Basement Party 2

Basement Party 2

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Video Store Memories

I found this picture today of some kids perusing horror movies at a video store some years back (based on the fashions and hair, I'd say it looks like 1987).

This store appears to have a nice selection of horror films to choose from, most of which I haven't seen yet. Has anyone out there seen "Silent Night, Deadly Night?" I always wanted to but haven't gotten around to it yet.

When my family rented movies back in the day, more often than not it was from the grocery store. The selection was more limited than your exclusive video rental stores but there was the convenience factor; on your average Saturday night mom and dad could pick up some snacks, beer, and wine while sending us kids over to the video section to pick out that night's entertainment. I can still remember some of the selections from nights like that..."Inner Space," "Flatliners," "Misery," and the list goes on.

Does anyone remember that urban legend that sprouted up when the movie "Three Men and a Baby" was released on home video, about how in one scene you could see what looked like the ghost of some dead kid in the background? Word of this spread fast, and in a pre-internet world you could say it was my first memory of something "going viral." I can remember sitting in my mom's car outside of the Cohoctah General Store after renting it while she talked to a teenaged gal who babysat us. Mom had just heard of the rumor, and the babysitter said she had just heard about it too. That scene gave me chills before I realized later on it was just a cardboard cut-out of Ted Danson. We paused that scene multiple times trying to see if it really looked like a little boy. Here's a clip to refresh your collective memories:

When my family moved in 1994 from a house way out in the country to one closer to town we started renting movies from some of the local video stores. Prior to this, grocery stores were starting to phase out their video selections. When I was 14 I would ride my bike into town and browse the horror movie section of a store called Movieland. I believe this store is where I first heard of a flick called "Dawn of the Dead."

Anyway, that picture up top sparked some memories of VHS days gone by. Now that any movie we want is available at the touch of a button or click of a mouse (what is this, Star Trek?), we've lost that thrill involved with seeking out and finding a cool video based on word of mouth or cool box art. We're also missing that sense of community, where you can ask the guy next to you if he's seen a particular movie, whether it's good or not, if it has boobs in it, etc. Anyone out there have their own video store memories to share?


  1. Good post bro. I never heard that "ghost boy" rumor before. It definitely looks like a cutout, but looks a bit small to be Danson.

    I hear ya on the loss of community when it comes to video stores. Really, the only good memory I could ever share were memories of Video Hits Plus. Their sci-fi/horror section being right next to the porn room. The arcade games! Man I miss that place.

  2. Video Hits Plus was my favorite video store ever. When I wax nostalgic about VHS, I always go back to my childhood. VHP was a part of my early adulthood, so it's like I compartmentalize it from memories of my youth. It's kind of cool that while that format was on the way out in popularity, we got to go there regularly. That bottom floor was where all of the cool stuff was, I remember right by the porn room and horror/sci-fi they also had the music/concert videos. Yes, that porn room was LEGENDARY, and VHP was never the same after they replaced it with tanning beds.

    As for the "ghost boy," here's a Snopes link about it.
    The rumor was that the loft/apartment that the movie was filmed in was rented from a family whose young son had recently committed suicide.

    The Ted Danson cut-out appeared earlier in the movie, and features him wearing a tuxedo and top hat. His character was an actor and I think it was a promo piece from some film he had done.