VHS Tape Sells For $80,000 After YouTubers Destroy All Other Copies In A Wood Chipper

RedLetterMedia destroyed the other known copies of Nukie, to have the final one balloon to $80,000 on eBay.

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

nukie vhs

If you’re a fan of movies and humor, you may be familiar with Redlettermedia, the Youtubers who regularly watch terrible films and provide hilarious discussions about them. One long-running gag with the group is that they have collected numerous copies of the horrible ‘80s alien movie Nukie on VHS, never watching it but instead using it in creative ways (like replenishing tapes on “Junka,” their VHS version of Jenga). Recently, the group released a video where they both watched Nukie and destroyed all but one of their copies via woodchipper to artificially inflate the value of the remaining tape, ultimately selling the tape on eBay for over $80,000 (all funds go to charity).

If you’ve never seen Nukie on VHS (or maybe its elusive Laserdisc version), it’s exactly what it looks like: a 1987 rip-off of E.T. the Extraterrestrial with bad effects and an insane plot about the titular alien teaming up with children to break his brother out of United States government custody. The movie was a critical and commercial flop, and most of the people who know about it at all know about it thanks to Redlettermedia. However, the Youtubers refused to watch the movie for a very long time despite fan demand because they found it amusing (in fun troll fashion, they similarly refused to review The Batman, even after promising to do so if a comment they left on a particular video received over 100,000 likes, which it promptly did). 

Why, then, did the Redlettermedia boys finally cave in and not only watch Nukie but destroy all but one of their VHS copies of the movie? The group recently discovered the practice of third-party companies that will officially grade VHS tapes the same way that, say, a vintage baseball card or comic can be graded, all in hopes of making a big profit. Redlettermedia thought the entire thing was silly (for example, with a sealed tape, all a third-party grader can do is evaluate the packaging, and the video content could have degraded or even been exposed to a magnet, erasing it entirely), but they also saw an opportunity to test the grading experience out with their most infamous VHS tape.

nukie vhs

In the video, the Redlettermedia crew touches on the basic economic concept that the rarer something is, the more valuable it will become. So, they not only got one of their copies of Nukie on VHS professionally graded, but they then made a flashy demonstration of destroying all of their other copies with a woodchipper. After they posted the video, it contained a link to an eBay auction where fans could bid on the professionally graded Nukie, and proceeds from the sale would be split between St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Wisconsin Humane Society (the core Redlettermedia crew live in Wisconsin).

In the video where they destroyed their remaining Nukie VHS tapes, these YouTubers expressed severe doubts about whether these professionally graded movies were actually worth much, and they noted how many people have tried and failed to sell their graded tapes on eBay. However, their own auction ended up being far more successful than anyone could imagine, with the tape ultimately selling for $80,600. Fans of Redlettermedia were quite shocked at how high the bidding is, and we like to think that somewhere, Rich Evans (the heart of the group and the surprising origin for those weird “Dick the Birthday Boy” t-shirts) is laughing harder than he has ever laughed before.