Renting Memories

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movrinoscopy's picture
Joined: 10/10/2011 - 22:24
Renting Memories

I was born in 1987 (november at that) so needless to say I dont remember VHS in its heyday in the rental stores. However, I do remember going to a few local mom and pop stores (one of which is still open, but is sadly closing after this coming thanksgiving) and renting tapes with my grandfather all the time. It was around like '92-'96 when i did most of my renting. The two tapes I remember getting the most (i know its lame) but for some reason I ALWAYS wanted to rent Milo & Otis. So many times I rented that tape. I actually rented it so many times that my grandfather actually lied to me and told me that they (the rental store) wouldnt let us rent it no more because we exceeded the renting limit. Something like that, and even at that young age i was like (dude, what the fuck?)

Another one I remember renting out often was Ernest Scared Stupid. SOOOO many weekends i spent watching that damn movie, and I havent seen it since. I told my friends I havent seen that movie in 17 years and they didnt believe me. I was like, dude, I really havent. And I think its better off that way even though I recently purchased a VHS copy of it to try and rekindle that old magic, but so far I havent popped it in.

Other than that, I often remember going to Blockbuster and walking by the horror section and for some reason the cover art for Motel Hell always striked me. It was the shitty early 90's mgm slipcase edition, not the "book box" edition. I just remember thinking to myself, man If i ever watched this movie I probably wouldnt be able to handle it. It was just grotesquely striking to me at the time and I'll never forget it.

rockyash's picture
Joined: 10/18/2011 - 20:32

Hey i was also born in 1987, December Babie. I remember i alway would rent movie with my dad when i was younger he wouldn't let me rent r rated movies witch sucked. But i remember always renting dumb and dumber and bateries not included. i Don't know why i loved them movies. Then when my cousin would come over to have weekend sleep overs we would have a friday the 13th marathons and i would allways fall asleep first haha great time!

When i got a little older me and my older cousin were allowed to walk to the video store Hollywood video) alone wich at the time was awesome. We would rent horror movies like every weekend i loved it. I dont know why i allways rememberd this movie called bleeders i guess because it had an awsome cover it was like blood in the cover were like you can smush it around with your fingers always thought that was so cool. The movie ended up sucking but the box was so cool.

I also remember one time me and my cousin would go to work with my dad we wouldn't really work we would just hang and do stupid shit. One time we decided to take a wald into town. The Town Of (GreenLawn) if im correct wich i remember was a fare walk felt like we walked forever. When we got there we found a video store. It was old mom and pop and we were going threw all the movie looking at everything. And if we knew now what we knew then they had some rare awsome movies!!

coltsvids's picture
Joined: 11/20/2011 - 04:45

I started collecting in 1989, I was one of the lucky ones to see hundreds of mom and pop stores from the 80's. My older cousin worked at one. Even to this day we laugh at how collecting took off for Wizard tapes. She said they never really rented well and the store sold them used for like 8 bucks. Now a days they go for a lot. The rule of renting back then the bigger the box the worse the movie was. It had to sell somehow. I remember renting Zombie Lake and Oasis of the Zombies and wanting my life back. I bought Zombiethon for like 6 bucks back in 1992 and in 1997 the owner closed his doors for good because of Blockbuster taking him out the good news for me was 1997 was one of the best summers of my life he sold me his entire horror film section for 300 bucks. Me and my brother showed up in my aunts van and piled all the tapes in crates he was too lazy to take the tapes out of the rental cases so we got those also and that night me and my bother with literally over 200 horror tapes were putting them away in a cool cabinet. Its how I got Basket Case (Media) and Zombie (Wizard) and too many titles too list. Now a days you can find them all over eBay and amazon back in 1997 we were just getting anchor bay. I just got my first PC before 1997 you had to hunt all Cover and it was fun now a days that's missing me and my cousin would drive hours going to tape shops seeing what we can find. Now its eBay (Boring)

CropsyKills's picture
Joined: 10/01/2011 - 16:38

I was born in 1983 but some of my earliest memories were going to video stores. I remember before we even owned a VCR we would rent one at a ma and pa called Adam's Video. The years between 1987 to 1992 were magical as that store kicked so much ass. My dad took us there every Friday to rent tapes. My dad was really liberal on what he let us watch so my younger years were fueled by Schwarzenegger and Stallone films and numerous other action flicks. My brother and I were really obsessed with Bruce Lee films as well. Adams Video had an amazing Horror selection and I remember always wanting to rent Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Deathship. The covers to those films albeit not great are the ones that always stuck out to me. When I think about my video store memories, those are the first tapes that come to mind.

