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VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media (2016) - Blu-ray Review

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VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media (2016) - Blu-ray Review

3 beersIf you’ve read my article Five Beers: In Defense of the Trashier Side of Cinema,, then you probably realize a documentary about the rise and fall of physical media is going to be close to my heart.  This is the territory of VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media, a film by Kenneth Powell (Troma’s Monster Kill) and Thomas Edward Seymour (star of Mark of the Beast).  It’s also pretty damn entertaining. 

Truthfully, the audience for the open-ended discussions in this award-winning flick (receiving the Gold Remi for Best Entertainment Feature Film at WorldFest Houston) might be limited.  You should have an appreciation for cult films.  You should also understand or be open to understanding why Blockbuster was so detrimental to the surging independent filmmaking movement that flourished during the 1980s and eventually saw its demise around 1995. 

It is a movie for anyone who used to frequent all the grimy Mom & Pop video stores in the years BEFORE Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, and Hollywood Video starting dominating with their guarantee to have a popular film in stock, limiting choice.  It’s also for vinyl lovers and, as it was made by young directors still working with new digital platforms, includes a lot of discussion about exactly where the b-movie is heading.

Featuring frank and honest on-screen interviews with Joe Bob Briggs (MonsterVision), Lloyd Kaufman (Toxic Avenger), Greg Sestero (The Room), Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke 'Em High), Deborah Reed (Troll 2), Mark Frazer (Samurai Cop), and James Nguyen (Birdemic), the film is also a treat for cult film fanatics.  Of course, it’s what these b-movie titans have to say that matters and trust me, they aren’t holding back. 

Being the face and voice of Troma Entertainment since the beginning, Kaufman goes all out with who he faults and why with a statement aimed straight at the heart of Hollywood.  He’s 100% correct, too.  Even the “suits” would agree with him.  Yup, yup, yup.  We are resistant to change.  Mixed with these interviews is a fun little journey undertaken by Jon Gorman (director of Mark of the Beast) and Mike Aransky (The Land of College Prophets) as they and their friends go on the hunt through Goodwill stores and dingy VHS dives to find (a) their own films and (b) titles that look (and hopefully are) the worst things ever filmed.  I know this game well.  It’s fun.  More people should play.

Some of you understand how important the role of Mom and Pop Video stores were in exposing us to new and unusual titles; titles whose artwork was so fabulous that it had NOTHING to do with the movie itself.  Others won’t recall this, only that they got balloons and kids movies at Blockbuster.  This is also the movie for you.  You need to know WHY all those stores closed as Blockbuster got bigger and bigger.  Something shady was happening.    

I doubt this documentary will have you breaking out your VCRs, but it is a fascinating discussion to be a part of.  For anyone who EVER felt the excitement of, as Steve Perry once sang, “holding, touching, squeezing” the cover of a VHS tape and ogling the cover art, VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media is a documentary you will want to devour.

And always remember: Be kind.  Rewind.

VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media (2016) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
72 mins
Director
: Kenneth Powell, Thomas Edward Seymour
Cast:
Mike Aransky, Alan Bagh, Troy Bernier
Genre
: Documentary
Tagline:
Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The elite does not want competition."
Theatrical Distributor:
Troma Entertainment
Official Site: http://www.troma.com/films/vhs-massacre/
Release Date:
June 20, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 9, 2017
Synopsis: This lively documentary explores the rise and fall of physical media and its effect on Independent and Cult films. Ranging from the origin of home movies through the video store era, it’s sure to entertain. With icons like Joe Bob Briggs (MonsterVision), Lloyd Kaufman (Toxic Avenger), Greg Sestero (The Room), Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke ‘Em High), Deborah Reed (Troll 2), Mark Frazer (Samurai Cop), James Nguyen (Birdemic) and many others.

VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media (2016) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Troma
Available on Blu-ray
- May 9, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: Region A

Troma Entertainment presents VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media on 1080p with mixed results.  Digitally shot, there is a crispness to the hosts and to the interviews.  It’s not the most pleasing-looking documentary to ever be recorded, but it works.  I doubt few will complain.  Black levels are good.  Colors are vibrant. The sound is presented in a limited stereo 2.0 track and is clear enough to suffice for a talking head format like this documentary.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by Kenneth Powell and Thomas Edward Seymour, the commentary is humorous and provides us a bit more information on their thoughts of the topic.  They also discuss meeting their heroes and the film’s impact.

Special Features:

Troma Entertainment has gone all out with this release by offering deleted scenes, and peeks at other projects they are currently involved with. 

  • Intro by Lloyd Kaufman (President of Troma Entertainment and Creator of The Toxic Avenger) & VHS MASSACRE Directors
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Troma Now! Extreme Edition
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • A Full Episode of Monster Kill: Merminators from Space (The New Web Series by Kenneth Powell and Thomas Edward Seymour)
  • Radiation March
  • Return to Nuke ‘Em High: VOL.1 Trailer
  • Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High AKA VOL.2 Fantasia Teaser

VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media (2016) - Blu-ray Review

 

 

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