THE 1980s NINJA MOVIE RULE BOOK

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It's Ninja-tastic...


If you ever ventured into a video rental store in the 1980s then you'll know that during that decade approximately 76% of the direct-to-VHS titles released contained the word 'Ninja' in the title. Often these features were filmed in the woods, somewhere remote, by a group of 4 friends who'd got a hold of one of those big JVC camcorders and the Penguin book of 1980s Ninja Movie Rules. Or at least all of the titles I ever rented seemed to be knocked up in that way.

So with every expense spared on the production you can image just how amazing the VHS cover art was can't you? Well even if you can't, fear not, because we've rounded up 20 of the greatest* Ninja related VHS covers you could ever wish to lay your eyes on.

In the 1980s Ninja Movie Rules book it clearly says - 'Your title must convey the most loosest grasp of the English language'...



Rule number 2 states - 'If possible, try to convince your audience that your low budget ninja movie includes a famous actor'...


You may have caught that time Asian Charles 'Death Wish' Bronson briefly joined the Ninja Task Force, but did you ever see Cobra era Sylvester Stallone in Clash of the Ninjas?..


Rule 9 says 'sometimes it is wise to give the Ninjas unusual opponents'...



...with rule 10 saying it is OK for the Ninjas themselves to be the unusual ones...


Rule 4 suggests that Ninjas should have, where possible, extreme weapons, like robot arms!




Below is a great example of rules 47 and 62, 'Ninja's should be clearly identified as Ninjas', and 'If possible include bikes' (!?!)...



Jumping all the way to rule 99, which says that sometimes it is wise to confuse your audience with your VHS cover, leaving them in such a state of 'WTF is going on' that they just have to rent it to find out...


Rule 56 says that your movie filmed in the woods outside of Eastbourne can be made more enticing if you suggest there is an American connection in the title...


Rule 88 is less of a rule and more of a perk of the 1980s ninja business. Apparently if you went into the Eastbourne branch of Millets and said to the manager "Ninjas don't wish upon a star, they throw them' then you would be given 10% off any camo gear purchased from the store...


Rule 42 is hard to read because the corner of the page has been torn slightly, but it's something about lizards being involved (?!?)...


Rule 14 says that 'if Lady Ninja's are featured there must be at least one shot of their underwear'...


Sometimes the four friends would argue over who was the ultimate Ninja (clearly it's the one obeying rule 47 and displaying the word Ninja on his bandana)...


Here's a rare ninja fact for you that is included in the appendices of the book. In every single ninja related VHS cover there must be at least one ninja hiding somewhere. See if you can spot the ninja below who has hidden in a tree...


We've learnt a lot about Ninjas today, but if there's one important rule to take away from this it is to remember that nothing says 'high quality ninja movie' more than a showdown on pushbikes (!?!)...


Now grab three friends and a camcorder and make your ninja dreams come true.


*not the greatest.

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