February 14, 2015

Farewell, My VHS

This past weekend I made a decision that I probably should have a made a while ago. I decided to get rid of my VHS tapes. I had a few days off work and have been in a cleaning mood. A cabinet full of tapes that I haven't even thought about opening in years stood out like a sore thumb.

And it's not like I never watched them. During high school (which is when I bought most of them), I watched the crap out of them. Back in the days when my VCR/DVD combo was used equally on both sides. In the years when I was still rocking a CRT and composite video.

This was a valid fear at the time.

My local music/video games/movies store used to carry hundreds of tapes. Mostly for $1 a pop. Having a job in high school but no real financial obligations, I would spend $20 and walk out with 20 movies. Good movies, bad movies, and everything in between. It's kind of ridiculous to think back to how much free time I actually had. I'm lucky if I can squeeze in one day per week for extended relaxation time now.

Do kids even know the word "rewind" anymore?

So getting rid of them was hard. Also, what to do with them exactly? Throw them away, donate them, offer them to others? Selling them seemed like too much work for such a small amount of cash. And who would really want them? Most of them were in not great, used condition. My goal was to get them out ASAP, I didn't want to sit on them anymore. The tapes selling for decent amounts on eBay were mostly old wrestling and cult horror. In the end, it didn't seem worth it the time or effort.

I was going to lug them all to Goodwill, but upon gathering, I was struck by some of the box art. A lot of it was pretty cool, and it was back in the day when movies had actual good art specifically made for home releases. I decided to unfold, flatten, compact, and keep the boxes for some future project. Which meant I had to throw away the tapes themselves.


Foolishly, I figured it would take maybe a large garbage bag and maybe ten minutes. By the sixth incredibly heavy bag, I was more than done. And as a side note, Fox went down another peg for me since they are the only ones who felt it necessary to glue the tops of their VHS boxes. Everyone else uses the folding technique, but Fox just had to be different in the most annoying way possible (as usual).

The whole process was hard. A lot of these tapes had nostalgic value. And even though I had many of these movies as either a disc and/or file, I still felt bad tossing the tape. Will I regret this decision? I feel somewhat confident saying no. Like I said, they've been sitting for years doing nothing for anybody. After all was said and done, I had condensed a group of hundreds upon hundreds of tapes to less than twenty. I am keeping a VCR in a closet somewhere just in case. You never know when it might come in handy.

This thing is a freaking modern marvel.
Do you realize how complex this has to be to work the way it does?

But I will remember all the countless hours we spent together, you lower-quality, bulky, full screen, analog, mechanically fascinating objects.


  1. This is a real tear-jerker. You should try selling the story rights to Lifetime.

  2. Natalie Krokt juggles the demands of being a single mother with her high-pressure career in a video store. When a mysterious stranger enters her life and continuously rents a myriad of slasher films, the lines begin to blur between "movie life" and "reality." Now, she'll be forced to complete this screenplay herself if she ever hopes to live the sequel. Lifetime Original Movies presents:

    VHS: Video Rape