VHS 1138 Breaks Out Stacks and Racks of Analog Glory and Adds More Ammunition to the Arsenal of Video Rental Shops in The Lone Star State!
Don't touch that dial... erm... button. Whatever. Just don't change the channel. THIS IS WHERE IT'S AT.LM: Can you tell us about how VHS 1138 got started? What inspired you to set up shop? BD: My friend and the Co-owner of VHS 1138, Brett, approached me at a party that was being thrown for a local business Co-op called Collective. Brett walked right up to me and asked if I wanted to open a video rental store with him. I didn't even think about it. It had been a dream of mine since the other two independent video stores in town (PopinGo and Planet of the Tapes) had closed a few years earlier. Both video stores were huge inspirations to me and I actually got to pick the brain of the owner of Planet of the Tapes a couple of times which was very helpful in us getting this thing off the ground. So, after the night of the party we started cataloging our VHS collections immediately and also commenced the search for a worthy space to house our video store. The space we finally wound up at was none other than Collective (the same business Co-op where we first discussed the potential venture). We opened shop last December with about 3,000 titles on VHS and about 300 on DVD. A modest amount, but in my opinion, a pretty good selection. Brett focused mostly on directors and I kept my attention primarily on Horror, Sci-Fi, Dystopia, and Kung Fu.
The groovy storefront and sign for VHS 1138 and their partners in The Collective. DIG THAT NEIGHBORLY VIBE.You rent both VHS and DVD. Why do you keep VHS available? Are the titles you have on VHS only available on that format? We keep VHS available because it is our favorite format. It is in a lot of ways what vinyl is to music…
Some choice titles straight from 1138's shelf. This looks like one helluva good Saturday night, mang.How do you handle the rarer VHS titles? Do people make a deposit or…? What are the rental terms i.e. prices, how long can peeps keep ‘em? Do you have one of those overnight drop boxes that are oh-so retro groovy? We don't have a drop box yet but it is something I want to make myself. I have a plan that I am really excited about where I wanna cut the front off of a VCR and you drop your returns through where you would load the VHS in. Obviously some modifications would have to be made to in order to fit the cases we rent our videos out in. And the whole thing would look like an entertainment center complete with an old big screen TV that would play movies. Wicked!
One of Bryan's choice titles with the glory of CIRCUITRY MAN in the back. CIRCUITRY MAN II also makes an appearance. TRIPLE THREAT FOR YOUR VCR.You also sell VCRs, right? That’s awesome! Do you rent them, too, like they did back in the day-day? You sell tapes, too? We don't rent VCRs... yet. If we ever fall into a mess of black hard plastic briefcases then maybe we will start renting them out. It is a good idea and something we've kicked around but haven't come up with a solid way of doing it. We sell our over stock at really cheap prices (usually about 50 cents each) but they are not always the most desirable titles. We have a small selection of rad titles that we are asking a little more for and keep in a display case. We also sell some records, comics, and audio cassette tapes.
Some of the VCRs 1138 were offering up. This is an excellent service that needs to happen more. UP THE VCRS!You guys take donations for tapes, too, right? What’re some rad tapes you got from donations? Some of our coolest stuff comes from donations. Yesterday our friend Lawrence Mercado, who happens to do movie make-up for a living, came in and dropped off a bootleg of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four! We got Mother's Day recently too from our friend Crystal Flores. This guy contacted me through Facebook a while back about a bunch of Laserdiscs he wanted us to have. I didn't know what to say because we didn't really have space for them but he brought them by and it was like THE MOST AMAZING SHIT! Ilsa the She Wolf of the SS, a bunch of Lucio Fulci, the Japanese release of Army of Darkness, The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine, Satan's Sadists, Re-Animator, The Plague of Zombies. So much good stuff. I couldn't turn it down. Besides he wanted to just give it to us ‘cause he liked what we are doing. How do you say no to that? Seriously, a lot of friends and strangers have donated a lot of great stuff in the name of having a video store in their town and we love their love.
