You ever have a thing that you know you should be doing, but you’re just waiting for the right moment? Like that movie you’re dying to see, but you want to make sure you have the right company for it, or that…other example that would fit perfectly right here that I can’t think of?
Well, this post is a tribute to that. Kids, for the past 10 years, when I’ve visited my home town, I’ve driven past a video store. An honest to goodness video store, and I never went in. I don’t know why. I think I just assumed it couldn’t be that good. Surely not. So, I was just teasing myself, driving past that outside wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall; looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger me off…
Well, last week, the moment was picked and death came to my little town!
Family Video is a chain I knew nothing about until I decided to finally do this. Some of you may have some of the lingering branches of this chain in your town, so you may have beaten me to the punch on this one, but I’m glad I finally got down to it.
Last week, with Summer slowly starting its retreat, I went in, got myself a membership, and rented a gosh darn horror movie! Just in time to ease into the Halloween season. And it was glorious. Oh, and apologies up front for the blurriness of all these pictures. I don’t know why, but I still get weird about taking pictures in businesses, and try to do a quick “click and move”. There is some ridiculous paranoia there that I’m just one candid shot of Three Men and a Baby away from being kicked out.
As soon as I walked in the joint, a flood of memories hit me. It brought back all those Friday nights of my youth, perusing the shelves, selecting something you knew next to nothing about, based solely on how cool the box art was. Then later on, I’d spend some time in high school and college working at a series of video stores. I’ve done my time on both sides of that counter, Jack. But, this particular Family Video has a bonus feature. They’ve gone in kahoots with the Marco’s Pizza next door.
Yes, you can order a pizza and have it delivered in that window while you shop! And they have a promotion. If you order at least $10 worth of pizza, you get a free rental. And you better believe I did, brother!
But, it doesn’t stop there. Just for getting a membership, they pretty much throw the whole store at you. I’ve got several coupons for future free rentals and popcorn, and half off everything for like the first 30 days or something. Factor in the super cheap costs of rentals in the first place, and I can only assume they’re staying afloat on the nostalgia appeal alone. They’re doing pretty well though. While I was there, they had a pretty steady stream of customers coming and going, and it wasn’t even a weekend night. Of course, being the only game in town helps. I got everything in the picture above (pizza, 2 things of popcorn, the movie, and a load of coupons for later) for just $15.
The selection was pretty impressive, and while it didn’t completely live up to the volume of a Blockbuster or the oddball charm of your average mom-and-pop joint from back in the day, it had a dash of both. The New Release wall was nearly Blockbuster-esque in terms of the number of “big titles”, even if their definition of “New Release” was nearly anything released in the last two years. The rest of the store was pretty well organized, but not really broken down into too many genres. One section was just called “Prequels and Sequels” and was exactly that, with genres all mixed in.
But Deej, WHAT DID YOU RENT? I actually went there with this one specifically in mind — Blair Witch, the 2016 sequel to the original. It was one of those horror releases from the last few years that I just missed for one reason or another. My LIST has way more additions than subtractions these days, but I’m slowly working my way through it.
Blair Witch essentially is a retread of the The Blair Witch Project, but is handled in a competent manner, so it made for some good pizza eating, video renting fun. It centers around the story of James, the little brother of Heather from the original film, who leads a group of his friends into the woods in search of Heather, in the hopes that she may still be out there alive after all these years. And well…that’s pretty much all you need to know.
I think you know how things go from here. People start turning on each other, start getting offed one at a time, yadda, yadda, yadda. I know I may not be exactly selling it, but I promise it was absolutely worth the rental and captures the tone of the original fairly well. Oh, and as you can imagine, it pretends Book of Shadows: The Blair Witch 2 never happened. I know a lot of fans also wish that were the case, but I’m not one of them. I thought that one was good, stupid fun and I know Jay of The Sexy Armpit agrees with me. So yeah, it’s worth a rental…if you ever get the chance again to actually do such a thing.
Oh, and guess what. I just got a line on another video store a fairly short drive from here…The quest continues.