I have very fond memories of wandering around in video stores and looking at all the movies I would love to own that were prohibitively expensive at the time.
And being a big horror freak, VHS gave me my first look at the forbidden when I was too young to see R rated movies.
And indeed, one night I was at a friends house, he opened a video cabinet, and we spent much of the weekend, watching a bunch of horror films we were too young to be seeing, including Friday the 13th, When a Stranger Calls (still a big favorite), one of the gorier Halloween sequels, and more.
Soon, my parents couldn’t stop me from renting horror flicks by the score, and I became a card carrying horror nut for life.
As Uncle Bob Martin, the original editor of Fangoria magazine, says, “During the years that Fangoria became established and something of an institution, what really happened was the video age, and being R didn’t mean you couldn’t see a movie because you were 16 anymore. When video came in, that’s what opened it way up. It created a larger audience for Fangoria, because kids actually would be able to see the movies that we wrote about.”
So the other week I’m at Frys, browsing through DVDs (while we still have them), and notice a very large box set in the horror section, but resembling more of an overstuffed lunchbox than the usual oblong box sets you can buy.
Looking through the New York Times, I finally figured out why. There’s an underground movement right now in horror to release movies on VHS again, and the box set I was checking out, for the movie Basement, had a VHS version of the movie inside. (The box set is available through Camp Motion Pictures).
Now I doubt this will bring VHS back from the dead, but you never know. Vinyl was phased out and declared dead decades ago, and now it’s back strong because the fans don’t like being told what format they have to use.
This could be the same with VHS among horror fans, and as I write this. And actually, as I write this article, I have a flick crankin’ my VCR in the background – the same VCR I’ve had for ten plus years that’s still in good shape.