‘VHS is, you know, it’s like vinyl – if vinyl kinda sucked,’ says director Michael Keene in the keynote speech of Rob Preciado’s wide-ranging documentary about a) the era of VHS (nobody mentions Betamax), which in America came a little after it did in the UK, and b) the amiable eccentrics who hoover up old (but playable) tapes for pennies and build wall-sized collections against which they can be interviewed (I’m certainly not one to carp about that). There’s a long stretch, featuring artist Graham Humphreys and a few Brit voices, giving a precis of the video nasties kerfuffle – but it refreshingly takes in voices from Mexico, Australia, Holland and other countries, chronicling the arrival of homevideo, timeshift recording, under-the-counter bootlegs, Mom n Pop stores and Blockbuster (viewed now with nostalgia rather than the corporate plague that wiped out interesting indie stores). Interviews are spiced up with PD clips (fuzzy, of course) and a wealth of vintage ad material about the equipment and the tapes. Relatively breezy.
Here’s the FrightFest listing.
Mr Newman, the Frightfest listing doesn’t seem to appear (unless I’m senile, which may be the case). Bless ’em, but the Americans had NOTHING on the UK when it came to video. I could cite statistics but wouldn’t be so crass. Further, it is amusing that the USA, with their constitutionally enshrined freedom of speech giving uncertificated videos an easier ride, is so envious of our parochial ‘Nasties’ phenomena. We must just ooze pheromones (hence Beatles, Stones). Enough about this nations dangerous sexual charisma. All us pre-cert nuts find the Nasties SIMPLY yawns-ville at this point. The cognoscenti want a full set of grey-back EMI in reverse-opening cases, Mountain Video kung fu, Precision vids in scaled up audio cassette cases, Derann and Iver super-8 … Black Torment on Vampix etc etc – get a life, you say?