I’m an old soul. I like hot rods, I buy music on vinyl (and I did long before it suddenly got cool again), I smoke a pipe (though I’ve cut way back). My point is that I often dismiss the modern comforts of technology in favor of nostalgic methods.
The same goes for the way I watch certain films.
Don’t get me wrong–I have a library full of Blu-rays and DVDs–but I simply prefer to watch some films on VHS. I think it goes back to my experiences in the Video Rental Store as a kid. There was just something about walking into a store full of movies and looking at all of those giant clamshell cassette cases on the shelves. Back then, the cover art on those boxes were truly works of art. Nowadays, it seems like every DVD you see in the store was packaged in a cheap, photoshopped rush-job.
Some of those classic box images are ingrained in my memory and I’ve made it a point to find many of those movies on VHS. Sure, the quality of the film is nowhere near what you get with today’s digital options, but I think some movies are better when you watch the old grainy versions. Take the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Watching a restored, cleaned up version somehow ruins the original, snuff-like quality that made the film so infamous.
I’m not saying you should burn all of your DVDs in support of the Pagan tradition of VHS, but you can still find them for sale at yard sales and online, usually for pretty cheap. So I challenge you: think back to your childhood and an image of a cassette case that stuck with you. Now see if you can find that cassette on eBay.
Of course, watching that movie will require a VCR, and that’s the topic for another article altogether. In the meantime, here’s a picture of some of my favorite VHS picks in my collection.