Video Rental Memories

James / September 20th, 2011

Video rental stores. Now a relic of the past. Netflix kicked its ass to oblivion. But I’ll never forget when video stores were commonplace. Growing up, probably 90% of all the movies I’ve ever seen came from video rentals.

That’s history. One by one, I’ve seen all my childhood video stores close down. The last to go was the TLA on 15th and Locust Street, Philadelphia. It just closed for good this past weekend. In college, I was there all the time. Some of my rentals were for my class studies, but most of them were for my own curiosities. This was where I first rented movies like Re-Animator, Brain Dead, Basket Case, Monkey Shines, Laserblast, many of the films I’ve reviewed as part of Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness! I didn’t even realize it would be research to come in handy later. I have much of it to owe to the TLA.

I found movies there that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Most people would go to Blockbuster video. It was a common chain. Their walls were always full of mainstream releases, and always had 50 copies of the latest Adam Sandler comedy. (Literally covering an entire wall). For film fans like myself, who were searching for an alternative, TLA was the place to go. It felt underground. I enjoyed telling people that I go to TLA, just to see their looks of confusion. It was like telling people about that awesome new band you just discovered, that nobody heard of. Actually, many people thought I was referring to the Theatre of Living Arts (A concert venue on South Street).

You’d never see 2 copies of the same movie on the shelf. Their space was utilized well. From head to toe, you were surrounded by shelves of VHS tapes. It was like getting lost in a maze. The titles were arranged by categories. No, not just Drama / Comedy… But “Midnight Cult Movies,” “Golden Age Comedies”… or by actor, or even director. There was a Stanley Kubrick section, a Roger Corman section… You name it. If you were looking for something specific, you could ask for it, and the movie nerds behind the counter would disappear into a secret back area and come back with the movie. I don’t think there was one movie they didn’t have. I imagined there was a bottomless basement full of every title in the world! It was a video store for movie buffs and they used to be open till Midnight which made it even better.

But that’s over. The digital age is here. I have to admit, I have not rented a movie in several years. There’s no reason anymore. Netflix is super-convenient. Delivers videos straight to your house, and you can take as long as you want to watch them. Being able to browse movies online makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. If the movie is available or not, you can find out in only a few seconds. And if you’re lucky, it’s available to watch instantly.

I definitely don’t miss late fees. It sucked having to run back to the video store at the last minute. Returning videos in-person was never fun. When you’d walk into that video store to rent the movie, it was something you were in the mood to do at that very moment. But it always meant that in 2 days or so, you’d be making that same trip back, whether you felt like it or not.

Still, I miss the experience of walking into a video store. I loved wandering around leisurely, looking at all the VHS cover art, and reading the back of the cases. Sometimes I didn’t know what movie I was in the mood to watch, until I saw it there in person. Browsing online does not have the same feel. It’s more like an over-saturation to the mind, seeing all the thumbnail pics on the screen. My brain goes numb. I miss seeing the actual boxes and being physically surrounded by movies.

With that said, streaming movies with Netflix (or other) is the way to go, but it’s still not quite there yet. At least the way I see it. Most of the movies I try to watch are not instantly watchable yet. I still have to wait for the DVD to come in the mail. If there’s a specific movie that I want to watch at that given moment, running to a video store would be the only option. But I’m too lazy for that anyway. Technology has certainly taken over. Until every movie ever made is instantly watchable online, I say the digital age is not completely ready yet.

I don’t miss the video store enough to ever want to go back to it. But it reminds me of a time when life was more leisurely paced. A time that future generations will never experience.

Share your memories of video stores. Know of any left?



  • jarrodterry

    September 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Here in Memphis there’s still an independent video store open in the Cooper-Young district called Black Lodge Video. Its a lot like the store you described, except Black Lodge is spread out on the first floor of a former home. Still going strong today. I went there a while back and rented some MST3K films (The Brain That Wouldn’t Die and Space Mutiny) and their selection is always top notch. You gotta appreciate a place like that. I need to go back and rent some more movies.

  • woodrower

    September 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Well said. There is a local video store where I grew up that is still somehow in business (California Super Video in Pacifica, CA), and whenever I go back home I still always rent videos there with my mom. I only have Netflix streaming, and I have to say, Netflix streaming kind of sucks compared to the video store, at least in selection.

    Thinking about it, I’m surprised about how important the video store was when I was growing up. I used to go there every Friday or Saturday with my parents and rent two or three movies to watch during the weekend. My dad especially knew all the awesome older movies to get. I guess the local video store might be largely responsible for my absolute love of movies today.


      May 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Mos def man. It got me into movies i live to this day. Other ones I hate too haha

  • kenobi1979

    September 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    There is a great video rental place here in Seattle known as Scarecrow Video. You can find ultra rare videos to rent (of course to rent hem you have to put down a deposit on your credit card). They have thousands of videos to choose from, and hey are all broken down into great categories. Next time you are in town for PAX you should check it out, it is located in the U-District close to the University of Washington.

  • TylerBartsch

    September 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    When I was growing up my mom took me and my borthers to rental place to rent a video game and movie for the weekend. We took turns who get to rent a movie or video game. I really love those days. But now I’m older now and I use Netflix now to rent movies now. However I don’t rent video games anymore. If there a game I want to try out. I will just go out and buy it. Like it or not.

    Also James nice article. You made me remember the good old days.

  • laser

    September 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I’ll bet that TLA has nothing on Winnipeg’s Movie Village. Most of the other rental places are gone, but this one’s not going anywhere.

    Why? They carry stuff that you’d NEVER find on Netflix. Obscure art films, obscure foreign films, locally made films, silent films, gay/lesbian films (not my thing, but it’s there), TONS of TV series, sports compilations, B-westerns, not to mention new releases (including new indie films), Blu-ray, and (I especially love this) a HUGE chunk of the cinephile-oriented Criterion Collection (including EVERY Akira Kurosawa film!).

    They do have actor & director sections, you have the option to buy most of the titles, a Canada-wide Netflix-style mail service, late fees are only 65 cents a day, and you can get 10 films for a week for just $14!

    The only thing missing is a VHS section, as there are a ton that have yet to be re-released on disc… 😐

  • eric_c

    September 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Now we know how our parents felt when the last drive-in theaters closed. Kind of a sucky feeling. I’d still rather rent from a store than stream.

    • jrndmmn

      September 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Here in Texas we still have plenty of drive-in theaters.

  • mjcanan

    September 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I used to frequent TLA Video when I was living in South Philly (even though the Hollywood Video on Washington was much closer to where I lived). I ended up moving out to Malvern and discovered there was a TLA Video in Bryn Mawr. Same great selection as the Philadelphia store, organized in all the ways you described in your post. I’ve moved yet again, so I haven’t been to Bryn Mawr in over a year. I wonder if it’s still there…

    • JamesAVGN

      September 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      @mjcanan I wonder too. I knew there was one on South Street but don’t know if it’s there anymore. Also, there was one in NJ. I think Marlton or Cherry Hill, somewhere. It closed a long time ago. TLA was the best, hope there’s still one around.

  • SolidSteve

    September 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Hehehe yeah I know exactly what you mean, we used to have a small privately owned video shop where I used to go bacause it was cheaper than Blockbusters and you got the video for a week instead of just a couple days. This was way back in the days of VHS, and i remember picking up a copy of the original Fright Night and marveling over its cool 3d embossed box, im sure it had a light inside the case as well as it glowed. The guy who worked there was dead friendly and he’d give me his old cardboard standees and film posters when the films they were for got out dated.. happy times!

  • Cendoo

    September 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    All the blockbusters are gone around my area but there is this one store called Family Video thats still doing pretty well. It’s secret to success is simply having the store in a poor neighborhood where no one can afford Netflix. Imagine predicting that Family Video would outlive blockbuster. People would call you crazy xD

  • Trikeen

    September 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    the only rental center left in my town is a local one called ‘Sydney Video’. I’m actually thinking of applying to get a job there. I have very fond memories of renting movies when I was little, and working there would certainly beat the hell outta some cashier gig at McDonalds.

  • MichaelWallen

    September 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    There were sooooo many obscure hard to find vhs tapes back then. And nobody cared how old you where as long as you didn’t go into the “backroom” underage, so i was watching Cannibal Holocaust, Faces of Death, Fist of the North Star, Dead Alive etc etc at a really early age. By the year of 1990 I had seen every horror movie at our local mom and pop shop, a passion i still have today when I see a copy of a movie like Basket Case 1 or 2 sitting forgotten in a yardsale for .50 cents. The glory days are gone but thanks to people like James we can still remember them fondly. Can’t wait till Monster Madness starts. I’ve been watching them since the first one and every year it takes me back to those glory days of my childhood, alone and scared shitless watching those old terrible movies.

  • Zepthire

    September 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    My opinion on renting from a video store Vs. renting or streaming from something like netfilx is the same as my opinion on getting games via download. To me half the fun of renting or buying a movie or game is having that something physical to have in your hands and read, store on a shelf etc. I just dont feel like I get my moneys worth with just a download or disc.

  • RomanNicholson

    September 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Where I live there is an amazing video store downtown. There are 2 floors of the most famous and the most obscure movies you will ever see. On the second floor there are actor sections where there are sections for different actors with all of their movies on the shelf. Even Godzilla has his own category now THAT kicks ass.

    • JamesAVGN

      September 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm

      @RomanNicholson Sounds awesome. What’s the store called?

  • jimbo18

    September 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I miss video rental stores. In my town we had a store called “The way we were” which was within a Radio Shack. I have fond memories of just wandering down the isles looking at all the covers not knowing what I wanted until I found it. But it’s gone now 🙁

  • miguel3979

    September 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I used to go to “Franklin Video” in West Chester, PA (USA). The best part was when I got old enough to go in the porn section and rent porno movies.

  • ZakSindon

    September 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. One thing I’ll always miss from my youth is the weekends when my brother and myself were allowed to to select a handful of movies and stay up all night watching them, eating junk food and camping out in the living room. Most times they were campy horror movies or raunchy ’80s comedies, which happen to put anything that is released in theaters these days to shame, especially in terms of entertainment, style, and creativity. Watching countless movies from all sorts of classic genres sort of taught us the various nuances of humor and innuendo that we wouldn’t have learned anywhere else at that age, as well as forming many different concepts and building blocks, in terms of creative inspiration. In retrospect, I can definitely say the many weekends spent with a stack of VHS tapes next to the Pringle’s and Pork Rinds, without a doubt, helped shape my creative sensibilities in all kinds of areas that aren’t even directly related to film and probably in many ways that I still don’t even realize. I guess what makes me sad is the coming generations (more to the point, my own children, someday) aren’t going to have the privilege of that late-night culture 101. And like you described, James, there is a special feeling about going to personally pick out each of your movies, taking them home and trying to decide which order to watch them in — and then actually spending the whole night just relaxing, watching movies. Back then there were no cell phones and hardly as many interruptions or distractions; like you said: just a leisurely pace that is hard to come by these days. I don’t know, maybe I am just caught up in nostalgia more than anything, but renting VHS is certainly an encapsulation of something future youth just isn’t going to be able to have. At least not the way we did.

    • JamesAVGN

      September 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      @ZakSindon Absolutely.

  • MichaelWallen

    September 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    All old video stores had odd names, the two in my town where Movies and Munchies, and Video Solution. Another thing I remember where the games, especially in the 80’s they always had systems for rent and boxes with obscure crappy accessories. Sure when you got them home they usually sucked but the boxes looked soooooo great it was worth 15 or 20 bucks to rent a Neo Geo or a CDi or something for a few days.

  • foreskin_gump

    September 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Lost Weekend Video in San Francisco is the shit.

    That’s all.

  • BrandonReidWhorton

    September 20, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    movie madness in portland, or. best video store in the universe. massive b-movie, underground selection. thousands of waaay out of print vhs tapes. if they don’t have it, i’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist. recently expanded to cram in more awesomeness.

  • BrianMagid

    September 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    hollywood video. god i miss that place. i dont even care about returning movies. theres such an atmosphere in a video store that i just love. its really a shame.

  • igs204

    September 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    There’s a fun video store in Hell’s Kitchen, NY still around for some reason. It’s on 46th Street and 9th Avenue. I lived nearby last year and it has a bunch of weird movies and old stuff. Unfortunately they got rid of their VHS’s. There used to be a little section for kung fu movies and other cool sections, but the DVD sections are still pretty good. New releases suck, which for me is a nice feature. It’s still got it’s adult section behind a curtain so it’s also got the old West Midtown vibe. There’s a place in the village that organizes by director exclusively and has a whole lot of foreign features, but that’s always felt too pretentious for me. You can’t get something ridiculous without being judged by people who majored in film theory.

  • MarcusAlexanderRickardHolmström

    September 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Thankfully we still video rental stores here but they’re a mix of buy and rental, I heard most of them only make profits of the candy they sell which they always seem to keep a bigger selection of an always fresh. So I suppose it’s true, I don’t think we have any store that has everything, the ones I’ve seen are mostly mainstream but there is a few video stores in the centre of town that carries a heavier selection but they’re mainly buy only. I reckon it won’t take long until they’re gone too though but I think if you have a mix between selling and renting stuff out you have a better chance of surviving the new era. The library also has a lot of movies you can borrow, they mostly stick with movies of some sort of significance though but they do have a lot of old stuff and mainstream stuff but I doubt you can find a horror movie like cannibal holocaust in there. 😛 I mean especially since Children run around there.

  • MarcusAlexanderRickardHolmström

    September 20, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    It’s quite sad though, I loved going down to rent a VHS tape. I used to stand there for hours looking at all the movies, as soon as I got enough money to rent one I ran down during the weekends to check the movies out. I think overall we’ll probably see stores like that go the same way as CD stores. I haven’t seen one of those since I was 16 but really though, the best way a store that rents out stuff can survive is to have other things to provide a costumer. There’s barely any pure video selling stores or CD ones, they’re all mixed with games or clothes and shit these days.

  • CarlWagner

    September 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I’ve got this one in Lyndhurst, OH called Cap’n Video and the guy behind the counter has seen everything. and I mean EVERYTHING! Yeah, he added an adult section cause people don’t rent movies anymore, but hopefully that place isn’t going anywhere. He’s got a classics corner, recent films wall, cool stuff in the center… So yeah 🙂

  • MichaelGanjehlou

    September 20, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    It’s a bitter-sweet feeling reading and watching people like you and the Nostalgia Critic talk about your Nostalgic memories of the 80’s. On one hand, I’m learning a lot and am fascinated by it, but it seems that so many amazing decades, rich with culture, have passed me by. I was born in 1996. Of course, the internet was still kicking off, so no one really imagined anything like Netflix happening any time soon. I did go to the Video Store, with my Mom, and I have found memories of it. But I would only get children’s videos. That experience of being a young adult and hunting for obscure horror films in the “Midnight Cult” section until 12AM is one I will never have. DVDs gradually took over the store, and eventually, they moved to a smaller location and about half of their stock was DVDs, not to mention BluRay was sneaking in too.

    They’re gone now. They left just as 10th grade started for me this year. They set up for a huge “Blow-Out sale” weeks in advanced and I would come almost every day, saving my 5 dollars lunch money to buy Xbox and PS2 Former-Rentals and VHS Tapes. In retrospect, I wish I had come more often, especially when the sale first started, and prepared more in advance. Because of this store, the many Yard Sales where I live, and an Antique store in my town, I’m up to about 40 VHS tapes; but ideally I’d have a VHS tape of every film I’ve ever liked. One day I brought in a list of films I wanted and the seller, who wasn’t that older than me, and they didn’t have any of them.

    I don’t really know why I love collection VHS Tapes so much. My apartment is already a disaster and my room is puny. Besides, I too am subscribed to Netflix and rent most of my films from there. So why spend so much money and use up so much space on them? I really can’t answer that. I would say I was Nostalgic, but I’m NOT, I mostly purchase VHS tapes from the 1980’s and for 80’s films, and besides, I collect Atari and Nintendo games as well. Maybe it’s just that their relics of the past, they’re a part of history, they represent a new wave of technology when people were able, for the first time, to conveniently see some of the greatest pieces from this age-old Art form…

    (PS: I’m PleaseRewind from before. I like this new comment system much more!)

  • PoopsMcgee30

    September 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    James, I just had to post on this post. It brought so many memories back from my early twenties it’s not even funny. You and I are both 30, and I remember my Junior year in college where my classes got 10 times harder and I spent most of my time studying and gave up partying altogether. My salvation was Video Warehouse in Statesboro, GA, where they had every VHS tape known to man (each was a 5 day rental for $1.00 each).

    When I was a kid, I always loved going into a video store and walking through the horror section. I would look at all of the cover art and read the back cover and be fascinated about imagining how scary the movies would be. When I got older, I found Video Warehouse and became addicted renting the very movies that would cause those fearful feelings when I was a kid staring at the cover art (i.e. Phantasm, F13, Re-Animator, From Beyond, etc). My ritual for months that year was to work my butt off Sunday – Thursday, and then Thursday at 3:00pm, I would go down to the video store, rent a stack of movies for $5.00, buy a case of Southpaw and usually buy a 10 pack Taco Bell Burrito/Taco meal, and hole myself in my apartment. It was great because I lived off of peanuts, and I got my horror movie fix. This is where I learned all about horror movies, and your Monster Madness is often a blast to that 80’s B-movie delightness. The movies had such an impact, especially watching on an old VCR (often having to mess with the tapes so they would stop skipping). I, to this day, still have Halloween horror movie marathons with friends, and it all evolved from that year and a half of Video Warehouse Thursday night B-Movie hunting.

    Walking into a movie store is a huge nostalgic feeling. This was before DVD’s polluted the walls with 50 copies of one movie…it was sad seeing the old VHS tapes getting phased out. Thank you, James for posting just brought back some awesome memories.

