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.
For other documentaries about the VHS resurgence and the nearing end of physical media, a lot of directors have spent their time trying to figure out where it all began and celebrate the idea of the VHS boom of the modern era. “VHS Massacre” seems to be standing in ground zero of the end of physical media and trying to figure out where it’s all going, rather than where it all began. For many of us that have reveled in the new wave of VHS appreciation, we all know how it began. VHS won over Beta, despite the latter have more quality simply because VHS had more appeal to its product. It cost less, the tapes stored more footage, and porn became almost exclusive to the format. But with the rise of digital media, VHS has gone the way of the dodo, now relegated to good will bins and mom and pop stores deep in small towns and counties.
Dan M. Kinem and Levi Peretic really manage to pay amazing respect to VHS collectors with “Adjust Your Tracking,” an entertaining and raucous documentary that chronicles the joys and pitfalls of VHS collecting. Kinem and Peretic are the founders of one of my favorite websites “VHShitfest” and put their rabid love for the VHS format to use by profiling some of the most hardcore VHS collectors in America. The interviews and glimpses in to the collecting of the arguably defunct format never lull, and directors Kinem and Peretic manage to really give audiences a look at why this is such an appealing past time.
Director Josh Johnson pulls off an ingenious move with “Rewind This!” Truly, it’s about the age of VHS and recalls many of the fond memories of buying VHS and learning how to enjoy the spoils of the hunt for the perfect Friday night entertainment from your local mom and pop video store. But by the end of the documentary, director Johnson is wise to warn about how personal media and art is slowly becoming impersonal and is gradually breaking from our grasps.
Like the first “V/H/S,” the sequel to the acclaimed anthology surely won’t re-invent the wheel, but it still manages to be a very good horror film with a killer series of stories. Meshing the found footage sub-genre with the anthology film. “V/H/S 2” learns from the mistakes of the first film by reducing the number of stories and lengthening them for more exposition. There are still inherent flaws and plot holes injected in to this sequel, but for this outing there’s a better sense of coherency, and a lot less filler. Rather than the more confusing premises from the first film, this time around the four stories are much easier to follow. To wit, they’re much more entertaining.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a really good anthology film. Not since “Trick r Treat” have we had the horror fans had an anthology horror film that not only changed the game for the sub-genre, but made waves as a horror film, period. The Collective of indie filmmakers that team to create “V/H/S” really do resort to the found footage genre for the sake of some sense of believability. That and the format is pretty cost effective, when you think about it. In either case, The Collective is allowed to be very creative and unusual in a film about a series of short vignettes viewed through old V/H/S tapes.
As a child “The Willies” was pretty much as horrifying as it got. As an eleven year old it was a disgusting, creepy, and horrifying little anthology horror film with some gruesome special effects. And it was also a childhood favorite, a film I saw over and over further feeding my lust for horror. And almost twenty five years later… it still has great sentimental value, it’s still a movie I’ll always appreciate as a favorite of a simpler time but… yeah, it pretty much sucks. Badly. It’s about as stripped down and derivative as you can get with a plot that really just relies on chestnuts of horror to do the work for writers that can’t really be creative.
I’ll just be honest here once and for all, I had nothing growing up. In spite of my parents best efforts to give us everything they could, my brother, sister and I didn’t have much in the way of games or toys, or even luxuries such as the newest sneakers on the block that everyone wanted to own. We didn’t even get a computer until the late nineties, but what we lacked in material possessions we were more than wealthy with parents who would do just about anything to help the summer pass by with as many experiences as possible. Water parks, the zoo, carnivals, block parties, if it was in their power to give it to us, we were more than appreciative to accept it.