One film I used to always rent was Mac and Me. Don't ask me why but the cover art just called out too me. Even at a young age I knew the movie was bad but it made me the bad movie connoisseur that I am today. Sadly Adam's Video closed its doors in 1992 and then our local ma and pa grocery decided to rent out tapes. They had a great selection of Horror as well. When I was in 5th Grade back in 94-95, my best friend and I would ride our bikes down to the store and rent Army Of Darkness every Friday. We were obsessed with that film and we would watch that movie sometime 3-4 times before we took it back.

Sadly those days are over but I'm happy I was able to experience video stores before the rise of Blockbuster and Movie Gallery. I just pity the fact that future generations will more than likely never experience the thrill of going to video stores.

algernon's picture
Joined: 11/18/2011 - 02:43

I loved going to video stores to rent movies. Before dvd, when you walked into a video store full of vhs it had a smell in the air sort like a library or book store full of old books. I still remember that smell,probably because my closets now smell like that. We had one video store that you'd get a bag of fresh popcorn everytime you came in and later in the early nineties had 5 vids 5 dollars 5 days. One of my earliest renting memories and probably the first time I ever felt jipped was going to that video store with my grandparents when I was 5 or 6 and wanting to rent Superman. But instead of having movies behind a foam stuffed case or a yellow/white tag with a title so rubbed of you can't read it(I worked at some later on and this was a pain) they just had the foam filled slipcase that you took to the front for your movie. So with me not knowing this, thinking it was out, I searched all over the store for another movie. Not finding anything interesting(in 87-89 crazy huh),only really wanting Superman and the store closing like 5 minutes ago. My grandparents asked me if I wanted the bugs bunny daffy duck movie. I said I guess, watching and realising what was going on as my grandfather took the foam filled case to the counter for the clerk to return with my ill chosen movie. I knew it was too late. What could I do? They were already so patient with me. But I wanted to shout "conspiracy(if I had known the words meaning)where's my superman movie." But no I took home bugs and the rest of the night I felt jipped. As I got older some of the ones I was sure the tapes would eventually melt from my years of use were Conan, Total Recall, Rad, Gleaming the Cube, Starfighter and Goonies. They don't make em like that anymore. That why remakes will always fail in my book. They'll never have that realness and magic at the same time. For horror movies it will never be as grainy and gritty and I'm not talkin about the film stock. Shooting a movie trying to make it appear old or of less defintion and clarity isn't the type of grainy these films had. Well they did with the cigarette burns and being shot on 16mm,32mm film or what have you. They could pull you in and give you nightmares for years just from a 90 min film. I never understand films these days or why most people want to see or rent this regurgitated crap when the original or other movie this new stuff has been stolen from is far better in every way. Just before digital took over, well it pretty much has here with only red boxes and one video chain trying to stay afloat, I remember going to the video store and only seeing rows and rows of dvds with 30 copies of the same new release or alot of really bad indies. Maybe search the whole store and find 10 movies on dvd from the decade I love, the 80's. Now the last of them are trying to compete with redbox and digital. Which I predicted would happen when I worked at one in the mid 90's. But I thought when it all went digital it would be from the studios themselves like sites to watch anything from the MGM vault or the Anchor Bay library. But I digress probably more than once... If these video stores kept their old stock of vhs with more of a variety than muliple dvd copies and rented them out to stay sorta retro maybe some would have survived not all but some. Ah the good ol days. well this postings dragged on for far too long. Time to pause for the cause. Give me the GORE from days of YORE and stop horror remakes.

moregore's picture
Joined: 03/04/2012 - 03:50

My Dad would rent from Video Village in the mid 80s I was young kid, I would rent lots of WWF wrestling and action films like Predator and Commando.

I didnt start renting horror films until the early 90s like the Full Moon and tromaville movies good times indeed I still remember seeing Red Neck Zombies lol

rebekahherzberg's picture
Joined: 07/20/2012 - 02:21

Night of the Demons
Eyes of Fire
The Pledge
Ghost Ship
Sleepaway Camp
Last House on the Left
Little Monsters
Child's Play
Prom Night
The Legend of Billie Jean
Dead Alive
Rock N Roll High School Forever with Corey Feldman - That's right!

Immy's picture
Joined: 07/28/2012 - 23:13

Ah, you youngsters.

I always felt I missed out on a facet of late-20th Century childhood Americana since video stores didn't exist until I was 18 or so. But then working at one from 1985-88 was probably the job I most enjoyed. Our small mom & pop chain (7 stores at its height) was on the front line of the Beta/VHS wars, the brouhaha over a certain underage porn star and we witnessed the progressive dominance of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video that ultimately drove us out of business. We even dabbled in home-delivery years before the concept was refined by Netflix.

Movies were $2 each, $1 per day late fees. One of my favorite pastimes was tackling our delinquent list of long overdue tapes, but there were lots of other pluses; free rentals, personal orders at reduced prices, and when it was slow we'd mess around with the camcorders (which we also rented).