  • theretrogamer14

    September 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    man I remember the video store (and im only 14) but man did I love it, I would always rent scary movies and my dad would yell at me for watching them in the first place and then there was a time when the last two things I rented from a video store were two ps2 games, (almost a week before Blockbuster closed!) and we never got to return them. I really would have loved TLA if there was one near me ( I live in CT so PH is a ways away!) because on Netflix I can’t even watch The ORIGINAL Karate Kid whats up with that? I really miss being a kid and my parents renting a movie for us to watch that one night we’d order pizza for the occasion (we didn’t go that ofter sadly) so if you can’t tell I really miss the video stores THEY SHOULD COME BACK!!!!!!!!!

  • theretrogamer14

    September 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Oh and by the way on one street (still in CT) theres a store that sells retro games (there are arcade cabinets) manga, anything retro gaming you name it and I’m pretty sure you can rent movies from there too (while they may not be VHS it still feels like when I would rent old scooby-doo VHS tapes from blockbuster) so I just thought you’d like to know

  • MichaelR.Kuck

    September 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    theres still a few of them around my video, family theathere, hollywood video..places like that

  • Marvipe

    September 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I’ve been feeling this way about Borders a lot. even though in recent years my local borders stupidly made a friggn shrine to tween vampire book franchises (yeah, plural) and I couldn’t even go into the place, I still loved going there to get a book when I was a kid. I do NOT like this new kindle or nook or whatever people use now. I like paper books that you can physically turn pages with, and feel the paper in your fingers. the smell of paper, weather old or new, was just awesome. I always bought all my novels there., and I had planned on getting all my books there for as long as I could. but now it seems like I’ll have to go to Barns & Nobles, which is ok, but like James and his video stores, it’s just the principle of bringing back memories, and experiences. Borders used to be one my most favorite stores anywhere (well, before the tween shrine anyway,) and I can’t believe they’re gone for good. I’m going to miss it so much, I mean, yeah I’ve been pissed off at them for having so much retarded twilight shit, but I didn’t want the to go out of business! this new digital age is starting to suck.

  • murphy2112

    September 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Our Movie Gallery franchise shut down a couple of years back. Our Blockbuster is closing down fairly soon. That being said, my favourite local video store growing up is still going strong, as is the one that nobody I know and nobody they know goes to. The chains are dying, but the locals are doing fine where I am.

  • gordtep

    September 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    My earliest video store memories are as a little kid growing up in the 1980s, picking up WWF tapes at a local place called “Video Park.” Going to the video store was always a treat. Like you’ve stated, they’re obsolete, but it’s nice to reminisce of a simpler, “more leisurely paced” time.

  • MattHerrick

    September 20, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Honestly, I used to go to video stores all the time a few months ago. I especially go to the library during October to rent monster movies because they have all the classics, and for free! Yeah driving back is a pain in the ass, but once I walk in the building I’m suddenly in the mood to watch movies again. Last October, I watched all the classic monster films: Dracula, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Wolf Man, and The Mummy. I used to go to video stores because they sell big hit movies at cheap prices, unlike the library. The only reason I don’t anymore is because I don’t have the time. I have school and a job, and the library is much more peaceful of a place. But there are still rental places where I live. Blockbuster still exists here, man. Hollywood Video closed a year or two ago and they sold all of their movies. I got a bunch at really cheap prices, and a few video games to boot. I go to redbox if Netflix doesn’t have a movie I want. And if I’m really in the mood to see a movie I can’t find online, I just go out and buy it. Buying a film gives me a rush. A rush of going somewhere familiar and being able to own a memory. I recently bought King Kong (1933) and I get the same feeling I got watching it as I did when I was a kid.

    So basically what I’m saying is, I go to video stores all the time, although recently I buy more movies. I almost exclusively buy VHS tapes. They’re usually a dollar (or less!) and they work splendidly. I found a copy of Spanish Dracula, factory sealed, for 50 cents, along with Die Hard, Blade Runner, and the original (unaltered) Star Wars trilogy. I don’t see any reason to stop going to places that sell movies. Half Price Books, Goodwill, whatever. I buy movies all the time, and I get the same rush I did when I was a kid.

  • PatrickOD

    September 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Where I live, Staten Island, NY, had a video store very similar to TLA. Same kinda story. Any sort of obscure indie flick was always on hand…. and they still kept their tremendous inventory of VHS tapes long after the DVD and Blu-Ray craze.

    They closed up shop about a year ago, after the FBI and NYPD found a multi-million dollar sportsbook operating out of the store.

    Oh well.

  • Bobakanushe

    September 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    When I was younger, it was a treat for us to go rent a video game or a movie and the one we would always go to was inside of the Lucky’s grocery store. I remember when I would go shopping with my mom, I would always hang out in there and look at stuff while she did the shopping. Good stuff.

  • September 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I think a big problem started when DVDs took over. Older movies are all scratched to shit when you rent ’em because no one takes care of them. It makes me think twice about even driving to the rental place. VHS’s didn’t have that problem.

    We used to have a great video place by campus. It’s still there, but it’s a ghost town now. It was really cool because it was open 24 hours back in the day, had a coffee shop upstairs and an arcade room downstairs.

  • JolietJane

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Oh… you’re making my heart ache James.

    Thanks for writing this.

  • T.j.Street

    September 20, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I still have a Family Video near me where I live. As long as that’s still around, I’m not getting a Netflix.

    It’s just an awesome feeling to just go to the store and walk around. And the prices are pretty good too.

  • nowhere4321

    September 20, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Most of the obscure movies aren’t on streaming… OR available on DVD (at least at Netflix).

    And that sucks.

    Because Netflix (or “Qwikster” … ugh…) will never replace any of their scratched/broken/missing DVDs. Once they are gone, they’re gone.

  • nick.bartosic

    September 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I remember every Friday riding my bike several miles to the video store to rent Final Fantasy II/IV on Super Nintendo. This was just before III/VI was released in the US, so by now most people had played it and it was always available. I rerented it for months, some weekends just leveling players with the time I had available, always using the same save file and praying no one rented it during the week and erased the file. It felt like all that work going to and from the video store was worth it when I finally got to sit down and enjoy the game. I finally did get my own copy, but I never went through so much trouble over renting one game and it’s still my favorite game to this day. Maybe it was because of all that extra running around, but there was something so satisfying in getting to the video store and picking that game up each week.

  • TerrifyerX07

    September 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Good read. takes me back to my old video store, Carrie’s Video. I remember the first time i rented Link to the Past, and Super Mario RPG…two of my favorite games of all time, huge nostalgia thinking about it. I remember seeing the cover for evil dead, brain dead (dead alive), and texas chainsaw massacre. It’s true that something about browsing in person makes the whole experience more memorable. No one in the future is going to have a fond memory of browsing a netflix queue and finding an interesting movie. I also agree though that I feel too lazy anymore to have to visit rental stores for movies anymore.

  • Kevenzz

    September 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I live in Canada and there’s still plenty of rental store here since netflix canada is only starting and nobody knows about it yet, it will probably change in 2-3 years from now.

    I gave a try to netflix last week and most mainstream movie can be found but for exemple I searched for Godzilla movies and there’s only a few of them, there’s also no Gamera movies…no Hammer Horror movies… so underground stuff is still not there yet.

  • jigglyclops

    September 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    My local Blockbuster is still up and running. BUT! Even that franchise made my childhood choice for movie/videogame rentals “Videocentro” go bankrupt. Ahhhh the memories, I experienced a similar feeling when I saw that one close.

  • Rad_Galaxy

    September 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Wow, James! I used to go there, too! Sometimes, I wonder if we’ve ever crossed paths before. If you ever shopped at a Microplay, we probably have.

  • Calavera

    September 20, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I live in a small town that actually still has a video rental store. The other two have closed down, the one that is still open actually did close down but somebody opened it in a different location. I remember when I was in elementary school if you got an A on your report card you would get a ticket for a free video/video game rental! It was awesome! Lol but I remember when we got them around 96-97 it would say “excludes N64 games: ha ha

  • ProgressivePost

    September 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Interestingly, Blockbuster has been able to survive, albeit in a much smaller capacity. They’re even reopening Blockbusters that closed down where I live:

    My memories with video rentals pretty much is limited to the major chains of the 90s such as Blockbuster and Warehouse Video (anyone remember that? Seems not since I can’t find a reference to it online) and one independent chain that was in my local grocery store (which eventually replaced it with a Warehouse Video). And my biggest experiences with video rentals was actually video game rentals, Blockbuster being one of my families favorite locations to rent games and my experience with video rental stores pretty much ending after we stopped renting games (I think most gamers started just buying them after the 90s).

    I still rent movies in a sort of way from my public library, which surprisingly has most of the latest films and a big selection of old films for dirt cheap to borrow.

  • RyanBuckley

    September 20, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I have very fond memories of going to the local video store. Of course, I would almost always opt to rent a video game rather than a movie. There is one problem that would arise from time to time with video game rentals, however. In particular, I personally remember this happening after renting Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy II(IV). After renting and playing a game for seemingly endless hours, the time would eventually come to take it back. With a heavy heart, I would return the game, but have every intention of returning the next weekend to resume my never-ending struggle of good vs evil. However, upon arriving home and immediately rushing to my SNES, I would find that some ***hole had played the game for all of five seconds and taken it upon himself to save his worthless file over every previously existing file – of course including my own. My previous weekends of hard work ruined…

  • metalcommand

    September 20, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Here in the Netherlands, there are movie rental places everywhere. I don’t know anyone who uses Netflix; maybe because it hasn’t caught on in Europe yet. I remember the time you could rent NES/SNES/SEGA games from the movie rental place; I used to rent the Goof Troop game because I couldn’t find it in the stores. Sadly, they don’t rent any games anymore =(

    • metalcommand

      September 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm

      It’s not availabe in the Netherlands, that’s why.

      • Erwinator

        September 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

        @metalcommand My rental places are gone and I live in the Netherlands :L

      • metalcommand

        September 21, 2011 at 9:07 am

        In Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel we had and still have the Primera. In Lombardijen (Rotterdam) you have the Vidioot and stuff. But Primera is still one of the biggest shops you can rent movies. No VHS tapes anymore alas, but they do rent dvd’s and blu rays.

      • Erwinator

        September 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

        @metalcommand Primera? They sell books , pencils?

        My video rental store in Sittard is gone. Also the Videopoint in Born.

      • metalcommand

        September 22, 2011 at 6:03 am

        @Erwinator Yes, they also sell books etc. But the Primera in Nieuwerkerk also rents movies 😛

  • ChrisBaker

    September 20, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I worked for Hollywood Video for about 5 years and i loved it. Before dvd took over we had a ton of obscure horror movies on vhs. I used to take 3 home every night because i got free rentals. The only good thing about the switch to dvd is that we had to throw away all of the vhs, which meant that i just boxed them all up and took them home. Its been years and i have yet to finish all of the tapes that i got.

  • Frantic87

    September 20, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I grew in a small town, so there wasn’t much to do. When the weekend rolled around boy oh boy, was the video store a great place. It wasn’t that far from my house, walking distance in fact. I can still remember going there at nighttime with my older brother. I have memories of renting Killer Clowns for Outer Space and loving it, being scared shitless by Return of the Living Dead, and Friday the 13th movies. There was a section in the back with animated movies, Looney Tunes, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, awesome times. Then later they re-modled the place, by this time they had video game rentals. There was nothing better than renting Resident Evil 2, and playing it all night.

  • Madness

    September 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    You should come to Canada we still have Videotron and many other independent videostore ^_^

    I remember that my brother and I when we were younger went to Videotron every week end to get our “game for the week-end” we did it for almost ten years … :3

  • korahn

    September 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    We had two video stores (not including the selections at my closest convenience store) back home when I was a kid – Midnight Video and The Video Home. The owners of Video Home also owned the single-screen theater up the road from it. Anyway, I remember when I was deemed old enough to spend the night at home alone, I would walk downtown to Video Home and rent a movie (heh, Nightmare on Elm Street was the first I rented by myself) for 99 cents. The store was no bigger than my first bachelor apartment and the smell still holds a place in my heart. Not quite as musty as an old book store, but still classic.

    I’d also go and grab a 2L bottle of Cherry Coke and a bag of Lays Dill Pickle Chips (also both 99 cents each). Good times. The store closed LONG ago (even before Blockbuster made its appearance in my small town).

    • korahn

      September 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm

      I think its one of the reasons I enjoy “Be Kind, Rewind” so much.

  • deaddreams

    September 20, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    we used to have a really awesome local video rental store years ago, until it became bankrupt and a blockbusters took its place… and even both of our blockbusters are gone now :(.

  • Nintari

    September 20, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I’m 32 so I’m from the same generation. I HATE that video stores are gone. There was just something better about heading out to a video store and picking a movie up. There’s just an intangible there that digital doesn’t provide. Plus, you have to remember that all of this has ended up screwing us over. Netflix and Redbox are both in bed with major studios. They don’t let you rent new releases right anyway. Instead, they make you wait a month. This is so Hollywood can make more money on DVD and Blu-Ray sales. Did we have to put with that back in the day? Hell no!! If you were there when the doors opened, you got the movie the second it came out. We had more choices. It was just plain…better.

  • ClayFulks

    September 21, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Yeah no longer can a group of friends go to a video store and rummage through what’s there. I guess that’s replaced by standing in front of a redbox outside the nearest CVS.

    With the death of video stores is also the death of game rentals. As a kid it was awesome to pick through all the games on the wall and trying to find something good. Most of the games were crap, but that excitement of reading the instructions on the way home can not be replaced. That was more fun that most of the games.

  • henry_the_horse

    September 21, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Four Star Video Heaven, Madison, Wisconsin …

    … It’s the best video store I’ve ever set foot in. However they announced this past weekend the’re moving (after 25 years) to a new location down the street. Hope they are doing good, it’s a quality store, and I will support them to the end.

    Growing up in my home town during the late 80s & 90s I frequented a Video Watch. I loved that place. Those were the glory days when an 8 year old could rent anything…that place meant so much to me I still have the original 20 year old membership card for memorabilia. Around 2000 they were bought-out by a Hollywood Video, and Hollywood Video/Movie Gallery defunct last year. No joke, following hearing that news I contacted them via email requesting my accounts complete rental history. The Video Watch takeover was unique where they merged all accounts, etc so nothing changed for members except selection and store front, i.e. company identity stuff. I thought there might be a chance Hollywood Video had this data somewhere. Any way, my brother and I rented so many obscure, exploitation, b, splatter, trash fests on VHS that I can’t remember many of their titles, just bits of memorable scenes. So I wanted the history to revisit them. I explained the aforementioned in the email, they chose not to respond, hahaha.

  • DamienSchweisthal

    September 21, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I remember weekends in my youth, and going down to “Video Update” in my town and renting there 5 for 5 deal. 5 movies for 5 bucks for 5 nights. Friends and i would stay up all night watching movie after movie. I saw some great modern day classics like Evil Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

    We now have a Family Video in our town, and I think they suck. I really hate how they put all their movies in Alphabetical order. It should be by category because 90% of the time when I rent a movie I know I’m in the mood for say a comedy or horror but I don’t know what I want to watch.

    Anyways, off to watch my Netfilx.

  • GideonMasheck

    September 21, 2011 at 2:08 am

    When I visit Astoria, Oregon I go to Video Horizons. It specializes in obscure films or at least ones you wouldn’t find in Blockbuster. I remember growing up I’d always go down to the local Blockbuster, later Hollywood Video, and grab horror films I found interesting. It was part of my youth that I will always be glad to have. Years passed and with Netflix those places began closing down. When I began going to the beach I found Video Horizions which I am happy for. I miss actually going to the store and being able to pick up the exact movie I want. It has a strong nostalgic feeling to it. To this day I haven’t paid for Netflix, I’ve been stealing it from friends. I just can’t let go of some things from the past I suppose.

  • senter

    September 21, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I remember our video store as well. There was an 18+ section too. I was too young to ever go down there and I was kind of curious but at the same time a bit scared to go near it. Our video store sold consoles too. I remember the time where my brother and I rented a Super Nintendo with a game for a few days. Yes you could rent a console. I don’t remember the name of the game, but it was some kind of space shooter. We played all day and night and our thumbs started to become very sore. almost bleeding even. So we grabbed tape and put it around our fingers so we could continue playing. You only had a few days to play after all. Later on we also rented a playstation and played The Lost World. Of course when I or either of my siblings threw a birthday party, we would go to the video rental store to pick out a movie to watch for that day.

    I don’t know if it’s still open. I think last time I saw the building having a different purpose.

    Great nostalgia.

  • SofaCitySweetheart

    September 21, 2011 at 2:22 am

    I JUST took a walk in the village in Claremont, California and walked by a store called “Video Paradiso,” which is much like the TLA you describe. It is a movie nerd’s DREAM, you could find anything there. I haven’t been there in years, but I was very happy to see this place still standing, and just might become a regular customer again after seeing it tonight and reading this post.

    If you ever find yourself out this way again James (about 20-30 minutes from the Twin Pines Mall,) it’s probably worth a visit.

  • MaxAlanZoller

    September 21, 2011 at 3:06 am

    Max Alan Zoller

    VHS rental stores were awsome here in Italy, with vhs’s COVERING the walls. I still have memories of when I used to live in England when I was very young and was secretly terrified by the cover of Charles Band’s “Dolls”…creepy. Actually here in Versilia (coast of Tuscany) rental stores are really good. Netflix is unknown. We have Videovip that is really well organized and has only one copy per dvd.Blockbuster didn’t stand a chance! (and lasted under a year) Of course if you go off to small hidden towns in the mountains I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find an old vhs rental store. And , well that my two € cents.

  • turn4g41n

    September 21, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Howard Hughes Video near the University of Idaho. Every single employee was a movie buff. Foreign films had their own section organized by country. Criterion films were one of the largest sections of the store. The cult classics section was nearly 360 degrees of blaxploitation, dated sci-fi and weird horror. The employees would put on Interstella 5555 at the end of the day and just jam out. And the new releases section had virtually every art house, foreign, and sleeper film from the previous year crowding out the latest insipid romantic comedy.

    It was heaven.

