A Real Live Video Store in 2017?! IT EXISTS! Dustin Ferguson Brings Back the Video Rental Dream in Lincoln, NE with OLD SKOOL VIDEO!
The more avid aficionados of the indie horror underground are likely to be familiar with the name Dustin Ferguson. His prolific output in the genre has offered audiences insano titles such as Sleepaway Camp 4 and the faux-found flick Doll Killer along with an arsenal of unruly music videos, including some radical work for KMFDM. But even if you’ve never come across any of his cinematic creations, you’ll soon know him as a veritable home video hero.
His newest endeavor has Ferguson taking a break from his low-budget filmmaking and daring to damn the digital streaming addiction of modern society, inviting them back to one of the most nostalgic and fantastically fun facets of movie consumption: a real live video rental store. Located in Lincoln, NE and offering thousands of titles on DVD, Laserdisc and VHS, Ferguson’s newly opened OLD-SKOOL VIDEO has a selection that runs the gamut of entertainment, but stays true to his rewind-inclined roots, spewing forth a horror section gloriously gushing with absolute classics and jaw-dropping dope rarities on VHS. Read on, my fellow Videovores, and hang loose with Dustin as he manifests his mission to bring back those groovy video store vibes of yore…
There he is! Dustin Ferguson, owner and operator of OLD SKOOL VIDEO, clutching a box of pure analog glory!
For the uninitiated, can you tell us a little bit about your creative background, and the films you’ve brought to fruition?
I've directed 34 feature films, 12 short films and over 70 music videos to date. I'm mostly known for doing Camp Blood 4 and Camp Blood 5, editing Sleepaway Camp 4 and doing controversial music videos for Lords of Acid and KMFDM.
The cover for Ferguson's flick CAMP BLOOD 4. DON'T CLOWN AROUND, DUDE! YOU KNOW WE SCARED!
The article on Lincoln Journal Star mentions you’ve had the idea to open a rental establishment since college. What was the final inspiration to make this dream a reality, man?
I've been collecting movies (mostly horror) since I was like 8 or 9 years old. I grew up renting movies from video stores and was determined to go to college back in 2003 to learn how to open one myself. However, that would soon become the "era" of video stores closing, so I was forced to shelve the idea and get a "regular" management job. I began directing my own movies in 2007 and did that the last 10 years, sort of creating a cult-film status for myself.
Now I'm 34, and nearly 15 years since I graduated college there's been this resurgence and interest in VHS and "retro" horror. It's sort of the new vinyl, and a lot of younger fans are discovering it for the first time, while older fans are feeling nostalgic and wanting to relive childhood memories of renting movies. I sold my film The Amityville Legacy to Wild Eye Releasing and took all that money and invested it into making OLD SKOOL VIDEO. It happened really fast… like over 2 months. I went from having not even conceived this idea to open a store, to quitting my job and just doing it. I'm really glad I did. The customers so far have been really supportive and loyal. I see already it's going to be at least a minor success.
An ad slick for THE AMITYVILLE LEGACY from Dustin Ferguson. Too much monkey business, man!
Why do you think it’s important for people to have a local video store, and why does it set itself apart from Netflix and Redbox options?
In today's day and age, everyone is brought up to be anti-social with all the internet forms of social media. No one interacts with each other in public the way they used to, and scrolling thru a streaming selection of only like 100 movies is really lame. Netflix, Hulu and Redbox have a very limited amount of only the newest/popular films. What about the 1000s and 1000s of OTHER really good movies out there? The ones ONLY on VHS or DVD? Going to a video store will not only introduce you to so many more films you may have never heard of, but you also get live, REAL suggestions and like-minded conversations with the employees and other customers. It's a totally unique experience that you just don't get choosing a movie from your couch at home. Not to mention the smell of fresh popcorn and sounds of the old horror movie playing on the tube TV at the front counter.
The retro-radical logo for Ferguson's OLD SKOOL VIDEO. Bring back those neon-lit nights of endless video rentals.
What are you hoping the opening of OLD SKOOL VIDEO will do for the community around you, and video store / movie enthusiasts everywhere?
Bring back a past time. There's no real reason why these places shouldn't exist. A lot of people live in areas with a poor internet connection so they can't stream, other people don't want to wait in a line at Redbox in the freezing cold of winter, while others simply don't like the selection Netflix has to offer. I am giving all these movies a 2nd life… A chance to be rented and appreciated again. I'm giving people my age the fun memories of their childhood back. I'm introducing young children to the wonders of the video store, and forming new memories for them when I offer them a free lollipop or bag of popcorn just for being a youngster renting a movie. About 90% of my customers have made it a point to stop and tell me that they miss the video store and really appreciate what I'm doing. And that's exactly why I'm doing it.
There's only one thing better than cotton candy, and that's FREE cotton candy. MMMMgim'medat!
What’s the rental stock looking like for OLD SKOOL VIDEO? About how many titles (VHS, DVD, video games, etc.) are available for rent right now? Is it all rental, or are there titles for sale, as well?
