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Thrift Store Adventures Volume 5: VHS Edition

The last few themed installments of Thrift Store Adventures turned out better than expected, so I’d like to ride the coattails of Ryan’s review of V/H/S with a discussion of VHS tapes, most commonly found in thrift stores, along with used bookstores and garage sales. To be realistic, VHS tapes are outdated, bulky, you can degrade the tape by rewinding it improperly, you can degrade the tape by watching it too many times, magnets don’t really work well around them and they’re afraid of water. Why watch something on VHS when you can watch it on Bluray? Well, “it’s not available on Bluray or even DVD” is the best answer to that. I collect VHS tapes because they’re cheap, and because I have a fondness for 90s anime. Most have made it to DVD, although when a production studio closes the distribution rights it owned may not be immediately available. Some are formally out of print, or in that græy area until another studio comes along to re-re-release the anime on Bluray. It’s an innocent “thrill of the hunt” kind of collection, where I’ll occasionally look through a thrift store’s VHS selection and see if there’s anything I recognize or anything that looks cool, and might only pay more for something I clearly owned or wanted to own. Here are seven examples of the kinds of tapes I’d buy: Read the rest of this entry

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V/H/S: Found Footage? Put it Back.

VHS poster

The very fact that I spent two hours watching V/H/S with hundreds of other films at my disposal says a lot about the times in which we live.  First of all, with lowering equipment costs and a number of affordable digital distribution methods, the idea that anyone can become a filmmaker is more realistic than ever before.  Second, the ever-expanding number of film bloggers with which I become acquainted on some level or another means that I’m exposed to a large degree of hype for many movies that would otherwise probably fly under my radar.  Sometimes, as with 2011’s Hobo with a Shotgun, this all adds up to a good thing.  On the other hand, V/H/S, an eight-writer-and-director foray into the apparently lucrative “found footage” horror subgenre, underlines an important caveat for all aspiring filmmakers out there; just because the tools are easy to get doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at using them.

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