  • TheNikus

    September 21, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Well, I still rent from video stores. Make that A video store. Believe it or not: no Netflix where I lives.

  • ryoga2k

    September 21, 2011 at 3:50 am

    there are still rental stores here in Mexico, mostly Blockbusters, although there are a few independent ones, I know that this is going to change in the next few years, Netflix just started offering their service here in Mexico, I have been thinking this since I saw the ad for Netflix, there’s something about going to video rentals, even if it is a Blockbuster, that makes it an special experience, I remember actually renting videogames in the 90s I don’t do that anymore… I don’t know what to think for some reason I don’t want them to go away.

  • Diegowar

    September 21, 2011 at 3:53 am

    I remember that years ago, I was still quite young, we went (me, my siblings, and my parents) to the video store, but never knowing what to get, and take each time an hour to choose. But the guy that own the place was darn lazy, often he closed at 8pm or something, I remember many times when we went there and it was a disappointement because it was closed.

    Today, I’ll admit it, I use piracy a lot because it’s very convenient, not only I can have the movie in good quality within one or two hours, but also I can find old movies I can’t find anywhere else. But don’t think I’m a total thief, for every movies I’ve downloaded and liked, I then buy it for real. The more I pirate, the more I’m using money to pay movies, and it supports good movies, so I don’t really that big of a guilty feeling, a lot of these movies I’d never have paid to risk hating them (and I don’t watch spoilerful trailers which often don’t even reflect the quality of a movie).

  • JoalHughmanHohensee

    September 21, 2011 at 3:54 am

    reading this just makes me yearn for the “golden age” of video tape rentals. i remember everything you’ve mentioned, and those experiences have earned a great place in my heart. thank you james for giving us a modern perspective on how we used to be introduced to films (and fuck, video games too). you are truly a voice to those of us nostalgic for the 80’s/90’s era.

    you’re right, while there is a cesspool of any movie you could ever want to see online or through netflix, the charm of it all has dissipated. it’s just too easy nowadays. i fear that future generations will be further disconnected from the art of great film simply because there is no “wow factor” anymore to a new film being produced. granted, this works both ways: word-of-mouth is far more commonplace within the past ten years than it might have been in eras before that. in a sense that is positive, but in another i think the overall consensus becomes convoluted in an array of intelligent people, stupid people, people who care about film, and those who don’t. bottom line: you cannot trust the internet.

    either way, i trust you. you’re a smart guy and i will continue to watch and follow you, as i’ve done for the past four years. i love you james. you do a great thing for a lot of us.

  • ilied84

    September 21, 2011 at 4:06 am

    I can relate. I didn’t have too many friends when I was a kid, so I used a lot of time just watching VHS-tapes. Back then, I was the kid in school who knew too much about movies and it was hard to find a person to talk about the awesome films i’d seen. While other kids watched the latest blockbuster movies, thanks to video rental stores, i’d seen classics like Nosferatu, Bad Taste, The Shining, Straw Dogs, Apocalypse Now, Army Of Darkness, Tremors, Die Hard, Rocky, Goodfellas and so on.

    I loved the feeling of going in to my local videostore. There was this smell of stale candy, which they sold as well, but nobody never seemed to buy any. Neither did I for that matter, but I liked the smell. I can’t really explain the feeling, but thanks to that smell and the majestic sight of tall shelves full of cool looking VHS-covers, the videostore just seemed like a different dimension or something.

    Choosing the right movies was almost as fun as eventually watching them. I sometimes browsed around for an hour trying to figure out what kind of film I would like to watch. Usually it was something in the horrorsection. Every movie I picked was because of the cover. Sure, sometimes i’d wind up watching awful movies but I didn’t really mind, ’cause those movies taught me the wonders of camp humor. Boy, they made same fucked up shitty movies in the eighties.

    I wasn’t all good, though. Sometimes you’d rent a movie that was rented too many times and the picture was jumping all over the place. Luckily you got a refund when that happened. I also hated rewinding tapes. It was so annoying when you rented a movie and some asshole hadn’t rewound it.

    Nowadays, I don’t rent movies anymore. DVD’s are pretty cheap, so if I want to see a classic, I just buy it.

  • nathanm1025

    September 21, 2011 at 5:43 am


  • OlaviPössi

    September 21, 2011 at 6:33 am

    For me (i live in finland) there are just as much video stores as there always has been cos here we don’t have netflix. We have some other streaming services such as CDON, but thats way more expensive. It’s like 10 dollars a movie and the payment isn’t monthly. You have to pay every time you rent. Now for me discovering movies started with James’s videos, when I was almost 12 I used to own about 20 movies. First off I started watching AVGN and when I got that cleared i started watching monster madness. Now when i’m 13 I have about 200+ dvds and they are mostly classic stuff (Hammer films, halloween, the terminator) They are mostly horror movies and thrillers. James also got me making movies, so James if you’re reading this I owe it all to you.

  • Meru-Sama

    September 21, 2011 at 6:43 am

    I had a video store like TLA. It was called Randy’s M&Ms. They had every strange and cult horror movie that you could think of, as well as niche games that the mainstream stores didn’t carry. It was perfect for me. I have fond memories of being in high school and walking there with my best friend to pick up strange horror titles to watch/riff. It closed a few years ago. I was really depressed. By the time it closed, I hadn’t been in years, but it was a part of a good time in my life and I was really sad to see it go.

    I do love Netflix, but so many movies that I want to watch are not instantly available, and I’m not going to pay them another eight bucks a month to wait for a movie to come in the mail. When I want to watch a movie, I want to watch it -now- and not have to wait for it to come in the mail. I do miss the video stores for the same reason you do. Sometimes I just didn’t know which horror I wanted to watch until I picked up the case and said “This one.” Other times, I would have never heard of the movie until I found the case in the store.

    I do know of a few video rental stores left. I think we still have some Blockbusters struggling, and one huge video and game place called Vintage Stock. Every movie and game in the store is available for rent and to buy. It’s not y our traditional movie store, though. They have cards, and old toys, and music, and all kinds of strange things. Still, I love that they have the option to rent if you’re not sure about shelling out $60 for a new game (Although I think they also have rent available for the older games they sell, but I can’t be sure).

    Man, this really took me back. Thanks for the memories, James.


  • ShawnMichaelCox

    September 21, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I worked at one of these places when I was a teenager for almost a year. Movie Magic was the name of the place. It was the kind of small-town place where, at most, you needed two staff members on hand; but rarely even that. I still remember being able to put in random movies on Sundays (we were always dead and I’d open and close by myself) and just sit and veg after everything else was done. I also got to take home as many movies as I wanted provided I returned them the next day. My boss’ theory being that it would make it easier for me to recommend films to the customers that they’d be interested in. It really was a great job, and I got a lot of exposure to a lot of films that I wouldn’t have batted an eye at otherwise.

    I still remember that while I was working there DVD’s were just beginning to become available and I was the one that had to push my boss to make the changeover. At first, he was very reluctant, but the last time I was at his store (roughly eight years ago) you couldn’t find a single VHS tape. In a way it made me feel like I had personally erased a part of history and I seem to recall that I felt bad about it at the time. I did buy quite a few of the rare VHS tapes he had on hand before they were all gone. I remember getting Robot Carnival, Lensman II, and the original (Streamline Dub) Akira VHS tape and I still have them to this day.

    My wife and I live in Japan now, where there are still quite a few rental chains around, but they’re not the mom and pop stores I grew up with. I’ll always remember being 17 years old and working in that store. I’ll always remember looking on excitedly while my boss un-boxed new posters and packages of VHS tapes. I’ll always remember the long evenings spent talking with people from so many different walks of life about a medium I loved. To think that you may never get to have that kind of experience in a place like that again or that my kids will never have that opportunity just… Well, there really aren’t any words for it.

  • MarkGallagher

    September 21, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I worked at a video store for about 9 years. The store had to close because the lease was up and the property owner did not want to renew it, instead opting to increase the size of the next door CVS location. The owner decided to sell all the inventory and move on; the end. But I still saw potential in the place and after talking to several banks, was approved for a loan at an amount the owner agreed to. I showed up with a check and the store closing signs were pulled. I was ready to move the store to a new location that I had scouted when the next day, the owner changed his mind and decided he did not want to sell the store and instead move it on his own. Soul Crushing. He saw my inspiration and got greedy. It’s like the kid who doesn’t play with an old toy then the minute you pick it up, he wants to pull it out of your hands. Since then, I have not stepped foot in an indy video store. All my rentals are online.

  • shawnji_us

    September 21, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I worked at one of these places when I was a teenager for almost a year. Movie Magic was the name of the place. It was the kind of small-town place where, at most, you needed two staff members on hand; but rarely even that. I still remember being able to put in random movies on Sundays (we were always dead and I’d open and close by myself) and just sit and veg after everything else was done. I also got to take home as many movies as I wanted provided I returned them the next day. My boss’ theory being that it would make it easier for me to recommend films to the customers that they’d be interested in. It really was a great job, and I got a lot of exposure to a lot of films that I wouldn’t have batted an eye at otherwise.

    I still remember that while I was working there DVD’s were just beginning to become available and I was the one that had to push my boss to make the changeover. At first, he was very reluctant, but the last time I was at his store (roughly eight years ago) you couldn’t find a single VHS tape. In a way it made me feel like I had personally erased a part of history and I seem to recall that I felt bad about it at the time. I did buy quite a few of the rare VHS tapes he had on hand before they were all gone. I remember getting Robot Carnival, Lensman II, and the original (Streamline Dub) Akira VHS tape and I still have them to this day.

    My wife and I live in Japan now, where there are still quite a few rental chains around, but they’re not the mom and pop stores I grew up with. I’ll always remember being 17 years old and working in that store. I’ll always remember looking on excitedly while my boss un-boxed new posters and packages of VHS tapes. I’ll always remember the long evenings spent talking with people from so many different walks of life about a medium I loved. To think that you may never get to have that kind of experience in a place like that again or that my kids will never have that opportunity just… Well, there really aren’t any words for it.

  • mauler104

    September 21, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Used to work at a video store, me and a co-worker had a tradition of watching Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail every night. Good times.

  • ChrisKitchens

    September 21, 2011 at 7:10 am

    I remember growing up my Dad was the GM at a local video store. He was in charge of buying all the movies and getting them inventoried and getting them to the floor…etc…etc. He brought me to work many of times (I was 8 or 9 years old) and he would let me pick whatever movie I wanted to watch off the floor and watch there in the store. The sound was awesome! He would always bring home the new releases where we could watch them first. And I remember helping him shrink wrap the boxes and typing all the movies into the computer for inventory. It was a wonderful experience that helped me build my love for movies to what it is today and to help me and my father get closer.

  • ChristopherShinn

    September 21, 2011 at 7:16 am

    We had several local video stores in my area that went under, and Hollywood video as well. That’s how I got my VHS collection was going into those stores during the clearance sales and picking up movies for a buck or two apiece. I have some pretty obscure stuff thanks to those sales. It’s sad, but at least it’s better to have these movies than to see them get scrapped.

  • BarryHarmon

    September 21, 2011 at 7:19 am

    The TLA in Chestnut Hill (NW Philly) closed earlier this year, sad to hear the one on 15th closed. I definitely liked that one more.

  • bhaschalk

    September 21, 2011 at 7:21 am

    I agree with James that the digital age isn’t there yet, working in IT for over 16 years now, I, like most can safely assume where it’ll be in years to come. Socially we’re constantly moving to instantaneous results, and before we know it we’ll all be playing holodeck 🙂

    There is however a flip side to convenience. Perusing through the NES isle of videomagic while mom is grocery shopping is a sensation my kids will never know of. Or feeling curious at the content of a game (or movie) without having trailers or internet to spoil the surprise.

    Many things over the years can be related to this, remember record stores? Remember Empire Records? Remember that wall of black and white that was the cassette-tape section of the music store, and those new-fangled, overpriced, big boxed ‘CD’s’ that inhabited a small section up front?

    I see people with their kindles and i-pad’s on the beach reading a “book” and am happy I had the childhood I had, falling in love not just with the characters and story in the books I read, but enjoying the smell of the crisp new hard covered novel’s pages.

    One of my favorite things to do to this day is head up the coast in the fall and hit up those old ass antique stores, and dig through old 19th century literature, the smell of old print is wonderfully unique.

    One day I will certainly be one of those old men that do not envy the technology of my grand-kids’ generation, but happily enjoying the nostalgia in the lack therein of my own.

  • RetroJDash

    September 21, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I remember here is Green Bay we had a small one called Rooster video. They had alot of those obscure titles to rent including an adult section that showcased obscure B adult movies. Not much for the mainstream even in adult section. Of course they had the new releases and popular stuff but we would go there on the weekends. My friends and I would rent stuff that looked bad just to sit and smoke and MST3000 the movies. Good times. They also rented video games but they had a huge selection of unlicensed tittles for the NES. That store and Family Video introduced me to one of my favorite direct to video companies ever, Full Moon Entertainment. I still love their movies like Puppet Master, Dollman, Demonic Toys, and Trancers. I’m happy they have finally been releasing them on DVD. Before it cost a fortune on Ebay to purchase a VHS of Dollman or Puppet Master. Family video is still going strong around here for right now. When they cleared out their VHS completely I bought alot of them including some Full Moon titles.

  • Sully

    September 21, 2011 at 7:31 am

    I remember renting NES games just based on the cover art… There were more video stores than fast food places in Upstate NY. Now all the empty video kings, blockbusters, ho video, independents are pharmacies with Red Box. Most grocery stores had video rentals too. Red Box still has some newer weird indie horror movies though. I’m over Netflix, they don’t have the streaming content, and I’ll just buy a .01 dvd/vhs used from amazon if I want to see something.

  • Jturbo3

    September 21, 2011 at 7:34 am

    My brother and I always reminisce about the old video stores (and not the ones that were chain stores). I remember when we didn’t own a VCR and actually rented one from the store. Our favorite part however was going to the horror section and looking at all the boxes. Now that most movies are on DVD you may have noticed that some artwork has changed on the boxes and for the worse. Netflix has also done this online for some as well. The best store we had though was a place called “Captain’s Video”. It’s theme was like a pirate ship of sorts and even had a talking parrot in a cage! The best part was that they had a room just for horror movies and it was done up like an old house, like in Evil Dead. I also remember as a kid that they had the NES games Bubble Bath Babes and Peek – a -Boo Poker in a glass case, if I was 18 then I would have definitely bought those, and I know James doesn’t own those as well. However, I was able to score Action 52 there for TEN DOLLARS! Full box and instructions to boot. I still have that game as it’s my most prized possession from video game history ( I came awfully close to getting Cheetahmen 2 for $80 once, guy sold it on ebay though).

    Anyways, I really think it’s the experience you had at these stores that really means so much to those growing up in that time. I really miss those stores, and I understand how technology improves service and everything (I myself have not gone to a store in years), but you (or your future kids) will never get that feeling when you walk into the store and look at everything there is to be had. This truly was a staple of my childhood and I dearly miss it, and unfortunately it is a thing of the past.

  • RoninJedi84

    September 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

    There’s one local video store still open in my hometown. It’s been there for as long as I can remember, and I’m glad they haven’t shut their doors yet. Yeah, their selection’s nowhere near what it used to be, but I agree with James that it reminds me of a time when life was simpler. It’s where I caught up on my Friday the 13th knowledge as a kid, and Scooby Doo Meets the Boo Brothers was a constant checkout item.
    There’s also a wooden castle in the center of the store that I remember fondly. It has 2 windows and a door on the “ground floor” and a ramp inside it leading to the “roof” (about 5 feet off the ground). I’d rush through the horror and cartoon sections, pick the movies I wanted to watch, and then spend the rest of the trip off on a medievil adventure while my parents made up their minds. I actually met one of my best childhood friends in that castle, as we hunkered down beneath the ramp in the castle, discussing our strategy for dealing with the ghost dragons wandering the land (the other customers).
    It’s been a few years since I’ve been in there, and I doubt I’ll ever go back for myself. But I did on occassion make the 30 minute trip with my oldest daughter, until the castle stopped being fun (how is that even possible?). I’m glad she got to experience at least one of my fondest childhood memories. My youngest daughter is only 9 months old, and I hope the store stays open long enough for her to get at least one of those memories before it’s too late.

  • JonPonikvar

    September 21, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I gotta ask, James: Have you ever seen or heard of an old horror film called The Granny? The story was about this old, rich grandma whose family wanted her dead for her fortune, but she ends up coming back and killing them all off one-by-one with some of the worst writing and special effects ever.In the mid-90’s I happened to catch it one night on HBO, just by chance. Ever since then I’ve tried to find a VHS or DVD copy of the film but no one ever had it — from Blockbuster to Hollywood Video, even checking more “underground” places similar to TLA. Heck, most of the clerks working there had never even heard of it, but it exists. It’s even listed on IMDB: chance you’ve seen this one, or could find it to include in a future horror review? It definitely fits into the “It’s so bad, it’s good” category. I would almost say it was a made-for-TV film if not for the gratuitous violence and random out-of-place nudity.

  • JonPonikvar

    September 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I gotta ask, James: Have you ever seen or heard of an old horror film called The Granny? The story was about this old, rich grandma whose family wanted her dead for her fortune, but she ends up coming back and killing them all off one-by-one with some of the worst writing and special effects ever.

    In the mid-90’s I happened to catch it one night on HBO, just by chance. Ever since then I’ve tried to find a VHS or DVD copy of the film but no one ever had it — from Blockbuster to Hollywood Video, even checking more “underground” places similar to TLA. Heck, most of the clerks working there had never even heard of it, but it exists. It’s even listed on IMDB:

    Any chance you’ve seen this one, or could find it to include in a future horror review? It definitely fits into the “It’s so bad, it’s good” category. I would almost say it was a made-for-TV film if not for the gratuitous violence and random out-of-place nudity.

