With the popularity of V/H/S and the quick distribution deal for sequel S-V/H/S at Sundance, it seems like the VHS format may be having a bit of a renaissance. Cover art is key to the allure of the VHS tape – clearly no one is buying them for their box-filling bulkiness – and almost everyone of a certain age has a story about falling in love with a VHS box only to take it home and find out the movie inside was even better.
I had two obsessions at the video store: One was Frank Henenlotter’s Frankenhooker, which featured a button on the box that, when pushed, played the line “Wanna date?” over and over. Rabid Grannies, which boasted a picture of two hungry-looking zombie grandmothers and the tagline, “They just love their grandchildren... well done!” was the other. To my thirteen-year-old mind that was the funniest idea ever.
This month’s obsessive collector is Chris Garcia. The man has a collection of over 800 VHS, so basically, he could open a video rental store out of his home. I wish he would. His collection is pretty fantastic; read about it and see some pictures below. Chris also reviews films. Visit his blog The Gorezette and Facebook page here.
The Collector: Chris Garcia
Location: Originally from Chicago, IL, but moved to Northwest Indiana about a year ago. Moving my collection was a hassle, so much I still haven't fully unpacked!
What: I have a pretty large collection of horror VHS tapes. The more obscure the better, but even the common has a place in the collection. If I have a DVD copy of a movie, chances are I own a VHS version as well. No real reason though, best of both worlds I suppose.
Years Collecting: I would have to say around 10 years old, when it became apparent this wasn't a mere whim but a hobby. Seemingly though as long as buying films on VHS was as common as buying a blu-ray today … If I wanted to be technical it was even longer than that! Every time I seen a good horror flick I just had to own it. So in a sense Ive been a collector all my life.
How Many: I'd say close to 800 VHS, and that is just the VHS portion. I also have close to 500 DVDs as well. I probably lost count around 10 years old.
How the Obsession Started: Well video stores were prominent fixtures in my childhood, many of which were walking distance. Every neighborhood in our area had more than a few stores. So viewing and collecting these tapes are nostalgic to me, it brings back those memories of being a young kid walking amongst the aisles with my parents and looking in awe at the cool and crazy cover art that graced the tapes. My parents loved horror films too, so they were always cool with renting them. There's just something about renting a video from a seedy mom and pop store that I just love. Netflix, Pay Per View, and Red Box can't compare to that. It was all about the "adventure" to me, sometimes you would pick a great underground gem and sometimes you would get that terrible turkey that sucked so bad you couldn't believe you sat and watched it.
Most Prized Find: All of my big box tapes ! Those always were the most eye catching tapes on the rack. They sucked you in with the cool cover art and big jumbo sized box that made everything else look tame.
Rarest Piece in Collection: That's tough, I have a nice size section on my shelves of really rare tapes. But I would have to say my copies of Lunch Meat and Last House on Dead End Street.
Craziest Thing You've Done for the Collection: I cleared out a local video store of ALL their horror VHS when they were closing. I came everyday like a vulture circling its prey. A big chunk of my collection came from that store. I spent my entire check there. I'd say that's pretty crazy.
The Horror Holy Grail: The Abomination on VHS! I remember seeing that tape several times in almost every video store in my area. I never got a chance to grab a copy. Now it goes for insane amounts of money. I just hope one day it will cross my path again.
What Else Do You Collect: Everything horror related: action figures, books, magazines, comics, video store and theater promotional items. But one thing I also collect a lot of is vinyl LP's. Any original hardcore punk, heavy metal, thrash metal, death metal, the older the better, cause newer music is for sissies.