NRW presents 'Remember This'. A brand new column by Sam Haine

Remember This?
The Local Video Store
By Sam Haine
            Before NETFLIX  and HULU, before Blockbuster Video, even before youtube or the corrupted and self-obsessive internet. The only place to see new films was at the Cineplex. People would make plans ‘over the phone’ and make a day of going to the theaters to see what was playing; most times without even knowing what the hell they were about to watch. If you loved the film, you would spread the word and go back to watch the film again. Why? Because after its run the only way to see the same film again was to wait possibly a year before cable television could air it. Unless you stretched on your sweat bans and pushed that hunk of junk bmx down to your local video store. You know the video store that smelled of make shift wooden shelves and filled with empty VHS boxes from floor to ceiling. Each box was held in its place by a piece of string from one end of the shelf to the other; I guess they were jumping off the ledge constantly.
            In every neighborhood there were at least one video rental store and sometimes there were two. Some places you had to actually drive to from your house so, it became a family activity, “Now you kids go pick something for you and me & mommy are picking a movie for us.” Remember the days when families actually did things together… even if you didn’t have one like that you knew other kids who did.
            The place was a hangout for the local kids and the local kids who had nothing to do. Mine like most others even had space for arcade games: Terminator 2 arcade shooter, Out Run, Street Fighter, an SNK arcade cabinet with King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown & Metal Slug; even that damn claw crane vending machine. Back when claw cranes actually had stuffed animals and toys in them; before my neighborhood fucked it up by filling it with pre-paid phones, fake Rolex watches and other junk like big-ass fake diamond earrings (I shit you not).
            The video rental spot charged you a reasonable fee and only required that you return the tapes (later dvd’s) when you were supposed to and for the tapes to be rewound. The staff was from the neighborhood or cute enough that you didn’t care where they came from. The staff also knew what they were talking about because they loved nothing more than to watch movies and geek out over good ones and rant poetic hatred about bad ones.  
There was always a mysterious backroom with a neon Adults Only sign above a dark curtain and you just knew there were things behind that curtain not for you but you couldn’t resist somehow taking a peek every time.
Their inventory didn’t consist of the flavor of the month based on customer habits, no, they had what they had and that was everything from B-movies, kung fu movies, foreign films, classic films and Hollywood big studio defecation.  Remember the Elvira collections where she would give an introduction to the feature? Remember the Sho Kosugi collection? Remember all the great movies you haven’t seen in forever.
That’s what Netflix is seriously lacking - the oddities and the obscurity. I have probably only been on Netflix maybe only six times. Instead I take free time to go and surf youtube for all the lost memories. Where else would you find any of the films I feature every month on this site for you and your viewing pleasure? Everybody remembers the summer fluffers but it’s the little thrills and chills and movies that only you and your friends remember with all the inside humor that make the memories of youth so cherished.

Another thing to remember – SUNCOAST VIDEO stores and how they sucked!

 Suncoast the harbinger of mediocrity; they never had anything you wanted. Movies were never where they were supposed to be or they just didn’t have it. The anime section was only six films: Robotech, Bubblegum Crisis, Vampire Hunter D, Akira, Project A-ko and Wicked City.
The staff sucked balls and didn’t know anything. In fact they were the ancestors to the blue shirt douches that worked at Blockbuster.

Hello sir, where are your Troma films?
Troma? Oh yeah third aisle in the foreign section.

Face/Off is an official movie, I liked it,”says the Employee of the Month.
Official? So every other movie here at FYE is bootleg?

             Remember these things? What are your memories of your local video store? Reminisce a little and keep your fingers firmly on the rewind button.

Sam HaiNe is a writer of short stories and flash fiction and the creator of Hainesville ( He’s a contributing writer for NRW including our Retro Movie of the Month. As well he contributes content and Cult Fiction to