by Andrew Blossom
When Kate Barr of Scarecrow Video invited me to contribute a column to Scarecrow’s celebration of Independent International Video Store Day, she suggested several possible topics. One of these was Jewels of the Video Fan Collection. This suggestion caused my mind to bump slightly sideways—not to the most precious stones, necessarily, but rather to films I’ve only seen because I work at my particular video store. Here’s a sampling. Without the Video Fan, these films would not exist for me. I hope you’ll seek them out at Scarecrow, or at whatever beloved video store is near you.
by Marguerite Corrigan
I never had the courage to be a harlot. A jezebel. A lady of the night. But I play one in my day-dreams. When I was a child, I dreamt of Scarlett O’Hara, perched on her decrepit plantation staircase clutching a shotgun, glowing in Technicolor. I must have watched Gone With the Wind a hundred times, until the VHS fell apart. I stretched the iridescent film strip between my fingers and wondered how so much beauty could be contained in such a tiny picture.
My love affair with film began on Vivian Leigh’s face. From that point on, I loved watching old movies. I l tried to imagine that I was a siren of the silver screen, teetering on the edge of doom while I was painfully stuck in puberty. For me, film has always been about the power of transcendence, to be lost in the beauty of a detail. A woman’s handkerchief, a glare on the windowpane, soft words whispered in the night. I’m the kind of person who will labor over a detail and I suppose that’s why film appeals to me. Because every detail is a labor of love.
by Bryan Connolly
There are a lot of great things one gets from working at a Video Store. Free rentals! Talkin’ about movies all day! It’s the easiest job ever: rent movies/put movies away! But for me the best thing about working at Vulcan Video for seven years has been renewing my faith in the future of the human race.
I use to get pretty weighed down thinking about the stupidity of mankind and how we are all doomed. I no longer think this. This is based on the interactions I’ve had with kids whose great parents bring them here to rent. First off, how awesome is it that there are kids in 2015 that will have memories of renting actual physical movies from real live human beings. It makes me very happy to know that these kids will have the same nostalgia and memories of looking at shelves and shelves of movies that I do. Second, kids are renting the darndest things these days. A ten year-old is flying through I Love Lucy. A girl and her little brother are watching all of the original Godzilla films. A pre-teen wants to know what the best John Wayne films are. They’re obsessed with 60s Batman and think that Welcome Back Kotter is pretty funny. I got a little dude coming in quoting The Warriors to me. A group of young teens want to watch all the 80’s slashers they can get their hands on. How can this be? Why is this happening? Aren’t they all supposed to be jacked in, surfing the net, drooling over their phones?
by Rhias K Hall
The gothic imagination has long been obsessed with darkness and dread. Gothic literature, starting with Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto focused largely on dark family secrets, shocking revelations, and supernatural phenomenon. Gothic film borrows heavily from those traditions. Gothic stories often revolve around innocent heroines who find themselves isolated in sprawling mansions surrounded by foggy moors, or set on storm-wracked coastlines. Often these women meet and fall in love with men who are not what they seem. Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre who keeps his unhappy ex-wife in the attic, or the charming master of Dragonwyck with his bouquet of Oleanders are prime examples. Other popular gothic tropes are family curses, ghostly visitations, and homes which are tainted by some indefinable evil.