I have a love and nostalgia for video stores that runs deeper than probably any other form of nostalgia. My first job was at a video store and I feel like I spent the majority of my weekends in my youth hanging out in video stores. It was just my favorite place to be and sadly a place of the past.
Growing up movie collecting was important to me. My father didn’t believe in buying movies, because he would never watch a film more than once. I, on the other hand, loved to re-watch movies and I loved having a little piece of the video store in my own bedroom.
The first big title on VHS that I owned was 1989’s Batman. I got this for Christmas and it was arguably the video I watched the most.
As I grew older, I began taking my birthday money and Christmas money and buying movies that I liked. My Dad would help out occasionally, but usually it was up to me to build my collection. Not all of my tapes were commercial releases, since I also had a massive collection of blank tapes that I used to archive TV shows, wrestling, and even rented movies in SLP.
By the time I became a teenager and working at Blockbuster, my VHS collection had grown into the hundreds. Flea markets and yard sales had been good to me over the years and I had a little bit of everything. I proudly displayed my movie collection and I kept it until sometime around 2007 when I finally boxed up my tapes and got rid of them.
I won’t go as far as to say I regret that, but some titles I wish I would have held onto. About three years ago, I stumbled upon a small collection of VHS tapes my parents had of mine, but these were movies I cared so little for I left them when I moved out. I brought them home with me, but ultimately decided to discard them as well.
Last year, my fiancée bought me a sealed VHS copy of Scream that I intended on taking to a horror convention and getting signed. Some problems arouse that prevented me from making that trip, but I held onto the tape since Scream has slowly become one of my favorite franchises and it looked good on my shelf.
A few weeks ago, my buddy Michael started collecting VHS tapes again. His purchases excited me and I thought about how much I would love to do the same, but I’ve dabbled in collecting them in the past and I always struggled with it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy trying to hunt VHS tapes down or watching them, I just have this thing about space and living lightly and VHS tapes are bulky.
Also, in the past when I’ve bought some VHS tapes, I’ve bought just random titles I stumbled upon. I didn’t intentionally collect. I didn’t go after those titles I really wanted or the boxes that I had nostalgia for and that was a mistake. I’d look at the tapes and feel like they were useless clutter and get rid of them.
A week ago, I was chatting with Michael about laser discs when I decided to browse some titles on eBay. One search led to another and the next thing I know I had stumbled upon an auction containing the entire Scream trilogy including the widescreen version and director’s commentary. Also included were the first two I Know What You Did Last Summer films and House of Wax. It was an instant collection of films that I liked and I decided to buy it.
When I got the box Tuesday evening, I opened it up and found the seller had included a couple of bonus films: Wrong Turn and Believe. I had never heard of Believe before and the idea of there being a late 90’s horror film that I didn’t know and owned on VHS excited me to no end. I had to watch it and so yesterday I stopped off at a local Goodwill and I got lucky. For $8.99 I found a great Sony VCR that was in excellent condition. It even had the plastic wrap still on the clock display screen.
I had no way of fully testing the unit, but I did plug it in and made sure it rewound and seemed to play the tape that was found inside of it. The Goodwills around me don’t typically sell VHS tapes, so thankfully someone had left their recording of the revival of V in the unit.
I got the VCR home and I sanitized it. Luckily my fiancée had some RCA cables to hook it up. I hit play once the TV was turned on and I had a perfect picture and everything worked great. I was back watching TV like I grew up watching.
I really enjoyed watching my VHS tapes yesterday and I look forward to collecting some more. I think it may be time to rebuild my movie collection.