  • FullMoonHowl

    September 21, 2011 at 8:51 am

    i was born in 91, but i still remember that same feeling. Loved looking at the VHS covers

  • AndreasPerssonFondell

    September 21, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Plenty of them left in Sweden. Good thing Netflix hasn’t come here yet and even if it did, it still sucks so bad.

  • Erwinator

    September 21, 2011 at 8:58 am

    My Video Rental stores are gone too. 🙁 I loved it to search of hours.

  • BilliamWalterHoare

    September 21, 2011 at 9:16 am

    i remember renting from a store called The Video Connection in Quakertown, PA that was where i would rent all the movies i watched on cable. where i rented my super nintendo games and where i became educated in the WWF, they had every Summerslam, Royal Rumble Wrestlemania video, the store was great. All the VHS tapes were by the spines, so more could be fit on the shelf. I had to settle for West Coast Video after it shut. Some chain stores werent that bad. At a place like Blockbuster they would only carry so many Jason and Michael Myers movies and seeing some could be a pain. I never went to a Hollywood Video or West Coast that didnt carry all

    • Rad_Galaxy

      September 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

      @BilliamWalterHoare I remember that place! It was sad to see them go out of business. They even rented PC games. I remember raiding their store when they were going under. So many awesome SNES games for dirt cheap.

      • BilliamWalterHoare

        September 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

        @Rad_Galaxy haha very cool man, its so cool knowing someone else on here shares a memory like that, the only flaw with these kind of stores was the fact they only rented for one night so i could never get far in a game and my parents wouldnt rent too often due to that.

  • KennyD

    September 21, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I remember going to Pahr-Mor (a now defuct discount store in Ohio) with my mom and going straight to their video rental section… I first experienced Mega Man 2 on the NES from that store. It seemed like every store had a rental section back then…. Even Giant Eagle (a huge supermarket chain) had a very nice rental section that was phased out a couple years ago. And around every corner was another video rental store…. From MooVees to Hollywood Video… We still have Family Video though, which is the only rental store chain around here anymore and the only one that seems to be able to stay alive because while every other major rental chain was raising prices to stay afloat, Family Video had super cheap new and old rentals and awesome service (also they still have backroom porn sections)… They will often send you coupons in the mail to totally wipe out any late charged you have just to get you to come back… They are striving, but every other indie and major chain rental store around here has gone under… I never thought about how my kids and beyond will never get to experience these stores (unless Family Video is still around here)… But it is pretty sad to realize a once booming business has fallen because of a few (one?) online establishment and those damn Red Box things. But saying that, I love Netflix and barely, if ever, go to Family Video anymore. Hell, I barely watch cable anymore with having Netlfix on my AppleTV is better than most anything on TV now a days. But to the days of wandering around movie rental stores on Friday nights, searching the VHS and NES games for that perfect stay up all night title… I salute thee.

  • scronan

    September 21, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Love this post…hell yeah do I have some good memories of rental stories. And I remember those 2 day return times…especially as a kid in the late 80s during the NES era. Somehow those dirty bastards always had that one game that was impossible to find…like Zelda II when it was first released. I called every store in a hundred mile radius, every catalog I could get my hands on…but I could not find it anywhere! Coupled with the fact that I had seen a teaser both in the Nintendo Fun Club News (anyone remember that?) and the Official Nintendo Player’s Guide…I was salivating like a rabid dog to play that game. Turns out, the mom and pop rental store just a few miles from my house had it…and how they managed to get their grubby hands on a copy I will never know. I got the game on a Friday evening and finished it by Sunday afternoon…hardly sleeping or eating as I recall. I really think part of the reason I became so good at finishing games so quickly, even some of the next to impossible ones was due to those rental return times. But then I’d have to take it back…and in the case of Zelda II…it would be almost another year before I finally found my own copy. Thank you, and fuck you, Nintendo! ^_^

    But regarding video rental stores…some of my best memories of them are actually from college in the late 90s. I used to love the social aspect….going there alone or with some buds…we had a local one where they always hired girls to make balloon animals…and usually we knew one of the girls working there so it made for some good times and a lot of inappropriate dick jokes. Walking around the store, looking at movies…it was a great place to kill an hour or so and find that movie you’d always wanted to see.

    I think one of my best memories was a time I was at a party with some friends who got shit-faced drunk…and me being the only sober person there was volunteered to drive everyone to the local rental store sometime near midnight. My stupid friends were stumbling around and decided they wanted to rent anime porn…so I went off to look at the regular movies and bumped into this really cute girl I’d been wanting to ask out. We start talking and I’m about to ask her for her number when one of my friends walks up with some nasty hentai movie in his hand and says in a loud voice “hey man, check this out! Strong sexual conten….oh…ummm…hi there…(finally noticing the girl)…then he stumbled away and the girl kind of looked at me strangely and walked away. At least now I can laugh about it, but at the time I was pretty pissed off but yes indeed, certainly a bygone era and one that I will remember well. 🙂

  • PéterFerincz

    September 21, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Oh James : / I know that feeling 🙂 Video stores were fantastic!

  • Wakkidus

    September 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Here in Knoxville, TN there was a Blockbuster that was still open as of March this year, but it shut down because the chain itself went under. What’s sad is, this Blockbuster was always full of people and seemed to be doing well (probably because it’s near a college campus) and I actually went there and rented a bunch of movies and games for a New Year’s party I had at the end of last year. I was sad when I drove by one day and it was shut down. I didn’t even see a ‘Going Out of Business’ sign in their window during the penultimate week. My fondest video store memory was seeing the ‘pilot’ for the Real Ghostbusters cartoon on the TV in the Kid’s Corner (or whatever it was called) section of a different Blockbuster back in the late 80s. It’s included on the DVD special features of the series collection now, but seeing this as a Ghostbusters fanatic kid was a surprising experience. The GBs are in their tan movie suits and a full version of John Smith’s RGB theme song plays as all sorts of wonderfully animated things are going on. (Here it is for those who are interested:

    Another great video store memory was preordering the VHS of Jurassic Park with my dad at Gemstone Video in 1993. My dad ordered the widescreen VHS and it was when he explained to me that widescreen was better than full screen and I haven’t looked back since.

    There’s a new mom and pop video store that opened about 20 minutes from my apartment that I’m gonna have to go check out… might even do it today thanks to this post!

  • JoshDeFeo

    September 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

    In the next town over from mine there is still a video rental store, which has almost as many VHS tapes as it does DVD’s. The VHS Tapes are only to be purchased though, but I find myself in there searching for obscure movies you have referenced or reviewed. 🙂

  • HeikkiManninen

    September 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Well in Finland Europe we still have plenty of those. But one in particular i remember… It had a HUGE collection of old vhs movies… Action, horror, comedy you name it. Now if you want to rent older movies there is probably only small corners of them in the rentals. Majority of the shelfs are filled with modern crap films like all these Adam Sandler comedies which are already getting VERY old…

  • wildandwoolly

    September 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Hey there,

    There are several of us that are still going strong. We will be celebrating Video Story Day this coming October 15th to remind people about those of us that still exist.

    Besides us, there are still quite a few “cult” or niche stores around. Scarecrow in Seattle (several other indie stores still going there), Le Video in San Francisco, Orbit/TV Eye in Asheville, Black Lodge in Memphis, and I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting. There are also quite a few in Canada, as Netflix isn’t as ingrained there.


    Wild and Woolly Video

    Louisville, KY

    • DanGillmore

      September 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm

      @wildandwoolly I love Scarecrow! I had the thought to mention it while reading, but you beat me to it!

  • prashanth.subramanian1

    September 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    We still have a TON of video stores in India 😀

  • Freddy20_

    September 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Wow I miss the video rental stores in a way.. Me and friends used to go there almost every weekend and rent one or several movies and watch and then force someone’s parent to return them… Of course now it’s easier to get movies, you don’t even have to move outside the house, but it was sort of a special feeling to go and rent a movie.

  • needthisemail

    September 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I have a lot of fond memories of going to local video stores as a kid. Having said that, knowing that those scum bags at Blockbuster have gone out of business makes me very happy. They’re the ones responsible for running most of the mom and pop stores out of businesses in the first place.

  • RyanSanders

    September 21, 2011 at 11:11 am

    There used to be a small store called Video Attractions nearby. They even had an adult section but I was much too young for that at the time.But Blockbuster but them out of business too.

  • HeidiPoe

    September 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I remember browsing the horror section of the old Hollywood Video store when I was in elementary school. I was too young to watch any of those movies (my mom wouldn’t rent them for me), but I studied all the covers and tried to get a feel of what kind of movie they’d be just from the artwork. The cover I remember the most is The Silence of the Lambs. The one with the close-up of Jodie Foster’s face and the death’s head moth covering her mouth. I had NO IDEA what the movie could possibly be about, or why it was in the horror section. The title did sound frightening, though.

    I finally saw the movie when I was in high school and it instantly became one of my favorite movies of all time. From there, I read the book it was based on, and then all the other books in the Hannibal series by Thomas Harris. If it hadn’t been for that video store, I wouldn’t have discovered one of my favorite authors.

  • You Only Live Thrice

    September 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    it still blows my mind that the whole walk in video rental concept is deader than shit.

    if you were to tell me in the 90’s that a company that mails you DVD’s, a few days after you decide to go rent a movie, is going to kill Blockbuster. id laugh in your face

    i dont use Netflix but my friends do. and litterally this passed weekend as we were looking at a ‘going out of buisness sale’ for a Blockbuster, i asked them (because i still dont understand Netflix err Quickster). So what do you do if you want to get off your ass for 30m and go rent a movie? Wheres the market for that?

    Appearently there isnt any!

    i was hoping the maw and paw shops would start re opening again after the Blockbuster beast was slain, but i guess people dont just go rent movies when they feel like watching one. they rent them when they feel like watching one, in 2 days?

    i still dont get it

  • misterhongkongbuffet

    September 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    There was a Blockbuster not far from my house that was one of the last holdouts. For whatever reason, even as Netflix took over and Blockbuster was all over the news on account of its bombing stock prices, that one store just remained open. It closed about two years ago.

    Recently, I have encountered two survivors of the fallout. One of them is a local business that’s been around for at least 20 years. Their neon signage advertises “cheap rentals of movies for families and adults.” This store is also in a very bad part of town and I’ve never been in there. The other survivor I actually stumbled over in a beach town. It was a “general store” type deal and they actually had an entire room devoted to DVDs for rent. They don’t really have to deal with Netflix since nobody wants to change their delivery address for a few days of vacation. Toss in the fact that the only other place within 50 miles to see a movie is a single screen movie theatre and you’ve got a niche where movie rental can survive. Finding this place while I was weathering Tropical Storm Lee in a vacation condo and had finished all of my DVDs was like Logan finding the Old Man in “Logan’s Run.”

  • MichaelKz

    September 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Renting movies was a weekly ritual for my brother and me when we were kids in the mid-’80s to mid-’90s. We had this local video store we would go to and sometimes one that was further away if I wanted to rent a Nintendo game. The one closest to us was run a husband and wife. A real mom and pop video store. They were nice too. There were three movies that my brother rented so often that the owner eventually gave him the videotapes. It really was fun to go in there and look all of the different VHS movie covers.

  • pirate-ninja coalition

    September 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Damn that should be the first of a new series of episodes: the nostalgia nerd!

    I feel the same way about renting videos from an ‘underground’ videostore, there used to be one around the corner from where my parents lived. I spend a ton of money watching the most ridiculous movies u can think of… When the place closed down i bought a big box filled with obscure VHS tapes, its still in my garage somewhere.

    Reading this gave me the same nostalgic feeling i got from watching be kind rewind, thx for sharing that James. I almost love your written content as much as your vids.

  • BallsToTheWalls

    September 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Im not from Northamerica, Im from Sweden. Also over here in Europe video game rental was common. Usually you could rent video games from same stores where you could rent movies. Just some years ago retro video game stores were starting to pop up. In my city of Gothenburg there is 2-3 good retro game stores, so I guess they now have taken the place of the former video game rental stores.In these retro game stores you can buy, sell or exchange games, so its kind of a renting thing. For a fee you can change a game you bring for another, or buy games or sell games you didnt play for a while. If there is any game you miss or wanna play you can just come back later and buy it or exchange it for some other games!

  • TheFishMilitiaShow

    September 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    i remember browsing the Alph Alpha video store here in Mississippi back in the late 80’s and early 90’s until it became a Blockbuster. Thats where I found and played all the classic NES and later SNES games. I remember being about 4 or 5 and seeing Friday the 13th game on the shelf at that video store and about shitted. I loved those movies as a kid and finding a game based on it there was cool. Rented it and played it I remember it being hard and kinda scary. I remember my sister used to like renting California Games a lot. I remember renting Jaws, Mario 3, Bayou Billy, Wheres Waldo, Castlvannia, Festers Quest and so on… I remember back in the day in most video stores and stores that sold games you could only find NES,SNES, or Sega systems and games (before playstation and 64). I never saw or heard of all the other dozens of random systems, i guess i didnt pay much attention to nintendo magizines and such that would have mentioned them. All i knew is what was in the stores. Rented 100s of movies growing up mostly horror movies. As a kid I had a much better knowledge of classic movies than my friends around me cared to have.

  • BallsToTheWalls

    September 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Im not from Northamerica, Im from Sweden. Also over here in Europe video game rental was common. Usually you could rent video games from same stores where you could rent movies. Just some years ago retro video game stores were starting to pop up. In my city of Gothenburg there is 2-3 good retro game stores, so I guess they now have taken the place of the former video game rental stores.In these retro game stores you can buy, sell or exchange games, so its kind of a renting thing. For a fee you can change a game you bring for another, or buy games or sell games you didnt play for a while. If there is any game you miss or wanna play you can just come back later and buy it or exchange it for some other games! ( )

  • orbitdvd

    September 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Video stores are not dead!

    There are still THOUSANDS of us all across North America. Pretty much every rural town has one or two. Most larger cities and university towns still have them as well. A lot of us are still doing fine.

    Why are we still around? Well, many place will never get the technology to handle streaming. Others like myself have adapted to the times. My two stores have vast selections of films and tv shows you will never find on Netflix. We are cheap… $2 for 7 days. Also, many of our customers use us as well as Netflix/Quackster/Redbox. They are smart enough to know that you can’t get everything in one place, and now it looks like a long while before you can.

    I urge everybody that still live near a Mom and Pop to go and rent a movie on Saturday, October 15th… a day many of us are celebrating as Independent Video Store Day. Take your time, shop, browse. Hold the cover art in your hands. Talk to people. If you don’t like the prices or the policies don’t be afraid to talk to the owners. Many of us have changed to accommodate the customer.

    It’s up to YOU to make sure that this is not nostalgia for everyone.

  • cmdugan

    September 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    We had a local chain here in the Twin Cities called “Mario’s Movies & Games” that I used to go to all the time back in the early 90’s. They weren’t affiliated with Nintendo in any way and they didn’t have a ton of VHS tapes but they pretty much had every NES, SNES, Genesis and even Game Boy game available to rent. I think they even rented TurboGrafx and Game Gear titles as well. I agree with James that there was something exciting about exploring all the titles in person, reading the back of the box, and bringing home something that you’d never heard of or weren’t expecting to rent. I remember spending a lot of money and having to wait a couple months to rent an SNES system as well. Those days are long gone.

  • naterecording

    September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I totally have nostalgic memories of going to the local video store on a Friday night and picking up a VHS movie or video game for the weekend. There was always something special about making sure you pick that one perfect movie that doesn’t suck. Being from a small town, we had the luxury of not knowing what a Blockbuster or Hollywood Video was. We had the kind of places that may not have had the absolute best selection, but they treated you well and didn’t nit-pick if you brought your movie back 10 minutes late. Plus, my parents didn’t let me buy a Nintendo when I was younger because they said I would play it non-stop (which I would have), so every once in a while they’d let me rent a game console for a weekend. It was like heaven, and I tried to make use of every spare minute that I could playing games. Then somehow my younger brother ended up with a Playstation and about 30 games. Go figure! But still, I miss those days.

  • Scary German Guy

    September 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    When I was 11 years old, back in 1988 I’d go with my parents to BANDITO VIDEO. It was a massive warehouse space with high unfinished ceilings and giant industrial fans 30 feet up. The store area only made up the front quarter of the space; the rest was empty, dusty concrete floors where kids could tear around while their parents browsed. It was quite the place, and had kind of a seedy feel to it.

    I loved looking at all the movie covers, knowing some of these movies would scare the shit out of me if I ever got the chance to watch them when I was older – and I planned to.

    I’d work up the nerve to really study them, titles like “Return of the Living Dead’ and ‘Scanners’.

    Sometimes the covers were enough to haunt me long after I’d left the store. It really fueled the imagination.

    There was a magic to going there.

    that I never realized til it was gone,

    and its gone now.

    Thanks for bringing back some fond memories. I really miss that experience.

    I think I’m going to take my 5-year-old to the shitty blockbuster down the street. because I’d like to give him that ‘movie store’ feeling, even if I have to settle for Blockbuster. (I actually don’t know if it’s still open.)

    I now realize he might be excited and blown away by the idea of a store filled with nothing but movies!

    What a novel concept, huh?

  • OdieMikes

    September 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    The final Blockbusters just closed (or are in the process of closing) here in Canada. I walked in there and bought about 250$ worth of movies and games. Take into account that prices were low to non-existant and there was an additional 50% off. That was a good day. I suppose I’ll need to create a Netflix account now, but like you mention, nothing beats the feeling of losing yourself in a maze of boxes and cover-art. Plus, we had a mom and pop store until about 6 years ago, and there’s a convenience store that still rents.

  • MattUrban

    September 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I grew up in an EXTREMELY small town in Ohio, with one video store that sounds alot like the TLA. Man, being a kid, and browsing through the horror section will stick with me for as long as I live. Seeing covers like Silent Night, Deadly Night scared the ever living shit out of me. Hitting up the NES and SNES games every weekened when I got my’s something I really miss as a kid. Espicially with the Halloween season coming up. Now a days I find myself mindlessly scrolling through my 300 something instant que…nothing catching my attention…nothing jumping out at me. Last night I scrolled back and forth for about 20 minutes before saying fuck it, and going to bed. It’s definately a different time were living in now..

