Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS -

Director Mike Malloy conjures up PLASTIC MOVIES REWOUND and sends excitement through the Videovore community as it looks to be the most expansive study on the Video Boom of the 80s yet! DIG IT.

The resurgence of VHS interest, appreciation and celebration is now in full swing. There’s been a thrilling influx of activity going on in the Videovore community with a plethora of VHS-oriented events, new home video releases from an impressive array of labels, new DIY zines and blogs focusing on our favorite format, and now, there’s a veritable army of VHS-crazed documentaries assembling to create what could very well round out to be the full vision and definitive history of the video era. Rewind This! is looking at how the VHS tape completely changed the face of the planet, Adjust Your Tracking is telling the story of the modern day Videovore and the community that’s formed around their passion, and Chuck Norris vs. Communism is detailing the incredible and fascinating history of the Underground VHS Movement of the 1980s in Romania. And, now, filmmaker Mike Malloy is in the process of creating what looks to be the most comprehensive and involved look at the video boom, going beyond the VHS tape and exploring EVERY format that invaded homes in the 80s. Read on, my fellow Videovores, and enter the passionate cranium of the dude behind PLASTIC MOVIES REWOUND…

And here's Mr. Malloy himself! Is this an epic shot or what? Give this guy his own show already.

JS: When did the idea for PLASTIC MOVIES REWOUND come about? What inspired you to take on this project? MM: If the SuperDuper Video in Rosemead, CA had not had a near-complete collection of RaeDon Home Video releases, and had I not decided to watch them all for some unknown reason, it might not have occurred to me back in 2002 how much home video changed the motion picture industry. And if you've seen a typical RaeDon release, you know what I mean by that. I started talking to some RaeDon filmmakers for an article, and I realized what great stories they had. The home video boom was this lawless, Wild West-type of entertainment frontier, where the rules were being made up as they went along. I knew I wanted to do something on the home video boom -- beyond just the magazine articles I was writing about the subject.

A quick view of the bootleg controversy between RaeDon and MNTEX titles. Looks a little fishy to me, mannnnn.

How has the production been going thus far? Is there still a bunch of filming to be done? Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Oh, you know how it goes: I was at a party the other day, and I spoke to a woman who happened to know the former editor of VIDEO STORE. She put me in touch. So sometimes it's hard to say no and quit shooting! This doc seems to be extremely expansive in scope, including what seems to be ALL of the home video formats, which I find to be AWESOME. What made you decide to take it to the next level and cover all of these? And there will be more than just alternative formats -- there will be alternative delivery methods, too. Methods like video vending machines, video home delivery, Fotomat kiosk rentals, etc. We even interviewed an '80s filmmaker who drove around the country for six months selling VHS copies of his movie on the sidewalks of America! But yeah, alternative formats are fascinating, and fortunately, there are VHS documentaries that are focusing so much on that format that it leaves me free to look at the also-rans, too. We're proud to have gotten the former VP of RCA that helped oversee their CED division. That was a coup, because people usually don't like talking about their flops.

Stills from the doc featuring Mitch Lowe, creator of Netflix. And to the left, the video vending machine VIDEO DROID. TOTALLY RULES.

What's your crew for this? It's fairly independent, right? The crew is whoever's at arm's length and is willing. But we've had some AMAZING volunteer talent on this project. Established filmmakers have lent their talent behind the camera, and hopefully that's because they sense that this will be the definitive word on the era. What is your goal with the doc? What do you want people to take away from it? I hope people are aware of the industry forces behind some of this stuff. Think critically about it. That matters for today. Yeah, streaming and VOD have hurt physical media, but so has Blu-Ray. When retailers had to carry twenty copies of the new Michael Bay movie -- ten on DVD and ten on Blu -- that meant that they had to find that extra shelf space by cutting some of their cool catalog titles. So home video became less of a fun, browsing-friendly experience -- all because some people wanted to see CGI robots explode in HD.

A behind the scenes look at the filming. Stacks and stacks of tapes = AWESOME.

Are you planning on a VHS release for this bad boy? Festival Circuit, too, maybe? Since it will be close to three hours, I would love this to be a two-tape set, either in a double clamshell or a double slipcase. Unless I cut a feature version too, it probably won't go the festival route. You're a VHS collector yourself, right? What are some of your favorite tapes? What's your thought(s) on the new tapes being produced... all the analog re-animation? I'm definitely a physical media collector. I own plenty of VHS, but I'm not any kind of format snob, and the vids I own now are primarily films that haven't had any other release. I also keep a working Betacord deck and a VCR that handles both PAL and SECAM formats. So I can play almost any conventional cassette from the '80s. While I like DVD, I'm also glad that some of my budget DVDs, even discs like the Spanish ROLLING THUNDER release, are transferred from VHS. Not from the 4x3 VHS masters, mind you, but from the actual VHS! That's the way those films looked when I first saw them on video, so it's nostalgically comforting to still be able to see them that way -- even when they're on disc! And as I've always said, horror plays better on tape. It feels dirtier and more illicit on some soft VHS print, like you're watching some underground snuff film that a guy handed you from out of his trenchcoat. What do you think of the whole resurgence of interest in VHS and the army of documentaries out there inspecting and exploring our favorite format? As for the preponderance of docs, I think the video boom is a very relevant subject right now for three reasons: (1) Because it's the end of an era. It's the last gasp, sadly, of brick-and-mortar video stores. And all physical media may be soon to follow. (2) Because the entertainment industry is again in upheaval (with VOD and streaming) -- much like it was in the early '80s. So there are a lot of parallels that make this story relevant. (3) Because of the nostalgia / collecting craze. I think it's neato. I'm more curious about what Josh "VHS collector before it was cool" Schafer thinks about it all!

Clickity-click the link to view the amazing teaser trailer for PLASTIC MOVIES REWOUND. Or, if you're not into that, just CLICK HERE, MAN.

How can we keep up with you and the progress of PMR? We're too poor to have anything but Facebook right now: Anything else you'd like to share with the Videovores out there? Watch out for tape mold! That wretched fungus cost me my Adventure Video copy of MEAN FRANK AND CRAZY TONY!

You got that right, Mike! Moldy tapes are the pits! Actually, if you’re having that problem, clickity-click this link and then this link to learn how to save your analog treasures from that malign mold!! Thanks to Mike for being a rad dude and doing something for the love of it. I just can’t wait to get a look at his beast of a doc… it’s gonna be epic, indeed. Groove on and keep feeding that VCR!!

Josh Schafer

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published