The Texas Theatre’s Video Store Re-creates the Experience of Getting a Video Rental

There was a time within the long, long ago when motion pictures weren’t as ubiquitous and accessible as a YouTube video or porn.

There was a time when individuals truly had to put on pants, go outdoors and drive to a spot to find a movie to take home. Watching films on VHS (video home system) tapes from Blockbuster Video or the native video rental hut presented more than only a film viewing expertise: They offered a challenge.

And some folks identical to issues the exhausting way, which is why a bunch of videotape collectors and movie buffs from across North Texas come collectively for video swap meets.

“It seems like a big commitment when you put in the tape and play it because you’ll find a way to’t skip forward,” says Eli Luna, founder of the Dallas VHS Swap. “You can’t skip back. You’re dedicated to watching it all through regardless of how good or bad it’s.”

Sadly, this adventurous quest is nearly gone due to the rise of streaming platforms that present a selection as massive as a film warehouse.

But there’s a means for individuals who bear in mind going to video shops — and these that’ve by no means seen the bright blue and yellow glow of a Blockbuster Video signal — to experience the film rental expertise with a brand new exhibition that opened Saturday at the Texas Theatre.

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A panoramic view of The Video Crypt, opening on Saturday within the Texas Theatre’s Safe Room gallery.

Danny Gallagher

The Video Crypt is a re-creation of ’80s and ’90s video rental shops, on display in the Oak Cliff cinema’s Safe Room gallery. It has aisles stocked with VHS tapes categorized by genre, promotional standees made of cardboard, advertising new house releases of George Romero’s The Dark Half and Hulk Hogan’s Mr. Nanny and analog TVs taking part in some of the rarest gadgets on the cabinets. There’s even an adults-only part with unique copies of Deep Throat and Debbie Does Dallas behind the same kind of beaded curtain that oldsters one method or the other believed would stop hormonal youngsters from discovering a world of perverse delicacies.

The Video Crypt is the creation of two Texas Theatre staff, Vianca Vega and Chad Pierce, who have shelves stuffed with uncommon and favorite VHS tapes that they wanted to share.

“We’re continually daydreaming about what we will do, and one of the things we have been continually discussing is a video retailer,” Pierce says. “I was even seeking out areas that I discovered had been pretty cheap and thought possibly I could do it with a enterprise grant.”

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Eli Luna, founding father of the Dallas VHS Swap, units up the classic rewind reminder signal at the entrance desk of The Video Crypt on the Texas Theatre.

Danny Gallagher

The Video Crypt will not actually rent out the tapes in the principle flooring. The only thing that comes close to merchandising are the T-shirts and buttons with the shop’s logos and the racks of clearance tapes on the back wall — subsequent to a promotional poster of a ticket taker at a movie theater marveling at copies of Star Trek IV and Crocodile Dundee for $29.95.

Dallas also has a big community of tape collectors thanks to occasions and groups such because the Dallas VHS Swap and Facebook teams like the Dallas Film Cult. Vega says the attraction is more about recreating the long, lost feeling of going to a rental store and evaluating the ways the viewing experience has changed in our digital age of push-button convenience.

“I just bear in mind the sensation of whenever I was a child and I would go to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video and I do not even need to say those,” Vega says. “I would go to the video stores that were related to where you’d go and get fuel, and I remember constantly seeing the videos that I wasn’t allowed to lease. I remember seeing the case for Dead Alive before I even knew what it was about.”

The month-long video store exhibition will also maintain this month’s Dallas VHS Swap outdoors of The Video Crypt’s doorways on Sunday. Gen Zers, familiar with the concept because of Stranger Things, will now have the pleasure of browsing for motion pictures and discovering over and over that the store is out of copies of what they’re in search of. But, hey, no less than we knew what we wanted.

“Even now on Netflix, you’ll have the ability to browse for an hour and by no means determine what you need, whereas with VHS, you can take a look at a badass cover and you’re simply going to go together with it and it could not really be good but it doesn’t matter,” says Eli. “It’s concerning the dedication to what you’ve got spent your Friday and Saturday night choosing and going home with.”

VHS may be an outdated type of tangible media, however Pierce says VHS tapes lasted so long and are still collected as a outcome of they could hold more content and cost less than Betamax tapes, the precursors to VHS.

“You can get extra and longer motion pictures on VHS than you can on Beta,” Pierce says, “and frankly what it boiled down to is it’s cheaper to make porn on VHS.”

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Chad Pierce, left, and Texas Theatre founder Barak Epstein arrange tapes in the horror part of The Video Crypt.

Danny Gallagher

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