It’s important that we look back on the history of physical media, since the beginning of physical media for movie collectors was never Hollywood’s biggest plan. Since the creation of the home reel projector, studios have been working hard to fight the appeal of physical media, and now with its decline, we’re reverting to digital copies of films that can be monitored. With its introduction, comes the potential decline of honest independent filmmaking, and filmmakers that have an even playing field with Hollywood. That becomes an uphill battle as the physical media that does exist is nothing but overstocked Hollywood dribble, with stores openly refusing to stock independent cinema.
“VHS Massacre” is a fascinating and entertaining look at the history of physical media and how Hollywood has worked for decade to eliminate it as an option. Thomas Edward Seymour and Kenneth Powell struggle to find a copy of their film “Mark of the Beast” in a market saturated with copies of “Magic Mike XXL.” Believe it or not it becomes a running gag that is shockingly hilarious, and directors Seymour and Powell milk it well, offering a punctuated disbelief whenever its display dominates a store. Along the way, an almost incidental twist takes hold of their filming, as Seymour and Powell come across a ton of video stores that have closed down.
Soon “VHS Massacre” transforms in to something of a requiem for the end of mom and pop video stores that also end up signaling the end of physical media as a whole. There are a slew of entertaining interviews with historians and movie buffs like Joe Bob Briggs, and Jason West, along with candid glimpses at the struggle to get personal art seen in a world saturated by corporate products. Directors Thomas Edward Seymour and Kenneth Powell create another in a long line of important historical documentaries about the history of film and cinematic media. With physical media becoming a novelty, and studios pushing a digital age of movie ownership they can control, the home video era is a period that needs to be explored, dissected, celebrated, and examined.
It should pose as a lesson on why we should be working harder than ever to keep independent cinema relevant and available to the masses. The Blu-Ray from Troma comes with an introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, the President of Troma Entertainment, and “VHS Massacre” Directors Thomas Edward Seymour and Kenneth Powell. There’s a directors’s commentary with Seymour and Powell, as well as a slew of deleted scenes. There’s a look at “Troma Now!” the digital service for Troma movies, and the theatrical trailer for “VHS Massacre.” There’s an exclusive full episode of “Monster Kill: Merminators from Space,” the new web series from Kenneth Powell and Thomas Edward Seyour. There’s also the footage of the Radiation March, the trailer for “Return to Nuke ‘Em High: Vol. 1” and finally, the Fantasia Teaser for the hotly anticipated “Return to Nuke ‘Em High: Vol. 2.”