With the instant consumer gratification of big-budget Hollywood films streaming on services like Netflix, Amazon and iTunes now commonplace, it’s hard to believe we ever had to work to enjoy a movie at home. But we did.
In the not-too-distant past, people actually drove to video rental stores and browsed aisles and aisles of VHS tapes. You could even get popcorn and candy there, and when you were done watching the movie you had to rewind the tape (or face a fine!) and actually return it to the store. Crazy times.
That activity is firmly in dodo territory now — Bend, Oregon is home to the world’s last remaining Blockbuster video store, and the last VCR manufacturer ceased operations a few years ago. This has created a cottage industry for home movie buffs in which some of the rarest — and worst — films ever made can snag a hefty profit in VHS format. Or if they’re not going to make the seller rich they will at least make the buyer extremely happy.
VHS tapes are unlikely to ever become a great investment. The quality of the picture takes a major hit each time the tape is played, which was a major impetus for digitalization and the DVD. And unless properly stored, time alone will make a tape unwatchable. Plus, when’s the last time you saw a VCR?
Regardless, VHS tapes are certainly fun collectibles. As you will soon see, horror movies are some of the most sought after tapes (Warning: some of the covers of these movies are, well, horrific). Wrestling videos are also very popular, and so are campy cult classics and movies that just completely fell off the radar. A big bowl of buttery Orville Redenbacher’s seems appropriate for this read, so go ahead and grab your popper and settle into your favorite spot on the couch.