Who loves Redbox? Netflix? iTunes? Vudu? Amazon? Who loved video stores? I do…did. I miss them. On a quiet night alone I always had somewhere to go. I could get out of the house, go to a video store, look around for an hour or so, check out the creative artwork of even the shittiest film, rent a stack of videos and be set up for the night.
To me, the major drawback of this new technology in movie distribution is that the experience has become depersonalized. I am no longer friends with the video store clerk and no matter how hard I try, that damn Redbox machine won’t talk to me. It’s depressing not being able to catch a young couple sneaking into the blacked out pornography section. What has the world come to?
We’re missing out on important things, like artwork. Artwork has been a driving force of films almost since its inception. The 80’s led the pack of some of the greatest ‘straight to video’ artwork ever created, they mastered the art (pun intended) of getting you to rent terrible movies, and damn was I sucker for that!
I fell in love with Full Moon Features. Jack Death, Radu and Blade became staples on my TV. The films were
campy fun but the best part was Charles Band pioneered the behind the scenes idea with a cool feature at the end of each VHS tape called “Video Zone” this is how I was first introduced to filmmaking. No VHS is a thing of the past and DVD’s and Blu-Ray will soon approach their expiration dates. VOD has made its foot hold in the general public’s movie going experience.
Part of the joy of film was the experience. Whether it was going to the theater or to a video store there was an interaction and sometimes a group experience, a moment of sharing your joy or hate
for a film sitting with strangers in a theater or talking with a clerk in a video store, we are losing that experience, unfortunately.
Technology is great but technology doesn’t always have to push something to the wayside in order to be great. Earlier this year Variety published an article “The Slow Death of Redbox”, detailing declining profits for the DVD rental kiosk which is earmarked for an early death next to its former foe Blockbuster. VOD seems to be taking over slowly, but just as the hope that Blu-Ray would send DVD’s packing, VOD has been a very slow takeover but it seems it will be upon us in a few short years.
Soon tangible media with be a distant memory, the art work and collector editions of films we love will soon be limited to specialty online venders such as Criterion and Shout Factor or the ultra-cool limited run VHS distributor Vultra Video (for those that can hunt down a VCR). The sad day is coming soon, VOD is like the Skynet of movie distribution.