  • Mikeman2000

    September 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Growing up, I had 2 video rental stores. The local; Abercrombie Video. It was awesome, had plenty of classic movies as well as mainstream ones, and was without a doubt better than the commercial; Blockbuster, which is in the process of selling all of their titles as I type so that they can finish closing down. Although I don’t particularly mind, because our local Blockbuster went downhill the instant they stopped renting out N64 games. Abercrombie Video isn’t as big as it used to be, now sharing the building with Abercrombie Variety, which used to be across the road. Personally, I prefer Abercrombie over Netflix, because Netflix won’t mail DVD’s to my location, and the movies I want to watch are NEVER available online. To contradict that statement, however, I do prefer On Demand over Abercrombie. All in all, On Demand is my choice for movies, Abercrombie for games, Blockbuster for the next ~2 weeks to go BUY movies, and Netflix sucks balls.

  • TwistedSpeech

    September 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I, like you, saw 90% of the movies I saw as a kid from video rentals. I enjoyed all the same leisurely experiences as well. There is a video rental store here where I live that still rents vhs tapes. I try to go there as often as possible, but with no job and no cash flow it’s hard to make my way there as of late. The computer age has destroyed a lot of good things in the physical realm.

  • TomM

    September 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I miss going to the video store. Netflix is great, don’t get me wrong, but I hate how all the movies I want to see are never on instantly through your tv. When I watch movies it’s usually at that moment kind of thing. waiting a few days or whatever it is for the movie to arrive via mail is so annoying.

  • teakince

    September 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    In Chesnee, SC, there’s a store called Eagle Video. One small part of the store is DVDs and some video games, mostly XBOX (not 360) and PS2, but the other, much larger section is all VHS (except maybe the adult section, I never went in there). It was cool, being 11 and surrounded by VHS tapes, which I prefer. There’s just nothing like it. I do miss them, but as I’ve moved, the only places I can rent movies is Ingles, a place that wouldn’t have Watchmen, but would have Miss March.

  • murphy2112

    September 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I actually started a VHS collection recently. My idea is only to pick up movies that really exemplify the video era, so I have stuff like Beastmaster 2 (great thrift store find), Cyborg starring Jean Claude Van-Damme, a lot of movies I rented from the video store as a kid. My prized selection, though, is a 1989-produced tape called Ronald Reagan: An American President. It’s essentially Reagan’s exit-interview with the public, where whoever the hell made the video tried to spin everything he did in a positive light (even his movie career). It’s absolutely fascinating.

  • DanWaygate

    September 21, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I remember seeing older movies in the video store, such as “Food of the Gods” or “Killer Tomatoes” and all those other classic b-movies. I miss the old days, when everything was much simpler, and you didn’t have to check into Facebook every time you go to a Taco bell..

  • ChrisVanVlair

    September 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    There’s one here in Des Moines called “Video Warehouse” and it’s great, Not only do they have movies to rent they sell them and you can order movies as well. It’s really good it’s little over a mile I love getting movies there so much that i can usually make the mile long walk there in little less than two hours

    • derrick554

      September 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm

      @ChrisVanVlair They don’t have bikes or cars in iowa? (kidding of course)

  • JakubTJakub

    September 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I remember renting games every weekend and having to give them back on Sunday, there was no time to waste so I spent many hours trying to beat those games. I got to choose a new game every time unless I didn’t finish the previous one but it was awesome. I also like seeing VHS’s on display, I think they look better then some DVD’s

  • LoraLittleton

    September 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    the one in my childhood neighborhood remains open, but under new ownership. it’s the place where i found all the old classics ive come to love now. it was originially called movieland, but now they call it house of video. ill forever call it movieland.

  • JosephCLamphear

    September 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    there is a video store in my home town to this day. The name of the place is Video 94 bet you can guess what the 94 is for. yep the year that it opened. havent been there in ages…

  • DerekStrickland

    September 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I like how James always brings us back to the past, either as the Angry Video Game Nerd or just as himself. I still think VHS is awesome and that it would be sweet to own a VHS rental store, kind of like in Be Kind Rewind XD

  • mocon04

    September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    “Be Kind, Please Rewind” 🙂

  • mocon04

    September 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    “Be Kind, Please Rewind” One of the greatest stickers ever!

    My local store “Best Video” even put them on the SNES and Genesis games back then!

    • derrick554

      September 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      @mocon04 I remember that! Or getting a disc that says please rewind xD

  • GoldenFrog

    September 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    “A time that future generations will never experience”

    I agree 100%, it had its ups and downs but it was quite the experience back in the day, where technology was still young.

  • September 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    There was nothing better than walking into Blockbuster (sorry) and seeing those huge G.I. Joe and Transformer boxes.

  • September 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I’d love to start my own game rental store like one I went to in Dothan, AL. They sold games too, but I tought it was so cool they rented any game of any kind.

    I would charge people $.25 to rent an Atari game, $.35 NES, $.50 SNES, $.75 N64, $1.00 GCN, and $2.00 for Wii games. Any other game within a generation would cost the same. Intellivision $.35, GEN $.50,PS one $.75 etc. This would be a per day rate, of course.

  • AlexMcmullin

    September 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I remember when i was little i would always go to blockbuster with the family and we would pick a movie out as a family, Some nights i would pick and some nights my sister would pick but it never mattered much cause i was always just so happy walking around the store looking at all the movies asking questions about what that was or whos that! I remember asking my dad what Godzilla was and he said some guy wearing a rubber costume… Thank god i took your advice and watched most of the series! ;P

  • olicool11

    September 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    There’s still a videostore in my region (Quebec), Videotron SuperClub (Very large franchise). The other stores that used to be there, like Super Video Choix, are either closed or too small for competition. Videotron SuperClub is prety good for renting movies.

  • FredFuched

    September 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I see you’re a fan of GG Allin.

    So am I.


  • ChrisWhetsell

    September 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    My grandpa used to take me to the video store every weekend, man. Every weekend I would pick out a cool sci-fi flick to check out. Stuff like the original “Tron” to “The Black Hole”. Those were really good times, chiller times–like you said. I was actually afraid of horror movies when I was a kid, so I would stay away from that aisle almost completely–except to rent the “Jaws” movies, of course. I remember I would have nightmares by just seeing the covers of horror flicks. Now it’s my favorite genre!!

  • imprettysuperbored

    September 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I remember going to Blockbuster once because they had these machines that could print out tiny sticker sheets of pictures from your Pokemon Snap cart. I still have a few of those stickers left =)

  • Syrin

    September 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    There was a place called Award Winners that we used to always rent from when I was a kid. I think at that point my brother and I mostly wanted to rent Nintendo games rather than movies because we mostly watched the movies my parents had taped off HBO or the Disney Channel for us (Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, etc.) Over time, Award Winners and the other small chains slowly all got put out of business by Blockbuster. I remember being sad watching them all disappear. I think Major Video was the only one to survive it, but it wasn’t a convenient location so I never went there.

    I started going to Blockbuster out of necessity. It was nice when you wanted a new release but disappointing when you wanted something older. I was very grateful when Netflix popped up, and even happier to see those Blockbusters slowly start to close just like they had done to their competition. It felt fitting.

    I remember browsing the VHS tapes too. I read a lot of Stephen King in high school, so I would rent the movie adaptations. I remember staring at the other horror covers and being too chicken to rent them. Dead Alive always stuck out as really creepy to me. That’s also how I discovered a lot of anime, looking over the covers until I found something that looked cool and brought it home.

  • stcerberusengel

    September 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    There is a relic from my childhood still functioning today near where I live. It’s a small mom/pop type place where they sell gag gifts, Halloween decorations and rent VHS. They also rented NES, SNES, and N64 games for the longest time. I’ve known the guy who runs it since I was a kid and every time I go in there’s always something to chew the fat about, be it music, movies, or just topics of the day. He has a huge library of VHS and a growing collection of DVDs and all are VERY reasonably priced. With the loss of such great chains from my childhood like Premier Video, Movie Gallery, and Hughes Rental, it’s a great relief to know that this one small store is still keeping its head above water. I do rent from Netflix a great deal, but it’s always nice to walk into a place lined with classic VHS covers as well as new release dvds. One day it will probably be gone, but I hope that’s not for MANY MANY years.

  • creightonmilner

    September 21, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    There are two video stores still running in my town (same franchise). They are both called “Vision Video” and they have a pretty decent mix of both cult/obscure films and more mainstream stuff. One time I wanted to ask out this girl who worked there who was, like, an actually hot hipster chick (I mean, they (girls) all look the same naked, right?) but I knew that she wouldn’t be interested in a preppy guy, such as myself, who generally bathes AT LEAST twice a week. Ah memories…

  • Psykhophear

    September 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • porterism

    September 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Movie Village in Winnipeg Manitoba is lot like the TLA you describe… they even have a Godzilla section! They are still going, and I still go there to buy movies, but like you said, I haven’t rented a movie in ages and I expect the axe to fall on them sooner or later.

  • skinnyluigi

    September 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    “Truro Home Video” in Truro Nova Scotia and “Video Difference” in Halifax NS were my two great movie rental places growing up that were just like the TLA store described… lots of fond memories.

    Warriors of the Wasteland, The Ice Pirates, all the 80s horror classics, lots of awesome obscure movies and weird sun-faded VHS cases lining the shelves….. good times. Got lots of second hand v-games there too

  • yk1989

    September 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    in my country most of them became something called “DVD rental” =P. I have to say they normally look like shit?

  • yk1989

    September 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Besides… I remember the last movie I rented… The first Shreck… Then Dvds took the market out.

  • JoshGhormley

    September 22, 2011 at 12:00 am

    When I lived in Seattle I went to Scarecrow video which it sounds like it was very similar to TLA. I spent a lot of time there renting and buying films. That was the good old days of film school. I do miss it now that I live back in Salem Oregon. There isn’t a store like this. Sometimes I get lucky at the F.Y.E. and now that Borders is closed which I did get The Tingler there. I do netflix only because I can’t go to stores like these.

  • JamesHarris

    September 22, 2011 at 12:02 am

    This has effected me so much that I’ve made posts on Facebook (how modern!). I miss the trips, the walls of videos, holding something in my hand that caught my eye, obscure titles, 80s cartoony artwork, scary vhs covers (hellraiser, child plays, jaws) etc. However, not the prices of Blockbuster, they were a rip off from the start where I lived growing up in the UK. The little independent stores were always the best to me. “Fat Daves” was the one me, my family and my mates use to pop down and visit. I think it was actually called “Happy Daze” but we called it “Fat Daves” as that was the nickname of the dude who ran the place. And we’d get a chuckle whenever he’d get a small step-ladder out to reach for a video that you couldn’t reach and he would often fart whilst reaching for it. Good times ! ;)But I too feel a little sad that everything is being replaced by clicks on a screen. I recall renting Back To The Future 2 and seeing the little trailer for the 3rd one at the end of the film and getting all excited to wanting to go back to the store and rent it. I use to rent Sega games too as a teenager – all this use to make my whole weekend! I have used Netflix on and off but I don’t know, is it laziness over convenience nowadays…? I’d love to see James and Mike make a video and go into more depth about this topic (if they can?). Just thinking about this adds to the nostalgia. So thank you for that 🙂

  • TommyAllen

    September 22, 2011 at 12:40 am

    There used to be a store in my area called Video Express where I would rent from all the time. It was a local business, but they had 3 different locations throughout my county which made renting really easy. Now, the only one left is their main location, and honestly the only reason that place still exists is probably because it has an arcade inside of it which keeps business flowing into it. It was also the place where I first personally bought a video game with my own money (DKC for SNES. It was so nice). There was another video store I frequented a lot as well called Video Update, but they pretty much went out business a long time ago. I think that one was more of a chain location, just not as big as Blockbuster and the like.

  • AdamRuane

    September 22, 2011 at 12:54 am

    That TLA was great, reserved whatever you need, even if they didn’t have it in their stock, super friendly and helpful especially for getting obscure stuff. I had a couple friends who worked at West Coast Vid down the street too while I was at UArts. I moved back to Phil a few years ago and my fiance and I wanted to rent a movie and we found out the hard way as we drove all over the city to find TLA, Blockbuster, you name it closed down.. the shitter was that all the phone numbers and addresses were still listed on the web. BTW Laserblast is great, its also one of the funniest films MST3K does. I remember my childhood places, Prime Time, Electric City Vid, getting NES games were the best, I remember being such a pain in the ass to the counter guy when the SNES came out and I was hounding him to find out when the new games where coming in. They ended up having Castlevania IV, Populous and Pilotwings or something like that. I rented the absolute randomest games from there too like Goonies II, Stinger, Roger Rabbit, Faxanadu and thinking how great they were. How little I knew… I dunno if its the same for anyone else but all those hole in the wall joints always seemed to have massive horror and porn sections too, usually near the games.

  • SamTaurone

    September 22, 2011 at 12:56 am

    If I had a time machine, I would go to the 80’s and live there.

  • SamTaurone

    September 22, 2011 at 1:04 am

    If I had a time machine, I would go back to the 80’s and live there. Rent VHS tapes and NES cartridges, buy audio cassettes and listen to a Walkman. No cellphones, just a traditional land line. Enjoying comic books and magazines on actual printed paper. Metal bands and classic television programming with all the ridiculous commercials, good times.

  • MarkusKooma

    September 22, 2011 at 1:53 am

    I love reading this stuff. It really brings me back to better times when movies came in big boxes and had actual cover art.. Often it made you think you’re going to see the best movie ever even tho the films themselves were sometimes disappointing. I vividly remember the covers for Fright Night, Night of the Creeps and Galaxy of Terror. Amazing stuff. And amazing movies too for that matter. There really needs to be that kind of cover on the Nerd Movie once it’s released.

  • BrossardBeach

    September 22, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Here in Montreal we still have a place like TLA. They also class their movie by director etc…

    Check it out: (it means blackbox in french)

    I wonder if it will suffer the same fate ..probably

  • JeffDean

    September 22, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Oh Yes, I have many fond memories myself…when I was just a kid, there was a video game rental store (strictly video games) that was called TC Games. There was this red haired bastard that ran the store…I call him a bastard because he would purposely horde a lot of the games for his buddies and pretend they weren’t available to rent. But I remember how excited I was each weekend when my dad took me there…I’d wonder if there was going to be anything new or available and it was so much fun. The place didn’t last long, even back then because of what the guy was doing (hording the games) and because better places came out like Jumbo Video, Blockbuster and That’s Entertainment. That’s my favorite place today (That’s Entertainment). It’s been open since my early teens and it’s still open now, however, with Blockbuster gone and like you said above, it’s only a matter of time before this place disappears too…I rented EVERYTHING from this place…only once in a blue moon did I go anywhere else. When it does go, another piece of my childhood will disappear…I used to walk to this place every weekend, usually with my buddies…went as far back as renting NES games from this place, that’s how old it is. I don’t really use Netflix because, not sure if you know, it’s not very good here in Canada….not yet. So I typically rent them but looks like I’ll need to follow the mainstream like everyone else eventually.

    Kind of depressing to see video rental stores go away…but what can you do. It makes sense…

  • griffinmills

    September 22, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Obligatory Le Video in San Francisco post.

  • PatrickDoyle

    September 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

    I can relate man. Liberty Street Video in Ann Arbor, MI was awesome. They had the 666 deal – 6 movies, 6 nights for $6.66. Like TLA,, they specialized in the weird and obscure movies. That’s where I rented Fulchi’s Zombie, Trilogy of the Dead, Star Crash, Rocktober Blood, and a slew of other movies that pretty much shaped my love for strange movies.

    They closed its doors in 2009.

  • KurtWosik

    September 22, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I remember renting Faces Of Death, Crazy Asia and all sorts of notorious videos along with old wwf/wcw ppvs. I wasn’t old enough to check the porn section, but i’ll bet they had some wacky stuff there too.

    The cover art was crazier back then imo, there wasn’t as much viral media to promote those shitty 80’s movies so there’d be stuff not even in the movie on the covers.

  • Scary German Guy

    September 22, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Man, I loved that part. I also loved how desperate he was to be locked up before he changed and hurt anyone, and how he said ‘Thank you’ when he was finally killed.

  • bigorules

    September 22, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I have way to many memories of the video store, but the one that people may find the most interesting is when I was a kid, my Mom and I went to a video rental place called Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, Ca. I was a little kid so of course I was only interested in NES games, but my Mom loved old movies and she used to talk with the clerk at that video store while I was browsing the games. That guy was Quentin Tarantino before he got famous. You can look it up if you don’t believe me, but I swear it’s true. That Video Archives died a long time ago and I think it’s a bagel place now. Interestingly enough, I remember seeing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde there and I DISTINCTLY remember renting Hydlide from there as a kid and being frustrated to all hell. I couldn’t even figure out how to attack for fucks sake. There’s a random connection for you: Quentin Tarantino, Hydlide, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Wow.

  • bigorules

    September 22, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I have way too many memories of the video store, but the one that people may find the most interesting is when I was a kid, my Mom and I went to a video rental place called Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, Ca. I was a little kid so of course I was only interested in NES games, but my Mom loved old movies and she used to talk with the clerk at that video store while I was browsing the games. That guy was Quentin Tarantino before he got famous. You can look it up if you don’t believe me, but I swear it’s true. That Video Archives died a long time ago and I think it’s a bagel place now. Interestingly enough, I remember seeing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde there and I DISTINCTLY remember renting Hydlide from there as a kid and being frustrated to all hell. I couldn’t even figure out how to attack for fucks sake. There’s a random connection for you: Quentin Tarantino, Hydlide, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Wow.

  • JoshZiegler

    September 22, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Yeah I still go to my home town video store in Sandstone MN. It’s called Movies and More I really like the fact it is still up and runing. Alot of my friends are like come on netflix is so much better but hell I like doing it the old way. The last film I rented was Godzilla Final wars and yeah thank you James for makeing me remember how much I love Godzilla films. Your site rocks! Plus I love the idea of renting games and vidoes at the some time too…. LONG LIVE MOIVES And MORE….

