Although releasing the indescribably awesome documentary "Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector" (which is available on VHS) on DVD feels sacrilegious, an eternity of torment seems to be a small price to pay for the enjoyment related to watching this film.
It seems as well that a percentage of videocassette affeciendos who have not already gone blind either due to watching these treasures ad infinitum or because of the adult nature of a large number of them will lose their sight from repeatedly watching this movie. "VHS" will make you laugh, smile, and almost cry.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of scenes from "VHS" provides an excellent sense of the spirit and the scope of the documentary. The not-so-youthful exuberance that it conveys is simply spectacular.
Watching folks who remain obsessed with the VHS format discuss that love in an era in which streaming video has not yet killed the DVD star but has placed it in serious condition will evoke great memories among those of us who remember discovering those magic black plastic rectangles.
A personal dislodged memory relates to the first '80s-laden virgin outing renting a film on VHS. This involves wearing the new fashion of a Ralph Lauren polo shirt (and using the Polo cologne from the green bottle) and accidentally running over my Swatch with my '84 Mustang (while the Duran Duran greatest hits cassette was playing in the tape deck).
The main selection from the choices at the local general store was "Ghostbusters," which I had not seen in the theater. Watching this (and the accompanying film "The Philadelphia Experiment") was partially designed to avoid watching the dreadful sitcom "Life With Lucy."
Other strong memories relate to spending post-college Saturday nights popping in rentals from Erol's Video on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C. after watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
The wide range of topics that the genuine "VHS" fanatics discuss extends beyond the excitement that they experienced on their family first buying a VCR, to addressing the rise and fall of independent and chain video stores, to the male-oriented topic of size matters regarding the number of cassettes in their collection, to lengthy discussions on both the thrill of the hunt and a tape that is the holy grail for these guys.
One collector expressing embarrassment related to divulging the large prices that he pays for some individual titles provokes thoughts of spending several pretty pennies to buy the third season of the '60s fantasy sitcom "My Favorite Martian" on DVD from Australia when it seemed that it would not be released in the U.S. and paying more than $100 for the complete series DVD set of the campy '60s Irwin Allen series "Land of the Giants." The heart sometimes simply wants what the heart wants.
The very adorkable Zack Carlson, who is the author of the great-sounding 2010 book "Destroy All Movies: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film," clearly steals the show. His doing the entire interview buried to his chest in a ball pit is enough to win you over.
Seeing this excitable boy talk about his grandparents buying a VCR when he is four and his intense decades-long excitement that follows in the wake of that purchase is infectious. This Zack Attack truly is a bodaciously righteous dude.
A guy who operates Bradco Video, which rents VHS tapes, out of his basement and uses a pre-mouse 1990 computer to operate that enterprise comes in a close second for star of "VHS." This store is a genuine (and uber-awesome) time capsule.
The message of hope on which "VHS" ends is another terrific aspect of this film. The band of video brothers point out both that companies are still releasing titles on VHS and that the once virtually dead vinyl format is making a comeback in the music industry.
The extras in the DVD release include interviews with "VHS" directors (and videocassette advocates) Dan Kinem and Levi Peretic and a plethora of other special features. The bonus shorts seem especially worth "eating."
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "VHS" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.