How To Get…Revenge (1989)

Thanks to the Found Footage Festival, I discovered this completely psychotic video that promises to teach you how to get revenge. Keep in mind that even though host Linda Blair is going to be bringing you the best advice you’ve ever had on getting even, this is for entertainment purposes only. I say that because nearly every one of these revenge schemes goes from simple ways to get back to ways to get people to kill themselves.

The first expert we meet is private detective Quinn Vickers (who looks and dressed a lot like Brockton O’Toole), who explains what he did when one of his clients got involved in a pyramid scheme. Instead of talking to the Better Business Bureau, Quinn sent a death certificate to the IRS and Social Security for starters, then made it look like the guy was having an affair, ruining his marriage.

Then we meet a detective named J.M., who advises that the best revenge is putting your mark on pornographic or Communist party mailing lists. Even better, it turns out that there are several homosexual and bisexual magazines out there. Did you know this? Well, it turns out that they take personal ads, so you should fill out one for your target with the return address of their office. If that doesn’t work, just send their wife a box of chocolate laxatives.

Vickers comes back and one of his nerd clients explains how they worked to get revenge for someone who messed with him in a Chinese restaurant. So they did what any of us would do — they set him up for armed robbery.

Officer P.F. — who is disguised — then explains how to use the phone for revenge. He advises using pay phones, so this 1989 advice will not work thirty years later.

But you might ask — what if I’m a lady and my boyfriend leaves me for a more popular girl? The simple answer is to get Quinn Vickers on the job. He tells us that, “Wherever there is love and romance, there’s also pain and deceit.” The answer to someone choosing someone over you is to convince everyone that your ex-boyfriend’s new lover has syphilis. Maybe that girl got upset, but she probably killed herself as everyone has a good laugh.

Now, private detective Mark Lewis shows us how to get revenge. Wouldn’t you like to be Axel Foley, putting sugar in the gas tank? Good news — that’s how to get…revenge. The worst one is putting cooking oil in the windshield wiper fluid, which seems like something that could kill everyone on the road.

Most of Vickers revenge schemes kind of frighten me. Like how he explains that you should turn minorities you target for revenge over to the immigration service. Or put your boss’s name in a gay magazine, because that’s the best way to humiliate someone. Sadly, I really think this is how some people felt in 1989 (and some people still feel in 2019).

Want to meet another detective? Good news, here comes totally his real name Kyle Pappenpuss who explains how to do some home destruction. Pancake batter in the mailbox? Using weedkiller to put naughty words in the lawn? How about you just adjust their thermostat? How did this dude forget the upper decker? Or mailing a brick with only the mark’s return address, forcing them to pay the postage?

Other than Linda Blair, the only other star to appear here — other than Quinn Vickers — is Gregory Itzin, who would go on to play President Charles Logan on 24. This whole thing was the brainchild of Bob Logan, who also directed Meatballs 4Repossessed and Up Your Alley, one of the few Linda Blair films I can’t find — it’s never been released on DVD and I truly believe that I’m the only person in the world interested in seeing her in a romantic comedy with an unmasked Unknown Comic.

I really am struggling to do justice to how completely vicious and out there this video is. The VHS era was packed with videos teaching you how to do all manner of things — this was before YouTube for those of you under thirty — and this is perhaps the strangest of them all. It’s even stranger because Linda Blair is so chipper and happy about every single thing that happens.

In a society that is offended by even the smallest of infractions, this video is a screaming maniac begging for you to get upset so that it can sneak into your house and leave dirty laundry in your refrigerator.

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