The releases that got the most rentals were Star Wars films, the Rambo movies and anything Disney, but the mother of all debuts was ET.

Ranarchy's picture
Joined: 08/08/2012 - 04:54

I was born in 1984, so I remember quite a bit. But I was very prone to renting the same VHS tapes over and over again......Inhumanoids and Madballs is what I remember from the 80s, renting almost every other week

hippyman's picture
Joined: 07/28/2012 - 19:28

I was born in '83, I remember our very first vcr. It was a quasar, that popped up so you could slide the tape in. I remember my parents taking it in to get it fixed one time, and the repairman brought them out a handfull of micro-machines, and legos, that I had put in there:)

MAD MAX's picture
Joined: 04/11/2013 - 03:41

Hey gang!, I was born in 1974. My father used to take me a video store called Captain Video. I was about 12 or 13 at the time. My folks basically let me get whatever I wanted!. One of my fond memories is renting Zombie Lake and Shock Waves, the store had some kind of summer special if I remember correctly!. I miss those days greatly.

Borgus Weems's picture
Joined: 04/07/2013 - 22:22

Since everyone seems to be listing their birth years: I was born in 1979. We got our first VCR in 1983 and I can quite vividly remember our first trip to the video store. A little Mom & Pop shop called Video Paradise (I would later work there shortly after graduating high school) My sister and I each picked out a movie and my parents picked one as well. I rented a Gumby video and my sister picked a strange anime type version of The Little Mermaid. As I got older I started to haunt the horror section, staring at the lurid artwork and trying to imagine what horrors were magnetically sealed within....

RabidMastersIII's picture
Joined: 04/03/2014 - 13:32

Peering from behind a brown love-seat that separated the TV room from the living room I saw some of my first films. Watching some of these early films were done hidden behind the couch because, though my dad didn’t care if I watched, sometimes I was too afraid – but yet couldn’t look away.

My dad had Laser Disc and a VHS player – looking back that must have cost a fortune in the mid 80’s, especially with two other siblings, a stay-at-home mom (weren’t they all back then?), and my ol’ man worked at a steel shop. Looking back, he must have thoroughly enjoyed family time which included movie night.

Be it Laser or VHS, my first movies were Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom and American Werewolf in London. Two scenes etched into my mind today – the creepy cult guy saying “Gallimahhh” as he pulled a man’s heart of his chest in Temple of Doom – and the Smut Film / Theater scene in American Werewolf, as he was visited by his bloody friend.

The movies co-existed with some great television series too, including our favorite Tour of Duty – I can remember every thunderstorm from our farmhouse while we tuned into the local news with Rob Braun and Kit Andrews – it was a part of my life when everything was simple and all was well.

I don’t remember much rental stores until the early 90s – growing up in the 80’s I spent most of my time at home which was a small farm – so I assume my dad brought home rentals on his way back from work each day.

However, my memories revolve around Network Video – typical musty smelling rental shop, to include the beaded doorway leading to the “adult section” in which I anxiously awaited my time to enter the throne of manhood – as we all can guess, the day that came was just after the great fall of the local rental shop.

But lets not dwell on the negatives – our rental shop was part of a plaza connected to a small time pizza joint called Tommy’s. Friday’s after schools were the same, stop in Tommy’s and place our order, shop at Network Video until pizza was up and head home. Tommy’s later became my first job – back when business’ would hire a 13 year old and pay him cash under the table.

We would rent a family oriented tape – to include Journey to Spirit Island, Jurassic Park, and surprisingly A LOT of Van Damme movies (my mom openly had a crush on him) – Van Damme movies are pretty legendary once you think about it – its “style” has influenced so many action films to this day and Van Damme may have the greatest fake “identical twin” movie I have ever seen in Double Impact. A movie that challenged my IQ and resulted in the false believe that Van Damme really did have a twin – the thought may have been supported by my overzealous mom, you could imagine what went through her mind when she too entertained the idea… moving on.. my mother is a saint.

The big topic here was UFC VHS tapes – yes sir, before it became popular nearly 20 years later. Now, everyone goes to the sports bar to root on a very watered down UFC title event, were you go three timed rounds usually for decision – not in the 90’s pal!

I still have UFC I and II on VHS – when Horce Gracie reigned – and the UFC was brutal then, no rounds, no time limit, no weight class – it was epic! If you haven’t seen one lately, I implore you to do so – and that is coming from someone who HATES MODERN UFC. It’s like comparing Duck Tales to Peg + Cat, it aint happening son.

Finally, somewhere between hiding behind the brown coach on the farm to working at Tommy’s I was allowed to watch all the horror flicks I desired – then Chuckie movies haunted my nights, so bad that Craine from TMNT got worked into them and I was actually scared of the little brain guy.

Don’t worry folks, I grew up OK, married with kids of my own.

