided by the fact that it was Disney’s very first animated feature film and the highest-grossing animated film of all time when adjusted for inflation.
The price tag attached to Snow White is enough to make you scramble for your collection in search of a copy. One tape sold for nearly 3,000 dollars, but who’s to say what a pristine, unopened tape could go for today?
Halloween is the definitive Halloween movie, and not just because of the title. Given the film’s renown, it’s not shocking to learn that certain copies of the movies on VHS are more valuable than any Halloween candy.
Excellent copies of the film’s first edition VHS have recently sold for roughly 500 dollars or more, with lower-quality copies going for roughly $250. It’s worth scanning the shelves of your local resale shop for a vintage copy.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Black Diamond Editions go for so much money that it makes you want to go back in time and convince yourself to shell out your month’s paycheck for the entire set of tapes. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, while one of Disney’s later animated ventures, still boasts quite the price tag.
At one online auction, 1996’s retelling of the classic Victor Hugo novel had an estimated value of 1,500 dollars. It makes you wonder if someone has the complete Black Diamond Collection somewhere in storage, just waiting to be discovered.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Before there was Tobe Hooper, horror mastermind, there was just Tobe Hooper, low-budget independent filmmaker. One of his earliest efforts, the now-famous Texas Chain Saw Massacre, was made for a fraction of the money horror films cost today. Hooper’s work was beyond impressive, but the same could be said about the film’s resale value on VHS.
There’s something great about the idea of Texas Chain Saw Massacre on VHS — while most films deserve to be shown in the best quality imaginable, Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s grindhouse feel might be amplified by the lower quality. Either way, it goes for roughly $500.
Lemora, Lady Dracula
For whatever reason, many 1970s horror films couldn’t seem to settle on a single title. Lemora, Lady Dracula is guilty of this—it’s also known as Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural, The Rape of the Vampires and even The Legendary Curse of Lemora.
No matter what you call it, the value stays the same: Richard Blackburn’s little-known cult classic can score a lucky seller upward of 1,000 dollars at the right online auction. Highly coveted and supremely gritty, Lemora, Lady Dracula is definitely worth the investment for fans of the genre.
Climax just came out in 2018. What’s it doing on VHS? Strangely enough, beloved indie production company A24 put the film out on a very limited run of 100 cassette tapes by special request from the film’s director, Gaspar Noe. As a result, film fans really want a copy.
Of course, the studio’s micro batch of tapes sold out almost instantly — A24 is extremely popular among cinephiles, plus Climax received plenty of good reviews upon its release. If you’re willing to fork over $600, a copy of Climax‘s (admittedly very odd) VHS release is yours to behold.
The Flesh Eaters
Jack Curtis is probably best known for his voiceover work on classic cartoons like Speed Racer, but he also doubled as a moderately successful horror filmmaker. One of his earliest works, The Flesh Eaters, went on to gain the most attention in the years since.
Copies of this early example of a gore film sell for more than 900 dollars online. With a tagline that promises you’ll be “sterilized with fear,” however, it’s uncertain just how many people want copies.
Star Trek Bloopers
Unlike many of the rarest VHS tapes, this particular title isn’t a film at all. It is, as the name suggests, just a collection of bloopers. That said, this VHS tape of Star Trek mistakes and outtakes could make you enough to buy the rest of the series on Blu-ray and then some.
At a price tag of roughly one thousand dollars, these Star Trek bloopers better be the funniest batch of goofs and guffaws ever caught on film. If you’re not willing to pay, just search your favorite show plus “bloopers” on YouTube instead.
Tales From the Quadead Zone
Not to be confused with Tales from the Crypt or The Dead Zone, Tales from the Quadead Zone is a 1987 horror oddity from the same minds behind the equally rare Black Devil Doll from Hell: Chester Novell Turner and Shirley Latanya Jones.
Like their previous collaboration, Tales from the Quadead Zone found a second life among occult audiences looking for some classic camp. However, copies of this film on VHS go for much, much more. One VHS of the film sold for $1,675.
Undoubtedly the most instantly-recognizable title on here, there’s no way to quantify Star Wars‘ success or its appeal. The film and its sequels and prequels have shattered records left and right, each one often to be more financially successful than the last. The opposite, it seems, goes for VHS copies — none are as valuable as the first.
Still wrapped in plastic from its original 1983 home video release, a copy of Star Wars was sold at auction for a whopping 3,500 dollars. It’s simply unheard of — can you imagine just how many other movies you could buy with that?
The debate over who ranks among the greatest movie stars of all time rages on with each passing year. You have your Old Hollywood loyalists, your 21st century poptimists, and countless other camps in between. But where do Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen rank?
If the answer to this question was determined by how much money could be made off of rare VHS tapes, these two would rank among the greats. A VHS copy of one of their later films, Getting There, reportedly went for 1,500 dollars at an online auction. It must be better than expected.
Beauty and the Beast
Here it is: the cream of the crop. The most prized and valuable Black Diamond Edition is Beauty and the Beast. An unopened, flawless tape in its original packaging can earn you around 5,000 bucks.
There are all kinds of rumors circulating about this particular title. One practical joker tried to earn nearly a quarter of a million for their copy (to no avail, of course) —but one thing remains true: for whatever reason, the right copy of Beauty and the Beast could be the most valuable VHS tape of all time.