Once every few months I like to visit the local car-boot sales in search of rare VHS tapes, but all you ever seem to find these days are Cinema Club and 4Front re-released titles. The sort of titles that you can find almost anywhere and worthless to any serious collector.
Some great films were re-released under those two labels but i’ve only ever been interested in the original release, mainly pre-cert. If you’re having a good day you might find the odd one obscure tape. But it would appear that these days most people know the true value of VHS, and you only have to do a quick search on ebay to confirm those suspicions. So imagine my delight when I happened upon two market traders with a transit van load of obscure tapes.
I picked up one tape that I knew was rare, and the guy looked at me and told me to pick a few more and then he’d do me an amazing deal, even offering the lot to me for £20. It quickly became apparent that this guy knew nothing about VHS and was just happy to get rid of them all. I grabbed an empty crate and began to fill my basket like the happy shopper I am. I frantically grabbed as many titles as I could but just couldn’t contain the inner excitement, my Wife said I was shaking. I just knew I had to move fast because that particular car-boot is littered with collectors. Maybe they wouldn’t be interested in many of the films but it’s a chance I wasn’t prepared to take.
By the end of the raid I had amassed more than 50 titles and the guy stayed true to his word, charging me £10 for the lot. But as I was about to turn away, he handed me his number and told me that a further 2,500 VHS tapes were back at his second hand store, after recently doing a house clearance on a guy who used to own a Video store.
He told me to bring a flashlight with me when I go because most of the tapes were in a cellar. Not even the thought of man-rape or murder could have prevented me from going along, I was sold as seen.
As you will notice from one of the pictures above, I was seriously injured in a VHSalanche. The guy warned me when I went in that some of the stacks are a little unstable. He wasn’t kidding either as ol’ overexcited Ernie here couldn’t contain the inner child and decided to play Jenga with the tapes. I had noticed a pretty rare title and before I could even acknowledge it, the collector in me kicked into gear and pulled the tape out from near the bottom of the stack. Three entire rows, roughly averaging around 300 tapes came tumbling down on top of me, smashing me in the face in the process. It was not a good moment but I at least felt at one with the films for once.
The guy also told a little lie as he mentioned 2,500 films, but there must have been around 4,000 inside and I only had time for a quick run through. He locked the doors and the whole place was mine, or for a few hours at least. In the end I purchased 150+ titles and left the rest behind, for another day perhaps. I know where they are and I also know that the store is fairly unknown to many and disguised as a second hand furniture store, so I like to think of them all as my tapes and he’s just storing them for me.
You may notice that there are a few common titles among the obscure, that’s simply the collector in me. I didn’t want the guy to think I was robbing him of a small fortune so i’d occasionally pick up something like Buster with Phil Collins and make out like I was over the moon to have found it. Some of them I already own too like Chained Heat, Bronx Warriors, Superstition, The Hills Have Eyes: Part II and a few others. I picked them up because I wanted to see if they were in better condition than the ones I already had. You have to think about cover upgrades and such, I mean what if the tape broke?
Overall I spent the best part of three hours at this guy’s store and when I left he passed me his number and said i’m welcome back anytime, even for another lock-in.
I’d like to thank my Wife for helping me, she was a huge help and found some great titles among the many shelves of goodies too.
I have no idea on how i’m going to fit them into my already crammed movie room, and I dread to think how many VHS tapes I now own. VHS rules!
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