In 2011, I came up with an idea for Eat Sleep Live Film that would allow me to indulge myself in a little nostalgia. Rentals Revisited was a six-part series where I reconsidered certain VHS movies that had made an impression on me at an age where my rate of film digestion could be matched only by my intake of pickled onion-flavour Monster Munch.
Reliving the tender age where most of my time was spent either perusing the shelves of my local video rental store or sitting cross-legged in front of a 21-inch Sony Trinitron TV and Hitachi top-loading VCR was an absolute delight. Having realised it was these films that shaped my taste and viewing habits, as opposed to the more mainstream theatrical releases of the day, I decided I should continue my quest – and Adventures in VHS was born.
With #FilmRant365 at an end, 2012 marked a time to start something new. I would seek out the finest VCR and CRT television I could find, along with at least 50 individual ex-rental tapes from between 1980 and 1990. These I would use to embark on a voyage of (re)discovery around the format, recalling my previous experiences, detailing new ones and speaking to a selection of filmmakers about what it was like to work in the industry around the time of the home video explosion.
As it stands, Adventures in VHS is being written into a book that celebrates not just the format, but 50 carefully selected movies that would have sat on the shelves of my childood rental Mecca, Video World in Pendlebury, Manchester. There is also a supporting podcast, where each month I look in more detail at one tape and interview one of the minds behind the film in question. You can read more about the book and the podcast by visiting the individual pages in the menue above, plus there will be exclusive pieces of related content on this site as the book is slowly but surely being put together.
If you’re a filmmaker, producer, video rental store owner, VHS merchant or feel you have something to contribute to the project in some way, I would love to hear from you. So please, feel free to get in touch.