Recently, I’ve found myself in the perfect storm of nostalgia. Friday, Employee Picks was released on Kindle and in paperback. There is a hardcover that will be on sale soon. The book is by Sean Cochrane, Dillon Brown, Jack Wallen, and myself and it’s a love letter to video stores and VHS horror films from the 1980’s. The book was fun to put together, and the love we give the genre is a great read. Be sure to pick it up and spend your stimulus check on supporting indie horror writers!
Netflix added The Last Blockbuster in the past couple of weeks. I watched it and it was a walk back through memory lane. I remember the first VCR our family bought. It was huge, and it had a wired remote with only four functions. At the time, VHS movies were $100 to buy, so we rented movies at Budget Video. Budget was about the only store in town, and we would visit it every weekend. Being able to be a kid and looking at all the movies was an amazing experience. Going to the video store became a rite of passage as a kid in the 80’s. We got to pick a movie or two, and my parents would rent something for themselves. The weekend trip to Budget Video became a family fun institution. There was a miniature golf course a block away, and we would go play during the summer while we were out picking up movies. Watching movies like Gremlins, The Gate, and Poltergeist shaped my love of horror, and I’ll always thank my parents for taking me to rent movies.
Renting movies was still a major part of my teen years. A group of us would go rent horror movies, bad kung-fu films, and Star Trek: The Original Series tapes to copy. You remember that shit, right? You hooked two VCRs together and recorded on one while you played on the other. We were the OG pirates. Watching the Blockbuster documentary brought back all those memories. Movies, pizza, and root beer with my friends while we laughed and bullshitted a Friday or Saturday night away. I don’t think the streaming services are the same. You can’t learn responsibility to your fellow humans if you can’t learn to be kind and rewind.
We may not be able to go back in time, and I miss the time looking at the movies on the shelves. You don’t know disappointment until you have a movie in mind and it’s checked out when you arrive at the rental store. I could find other films, and I still have a bunch of previously viewed DVDs I bought at Premiere Video close to my house before they closed. I feel like an important piece of America’s fabric was ripped away from us. Maybe one day nostalgia will swing back to rental places. They were places where you built a relationship with the staff, and they always knew what kind of stuff they could recommend to you. It was another layer of personal interaction we’ve lost. Seriously, Netflix is terrible at suggesting stuff for me to watch.
Employee Picks, is our love letter to those days. If you remember how you felt when you walked those aisles looking for the perfect movie, then this book is for you. You can head over to Amazon (click here), and you can help keep indie horror authors from closing the video store of their minds and open for you to checkout what kind of new idea is out there for your consumption.
Well, I must head off. I have three books nearing the release finish line, and I have to keep pushing on.