Guild Home Video (GHV) was one of the very first video distribution companies to start operating in the UK, but unlike other independent labels such as Intervision or Videoform, GHV not only survived for a very long time but continued to grow, eventually becoming video distributors for independent studios such as Carolco, Cannon and Lorimar.
Based in Oundle, Northamptonshire, Guild Home Video were one of the biggest of the early video companies, and responsible for distributing a large and varied catalogue of movies. The initial batch of releases came out in mid-1980 and were easily recognisable by the sky blue, stylised 'G' symbol that the company retained throughout its life (with only a colour change to gold in 1987), the original Guild catalogue included a large array of features. From creaky and dated British science-fiction/horror fare such as The Beast in the Cellar, The Body Stealers and Doomwatch, to documentary/non-fiction titles like The Entertaining Electron and Reardon on Snooker as well as recent box office hits like David Cronenberg's Scanners and Jack Nicholson's remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice. Many classic Australian movies such as "My Brilliant Career", "Breaker Morant" and "Money Movers" were also released at that time too Fireman Sam 10 Halloween Special VHS.
The original catalogue was uncommonly large by the standards of most labels at that time, with well over 100 titles released within the first two years of trading alone, and Guild became well known for the professionalism of its product. At a time when many of the independent labels were resorting to tacky and often distatefully lurid cover designs to get its products noticed (Go Video's Cannibal Holocaust/SS Experiment Camp and Vipco's Driller Killer being prime examples), GHV adopted a much more subtle approach. Many of their cover designs can be seen on: http://www.pre-cert.co.uk Interestingly, early Guild covers were colour coded. Cassettes for "hire only" carried a Pink band round the base of the sleeve, while later Hire/Sale cassettes carried a sky blue band round the top. There were also a number of tapes with a yellow band as well, but these are all but extinct now and desirable when found.
Guild Home Video continued to grow steadily throughout the 1980's, notable especially as one of the very few independent labels to survive the 1984 Video Recordings Act (1). This ruinous and reactionary response to the "Video Nasties" crisis meant that any movie available on video had to carry a BBFC video certificate. As each film would cost hundreds of pounds to classify if re-submitted, many independent labels found it uneconomic to submit their entire back catalogues and several simply went out of business. GHV, by now exclusive distributors to the likes of Cannon, The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Lorimar were able to continue on the strength on their newer titles and the older back catalogue generally disappeared from view. More successful titles like Straw Dogs and Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came were among the first budget "sell through" titles to appear when Video Collection began retailing cut-price movies in 1986.
By the early 1990's the face of video was changing and the video trade was being dominated more and more by the big studios. It was in this climate that GHV had its last hurrah. In 1988 they secured a distribution deal with Hollywood "mini-major" Carolco Pictures, which resulted in them gaining exclusive UK video rights for big budget blockbuster movies like Terminator 2, Total Recall, Cliffhanger and Rambo 3. Guild Home Video/Guild Film Distribution merged with Pathé in 1997, forming a new name of Guild Pathe Cinema Limited. Guild also had "Rental distribution rights" with 20TH Century Fox, operating as Fox Guild Entertainment and after the Pathe merger, Fox Pathe Home Entertainment.
The "Guild" name disappeared in 1998, when Guild Pathé Cinema, became "Pathé Distribution"
The video rights to the Carolco library are now shared between Momentum Pictures and Optimum Releasing. The Cannon library is now owned by MGM (with distribution by Fox), and Warner Bros. owns the rights to the Lorimar films.
Today, the Guild name is applied to Betamax tapes released by the National Betamax Foundation. All tapes are in NTSC format and sold in the United States. Notable releases include (title, cover art design, year of release or supposed release, Betamax Classics release) Straw Dogs (yellow band, 1980 release, released October 2004), Scanners (1981 release, released August 2001), Kotch (blue band, 1980 release, released July 2004), Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came (blue band, 1980 release, released July 2004), Futureworld (1982 release, released August 2009), Breaker Morant (1982 release, released January 2008), Pretty Cure (1983 release, released October 2008), and Sakura Taisen Volume 1 (1982 release, released July 2009).