  • iressivor

    September 22, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I remember the old Video Escape rental store we had in my hometown in Creston, Iowa. It wasn’t that far from my house as a kid, so my friends and I would often simply walk to the store in the summertime to rent NES games. My uncle and I would also go there religiously on the weekends to rent movies. Last I knew, it was still in business, but I haven’t been inside to check it out lately.

  • Acurah

    September 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I was so upet when our Bockbuster closed at the end of my street. After working at a grocery store next door I used to go in and rent horror movies and bring them back the next time I went to work. I find ti was more convienient to go a video store, and reject netflix until I’ll have no choice to use it. It ruined the movie rental industry and it sickens me seeing Canadian Youtube stars advertising something that destroyed peoples livelihood. No I am not referring to AVGN when I say this. It might not matter to you guys whether a movie store closes down. But it’s really sad to see stores close down in a really small community.

  • ElliottKoepp

    September 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

    When I was a kid, we had a place here in Clinton IA called Roman Video. They had the best selection of horror movies I’d ever seen in one building. They even had most of the exploitation stuff that Cinema Snob reviews! Nowadays the Family Video chain is still pretty big in the midwest, and Redbox vending machines are all over the place.

  • karnman

    September 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I rented videos from Wegmans, the North East grocery store chain. It was always fun to go there and look over the movies and video game selection while my mother shopped. I mostly went there for the video games until they stopped renting out NES games and only carried SNES games. I never had a SNES and I would be very angry if I find out that they had sold them at dirt cheap prices. My family was cursed when it came to video/movie rentals; we could never return them on time and always had to pay a fine. When my father tried to rent a movie he found out that my mom had returned one late and never paid the fine, which had accrued to $40. They cut it in half because they were sympathetic or something. I was a bit blue when they ended their video and game rentals. Competition from Blockbuster and Family Video forced them out, but those too are going away.

  • Panda

    September 22, 2011 at 10:41 am

    We had a store in my college town called VideoUpdate that had 24-hour rentals for $0.49 Mon – Thur. We used load up on the craziest stuff midweek and sometimes only get around to watching half of them, but who cares: it was THAT CHEAP. One gripe I have with Netflix is if you start watching a movie and it really sucks (which happens), you have to wait a couple days to get the next one. Don’t have that issue with video stores. Just hop in the car and go get another one for 49 cents (probably can’t find those deals today).

    • KennyD

      September 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      @Panda Family Video around my area actually has 50 cent rentals on most non new releases (actually 2 for $1.00 but same thing) last time I was in there anyways. They may have raised the prices in the last year though since they are literally the ONLY rental store around here anymore.

  • ratburier

    September 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    captain video in bellevue, ne and the black curtain room with all the pron in the back, RIP

  • ratburier

    September 22, 2011 at 11:52 am


  • WestBuiltAMountain

    September 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I still have great memories of walking to the video rental store and getting an NES game or two every so often. It was a big deal for me when my dad or uncle would take me. Great memory. I had a dream about it last night, oddly enough. I was trying to find the place again kind of like your green dinosaur video.

  • LicaWolf

    September 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    We still have video stores where I live, but it’s definately not the same it used to be. I remember when my parents would take us to the video store and we would be allowed to pick a children’s movie and a video game, and my parents would rent a family movie to watch it all together. When I was a teenager I discovered a video store with more obscure titles, cult movies and anime movies (the only place in town you could find them back then! how the times had changed). I actually tried to find that place again some years ago just to discover that it was turned into a regular video store (with plenty of Adam Sandler’s comedies. Yes). In about ten days, Netflix is going to be available in my country… sigh, technology marches on.

    • Death Nation

      September 22, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      @LicaWolf you didn’t bother saying which country you live in.

      • LicaWolf

        September 23, 2011 at 1:06 am

        @Death Nation If you’re curious, I’m from Mexico…. And correcting myself. After posting my comment, I discovered Netflix is not going to be available in my country in ten days, Netflix was available here since ten days ago, oops. Technology marches on faster than I can keep up, apparently, ha 🙂

  • Will'Wolf'Snyder

    September 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Rent-A-Flick in Memphis, TN. It was literally walking distance from my house and in middle school my dad would give me $5 and let me walk down there and rent whatever. I specifically remember renting Robot Jox and Arena from there. More specifically I remember renting Sega Genesis games from there before I was able to get Sega Channel through our cable provider.

    Its funny, as I’m typing this, I realize that Sega Channel was the “Netflix” for me for video games. I no longer rented games but instead was able to get games directly to my TV. Very ahead of its time.

    Rent-A-Flick closed sometime in 2000. Now its a Foot Care clinic or store or something.

  • September 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    In Spain, were I live, there still are some video rentals here and there, often transformed into general entertainment stores. The old place where I used to rent NES and SNES games every week i could as a young boy is still there, somehow bigger, broader and reconverted into a video and videogame rental/second hand/book and mag store/candy shop kind of thing. In some places things go differently, or at least, slower, i wonder.

  • fullersfrenzy

    September 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I remember going to the video stores frequently back in the 80s. Most of the time it was to rent nes cartridges etc but occasionally I would get a couple of movies that I loved to watch. I remember some of the mom and pop shops allowing you to rent consoles that you could take home for a couple of days too (which was awesome). I liked the local video stores because they were people who lived in your neighborhood/town. My family was at the video store so frequently that my mom would come home with movie posters, promo posters, etc all the time. I remember one of the coolest ones she brought home was the raiders of the lost arc poster.

    Its sad that as we get more and more digital, people are becoming more “connected” but less connected at the same time. I think you lose out on some of the experiences you get to have when you go to a video store. I remember the smells (some good and bad), look, and different genre sections as well. I sometimes miss the simpler times when going to a store and finding that rare video got you really excited since you couldn’t find it anywhere. It’s always nice to remember the past since the future is always being written from it.

  • HKKstudios

    September 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    In Fairfield CT we have a giant indipendint

  • HKKstudios

    September 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    In Fairfield CT we have a giant video rental place Called Media Wave that has the biggest selection I’ve ever seen, there so good they ran Blockbuster out of town

  • jorgegarzon87

    September 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    As a kid I could spent the whole afternoon looking at the art boxes of the horror section in my local video store. I wasn´t allowed to rent anything without the permission of an adult, but just being there and checking those scary pictures made it worth it. I specially remember the “Puppetmaster”,”Hellraiser” and Romero´s series. I think the owner got kind of pissed. I hang waaaay too much in his store.

    Nice memories, though,

  • JoseGonzalez

    September 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I remember over here in Highland park in LA, we had a video store called “Planet Video”. This is where i rented all my snes/n64 games back as a kid. The selection of movies was great, it had all these new movies that came out (i think the last time I went to that store, the newest movie that I remember being there was ‘Pokemon 4ever’ ). it even had a lot of old school movies there too. There was also the room in the back with the red curtain. That was the “pr0n room” as me and a few friends called it. Me and my cousin sneaked in there a few times only to get caught by the people behind the register almost every time.

    The selection of games wasn’t at all impressive. 2 shelves for ps1 games, 2 shelves for n64 games, and 1 shelf for snes games. But that was the only place near my house that I was able to rent games from until the blockbuster opened up a few blocks away on Figueroa and York. But since the variety of games to choose from was small, I ended playing a lot of bad ass games like Super Castlevania IV, Megaman Legends 1 and 2, DragonQuest, and Pokemon Snap. And then there was that dreadful weekend when I rented Superman 64… I don’t even want to describe it that weekend.

    The last time I went back was like 3 years ago or so, and by that time it had merged with a 99c store and became less of a video rental store. I don’t even know if it’s still there… I think it got replaced by a metro PCS store??

  • BenMortlock

    September 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I worked in a video store from 2007 to 2010 I hear you Netflix is a decent service but being surrounded by physical copies of movies is awesome, it is something I will miss. The last time I went to Block Buster I even managed to get a copy of Metroid Prme Trilogy brand new for 20 bucks. That is good for a game that is out of print.

  • puggfugly

    September 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    In the bay view neighborhood of milwaukee, there was a local video store that was as popular as hell called Buckys Super Video. Me and my family would go there picking out random, cult movies. I remember renting Silent Night, Deadly Night and watching it when I was like 5 years old (closing my eyes whenever naked chicks were on screen of course). My parents didnt really care about me watching people get decapitated or anything, but I couldnt see boobs for some reason. I used to rent the crappiest SNES games and somehow skip all the classics (Super Metroid, Final Fantasy’s, Mario Kart, Castlevania, etc.) I distinctly remember when Jurassic Park came out and the dinosaur craze hit Buckys. They started selling dinosaurs toys and plush animals and even JP licensed candy and snacks. I also remember seeing all of the crazy anime covers with naked chicks on em. Alas Buckys closed last year for good…

    But I still use Blockbuster every now and again. Netflix instant watch isnt close to being perfect and Redbox always tends to screw me over with late fees when I don’t take it back the next day, which leads me to forget to ever return em. Its sad that owning a video rental store just isnt profitable anymore, no matter how much you charge. Here’s hoping that netflix reads takes this article to heart

  • JACK8771

    September 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I remember looking at all the horror movies like bram stoker’s dracular. I also remember lookingat N64 game boxes and thinking “Ihave that game” or “that looks cool”. I remember I snuck in the “back room” once and got yelled at. I’ve seen 3 movie rental stores cloes in 1 year.

  • B-manYoshi

    September 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I was saying the exact same thing to my friends about the experience of going to the rental store. My friend is convinced that Internet is the only way to go, but there is a special feeling about going to the movie store and seeing all the movies, at least, it used to. Every Blockbuster in Canada is closing down, it won’t be long until they’re all gone for good.

  • thegamerofmystery

    September 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I used to love going into video rental places. It’s funny how much you appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore.

  • sdddffff

    September 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    >Internet is the only way to go

    Yeah, torrents rock 🙂

  • sbrederecke

    September 22, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Actually, at least in Germany, video rental places still exist. I know of at least 5 within about 15 minutes by tube. I think I know why they still work in Germany (can’t be too sure of the rest of Europe): laws. Germany doesn’t get Netflix mainly due to publishing laws (as far as I know. Layman!) And yes, it is awesome to just walk in and be surrounded by movies and games. Of the 5 I mentioned, 3 still have a VHS section (continually shrinking due to tapes simply wearing out) and they will even rent you a VCR if you don’t have one. Hell, one still has a section for MegaDrive and SNES games. Regrettably, it’s another sign that our robot overlords will take over soon as video rental shops die out.

  • Zaibatsu

    September 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Come to the dark side, we have torrents 🙂

  • Zaibatsu

    September 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Come to the dark side, we have torrents 🙂

  • Zaibatsu

    September 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Come to the dark side, we have torrents 🙂

  • SethCarberry

    September 22, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    ya know it was great back when I was a kid, renting a new NES game on Friday and play through the weekend. But after I grew up, I just didn’t like the hassle of taking it back in time before I got hit by a late fee. So now if I see a movie I want or game I just buy them and hope for the best lmao

  • Dimension

    September 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    well said…

  • Fender126

    September 23, 2011 at 12:20 am

    I dont know if anyone else experienced this..but when i would rent a video game, there was some unique things to that as well. i spent much of my youth renting the newest video game, but I also would constantly rent the classics. i would rent final fantasy II and try to at least get to the underground with the dwarves before being forced to take it back (that meant playing for a long favorite store would photocopy the instrucitons. so its this mental image of these white sheet photocopies of picutres you could barely see from the original instructions cause they were photocopies..and heres the part i remember the most..everyone who rented it would put the passwords (the often rediculously long passwords) on the instruction sheet..i think there was a few unwritten rules that the gaming community shared who rented games..i mean..we wernt even an official never saw these people who wrote the passwords..but you would always put your passwords on the sheet if you got far…i always thought ppl did that so others could see the end of he game if they wanted to..not just because it was convenient to write them was also like anonomous bragging think “oh man..i wonder who got that far and got all those secrets’..and you would never ever save the game at the top slot..because that was the one that either everyone worked on and built up..or someone just beat the out of respect for other players, you just wouldnt do that..unless you were a prick..i cant really proove any of this was really going on..i still wonder if it was just in my head…but there was always a sense i had that there was an unwritten rule sense of respect for fellow renters. and it was neat to be a part of that. saved games and passwords would be there for years..i dont know for sure though..anyone else experience this?

  • supadupanerd

    September 23, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Thanks for the insightful nostalgia James.

    As a fellow child of the 80’s I too wax nostalgic from time to time and this is one of the prime subjects. I recall being the last house on the block to even own a VCR and how exciting that was for me and my sisters back then… (Being able to watch movies… IN your own home! What a concept!)

    I also remember going to the local independant video store to rent movies as a kid and then later to Blockbusters when they opened despite them being further away, because they would let you keep it for 2 nights rather than just 1, also because they had a larger selection than the mom n’ pop shop and even had a big tome of a back catalogue they could order from if you so desired.

    Another thing that i wax nostalgic on is kids riding bicycles like i used to around the neighborhoods… You just don’t see that anymore when they could just come home to the internet and xbox.

    Another thing i wax nostalgic on is the fact that kids don’t ride bicycles around like me and my friends did back when i was a kid, not trying to be a creeper or anything but just something I’ve noticed about the cheapness and ubiquity of video games (which i have a love/hate relationship with)

    I suppose the bigger issue at hand is the vague sense of “technology” and what it does. When there are litterally millions of lifetime’s worth of content out there on the internet and in video games, there literally is something for everyone and I suppose getting out of the house just isn’t in it anymore, not to mention the economy. but that’s another thing for another time.


    September 23, 2011 at 12:27 am

    It’s a shame, all the movies that never made it to DVD are confined to bazaars and flea markets now. What’s worse in my opinion is the lack of video game rentals, and the lack of old games in my local video game store. I just want a convenient romp through a store I may be able to find Samurai Shodown or Battle Arena Toshinden in, it’s so inorganic to bid online.

  • theguajardo89

    September 23, 2011 at 1:04 am

    I remember my childhood video store it was called super video located in a small town right next to our largest grocery store my brother and I would always go to rent vhs,dvd,and n64 games I never thought about it till now but alot of my childhood memories also came from my local video store too, I remember seeing Texas chainsaw massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th all the classic horror movies for the first time all from that video store, kind of makes me sad to think that I can no longer look at my brother and say lets go down the super video and rent something because those days have gotta be some of the best of my life young, fun and without a care in the world

  • BrodieJohn

    September 23, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Hahaha in New Zealand movie stores are still common place.

  • superkokiri64

    September 23, 2011 at 8:17 am

    @BrodieJohn: Same goes for Australia. There’s a Blockbuster a few blocks from where I live, and a Video-Ezy a short drive away. I love video stores, even if they don’t bother having movies they should (No North By Northwest? No Network? No Eraserhead?!).

    Still, even though we don’t have Netflix, the presense of illegal downloading is taking it’s toll on video stores. A Civic Video near where I used to live closed down, and my local Blockbuster has downsized recently. Hopefully they’ll stay around until there’s a good legal alternative, but it’s going to be sad when video stores are gone.

    This TLA place sounds awesome. too bad there’s nothing like that around here.

  • JonnyB

    September 23, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I remember the Milton Video store in my town where the old A&P use to be. I remember how awesome it was when my mom would take my brother and I down there. You could only take two VHS out at a time, so we could each get something we liked. Both my mom and brother would get really mad at me because I would spend over an hour looking at all the movies and deciding which one to take home and watch. Remembering today…..thats the only place I could find movies to watch. Remembering renting Dracula for the first time, seeing my first friday the 13th movie, even B horror such as “Cannibal Campout” (oh and James or Mike….please watch that). Hell as scary as it sounds I could remember how the place smelled lol. Too bad Blockbuster came to town and ran it out of business.

  • Sensemann

    September 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    My neighborhood video store growing up was “Video 1.” It took the place of the awesome, old-timey drug store with the huge glass case full of candy and the real soda fountain counter. The old man who owned the place went to prison for selling a lot of prescription narcotics to people without prescriptions. But I digress. Video 1 had all kinds of crazy movies (I think I saw my first horror movie on a VHS from there) and a ton of NES games, including Back to the Future, which I sadly rented one day. That was $2 that would’ve been better spent on 8 rounds of Mortal Kombat. Which they actually stocked for Genesis right after it was released, surprising for such a little hole-in-the-wall joint. After they dried up, we had to rely on a couple of far-away (on foot) grocery stores, Catalano’s Stop-N-Shop and Acme, both of which had a decent NES selection for only a dollar a day if I recall. I rented Ironsword from Catalano’s a lot. Great game. After Those sources went away around the advent of DVD, we were stuck with the Evil Empire itself: Blockbuster. Different rules depending on when the movie/game came out. $5 rentals and late fees galore. Ugh.

    • Sensemann

      September 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      Hah, I forgot all about Mom’s Mega Video and Mom’s Super Video, two little places oddly enough, located across the street from each other. They had all kinds of great stuff. The only place left from my childhood is “Glengate Video,” a dumpy little place named after the shopping plaza it’s in. I was shocked to see the sign still there when I drove past it a couple months ago. I should’ve gone in.

  • Sensemann

    September 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Hah, I forgot all about Mom’s Mega Video and Mom’s Super Video, two little places oddly enough, located across the street from each other. They had all kinds of great stuff. The only place left from my childhood is “Glengate Video,” a dumpy little place named after the shopping plaza it’s in. I was shocked to see the sign still there when I drove past it a couple months ago. I should’ve gone in.

  • Deefmaster

    September 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    How could you forget to mention renting NES games from the video store! I guess it goes without saying, it was part of the experience. A wall of empty NES boxes (or “locked” cases with cartridges). The games were always dirty and had those photocopied manuals. Slightly less exciting than picking up a slip at Toys R Us and waiting at the register for them to retrieve your game from the magical room in the back, but still fun knowing you got to try out any game you wanted (if it was in stock). The less fun part was when your own clean games made the NES blink because the rental games make the machine itself dirty. That’s something kids today will never experience.

