Besides the fact that my last blog was a year and a half ago, the topic I wanted to approach was a blog I wrote over two years ago where I waxed on fondly about my nostalgia and love for horror films of yesteryear on VHS and how I was thinking about collecting them. Personally, though I have loved ones to tell me anyways, I probably have a bit of a problem because I also love Blu-ray and seeing all my favorites like never before. I will continue to buy them, but every now and then, I get this urge to just sit back with some beers and good food and watch a sh*tty quality horror film on VHS. Until yesterday afternoon, I hadn't accomplished any of the dream I set down over two years.
I had gone to some thrift stores over the past couple of weekends, but they didn't have anything I had in mind, though there were plenty of VHS tapes overall. Then I went to a flea market yesterday and browsed around and while they are not amazing finds, since they are fairly common films, one vendor had Halloween, Halloween 5, The Thing (1982), Night of the Living Dead (1968 ), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), and The House On Haunted Hill (1959). Besides Halloween 5, these are all favorites of mine and the kind of films I wanted to watch and fondly pretend I was a young kid again with. Each movie was a buck apiece.
After grabbing a VCR and 27 inch SDTV (nice and lightweight, not like the old behemoth Sony Trinitron I finally got rid of earlier this year) for a grand total of $25 at a Goodwill, I mused on the way home that I must indeed be getting eccentric at the ripe old age of 26. I cleaned the player and TV which are in very good condition, plugged them in, adjusted the language that was set to French back to English, and popped in a VHS tape for the first time in 9 years: none other than Halloween of course. I sat there, listening to slight buzzing of the TV, the tape loading into the machine, all the little noises that come from watching a VHS. Halloween begins playing and I'm instantly transported back to the times I would watch it as a young maybe 10 or 11 year old.
This particular copy of it wasn't that great, true. It had lines going up vertically and until I tried another tape, I thought it might have been the TV at first. So yeah, even I kind of forgot just how bad the picture quality and detail is compared to DVD and to a far greater extent, Blu-ray of course. But that's kind of the point, isn't it? I don't know about a kid who grows up with only HD content, I'm sure there's the odd one here and there, but I don't think you can endure watching a VHS unless you have very fond memories and experiences firsthand with the format growing up. All the things I mentioned last time have helped mold this sick fascination, nostalgia, and straight up blind love I have for VHS. I don't think I could watch non-horror again on it, other than family videos, but there's something really romantic in a way about viewing a genre like horror on such a outdated and dead format. Horror is the one genre that can get away with the crappy quality because it adds something to the grimy nature of the movie. I know on VHS that it's not the correct aspect ratio in most cases, it looks like sh*t, the picture pops and skips sometimes, but when you grow up with it and that's how you got into movies, you just can't help but be fond of it. If you're deranged like me that is lol.
Of course, if anyone is familar with something like the Video Nasties of the 80's, they would know that horror and VHS has always had a special relationship with each other. If there's something I love about the horror genre, it is its rich history and sense of discovery.People can scoff and thumb their nose down at it, but horror is special and I maintain that it has the most passionate, well-informed, understanding and forgiving fans.
Back to the actual VHS watching. So after Halloween, I watched another Carpenter favorite that ranks very very high on my list, The Thing. This was actually a pretty good copy of the film and I enjoyed watching it again on VHS. I'll probably end up following asleep because it's late, but after this blog, I'm going to watch Night of the Living Dead or House on Haunted Hill.
So, as mentioned, obviously I'm still buying and enjoying DVD's and Blu-ray's, and pulling out the VCR will be something special I do maybe on a weekend each month or whenever I happen to find some of the films I really want to get on VHS. It's just nice to reminisce and even though I'm not old yet, I find myself doing it more and more. I still live my life in the present, it's not like I'm holed up in a room with my childhood things alone with no girlfriend, no job, etc, so I think it is ok to do things like this. Anyone relate at all?