We have maybe 5000 titles to rent right now, 75% of that is our Horror section. But we offer movies in all genres, including fun ones like "Shockumentaries", "Local Films", "Music Videos", a "Nickelodeon" section, "Anime" and even a "King's Korner" of all Stephen King movies. We have a small section of new and previously viewed movies for sale, many exclusive offerings from companies like Screamtime Films, Vinegar Syndrome and Wild Eye Releasing.
Can you give us a sampling of what to expect from the VHS section in OLD SKOOL VIDEO? Inquiring analog-obsessed minds want to know, man!
We have all the rare titles you've always wanted to see on VHS. From the original Wizard release of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, to the big box offerings of Make Them Die Slowly and 7 Doors of Death to all the Faces of Death movies. If you like the rare, your jaw will drop at our selection. We also have a decent LaserDisc selection, as well, containing some gems like House IV, The Howling VI, Scanners and Japanese releases of Child's Play 1 and 2.
A panoramic view of the Horror section at OLD SKOOL VIDEO. What a beautiful VHSight, eh, Videovores?!
You have a portion of your own VHS collection for rent right now. How do you handle the more rare / collectible VHS when rented? Is there a deposit or anything like that?
To set up a rental account you need a driver's license and a credit card. In today's world charging a late fee seems unfair because people have much busier lives now and I'm located out on the edge of town. However, if a film isn't returned, after 30 days your card is charged the replacement cost of getting the film from Ebay or Amazon. Whether that be $10 or $150. So it's really in our customer's best interest to return the films. It would really suck to have your account charged $150 you don't have because you just had to steal my rare copy of Las Vegas Serial Killer or something (without a box, mind you). They take the movies home in a blank case, so the value of it if sold doesn't hold up. It's just not worth stealing.
That's one dope rarity, indeed, dude! Where else are you gonna be able to feed this slab to your VCR for a buck? This place RULES.
The store just opened on JAN 3rd 2017. How did the opening go? What was the atmosphere on that day, both for you and the patrons?
It was pretty busy all day. Lots of great conversations with now "regular" customers and there was a lot of excitement in the air. I got pretty used to every customer saying things to themselves and each other like "Oh my God, I can't believe they have this!", or wander through the store taking pictures of all my rare tapes. It's been entertaining and rewarding and really gives me a warm fuzzy feeling every time someone comes in and rents an old horror VHS, which by the way, seems to be our biggest renters. Horror fans from all over town and surrounding areas have already been coming in on a regular basis, working thru what they haven't seen. And I have to say, it's pretty rad.
It sounds beyond rad, man. Are you renting your self-made films there? It only seems right you have your own little section.
Yeah, I have a whole "Local Films" section, most of which are all my films. A few have rented out, and it's cool introducing my work to the average local horror fan.
Dustin Ferguson's flick MEATHOOK MASSACRE II on Limited Edition VHS, now available from Nemesis Video. Click here to grab that slab, man!
What’s in the future for OLD SKOOL Video? I hear there’s a groovy retro-style commercial on the way? Any other goodies to watch out for? Screening events? Popcorn eating contests? Y
Yes, we are filming a commercial in the coming weeks, once I have the place looking how I want it. It's basically a riff on an old Blockbuster Video promo they had on some of their rental tapes. We open with a bored family scrolling thru Netflix. Nothing good to watch. The Father states "When I was a boy, we used to go to the video store and RENT movies". Mom blushes. The daughter asks "What's a video store?" Suddenly they are magically transported into Old Skool Video. Everyone is amazed at the selecton, the boy picks up "Rambo 3" and says "Radica!l", with shots of other customers looking at movies. The family pays and leaves, followed by a voice over and text. It'll be B-movie material, but that's sort of the whole image of Old Skool Video. I have a few films I'm directing this year with some famous horror actors, so I plan to arrange some store signings with them as well while they are here, and we are currently setting up our backroom for "First Friday" local movie screenings, which will start in February!
Sounds totally loaded, man! I can’t wait to peep that commercial! Anything else you want to shout out to all the Tapeheads eyeballin’ the here slab of VHS-obsessed internet?
Come check us out, tell your friends. You won't be disappointed with our selection. If you miss the video store, prove it, and rent a movie. Doing so, will keep us in business and encourage more video stores to open if this is a proven success. Also, please "Like" our Facebook page!
If you’ve been waiting for someone to go balls to the wall and re-animate the spectral spirit of a Mom n’ Pop rental shop experience, Dustin Ferguson is the hero you’ve been looking for, Tapeheads. And if you’re in the area, there’s just no reason not to groove on out and support this radical rewind-inclined endeavor. OLD SKOOL VIDEO is located at 110 W. Fletcher Ave, Suite 3 (next to Steve O’s Bar) in Lincoln, NE. They’re open 7 days a week from Noon to 8pm and offer 5 Movies for 5 Days for 5 Bucks. Oh, and NO LATE FEES! You know we can dig it. This is a reality in 2017. It doesn't really get more fantastic than that. Dustin, we here in Lunchmeat Land VHSalute you!