VHSTORY…

VHSTORY…

I still own about eighty percent of my VHS tapes.

And this is not counting the recorded VHS tapes which feature recorded programs that are now hard to find and mediocre movies that were recorded on impulse and in hindsight didn’t deserve to take up space on my tapes.

Seriously, I have shit like “Lethal Weapon 4,” and “Romeo Must Die.”

As for my official VHS tapes, I just can’t bear to let them go.

Mainly it’s because they were a rarity when I was a kid.

We were very poor, and often times I could only buy actual VHS movies whenever my birthday or Christmas popped around, and then I went hog wild.

Right before VHS went out the back door, I bought stuff like “Enter the Dragon,” and “The Omen,” movies I just can’t let go, and great box sets like “Indiana Jones,” and “Planet of the Apes.” I’m too cheap to really buy the DVD versions and these have some memories attached to it.

I guess there’s that old pack rat side of me who will not let go of these tapes for the simple fact that the poor schmuck in me still says “Don’t get rid of them! They’re still good!” And hey, my VCR still works well.

The first VHS tape I’ve ever owned was “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and once I ventured out beyond kiddie movies, I started buying more mature stuff.

I bought “The Sting” special edition with a playing card CD of the soundtrack, and “The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three,” and “Jaws.” These were the prize jewels of my VHS collection, and now they’re just artifacts for people to look down on.

The best VHS gift I’ve ever received was the “Indiana Jones” box set. It was just amazing. It had a tape of “Young Indiana Jones,” and damn I saw all three movies in one sitting.

The weirdest VHS gift I’ve ever received was “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Why was it weird? I didn’t ask for it, I had no interest in seeing it, and never made any indication that I wanted to see it. Upon opening it, I gave the best performance of my life pretending to be excited for a movie I really could care less about.

Sure, perhaps the movie is great, no doubt, but I didn’t want it. And my aunt put up a story about how she thought I’d love it, when really it seemed she just went to a Blockbuster, picked two copies at random (my uncle received the other), and put up her own performance.

And there are some goodies like “Merlin,” which is a sluggish but fun fantasy, and “Runaway,” which I bought simply because Gene Simmons was in it.

These are fun little memories, and one of the primary reasons why I still cling to them and probably will keep them for another five years or so. I guess it’s why my uncle held on to his Betas for so long, too. Perhaps.

Movies have had such a humongous role in my life, it’s amazing. I spent hours at the video store my aunt worked in, as a child, I discovered horror movies thanks to my mom’s VHS tapes, and in my days as an artist, I spent three hours drawing Moses from “The Ten Commandments” box set.

Why throw them away?

I never understood the inherent scoffing and eye rolls at VHS tapes these days from people who specifically buy DVD. Even when most obscure movies released on DVD these days, AND the bootlegs from Ebay of movies not yet release on DVD are just VHS transfers.

They still work, they still look excellent, so why throw them out? I don’t know, maybe I’m just being stubborn.

I hate to waste, and my VHS tapes will definitely stick with me as long as possible, ya follow?




Posted on January 9, 2008 in Blogs by
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7 Comments on "VHSTORY…"

  1. Beamer on Wed, 9th Jan 2008 4:23 pm 

    Holy shit man! TMNT was my first VHS as well and, yes, I still have it. I’m with you. I can’t get rid of my tapes. Most of mine aren’t even very good, but they’re mine and they’re movies. Those two things pretty much equal permanence. Besides TMNT, the jewel of my VHSes (pretty much all from middle/high school) is Hackers (1995) with a pre-”Girl, Interrupted” Angelina Jolie. VHS tapes at this point are like going back into the old high school yearbooks. Fun and, at times, cringeworthy.


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  2. Dave Lawler on Wed, 9th Jan 2008 10:09 pm 

    I’m right there with you, Felix. I still have an enormous VHS collection I can’t bear to part with.

    I have several box sets of the Star Wars trilogy, the original pan-and-scan (no touch-ups), the THX remastered version, the special edition, as well as From Star Wars to Jedi. I have a box set of Star Trek movies in widescreen, as well as many of the original episodes (purchased, not recorded) I have some classics still not available on DVD. I have Eraserhead on VHS.

    I was at F.Y.E. (a music/movie chain) a few weeks ago doing some Christmas shopping when I overheard a clerk explaining to a customer why they don’t carry VHS anymore. Weird.


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  3. Oskar P. Einarsson on Thu, 10th Jan 2008 3:12 am 

    Ditto.

    I’ll be keeping VHS’s for years to come. I watched a family video some years ago that was recorded in 1982 (I’m not kidding) and it still looks impeccable!

    I know, on lesser tape brands the image gets a bit “tired”. I still can’t help the feeling that proper tapes will outlast most DVD’s, who – as they say – have a tendence to fail CATASTROPHICALLY.

    The VHS will most likely go the way of vinyl, i.e. it’s not going anywhere!


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  4. Phil Hall on Fri, 11th Jan 2008 6:27 am 

    I will not get rid of my VHS videos. Why should I?
    My VCR works and I have tons of stuff on VHS that has yet to be available on DVD.


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  5. Matt Walker on Wed, 16th Jan 2008 10:22 am 

    VHS was a crap format. Waxing and waning about it is ok on a memory level, but to say that it looked great? Now, if you were speaking about laserdisc, then I could see it, but VHS, disentegrating with each passing viewing? Hardly.

    I think a lot of you would agree–have a newly telecined copy of your favorite film on DVD or VHS? I’d pick DVD.


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  6. Bill Robert on Thu, 17th Jan 2008 4:50 pm 

    Hey…I agree with all of you…I still have all my VHS tapes AND my vinyl records. Who cares if it’s old school? It still works, and I am available to enjoy many of my rare VHS and Vinyl titles that are out of print and not available otherwise.


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  7. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Thu, 17th Jan 2008 9:37 pm 

    VHS WAS a crap format, but it was good enough to put on many DVD transfers.

    And I hate to tell you but Laserdisc was defunct long before VHS. Sure NOW it’s appreciated, but VHS was considered THE format back then.

    It’s very easy to jerk a brow and laugh at VHS NOW, but that’s the type of reaction that epitomizes the blog entry.

    Give me a break.


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