Brief updates from the world of VHS

Killer Entrepreneur
Killer looks a lot like every other slasher flick in the video store-a homicidal maniac goes after a bunch of teenagers, and no matter how much they burn, beat, and mangle him, he just won’t let up. But one thing distinguishes Killer from the rest: It was made for only $9,500.

Writer-producer-director-makeup artist Tony Elwood shot the movie in 1988 around his home in Charlotte, N.C., using local actors (many of whom were extras in The Abyss, which was filming nearby). He and his partner, Tony Locklear, shot the movie in three weeks on 8mm film and transferred it to video (they released it on Electro Video for $59.95). Nonprofessional locals got in on the act, too, offering their stores and gas stations as shooting locales if they could be in the movie. One family allowed Elwood to blow up a car on their property as long as they got to watch from directors’ chairs.

”I did it as a way to get into the industry,” Elwood says. It certainly paid off. The movie has made more than $40,000 since he started selling Killer to mom-and-pop video stores late last year. ”We get a lot of calls from college kids saying they like to party with the movie,” he says. In the wake of Killer‘s success, Elwood is apparently getting into a Hollywood state of mind. ”We’ve already started writing Killer 2.”

Aerial Views
Travelers on long flights and layovers will no longer be forced to wade through entire Tom Clancy and Danielle Steel novels. This summer, Flight Video Inc. is opening outlets in U.S. airports that will check out Sony Video Walkmans (a three-pound combination TV/VCR, below) and Nintendo Gameboys (a hand-held videogame system) for travelers to use during their flights. Flight Video’s booths will each stock 350 movies, and the equipment can be returned at the traveler’s destination. Walkmans are $9.99 per flight; movies are $2.99 each. Nintendo Gameboys are $5.99, including two games. The company’s president, Beau Flynn, a 22-year-old student at New York University, says he came up with the idea two years ago during a six-hour layover at London’s Heathrow Airport. ”I read my books. I read my magazines,” he says. ”I thought it would be great to be able to rent one of these.”