    Most of them are gone here in NYC, but some stores still exist. There’s one on Bay Street on SI that still has shelves full of VHS tapes, but it has mostly foreign/obscure films. I’m sure it’ll be gone soon.

  • Juel92

    September 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I know how you feel. I kinda miss it too.

  • avgnfanfckballs

    September 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    my dad always talks about how it was nice to see all the movies, right there, in front of you. instead of having the oppurtunity to see them all, and decide right then and there, now all you have is thumbnails to look at. it IS mind numbing. james, if your ever looking for something hard to find, turn to torrents. it may be illegal, but cmon, everyone is doing it! love your childhood halloween tape as well. creative then, creative now, and you will never cease to be creative.

  • Devil_Rising

    September 24, 2011 at 6:18 am

    There was certainly something special about video stores. Whether it was renting movies or games, it was always a source of excitement for me as a kid when we’d pull into All The Best Video or some other such place. I remember when my local All The Best opened up their own game station when I was about 12. It was pretty awesome. Every once in awhile my grandmother would give me a few bucks and let me wander down there for an hour or so. It was one of the first things she really let me do on my own, and that made it all the more special.

    I would usually divy what money I got up between the game station, the few arcade games they also had (including my fav. at the time, Samurai Shodown II), and the occasional soda. And more often than not, I would use the half hour or hour’s worth of gaming time I “rented” to try everything I could in that span. Didn’t lead to great playthroughs, but in an age before the internet, it was still fun and exciting to a 12 year old kid.

    And no matter what, while I too think Netflix is more convenient (though I still hate what they’re doing lately), you’re right James. You just can’t replicate the feeling of making that trip to the video store, browsing for a movie and/or game, bringing it home, and kicking back. It was like a ritual. A ritual that is now gone, and like you said, future generations will not know what it’s like. Just like future generations won’t know how cool it was back in the day to go to an actual record store and browse new albums that were coming out. Sad stuff, really. Technology, I think, is both a blessing a curse, in that sense.

  • darkknightdetec

    September 24, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Yeah James, I think I feel pretty much the same way about video rental stores–fantastic memories, but something that’s just not plausible now in the digital age. There used to be a video store across town called “Major Video” that i used to go to when I was really little, and eventually it was bought out by Blockbuster. Around that same time, another video store from the “Hollywood Video” chain opened up much closer to my house, and that’s where I pretty much went to get movies until they finally closed in Summer 2010.

    Once all the stores switched over to DVDs this wasn’t as much of an issue, but do you guys remember back in the VHS days where you’d rent a movie that you’ve been wanting to see forever (especially kids movies) only to go home and discover that the tape was abused beyond belief and putting it in your VCR only gave you a fuzzy picture reminiscent of the movie you wanted to watch? Or even worse–it would jam your machine (which was a NIGHTMARE to unravel without breaking).

    Oh and “BE KIND–PLEASE REWIND” stickers. Every video store had those. But even still, I always found that more times than not, the VHS that I would rent would be curiously somewhere in the middle of the tape. LIke did someone only watch half the movie? What was the deal with that?

  • MikeyNewJin

    September 24, 2011 at 11:26 am

    This was so well written. I feel the same way about video stores. Browsing for videos online is no where near the same thing as going to the local video rental store and looking for movies. Reading the part about the tla store made me feel nostalgic and I’ve never even heard/seen the place before reading this post. Thanks James.

  • September 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Family Video is our last one. Hopefully it doesn’t go anywhere.

  • Lech

    September 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    There was an old Store called Couch Potatoes that wasn’t far from where i lived and we would rent movies there a lot, but now with all the main stream companies increasing more and more and the bad economy it went out of business recently, Now even Blockbusters around here(South Jersey) are closing down, its nice to see a post like this remembering local stores.

  • magnushaavikko

    September 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Ever check out the “adult” section, James?

  • September 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I agree with your last sentence. I wish I could go back in time and grow up with the Movies, Games and experiences you had.

  • September 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Yeah, I remember “Dollar Video” many years ago in West Paterson, NJ. My friends and I used to get a baker’s dozen and spend the weekend watching movies.

  • daemonncorps

    September 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I forget the name, but I’m pretty sure it was a Hollywood Video within walking distance of my house. My dad would always take me and my sister there on weekends right after we picked up some water from the uh… water store (don’t really know the name for those places).

    I always found it strange that video rental places had more horror movies than anything else. At least, that’s what I remember from my experience back in the day. I remember always running through the horror movie aisles just so I could get to the kiddy movie section. I’d always pass by the Silence of the Lambs movie and get a little bit freaked out on the cover alone.

    While you can get a similar experience going to DVD stores, or even the DVD section of Target or whatnot, I do agree that Video Rental stores could never be repeated exactly for future generations to experience.

  • kane117

    September 25, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I too miss the freedom of being able to walk amongst shelves upon shelves of movies. Looking for movies on Netflix is a bit like looking for them through a mail slot, which can be frustrating sometimes. Something else that Netflix is lacking is the option to buy candy, popcorn, and sodas with your movies. I can’t think of The Land Before Time without thinking about Starburst and vice versa. I rented My Pet Monster so many times that my parents finally just bought the tape from the rental store, which I still have to this day, including the original box. Funny thing, though: I never actually had one of the stuffed monsters that the movie was based on. I’d love to have one now just to put it on display.

    You mentioned that you liked seeing the actual boxes and so did I, which makes me think of something related: the box art. Box art today looks fine, but it just isn’t as exciting as old school box art. Back in the day, a lot of box art was physically drawn by hand, giving it a certain amount of charm. Now most box art is put together in the computer, probably in Photoshop or Illustrator, and that allure is just gone.

  • kane117

    September 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I was reading through some of the comments and I was really surprised to hear that there are still stores out there that rent out VHS tapes. I thought that by the time Be Kind Rewind was made, VHS rentals were already history, but clearly I was wrong. I would love to walk into a place still renting out VHS tapes to get a serious blast from the past.


    September 25, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    hey James i know what you mean… back then when i was younger the two main video rental places where i lived in washington was blockbuster and hollywood video but now netflix kicked there ass’s. But theres a place where you can go and get lost in movies all over again… the place im talking about is called BUYBACKS. they not only have DVD, BLURAY, VIDEO GAMES AND CONSALS, but also VHS! but sadly the closest one to you is in Erie and Greensburg Pennsylvania. Other then that i go to goodwill for VHS but don’t count on finding DVD’S there in good conditon

  • werdman24

    September 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Requiescat in Pace movie rental stores. You hold a special place in our hearts for providing a useful service to us all. Now every time I queue something up on Netflix, I’ll remember where it all began.

  • September 26, 2011 at 12:44 am

    I may not have too many memories of video rental stores, but I can sympathize with you, James. For me, it’s video game stores – not rentals. Just walking in and looking at all the games, being surrounded by them, and striking up a conversation with the cashier – there’s a whole experience there that you don’t get when ordering online. I don’t remember going to a video rental store that often, but I understand. It’s always quite the experience. One wonders if video game stores will soon meet that fate as well.

  • discoron77

    September 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Thomas Video in Royal Oak, MI (outside Detroit) is a great indy video store. They have many cult classics there, and they even still have Laser discs for sale! They opened in the ’70s, making them one of the first video stores in America.

  • z_thompson

    September 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    SOME of the video stores here in Moorhead, MN, still have VHS. They used to have separate sections for Blu-Ray, DVD, and VHS, but now they are all stacked together which kind of sucks.

    I’ll do you guys one better though. I grew up in a small town in MN with population 821, and we didn’t have video stores. We had to go to the GAS STATION or the GROCERY STORE to rent movies and video games!!! That used to blow out-of-town guests’ minds!

  • Lodmot

    September 26, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I clearly remember the times I used to go to Cheshire Video to rent Sega Genesis games. I remember renting Theme Park, Sylvester and Tweety in Cagey Capers, Rock n Roll Racing, Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles, and I even remember they used to let you rent video game systems as well. I rented the N64 a few times so I could play San Francisco Rush. That game is fucking hilarious! Then I discovered the Driver series on PlayStation. And dude, survival mode in Driver 3…… You HAVE to do an AVGN review on that game come 6 or 7 years from now! Driv3r… is fucking TERRIBLE!! But survival mode is so ridiculous that it is absolutely HILARIOUS! The cops literally hit you and make your car fly over buildings! I’M DEAD FUCKING SERIOUS! (Don’t mind me right now, I’m a bit intoxicated at this time).

    But getting back to the topic at hand, I remember seeing many movies from the video store. Dr. Giggles, The Gold Rush, which was the first silent film I ever saw, Crash Bandicoot for the original PlayStation, and I also remember seeing Dreamcast games in the video store! I also used to love renting Road Rash 2 and beating the shit out of all the motorcycles while flying 2000 feet high off of insane jumps! LOL!

    If it weren’t for video stores, I would have never had all these memories that I have now..

  • Freaknut

    September 27, 2011 at 3:43 am

    The first one I remember going to was just called “Video Rental”. It was in a shopping mall next to a grocery store. In the back was this little area that was guarded by a red glass door, which is where all the adult videos were kept. I snuck back there once to see what it was all about, and was immediately scolded by my mother (you should never tell a curious kid what not to do :]). There are a lot of good memories there, the best being finding my favorite game of all time, Guardian Heroes.

    I remember the guy who owned and ran it’s name was Eric. He was always hitting on my mom, and bought me one of those little Goosebumps handheld video games (i imagine to try and impress her). Unfortunately, that certain plot was cursed, because after he went out of business, several others attempted to set up shop but were closed down not too soon after. After that, my family and I just looked around for other small video shops. They lasted for a few more years, but I don’t think there’s anymore left (good-bye late fees ;D).

    Anyway, I think that about sums it up. Oh wait! I also recall getting that first Ghostbuster game for the NES. I thought it was broken because nothing was happening and I had no idea what to do. If it wasn’t for AVGN, I might never have. Thanks for that. 🙂

  • Nemmex

    September 27, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Pretty much every movie ever produced is available online, James. You just have to know where to look.

  • September 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this and know exactly how you feel James, theres still plenty of video stores in Chicago. There was one down the block from me in the 90s called Video King I really miss that place and miss renting sega, snes games and movies from there

  • EnigmaBoi85

    September 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    i remember walking into a video store asking if they still had a vhs copy a couple years ago, because i personally still wasn’t ready for dvd upgrade., they laughed at me., so yeah i miss it sometimes too and will not miss late fees either , but i do miss my friend i had that i went with to go rent these things, and video games with back in the day.. and yeah it is truly sad future generations won’t i guess we’re showing our ages here, but it doesn’t matter.. that time really is lost.

  • Lethal Hamster

    September 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I too miss renting out videos and the like. The only rental shop I know of in my city now is blockbuster, which obviously doesn’t rent videos anymore. When I was a kid there was a video shop by my house that had all sorts of random videos and games, I used to walk to the video shop, take out some videos and games, and then usually buy a new fish for my tank from the pet shop next door and then walk home, just content with the thought of staying up all night watching films and playing games. I’m 18 and so in a way, I suppose I’m part of the last generation to really have video shops etc, I can’t see the likes of blockbuster lasting much longer as a psysical shop. The internet really isn’t the same, you can’t stumble across things in the same way.

  • tim_speights

    September 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Awesome. I see you have the GG Allin documentary ‘Hated’. Definitely a classic. Would love to see you review it or just hear your thoughts on GG.

  • September 29, 2011 at 12:39 am

    There’s still an open Blockbuster nearby, which is amazing as most of them are long gone. I’m sure there’s still an independent rental shop or two around in the San Jose area, but I haven’t bothered to look them up because, as you said, online rentals are just too damned convenient and I’m lazy.

    Back when I was little, the neighborhood we lived in was still very new and we didn’t have a major chain like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. They opened nearby stores a few years later, but until then we frequented a small shop called Rent-A-Flick in Mesa, AZ. I don’t remember much about it; just that it wasn’t huge but had a decent selection and friendly people, and all of their tapes were in those big-ass clamshell boxes. I miss those boxes for some reason, even though I don’t miss the insane amount of space they took up.

    And as immature as this might sound, I miss the “adults only” section. I always got a kick out of browsing that area in my high school days. The local Hollywood Video had that section walled off in the back corner, and you had to walk through a fairly long corridor to get to it. It was fun to look at the titles that were knockoffs of real movies (Pulp Friction, for example). Of course, I never actually rented anything from that section.

    Hey, why are you looking at me like that? Stop it. I’m serious, I never did! Stop laughing!

  • sanguintine

    September 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    the best video store i knew of was Audio Visual in Lincoln Nebraska. it was exactly the video store of your childhood-all VHS, sad cardboard cutouts of Jessica Rabbit and Freddy Krueger, a movie-nerd trivia question every week to win free rentals (which was always a Duck Soup question) and it was 5 movies 5 days 5 dollars just like video stores were when i was a kid. they also had the best horror section i’ve seen in a video store to-date. i remember my first rental there even: The Funhouse, Haunted Honeymoon, and Westworld. it closed 2-3 years ago now and broke my heart.
    my other favorite video store is Video Americaine in Baltimore Maryland, which not only is still around, but has some 3-4 locations, everything is arranged by director or actor, they have a good mix of VHS and DVD, a porn room like any good video store should have, and a pretty neat locally-made section which is free to rent.

  • Jenny

    October 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I loved going to the video store as a kid! Some of my favorite games and all time favorite movies as a kid were from what was rented at the video store. The best video store was one called Sunset Video in Appleton, WI, it was a smaller store but it was never picked over and it was cheaper than the chains so my parents always took us there. I remember almost every single time going there my brother and I would ask my mom to re-rent The Wizard, because we loved it so much. My mom eventually bought us the movie, and a couple years later that video store closed down because they built a Blockbuster across the street and it just couldn’t compete :(.

  • SuperSonic

    October 8, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I hear you. Only Rogers is left. Our Blockbuster is having a closing sale. The only good movie I found was Total Recall, on DVD of course. There was nothing like the good old days when the parents would take you out to rent a movie or game from some discount place that had everything and then stopping at 7/11 for slurplees on the way home. Then along came Blockbuster which to me was pretty cool, even though they put Great Canadian Video Network out of buisness. Still being able to rent movies and buy your snacks and drinks in the same building was truly revolutionary. Just like going to the theatre only cheaper.

  • Rom King

    October 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    great show james , long live VHS

  • October 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Rental stores were such a fixture in my life that I used to play “Video Game Rental Store” with my NES and Genesis games. There were two rental places in particular that I loved.

    One was Tropical Video, located three doors down from my first house. To the left of the entrance, there were a couple of saloon doors and a room beyond them with posters for Chucky II, Pulp Fiction, and others–I was never allowed in there, but I looked inside pretty often. I think my brother once ran in there and I went after him; that was quite an experience.

    Why I loved the place was this room in the back. Through a low-ceilinged passage, just the right size for a kid, you would suddenly find yourself in a big white room wallpapered with NES and SNES games! There was a rack in the middle stuffed with Game Boy and Sega Genesis games, too. It even had a little drawing table and toys… just great for kids. You could only rent games for two days at a shot, but I tried some of the best games from that place: Kirby’s Adventure, Little Nemo, Gunstar Heroes, Star Fox, Super Mario Kart… the list goes on. We also got the THX-Remastered Star Wars VHS Set from there.

    When it went under in ’97 or ’98, I was pretty heartbroken. If I had been a little older and richer, I would have bought up so many of their games; as it stood, I could only pick up a few of the pink and white plastic Nintendo cases from the curb in front of the store.

    The other place I loved was Jumbo Video, which still operates a store in my town, though the one I went to closed long ago. They had a theatre-style popcorn machine and let you take a free bag just for walking in–sooo good. There was this cool section of the store that was made up to look like a castle dungeon, under an archway with “Occult” written on it. They had different lighting and everything; of course I wasn’t allowed too close to that place. I think they might have done that especially for Hallowe’en.

    Then there were the games. They had a Sega Genesis in a 6-game demo unit, with Sonic 2 and Eternal Champions, among others. I used to play the crap out of Sonic 2 just because it was there, though I wished they would change the games more often. I rented most of my games from this place–probably 80% of the games I played on NES and Genesis–including my first and most-treasured RPG, Phantasy Star IV. I even tried a couple Game Gear games.

    Sorry, this was probably long enough to be its own blog post. But these are really fond memories for me, so if anyone cares, thanks for letting me share!


      May 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks for sharing. Real cool memories.

  • October 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Here in Canada we had Rogers Video. Rogers [never Roger’s] was a large telecommunications company here and that transferred to their video store, massive, larger than most American stores I went too and they even had a giant video game section too with the latest releases. We didn’t really have any smaller stores or even too much competition. Rogers Video was the shit

  • ProgressivePost

    November 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Practically, Netflix and streaming is a massive improvement and should be welcomed, but sentimentally I miss video and rental stores. As a kid, video rental stores were really video game rental stores to me, as my family were rental gamers until around the late 90s (why we stopped renting I dont know. Can you even rent games anymore?) but as I got older, It became a past time to rent films for the weekend to watch with my brother and friends. I actually do live two indie video stores, I’ll have to check them out.

  • JaysonGeronca

    March 3, 2012 at 2:38 am

    KINECT for Xbox 360 – sets World Record
    *No controllers or remotes “You are the controller”
    *the Kinect sensor recognizes your gestures and movements
    *connect with just the wave of your hand
    *play games, watch TV, movies, & music 
    *Kinect works with every Xbox 360 console
    Kinect sets World Record as the fastest selling electronic device in history
    (sells faster than Apple products and other gaming consoles)
    Own it now

  • JaysonGeronca

    March 3, 2012 at 2:39 am

    KINECT for Xbox 360 – World Record
    *No controllers or remotes “You are the controller”
    *the Kinect sensor recognizes your gestures and movements
    *connect with just the wave of your hand
    *play games, watch TV, movies, & music 
    *Kinect works with every Xbox 360 console
    Kinect sets World Record as the fastest selling electronic device in history
    (sells faster than Apple products and other gaming consoles)
    Own it now

  • Macmarshall18

    March 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    We had movie gallery in my area up until a few years ago. Not only would we rent movies and video games but that’s also how we expanded our movie collection. The store always had sales on DVDS like 3 for 20 bucks and they were always movies that came out recently. But with the invention of the redbox our beloved video store went out of business within 3 months. We still have blockbusters here but now we just buy our movies from amazon.

