All this talk of classic horror films from when I was a boy in short pants has me reminiscing about Friday nights of my youth. The Friday night video rental, to be exact. It was a semi-regular thing for my parents and I to go out after my dad got home from work and go grab a pizza at Pizza Hut, stuff ourselves, and then head to Video World and rent some movies for the weekend. Of course, I’d head straight to the back room(not THAT backroom, you perv) and start perusing the horror and sci fi. Video World had a back room dedicated to nothing but horror, sci fi, music docs, and weird odds and ends. That’s where I spent a good portion of my time. This was my formal education into the world of the undead, vampires, alien creatures, soulless slashers, and general weirdos that I’d carry around in my memories for years to come. At first it was an appreciation for being scared, but then it changed. It was the whole aesthetic that I loved: the effects, the music, the set designs, and yes even the stories that were attempted. Some were better than others(much better at times), but each movie carried with it something endearing, no matter how horrible the film was. If it was really bad it would sometimes transcend into something even greater than scares. The horror film that tried so hard but missed the mark would become something else: parody. Something so bad that it became a completely different genre. Even a lousy movie could make for fun viewing.

This Friday night ritual continued on through high school. One of my best friends and I would crash at either my place or his, grab a Tombstone pepperoni pizza from the store along with a bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles, hit Video World for the newest horror film(by this time we’d rent from either Video World or Video Plus), and spend Friday night distorting our minds(and our intestinal tract with that Tombstone Pizza.) Oh, and if you hadn’t guessed, we weren’t the partying types. Were we dorks? Nerds? I don’t think so. But we definitely weren’t “popular kid” material. Listening to Rush and Joe Satriani and pining over Daphne Zuniga didn’t win us any cool points, but we were cool with that.

I don’t think much has changed for me(except I make my own pizza nowadays.) The video store has turned into renting movies off of Amazon, and Fridays are also shared equally by watching movies and spinning records. If I’m going to waste time, I might as well waste on things I love to do, right? I do miss the video store, though. The strange cast of characters that haunted the aisles: whether it was parents and their kids looking for something to watch together, teens looking for something they shouldn’t watch, or the creepers disappearing into the “other” back room. And of course the folks working behind the counter, renting to the folks hungry for entertainment on a Friday evening. Spending their weekend making ours a little more interesting. I had much admiration for them. I was one of them, as I started working at Video World when I was 18 and worked their for nearly a year. A great year it was, too.

So here’s to Friday rentals and making the most of those little moments.

18 thoughts on “Friday Rentals

  1. Saturday night was usually our night for a visit to the video shop. It was a Global Video we had back then… we’d drop in on the way back from my grandparents and we’d find a movie or two. It wasn’t really horrors, though… aside from A Nightmare On Elm Street, I never really cared much for them. However, my young fragile mind was soaking in Die Hard and Terminator.

    Of the rentals, the ones that stood out were the likes of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Time Bandits. They formed my opinion of how films should be made.

    Now it’s Netflix. I don’t think there’s such a thing as DVD rentals anymore. Well, there a grocery type store near my parents that have a small selection of DVDs for rent and the library does too. But it’s just as cheap buying them these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Baron Munchausen and Time Bandits were great! Classics! And The Terminator is great, too.

      We’ve got a couple Redboxes in town and one video store. That’s it. They’ve gone the way of the dodo bird, sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess services like Amazon and Netflix brought an end to the need to rent a physical product. Certainly not enough folk without access to stuff like that to make it a viable business.

        I actually forgot about Redbox. Is that a store like Blockbuster? I know a lot of the Seagal movies get the ol’ ‘available now on demand and Redbox’ type push.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Redbox is literally a vending machine with movies in it. They sit outside grocery stores and in the entrance ways to Walmart. I’ve never used one. All seems so seedy to me. I occasionally hit the video store in town, but mostly just rent off Amazon. It’s too convenient not to, really.

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  2. Great post. I remember renting them during the day during the summer holidays when we were 15, using my friend Julian who was 6’6″ tall to boost our chances of getting our hands on the 18-rated stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did it work? Was Julian able to snag some of the restricted videos? We had a friend that was 4 years older than us and he’d always rent the adult stuff for us. The unrated horror stuff, that is.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy memories of Friday nights in the video rental shop picking the weekend entertainment. They usually had deals where you could hire out six titles really cheap but these were mostly older films. Still a good way to catch up on older releases though. We’d have Nightmare on Elm Street or Hellraiser weekends. Our local also did games so we’d end up hiring Sega Megadrive titles too. Totally sorted for the weekend and still time to go to the comic shop Saturday morning then the rock club Saturday night. Now I’m lucky if I can stay awake past 11 o’clock lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand. 10:30pm is pushing it for me anymore.

      Hellraiser and Nightmare On Elm Street weekends? Sound like my kind of weekends! We’d rent Nintendo games as well. Great times! Comic shop and rock club, too? Sounds like the perfect weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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