Now THIS is one helluva donation, man! THIS TAPE RULES.It looks like you guys do some groovy in-store stuff, too. Can you talk about those a little bit? Yeah. Well we plan a lot of events here cause we like to party and apparently we also love cleaning up after parties (it comes with the territory). But mostly we host small music events and movie screenings. We are having a lock-in next month that we are calling "VHS UP ALL NIGHT!" where we will be screening all of the Toxic Avenger films and eating disgusting amounts of pizza and drinking copious amounts of alcohol drinks. Oh! Also, sometimes we play Magic the Gathering and watch fantasy movies. It is awesome and the babes can't help themselves when five or six sweaty 25 - 30 something year old dudes are tapping mana and taking fucking names.
Just a sample of one of the bitchin' in-store celebrations for 1138. Lookin' good, lookin' good.I LUV VIDEO in Austin still rents VHS, too. Have you been there to scope the analog selection? I lived in Austin from 2004 - 2006 and I was at I LUV VIDEO a lot. I have who is working there now and I like to go visit her there on Tuesday when they give away free beer. That place is also among the things that are a huge inspiration to me. Them, and Vulcan Video in Austin, too. Although I kind of prefer I LUV, and Brett is more of a Vulcan guy. That's why I think our store works really well cause you get both of those aspects of movie fandom. The Film school graduate and the completely ridiculous, over the top, wastoid pervert. Although Brett is a pretty good mix of both really.
A shot of some stock from 1138. I SPY WILLOW. Dig it.What do think of all the VHS love that’s been happening lately? Have you seen more people coming in to rent tapes? I love all the documentaries that are coming out about the VHS craze and its history: Rewind This! and that other one that I can't think of the title of right now… They said a lot of the same things that I have been thinking for a long time but said it better than I ever could. As far as seeing any increase in business from all the attention that VHS has been getting… let's just say the ball hasn't really dropped yet. At least not here… but I believe that VHS is on its way back up and I am excited about the future of my favorite format.
Another view of 1138's awesome array of analog goodies up for rent. NINJA III FOREVER.Why do you think it’s important to keep VHS in your store? Why do you think it’s important to preserve the format? Because I like the idea of some kid watching Star Wars for the first time on the format it was put out on originally with no digital enhancing or added scenes. I think it is important because it is the format that was trusted the longest for watching movies in our homes. I guess being born in the 80's and having VHS around for ninety percent of my life so far makes me want for it to not be forgotten or tossed aside like it was just a phase we went through. Sure DVD allowed you to skip through chapters and Blu Ray does stuff, too… but VHS got dubbed and passed around among friends and got re-dubbed and your older brother got a dubbed copy of Cannibal Holocaust or your neighbor got some weird Japanese bootleg of some fucked up, bio-mechanical art sex film that no one knows what it is called. Today you can find that movie on a torrent and download it with an English overdub in high def. Yeah, that sounds "way more magical" than stumbling upon an unmarked VHS or someone handing you a small black box and saying, "You have to watch this. It will fuck your shit up… or change your life forever.” Anything else you’d like to say to all the Videovores out there? That one scene in Re-Animator where Dr. West keeps breaking his pencil every time Dr. Hill says something he doesn't agree with always makes me laugh. That's all. Peace out.
It always makes me laugh, too, Bryan! Herbert West is the man! And he don’t need no pen! So, Tapeheads, need a loving home for all those cutboxes you’ve since replaced with minty fresh slabs o’ analog glory or just have tapes in your trade pile that could possibly change someone's life? C’mon and donate those perfectly good videos to a Bryan and Brett’s super-groovy rental shop and help keep the collective Analog Dream alive! Contact them and VHS 1138 through their Facebook RIGHT HERE.They'll give 'em a good home and plenty o' love!
With groovy places like this happening, VHS WILL NEVER DIE!
Interview by Josh Schafer