Streaming Killed The Video Star: Why I Miss The Video Store


Before Netflix, we movie fans had a much harder time finding the jugular-grabbing journey of cinema. Kids today will never understand the struggle.

Gather around kiddies, while Uncle Billy tells you a story of days gone by.

You see, long before the days of Netflix or Hulu, if we wanted to see a movie we had two choices: we could either go to the theater for new movies or, to see them on home-video, we would go to a magical place called video stores.

It seems so long ago that video stores ruled the earth. There were so many, including Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. Those were the big chain stores, but when it came to horror movies, we fans knew the best variety could be found at what were called “mom and pop” video stores. They were small and independently owned.

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I have many fond memories of going to a video store on a weekend as a 12-year-old boy . Having recently getting into horror at such a young age, I’d visit that magical place not looking for anything in particular, but I would make a beeline for the horror section.

In the horror section, you could find anything from the big guns of horror; your Freddy movies, your Jason movies, and your Chucky movies, but you could also find movies that seemingly slipped under the radar. In the mom and pop video stores, you could even find supposedly banned fare like Faces of Death.

In those days, we didn’t have the internet. so unless the movie was theatrical, we wouldn’t know much about it. Picking up a movie at random was often a crap shoot. Sometimes you won, other times you lost. This is also how the horror rookie would find movies like the immortal slasher classic Sleepaway Camp among many others.

Felissa Rose and Jonathan Tiersten in ‘Sleepaway Camp’- Courtesy of American Eagle

Though horror movie roulette was only part of the experience back then. There was no Facebook. We had to actually speak to each other either by landline phone (look it up you whippersnappers!) or in person.

The video store is where you could talk to people with similar tastes in film and get recommendations. These days being a fan of movies seems so impersonal where you can really only talk to other fans on different websites or at the occasional convention. Back then we were like our own little community.

As much as I love and miss going to video stores, there is one advantage to the way things are now. You kids will never have to face the heartbreak of going to the video store to rent something specific and seeing all the copies being rented out.

Next: How John Carpenter's 'Halloween' Almost Never Was

I hope you Residents of Elm Street enjoyed this trip back in time as much as I loved reminiscing about it.

Miss video stores? Fond memories of your childhood? We want to go back into the past with you. Let us know about your fondest video store story in the comment section below and let’s all be kind and rewind.