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VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media 2016
Description: This lively documentary explores the rise and fall of physical media from the origin of movie all the method through the video shop era into digital media, focusing on B-movie and cult films. With icons like Joe Bob Briggs (MonsterVision), Lloyd Kaufman (Toxic Avenger), Greg Sestero (The Room), Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke 'Em High), Deborah Reed (Troll 2), Tag Frazer (Samurai Cop), James Nguyen (Birdemic) and many others.
Released: 20 Jun 2016 Director: Kenneth Powell, Thomas Edward Seymour Writers: N/A Actors: Mike Aransky, Alan Bagh, Troy Bernier, John Bloom Genres: Documentary, Comedy, History, Horror, Sci-Fi
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VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media Reviews:

VHS MASSACRE is a fun, appropriately low-fi documentary that explores the glory days of video collecting and renting in the 1980s and 1990s. It has a rather narrow remit, focusing on weak budget horror and cult movie production mainly during the 1990s and exclusively in America. While the documentary has virtually no material from back in the day, it does fill the running time with plenty of incident and discussion, including many interviews with leading figures in the field.The main emphasis of this documentary is to be fun and it's certainly that. It's designed for like-minded people, not to convert the non-fans. The interview footage is very interesting and explores how the store has changed in the face of streaming films and illegal downloading. Cult figures like Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Rochon, and Joe Bob Briggs are all featured here and they all have plenty to say. There are several clips from a handful of films, but mainly this is about showing video box covers and the collecting culture. It's light, breezy, and amusing.


VHS Massacre: Cult Movies and the Decline of Physical Media (2015) *** (out of 4)This here is a nice documentary that tries to do a bit too much but if you remember renting videos back in the 80's and 90's then you'll still wish to check it out. The main target of this documentary is to present what the lack of "mom and pop" video shops means for low- budget horror and cult movies.If you grew up "back in the day" then you remember how nice it was going into video shops where there were a nice number of games on the shelf and more arriving weekly. This documentary does a nice job at looking back at this era and then talking about how Blockbuster eventually killed them off. Blockbuster would then be killed off by Netflix and streaming, which takes us to the final aspect of this documentary. With streaming killing off so many tiny companies, is there a method for low-budget movies to survive?At just 73-minutes there are a several too many subject that tried to be covered here but for the most part this is still an entertaining look at how the home video fights have changed over the decades. The impact on tiny films like PSYCHOS IN LOVE is discussed as well as how illegal downloads are making it nearly impossible for filmmakers to create cash anymore. Joe Bob Briggs, Lloyd Kaufman, Juliette Danielle, Deborah Reed, James Nguyen and Carmine Capobianco are just a several of the cult names that are interviewed.


What did the death of VHS films and video minigame rentals mean to the low-budget, independent filmmaker? A lot, surprisingly. "Mom and pop" video shops around the country, neighborhood institutions for decades, began shutting their doors in the 2000s, taking a hit from Blockbuster, which took a hit from competitor Hollywood Video, which took their hits from the internet, Netflix and "free" downloading and streaming (i.e., piracy). What goes around comes around: VHS killed Beta because it was less expensive, consumers preferred quantity over quality, and adult films were exclusive to the VHS format. But, as Carmine Capobianco, co-owner of Funstuff Video, says, "The sell-through (the ratio of the quantity of goods sold by a retail outlet to the quantity distributed to it wholesale) dropped the value of the VHS. Walmart killed the video business. Netflix killed the video business. Computers killed the video business." But how many of us are mourning the loss of our VCRs? I can name few favourite games of mine that never made that adventure from VHS to DVD (which, along with Blu-ray, is also slowing in sales). I can also name many instances where the VHS cover-art was superior to that of comparable DVDs. Are VHS tapes collectible like vinyl records? I never thought so. I don't like the picture quality of VHS, I everytime hated the occasional tracking issues, and they take up too much valuable space. But the fans, film makers, actors, distributors and radio personalities brought together in this entertaining documentary obviously feel different, as they reflect on the home-viewing store of the '80s with pride, discussing how independent filmmakers flourished during that time having different outlets for their products. For filmmakers today, starting out tiny and hoping to build a following, there is no cash to be made from streaming. Depressing, yes, but...the VHS may create a arrival yet! And if the industry rallies, watch out "Toxic Avenger"! I'll be the first to purchase a brand-new VCR, one with a remote to adjust the tracking from my living room sofa. **1/2 from ****



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