Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Goodbye Dino Video

It's interesting times right now in home entertainment.

Let me be honest about something. I don't rent movies. Since I tend to have more in my collection than the average consumer, I find keeping up with that keeps me away from the videostore, plus I'm horribly cheap. For a couple bucks more, I usually will buy something to watch again at a later date, or lend friends. With bigger chains like BLOCKBUSTER or ROGERS, i find the releases kind of kind of a dull mix of Hollywood hodge-podge that I'm not dying to see for a nite and the ones that I do want to see, I can eventually own second hand for a couple bucks more. Collecting isn't for everyone's tastes, especially when most people CAN watch something that night and don't want it around collecting space.

Peoples tastes have also changed with the times as well. When VCR's first came out, people could easily get suckered into checking out films due to the title or a description from some small VHS studio. People just wanted something to put into the machines. This was before Hollywood kind of caught on to the home video revolution and also dropped prices on the product. Mom and Pop stores always seemed to stock so many of these obscuro titles, especially if they were cheap to fill the shelves. With the bigger chains stomping these smaller ones into the ground, it's been tricky to find video stores that have lasted over a decade. That's why I was sad to hear that DINO VIDEO EXPRESS, a videostore out in the Agincourt area close to my work was closing its doors, but interested in their collection being sold off.

One thing seems to be certain, regardless of how much is STILL not on DVD, people don't seem to want to embrase VHS any longer. After going through so much of what has been re-released on DVD, I've still been finding that I've wanted to see many obscure titles that still haven't made it to DVD and with the market being saturated, they were not going to find a release anytime soon. The same way people went gaga over the first CD's, repurchasing their vinyl collections, die hard collectors will still not finding so many releases that didn't make it to compact disc.

So, I go to DINO during my lunch hour the week before they close their doors. The VHS is now down to the rock bottom price of 25 cents a tape. Dino had a collection of tapes basically caputuring the full history of the VHS industry. My younger co-worker Coralie joined me on the treck looking at racks upon racks of obscure titles. I ended up grabbing about 40 my first visit. Nobody else was in the store.

The next day, I knew I had to make a pilgrimage back to get more and came out with another 25... It's funny, at 25 cents a pop, you would almost think that ANY title with your remote interest you would snap up right? Still, I would hold some tapes in my hand with indecision. One thing about picking up VHS now is the whole storage issue. After people collect DVD, VHS seems so unappealing with it's bulkyness. But still, the nostalgia of picking up tapes I can remember seeing in my youth which developed my tastes for strange cinema in the first place (I'm not of the generation to be stuck in grindhouses or cinema matinees, but cheap VHS rentals of cheaper films). While many of us pine for so much urban nostalgia, a film geek like myself will get it with cheap logos by studios from back in the day. Companies like Interglobal, Premiere Entertainment, Paragon, Academy, and Lettuce Entertain You would provide titles that you HOPED would be entertaining. Early video was always a mystery box, and hell, I love grab bags.

Visit 2, I thought I pretty much got what I needed. Then they e-mail me and tell me there's one final day where the tapes were 10 cents each, or $1 a bag. Remember those ones I told you I was balking at 25 cents a pop for. Well, not for a dime!

In total, I came out with over 100 VHS tapes for less than $20, and an incredible document of the VHS movie industry. Even at this price, only a local was inside talking with the perky Asian owner, "I'll miss this place" he said.

In the meantime, I'm going through tons of films on top of the rest of my collection. Every time I seem to hit play, there's a surprise going down.

I still don't know where to put them all!


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