  • Sean Martin

    February 4, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I still clearly remember riding my bike to Video City in the suburbs of Chicago. I must have been about 10 at the time, and it was the furthest I had ever ridden from home. This particular trip, strangely, had a double impact on my life. For a rather small thing, I wound up renting Milon’s Secret Castle – and never getting anywhere with it. I never bothered with the NES again and didn’t get back into video games until Super Mario RPG. For a bigger thing I remember how exhilarating it was to be be Out There, traveling the great wide open (…of the suburbs. I know. C’mon I was 10). Fifteen years later, I rode my bicycle about 1000 miles across the US. The inspiration for which was that one trip to Video City.

  • BloodRedNitrate

    February 21, 2013 at 12:17 am

    I’m in my late 20s now, so my earliest video store memories go back to the early-mid 90s, I lived in Brooklyn, NY, and my family had memberships with 2 local independent video stores. One was called Royal Video, a very small place, filled with VHS, that always seemed quite disorganized. We’d rent a lot of the new releases from here. They’d prop them on a very small display right on top of the checkout counter. The rest were on the shelves. They had a horror section, and the VHS covers frightened me when I was quite young. Horror later became my favorite genre, a trend I’ve seen others write of. I never had my own NES, we had a genesis, so me and my brother would rent a lot of Genesis games, often the same ones, games like Toe Jam & Earl. I remember being super excited when they first got Virtual Bart in. My brother and I would be allowed to rent Steven Segal and Van Damme movies. We also got old WWF events like the Royal Rumble and Survivor Series tapes in those old beat to shit giant boxes, and old cartoon tapes from the kids section. Sometime in the late 90s there was actually some big arrest and takedown operation the police did on them. I think they were selling or renting some sort of bootleg or illegal/ripoff tapes, and a guy that worked there that lived near me got arrested, possibly. I know that some of the people that worked there before whatever it was that happened, no longer worked there after, but the store continued on after. One of the odd things looking back was they never updated their video game section beyond the 16-bit era. It was the late 90s and they still had SNES and Genesis games, not many, but some, just sitting on the shelf, they never got Playstation or Saturn games or anything. Their horror section had random sequels, rarely full series of movies, like they had Troll 2, but not Troll, Silent Night Deadly Night 5, but not the others, Ghoulies Go To College, but not the others, so some stuff I may have watched out or order, or I’d rent the others, in order, from other places, then get what they had.
    They had a curtained off porn section too. It was a great thrill to return to this same store in 2004, which in the early 2000s renamed itself to Coyale Video, by then I was over 18, and able to finally walk back there and you couldn’t rent any more, only buy, so I bought some porn DVDs, as well as some old horror VHS tapes. I moved a long time ago so I don’t know if they’re still there but back around 2002 they still had plenty of VHS stock along with the DVD.

    The other video store I remember as a kid was actually right across the street from Royal Video (talk about competition huh?). It was called Captain’s Video, and was much larger and more spaced out than Royal Video. I think they had more copies of new releases, and more older movies, we rented a lot of Genesis games from them too. I think they may have sold some popcorn, candy, movie watching type food, and they had a room towards the back of the store with some arcade quarter machines, I think one was one of the Golden Axe games and they had a racing game, maybe a crane machine. But I have much more memory of Royal Video, because even though Captain Video was bigger, for some reason around 1994/1995 they went out of business, and from the time I left Brooklyn in 2002 no other business ever moved into their location, you could still see their sign and just closed metal gates over all the windows.

    Around 1997 or so, we still had no nearby Blockbuster video, but I remember driving a bit with my Dad to the one in Canarsie and being so impressed by their massive video games section, they had much more games than Royal Video ever had. Eventually around 1997/98 a Blockbuster opened much closer, on Ocean Ave. and Ave. U, I would rent an N64 console and Super Mario 64 and WCW vs NWO World Tour for a weekend and it was great before I finally received an N64 of my own. I would also rent old wrestling tapes, they had various WWF and WCW ppvs. A few years after that a Blockbuster opened even closer on Nostrand Ave. and they had a good horror VHS section which included the Night Of The Demons movies, Night Of The Living Dead remake, and a bunch of the late 90s straight to video horrors.

    Around 2000 I discovered this place that had existed for years and years long before that Blockbuster opened up across the street from them, it was called Cardinal Video, the greatest video store I ever got to use. Very small from the outside, but they had THOUSANDS of VHS. They had a book they could check for a certain title for you. All the boxes on the shelves were empty, you had to take the box up to the counter and then they’d give the VHS in a clear plastic case. The best thing was they had HUGE horror and scifi sections, like hundreds and hundreds of tapes, titles I had never seen before in any other video store, many that I never saw after. Back in 2000, movie forums weren’t as prevalent as they are now and there weren’t thousands of cult movie blogs. It was this store around the age of 15 that I really started to delve into the depths of the cult horror, scifi, and exploitation of the 70s and 80s, titles like The Vindicator, Elves, Maniac, Bad Taste, the Texas Chainsaw Massacres, The Stuff, Dawn Of The Dead, Last House On The Left, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, Slime City, and Gates Of Hell.

    This was really the beginning of me just renting movies for myself, my family never rented anything new from here, they got their movies from Coyale Video. I would spend over an hour in my early trips there just taking it all in and looking at all the interesting and varied covers, turning the boxes over and reading what they were about and looking at tiny pictures from the movies. Over the course of just a year I rented a ton from them, and then suddenly it was over. I returned from being away on vacation in the summer of 2001 to discover they were going out of business, selling everything. You could still rent, and I rented a few more, wished I had bought some tapes but I didn’t, and then they were gone, never got to see a ton they had till years later. I kept my old membership card as a memento.

    Shortly after their demise though I discovered 2 new independent video stores. One was called Video Kingdom, I believe it had been in business for awhile, they were located near Sheepshead Bay Road near the train station. They were a small place but their horror section had stuff I hadn’t seen before other places, so I’d rent 2-4 at a time, and one time the owner guy asked me if something was wrong cause I only ever rented horror films, haha. I got a bunch of stuff from them till I left Brooklyn in 2002. I know they changed ownership, renamed themselves to Video SomethingElse, converted over to DVD, and it became a largely Russian video store selling Russian movies.

    The other great indie video store I found and used around 2001-2002 along with Video Kingdom was a place called Neptune Video which was near the intersection of Emmons Ave and Ocean Ave. They had a nice big wall of horror and action VHS, again, they had titles that Video Kingdom and Coyale Video and the Blockbusters didn’t have, a lot of obscure 80s slashers, I got different movies from these different places. The great thing about them was the were real cheap. They had this weekend deal where you could get something like, 4 movies for $4, the only downside was you had to return them within 2 days, but I’d do is watch maybe 1-2 straight off, if that, and just dub the rest, return them, then watch my copies whenever I had the time. On a trip back to NY around 2005, I returned to Neptune and they were still there, and they still had a lot of the same old VHS tapes even though they had a lot of DVDs then. They were owned by Russians, and it’s mostly a Russian area of Brooklyn so there’s a lot of these little indie video stores that have survived because they carry Russian language movies for their local communities. So I rented a few last horror VHS, one was Alien Dead, and that was the last time I was in there, I don’t know if they’re still there but if they are I’m sure all their VHS is probably gone.

    Before I moved to Massachusetts, I visited my future home during the summer and around 1999 or so, I have vague memories of going to a place called All Star Video that was quite spacious, had a ton of VHS. Mostly my parents rented new releases for the family from them. The unique thing about that place was they actually had a little theater set up inside the store with movie seats that had a constant loop of some movie playing on a pretty big screen. They had a cool scifi section and I think I rented Cube there, and I barely knew what the hell it was, but I liked that movie. They went out of business before I moved though.

    Then I moved to rural Massachusetts in 2002, and I went to a video store that was one of the Video Galaxies (there were a bunch of them, Video Galaxy I, II, etc). But I only ever lived close to and saw this one. From 2002-2005 this old guy that had ran the joint since 1985 still had a ton of his original VHS stock. They had a nice horror section with titles I hadn’t seen before in the Brooklyn stores, old WWF tapes, random sports tapes, and one wall of DVDs, where he’d keep new releases. I rented movies like Halloween 4, Basket Case, Demons, The Hills Have Eyes, Burial Ground, and 80s post apocalyptic movies. Some of the shelves were so high you couldn’t even reach those movies. I never asked for him to get them down though, for some movies I just jumped up and knocked down the empty case to bring up! It had that great old video store smell, the dust, the old carpeting. Just about every time I went in there it was so quiet though, and nobody else ever looked at the horror tapes. Usually people would be over on the other side of the store looking at the DVDs and new releases, sometimes people with kids would be over at the kids VHS section. He sold some candy at the counter I never bought. Their prices were a bit high, I think he charged like $3 a rental, but you did get the tapes for like 4-5 days so you had plenty of time to watch. The owner would let me take some of his old posters he’d had up on the wall for free. I still have a The Crow poster he gave me. After my experiences with Cardinal video and Video Kingdom closing down, I was worried the place wouldn’t last very long, and I was right. There was a Blockbuster across the street, which I also rented from, which as most know was even more expensive, but they had some nice horror and scifi sections of stuff Video Galaxy didn’t have. In 2005 I think it was, the old original owner sold his place to new owners and moved to Florida. The new guys tried to run the place but the store was going out of business within like a year, after having been there since 1985, the year I was born. In 2006 they put their old VHS up for sale, at just $2 a tape I did grab some, and then they were gone.

    Around 2003 when Video Galaxy was still open, I discovered my Hollywood Video, the only one I would ever deal with. They had a great huge horror VHS section, I remember renting Black Christmas, Murder By Phone, Nightmare City, and Humanoids From The Deep from them. They were also pretty expensive and not as convenient to get to as Video Galaxy and the Blockbuster across the street from Galaxy so I actually never made too many trips there. The Blockbuster I went to had some cool stuff like Street Trash, Splatter University, Headless Eyes, and Spookies. Then in 2010 the Blockbuster had their going out of business liquidation as other Blockbusters across the country have. Their VHS stock had vanished years earlier, but I did buy some cool decorative items. Also in 2010 my local Hollywood had their liquidation, they had sold all their VHS years earlier and I would’ve bought some but I had no idea when they sold it all, it must have been sometime between 2005-2010, as I said I didn’t get there often. I didn’t buy anything from them as they closed.

    In 2005 I made my last great indie video store discovery. This new place actually opened up in the shopping mall where there was a big grocery store, it was called Annie’s, named after the owner’s daughter. I went in not knowing what to expect and to my great surprise it was similar to the old Video Kingdom or Neptune Video in Brooklyn. They had a GREAT horror section with titles I had never seen for rent like Tourist Trap, and Movie House Massacre. He had a ton of VHS, considering he first opened this location well into the 2000s, yep, they were doomed to fail! haha…the owner was a really nice guy, and I remember him telling me he ran a store out of Boston that I think was bigger, and this was what was left of his stock and he was giving it a go. This place did not last long at all, I remember one day within it seemed just a few months of finding it, their doors were shut and it was gone.

    So pretty much by the start of 2011, I had no local video stores left, none. So for me and many like me, the age of the video store is gone. I know there are still indie stores SOME places as people mention they have them near them, but I don’t, so a store hundreds of miles away may as well be on the moon. For me the era of video stores is over. I’ve used Netflix off and on since 2007, but got tired of scratched discs and their limited streaming selection, and some months I don’t have time to watch much so I haven’t had an active account with them for awhile. My local grocery stores have Red Boxes I’ve used on occasion. With my obscure tastes, as of 2009 I discovered the online world of cult movie ‘trading’ so I’ve been able the past few years to find, and re-find any movie I had ever wanted and thousands more I hadn’t even heard of before for no expense, and if I want to see a new release, I do it that way too, or if I’ve seen a movie in a theater I really like I’ll buy the blu ray.

    I now have so many movies, thousands, I can start with the click of a mouse at any time. If I want to see their cover art or read their plot I can do so with a few more clicks. I have so much to watch it will take me the rest of my life to even come close to watching it all. I often can’t even decide what to watch next, there’s so much on hand. Which is all a great thing, but the downside is, as others have written about, I no longer have the experience of going into an actual store, seeing all the covers, being able to pick up the boxes, read the backs, smell that video store smell, decide what I’m going to watch THAT day, or night, on over the next few days, FOR SURE, because I’ll know I’ll have to return the video soon after I rent it. There was an immediacy and priority given to that movie, whereas now I’ve had movies in my digital collection for 4+ years I still haven’t watched. I love having better quality, widescreen, uncut versions of movies that on VHS were cut, poor quality, and pan and scan, but sometimes I feel very nostalgic for browsing in those old video stores, making my careful selections, sometimes having to walk the movies home if I didn’t have a ride, choosing what order I’d watch them in, watching the previews, seeing some of the after-movie stuff they had, Full Moon tapes had great pioneering behind the scenes featurettes long before DVD bonus features were commonplace. Then having to rewind the tape, get the tapes back in the cases, and making sure I returned them on time. I’m thrilled with the collection I have now and that I don’t have to physically travel around to all these different stores to find different titles and spend all that time and money, but the thrill of the hunt has definitely changed, I won’t say it’s completely gone because there are still a few titles I have to buy on VHS or DVD because they can’t be found online in digital versions…but I will always look back fondly on my video store experiences, as it’s how I first discovered and became exposed to many interesting and fun movies, many of which have become favorites. I still own some VHS tapes, and I’ll make sure I always have at least a few!

  • kyle luther

    April 9, 2013 at 7:02 am

    I think there might be a video store or 2 around here that is still open, I’m not sure though. In the past 5 or 6 years I’ve only gone to a video store to rent video games. Still, the feeling of walking around the video store looking for what I want to watch will be missed, as I doubt 5 years from now places like Blockbuster will even exist anymore.

  • Jacob Edwards

    April 23, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    There’s a video store here in Halifax, NS called Video Difference. There are 2 locations already with a new opening up, so hopefully the movie rental business will stick around here for a while.

  • June 25, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Hey James, i have vivid memories of going to the video store. i’m 17 so i’m much younger than you and have fewer memories but plenty i remember. i can always remember going into Coconuts (now F.Y.E) and a local video store called Captain Video. After my dad would leave work for the day, he would surprise me with a VHS tape he bought be. I remember me and my brothers getting Werewolf of London, The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein VHS tapes. the artwork on the tapes always made me smile. I also remember me and my dad going to Coconuts and i went in and was looking for a good movie to buy and i saw The Wolf Man (1941) from the Universal Classic Monster Collection and the original poster art cover was so cool i had to buy it, my dad bought a movie of his own which i never though the movie he bough would end up being my favorite movie of all time which is Night of the Living Dead (1968). I was so afraid to watch it and i could never get past the opening cemetery sequence. later on of course i grew out of the fear and fell in love with the film. So video stores really changed my life as well.

  • August 2, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Too bad Blockbuster is now an ONLINE DVD rental store. When they were actual stores, outside of the internet, they sold VHS Tapes. I was young when I was about to get a Dinotopia cartoon at my nearest Blockbuster, but my babysitter didn’t have the money. Now, it’s a bank. From 2001-2013 and so on, I always loved that store.

  • January 2, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Funny I’m only 13 and I can relate to this I live in topeka Kansas and I used to go to the video stores all the time like family video to test the video games before I’d buy them if they purchased them and a lot of these stores are closing


    May 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Man going to the video store was like an adventure, a whole experience. My family (all 6 of us) would cramp into the van and talk the whole way about what movie we were going to rent. We weren’t even there yet and we were already going crazy. Soon as you walk in you get blown away by all the movies in just one place. As a young kid I was a huge fan of movies, I was especially into horror. I mean I still am but nothing beats when you’re first getting into it. The local movie rental place (can’t remember the name) was like my chocolate factory. I’d always go to the horror section first. Seeing all those bloody, disgusting, and gory vhs cases would always get me excited. I’d look through as much as I can. I’d pick it up and laugh or smile at how cool the cover was. Man other people must of thought I was a sick kid. I’d run all over the video store jus to show my family the different horror covers. I loved it. It was a museum filled with films that were either really shitty or masterpieces. It was gamble every time you rented somethin but that was the fun part of it. Also waiting in line with the movie in your hand. As a bonus if we were lucky my pops had enough money to buy us some popcorn. Awesome times. It sucks that my kid will never experience that . That’s why imma build my own mini vhs store in my basement like james so maybe he’ll get a glimpse of how cool video stores were.


      May 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Forgot to mention they jus recently closed down a blockbuster near where I lived. I was kinda sad seeing one of my childhood memories being stripped and sold. They were selling practically everything the store. Even the famous blue carpet. Wish I could of bought it but it was pretty expansive. Anyways with all the memories we had me and my pops went and bought a bunch of movies.
      I even picked up some troma film called Dr. Hackenstein. Can’t wait to watch it.

  • Eelco

    February 2, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Sad day for me last Friday 29th 2016. I was just back for a day from my trip to New Zealand and I’d received a letter that my videostore will finally close down forever February 12th 🙁 The store is about 150-200m from my appartment. I enjoyed it a lot for years…just scanning through the movies that were on the store’s shelves to find THE movie(s) that I wanted to see for that night (or week). One positive note though…the whole DvD/Bluray collection of the store is up for sale till February 12th. I’ve already purchased quite some DvDs and Blurays for a very low price (like 40 dollars for 20 blurays)!

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