Looking back at these corporate American TV logos from the past it’s clear how utterly terrifying the 80s was. Graphics, music, fonts, jingles – every aspect of it seems to be a vision of a hellish Paul Verhoeven future of disturbing, discordant electronica; driving synths; stark primary colours and vague, subliminal suggestions of global dominance.
The things reek of the things I associate the early 80s with: imminent nuclear destruction, cocaine-fuelled excess, splatter-filled action films and some really fucking freaky music.
That Hanna Barbera one is a strong memory from my youth, and it’s pretty frightening. Approaching doom in the shape of a multicoloured swirling star. Another scary celestial body appears in the DIC spot seconds later. It’s odd that all of the star-like things in these logos – exclusively for children mind you – seem to be the sort of thing that would kill you on contact. But at least it doesn’t seem calculated to terrify like the Paramount one. And who did the music for the Simitar Entertainment ident? Vangelis?
Weiss Global Enterprises. In my mind, they have a huge, faceless black tower block in New York. Get to the top, and you enter a cavernous board room in blackness. The CEO steps forward into a shaft of light. He is a cyborg. The Viacom spot sounds like something the BBC Radiophonic Workshop would have made to represent someone’s mind falling apart in a radio play.
Metromedia Television. Presumably created by something one of one-way journey to Acid Casualty City. The orange Boston thing towards the end? A David Cronenberg nightmare. World Vision Entertainment? An evil John Carpenter multinational that’s actually a front for aliens to take over the world using mind control.
Seriously scary shit. How we ever made it out of the decade remains a complete mystery.