February 23, 2012

My tiny VHS collection

A lot of you may wonder how I live. A few nasty buggers may even wonder why I live. I have nothing much to say to the latter, but the first answer is carefully. I've never had a lot of money after all the bills have been paid each month, so sometimes I've bought movies on VHS (for $1 or less each) rather than on DVD.

In the last year, I have acquired almost 120 movies on VHS which I would never have even bothered watching if the now obsolete media hadn't fallen to such a low price. Often, when I go to my local pawn shop to see what horrors have turned up there on DVD (especially in the 4 for $10 section), I find myself distracted by the boxes of VHS goodness and bring a few home with me. I don't always buy horror VHS, so without further ado, here's a look at my collection.


I bought the bookcase from either Family Dollar or Dollar General (I can't remember which it was) for $19.99 just under 4 years ago. I wish they still had them, but I've searched all over for another one without any luck. I now have twice as many VHS tapes as will fit on one bookcase and I can no longer display them upright like books. VHS collecting purists would have you believe that "like books" is the correct manner (and you also have to rewind them). Yeah, right. I used to keep my British VHS collection in special drawers from Argos and Woolworths, and nothing bad ever happened to them, so storing them this way round isn't a problem. Storing them flat would, however, be another matter.

As you can see, I have them in alphabetical order... mostly. I also don't have a lot of horror VHS tapes, which may come as quite a surprise. My VHS collecting philosophy has been to only buy movies which I would never, in my right mind, ever buy on DVD. So, crap like comedies, romances and throwaway Summer action movies are never going to be double-dipped (as entertaining as they may be). The stories aren't going to improve by seeing them a bit clearer, and I'm never likely to watch any of these films again anyway.

I'll briefly go through why I bought some of them, but I'm not going to list them all as you can just click on the pictures themselves for an enlarged view.

Top Shelf


I have no idea why I bought "2001: A Space Odyssey" because it bores me to tears and I don't get it. Maybe I hoped that it would make more sense now that I'm older, but it doesn't.

Obviously, because I'm British, I had to have the Austin Powers movies, but I still don't have the third one for some reason. I thought I had it, but obviously not.

I thought about getting "Basic Instinct" on DVD, but it's one of those films where you only need to see it once. I actually saw it in the cinema when it came out, so it's just in my collection for nostalgic reasons. The same can be said of "Cliffhanger", "Demolition Man", "Face/Off", and "The Fugitive".

I also have the best Connery Bond film, "From Russia with Love", even though I have the whole collection on DVD anyway, and a couple of crappy horror movies. No, I don't mean "Bride of Chucky" which I actually quite like.


Middle Shelf


There are a few horror films among all the horrible films on this shelf which I might buy on DVD one day. Obviously it won't be either of the "I Know What You Did" films because they suck. They sucked when I saw them at the cinema in the '90s, and they suck even more now.

I only bought "Jurassic Park" and its sequel, "The Lost World", because I like dinosaurs. The effects were great at the time but the stories themselves were a bit weak. The kids in the first one make me cringe, especially the girl with her embarrassing, "I know this, it's a Unix system!" line.

I also have "Psycho" and "Psycho IV" still on VHS because I prefer them that way. I don't think I'd get anything more out of either movie if they were upgraded to a higher definition. One is in black and white anyway while the other was made for American (4:3 ratioed/Fullscreen) TV.

I wish that I hadn't even paid a dollar for "Run Lola Run" because it's dubbed not subtitled. I hate that more than anything else when it comes to foreign movies. It's a good job that I watched it on Channel Four years ago. It's not a bad film, but ultimately, it's still only worth watching once... or not at all since it's dubbed.

Bottom Shelf


And, finally, on the bottom shelf, there's the "Scream" trilogy. I don't even acknowledge the fourth movie (in the same way that "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" or the Star Wars prequel trilogy will never exist in my world either).

I have two copies of "Shattered Silence" due to the ridiculousness of the first one I bought being in EP mode. I'd never encountered such a thing before and assumed all retail VHS tapes to be in SP. Obviously, it was too fuzzy and unwatchable so I bought another one.

There are a few "classics" on this shelf including "Speed", "Starship Troopers", "Total Recall" and "True Lies", but there are also some which should never have been made in the first place such as "Series 7", "Star Crystal" (which is turned the wrong way round to remind me to actually finish watching it one day), and "Werewolves on Wheels". In spite of the amusing title, at no point do you get to see hairy werewolves riding motorcycles, which is a shame.

I have a few good horror movies on this shelf which, again, I may upgrade to DVD one day, but only if I get them cheaply enough.

So there you have it, my tiny VHS collection as of 2012. I used to have nearly 2000 VHS horror movies when I was in Britain, but I gave them all away before moving. I don't miss them (or the fear of one day dying in a pool of melted plastic if there was ever a fire), and I've already replaced them with the DVD equivalents.

Do you still collect VHS?

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