Video Rental Stickers: To Remove or Not to Remove? A Tapehead Debate! PLUS! A Spotlight on the MOVIE MELT Heat Sensor Sticker!
It’s a question that seems to divide the preference of contemporary video collectors: do you dig those stickers you find on former rental VHS? Some Videovores see these often faded and crusty video store stickers as mere inconveniences that take away from the aesthetics of an undisturbed, otherwise pristine slice of home video heaven.
Other Tapeheads, however, see these stickers as an enhancement to the video’s aesthetic while also providing some obscure insight on its origin, ultimately adding a distinct bit of spice to their VHS collection. It’s an interesting question to be sure, and one that certainly deserves some attention via survey (see the end of this piece for more on that, man!) All opinions considered, there is one video rental sticker that has apparently captured the affection of many a video collector, likely due to its serious yet subtly comic feel and overall aesthetic appeal: a piece of vintage video store communication colloquially called “The Melt Sticker”
There it be! The classic MELT STICKER! Love that "MELT" font, man.
Tapeheads who avidly follow the many manifestations of VHS appreciation and celebration to come out of Lunchmeat Land might already be aware of our love for this particular sticker, and how it inspired us to weave it into some radical threads with our friends over at Media Crypt, who in case you haven’t heard, have a heaping helping of wearable wares to add to your rewind-inclined wardrobe.
The MELT STICKER shirt in action! Add it to your ensemble by clickin' here, Tapeheads.
While the more fervent Videovores are already familiar with the “Melt Sticker”, there is another version of this rental protection piece that has seemingly eluded most collectors: The MOVIE MELT Heat Sensor sticker. For the full story on my personal fascination with this video rental sticker, we’ll have to rewind back to about a year ago or so. My friend and fellow analog enthusiast Mike Malloy (EUROCRIME!; PLASTIC MOVIES REWOUND) reached out to me in search of an outwardly rare rental sticker that was nestled deep in the memory banks of his brain– a sticker that actually confirmed if you had indeed left your tapes to bake in the backseat of your car by way of a color changing indicator.
Initially, this sticker did indeed seem fairly hard-to-find. I had never seen one in person or in my rewind-inclined internet travels; my only knowledge of it was Mike’s brief description. That is, until a few months ago when I unsheathed my copy of BLOODMATCH on HBO VIDEO and found that MOVIE MELT strip staring right back at me.
The MOVIE MELT Heat Sensor sticker found on my copy of BLOODMATCH! FIGHT!
I’m obviously a big fan of the more popular “Melt Sticker”, but admittedly, the fact that this apparently trademarked invention created for video store support offers an impressive touch of ingenuity by being visibly incriminating, well, that’s pretty rad, man. Since I've VHstumbled across this sticker, as if by some sort of VHS collector kismet, I’ve seen it show up on Instagram via the feeds of @playVHS and @cruiseelroy, both offering up photographs of the MOVIE MELT Heat Sensor sticker adhered to tapes in their collection. Its true rarity is still up for debate, but one thing’s for sure: it’s one radical piece of video store ephemera, dude.
A MOVIE MELT Heat Sensor sticker on a tape from @cruiseelroy's collection. Now I just want a sticker that says, "Don't Be a Fool! Re-Spool!" Who would ever peel that sticker off?
But let’s get back to the initial question, Tapeheads. Which rental sticker school of thought do you subscribe to: Are you the type to break out the blow dryer and cook those babies clean off, leaving your tape in a sticker-free state? Or are you inclined to appreciate these once informational elements that have since become rental store remnants providing historical home video insight and idiosyncratic aesthetic? We wanna know, man! VHShout it out in the comments below, and don’t forget to tell us why, dude! We’re lookin’ forward to hearing from you!