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– VHS Defense, The

I’m always a bit befuddled by my friends’ reactions to my actively tracking down and buying VHS copies of movies, as they always have a hint of resentment behind every statement. “So you…chose to buy this clunky VHS thing-a-ma-bob? Well, okay, but you know about DVDs right? They’re cool-looking and have extra stuff. We’re all over here buying those and you’re over there…with VHS. Why man, why?”

Well, to be honest, it’s because I think the VHS market has a lot to offer, certainly enough for a dope like me who spends his money on junk film. The rate at which movies are being released on DVD is quite fast these days, I’ll admit, and more than likely we’ll see just about every film get converted in the next decade. For the time being, however, I should point out that phrase “just about.” There are still obscure nuggets to be seen and mocked, and the only way to see them is to nab a VHS copy.

And personally, I would much rather keep some of my supposedly outdated movies instead of trading them in for a DVD version. Some of the titles in my collection have been around since childhood, and I just couldn’t bear to see them get replaced by some newfangled technology. Besides, have you ever compared some of the cover art designs for both the VHS and DVD copies of a film? They can be radically different, and for the most part I tend to favor the original design. Let’s face it people, about 50% of all DVD cover art just plain stinks, so why bother?

Okay, I hear what you’re saying. “The extras, man! Think about all of that extra stuff!” Well I’ll tell you right now, I’m one of many who don’t watch or especially care about the extra material on a DVD. I think the only DVD I actually explored was the one for Pixar’s The Incredibles, and that’s because it was just plain fun. Everything else in the market is pretty much packed to the brim with by-the-number features, lame celebrity interviews, and the occasional (and also lame) music video. As you can see, I’m not exactly the greatest target for this kind of stuff. Give me the movie any day of the week and keep your nineteen hours of extra stuff.

Yeah, I understand the negatives of the VHS world. They are big, they fall apart over time, and adjusting the tracking can be maddening as all get out. But VHS tapes don’t skip or jump ahead three to four seconds. They don’t have menus so heavily animated and flashy they take half a minute to unspool before you’re allowed to play the film. Most VHS movies don’t come in Extreme, Ultimate, Uncut, or Tricked Out editions either, and you have to admit, that was a blessed time for the consumer. So yes, my oh-so technologically sound peers, I will keep buying DVDs, but I don’t see my VHS collection’s growth slowing to a crawl anytime soon.

As for Laserdiscs and BetaMax tapes…well, Laserdiscs are really big. Like, really big. That makes them cool. BetaMax tapes…they’re puny. So…yeah. Poo to them.

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