But I can’t stress how movie night was an epic event growing up – unlike today when you can order a pizza on your Iphone app and choose from over a million Netflix options at your fingertips.

Movie Night is dead

VHS definitely shaped me to be the man I am today – my dad like war and army movies – Hamburger Hill, Platoon, Memphis Belle, and then there was Tour of Duty series. Of course I joined the army and fought in Iraq – Movies kept us company there too – there were Hodgie (Haji) shops were local Iraqis sold bootleg DVDs for $1.00 in which we amassed.

When we had a rough day on patrol or someone got hurt – a squad full of rough tough soldiers reverted to our childhood instincts – sleepover!

Whenever someone got hurt or shipped to the hospital or home – we all drug our blankets and pillows into one CHU (combat housing unit) and crowded around a dusty laptop to watch movies – somehow that familiar scene and sense of security got our minds off things, if only for a hour or two. IMDB trivia became common traffic over our comms systems while manning checkpoints for days on end, making small bets about answers when challenged.

Movies, more importantly VHS tapes, have been with me, part of growing up, and continue to influence my life today, my little boy and daughter have seen Labrynth, Never ending Story, EWOK cartoon, and the original Star Wars – when most 4 year olds have not.

Just of a piece of my past for them

Long live the VHS!

unclesporkums's picture
Joined: 12/17/2016 - 02:12

Born in '87, so I didn't get to experience the glory years as many here did, but I will say that I have still been able to revel in the VHS rental stores, both mainstream and Mom n' Pop. One independent one I remember was a small strip mall joint with those big black rental boxes behind the standard box that would have the title plainly labeled on the front and side.

JSpartan1989's picture
Joined: 10/02/2011 - 01:39

unclesporkums wrote:Born in '87, so I didn't get to experience the glory years as many here did, but I will say that I have still been able to revel in the VHS rental stores, both mainstream and Mom n' Pop. One independent one I remember was a small strip mall joint with those big black rental boxes behind the standard box that would have the title plainly labeled on the front and side.

Gen Y'er right here as well (born in 1989) and with that, same. But, I do have memories of going to the video store, both mainstream and Mom and Pop. The one Mom and Pop store we would always go to is Audio Video Plus, which used to be on Waugh. They've since closed up shop, sadly.

unclesporkums's picture
Joined: 12/17/2016 - 02:12

I had a Mom and Pop one that was here just as recently as a couple of years ago. BUNCH of obscure stuff. Closed down as well.

chandler0201's picture
Joined: 09/18/2016 - 22:46

I was born in 1982, so I got in some years of the independent video store/mom & pop experience.

In my area of North Carolina, we actually had 2 independent video rental chains, Visart Video and North American Video, the latter closed its last 2 locations last year, so they actually outlasted Blockbuster around here (closed all their local stores 3 years ago). Visart Video may still have a location open in Charlotte, though it is more a non-profit than anything.
Thinking about this reminds me, does anyone know of a video store left in North Carolina besides possibly Visart Video Charlotte?

Anyways, our first VCR was bought by my dad in 1985/1986, a heavy Panasonic workhorse that lasted 10+ years. I think my dad bought it to tape the miniseries North & South, I ended up watching his original recordings when we were snowed in in 1996, and I think they still hold up well even in 2016. My dad was not big on rentals, I think they were like $4-$5 a night in the mid 80s, but you could buy and own cheapo productions by UAV and Goodtimes Home Video at KMart for $9.99 then. 2 such tapes that I remember (and still own) are Night of the Living Dead (cover is one of the worst I've seen, a bad attempt at colorizing a still from the movie) and Scruffy.

Another reason my dad was loathe to take me to Blockbuster or the other 2 aforementioned independent chains was because you had to plunk down a credit card to get a membership, and he was very reticent to do so (didnt trust ID theft). However, the local Kroger stores (big grocery store chain that is in many regions of the USA for those not near one) started renting movies in the late 1980s without requiring a credit card to join, my dad started renting more often (lower daily rates helped too, most titles were $2-3 a day, or even $1 for 3 days for documentaries, which not surprisingly we got a lot of). I remember renting Congo, Jurassic Park, and some others a few times.

Flash forward to 2006 and I'm buying dozens of VHS tapes as the first Visart closes in my area, everything I wanted to see before I now have on VHS, some was very profitable at the time before it was released on DVD/Bluray too. Of course by the time 2015 rolled around there were no VHS tapes left at the rental store closings, just lots of scratched DVDs and porn.

unclesporkums's picture
Joined: 12/17/2016 - 02:12

Speaking of Kroger, They had a little rental shop in the one I used to frequent as well. Don't remember exactly what I would rent from there, but if I recall correctly,they had plastic cases over the tapes with the original box art that you would also see in Movie Gallery, only there you'd just rent the black cassette. The Kroger store I recall as being white and oversaturated with light.