Rogues Rants – The Great VHS Debate – By The Rogue Cinema Staff

Continuing our ongoing series of rants where we complain about anything and everything just because it makes us feel better, this month we decided to have a go at those crappy old VHS tapes. To that end, here is this month’s topic:

Is there any good reason that people should still be buying/viewing movies on VHS, or is it time for the VHS commercial video market to just die, relegating the format to home video recording only?

Brian Morton:

Being the last guy I know to get a DVD player, I have a unique perspective on this. I remember being the guy who fought and fought the DVD revolution. Yes, as a guy, I really wanted the new toy, but as a grown up, I couldn’t justify to myself spending money on a new toy that basically did the same thing as a toy that I already owned. Looking back now, I understand the complete difference, but then, as long as I could see the movie, I was a happy camper. Then, when I got a DVD player, I finally understood! A whole new world opened up to me, and I have to admit, I haven’t looked back since. Is there any reason why people should still be buying VHS movies? Not with the prices of DVD players where they are today. I recently bought a new player for $30, granted, it’s not the high end player, but it’s a brand name and it plays just fine, thank you.

So, in my final opinion, VHS is as dead as cassette tapes! With the price of digital video recorders falling faster and faster, there just doesn’t seem to be any reason to keep this seemingly obsolete format around. So, my Rogue thumb is down, let the emperor execute VHS and put it out of its and our misery.

Duane L. Martin:

VHS bad! Grrrrrrrrr. VHS roll out in machine – make much mess. Big plastic things take too much space on shelf. No room for cavegirl magazines. How me supposed to get big club without cavegirl magazines? Me throw VHS where cat go poo. Me go poo there too, but don’t tell cat. He no like.

Jonathon Pernisek:

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 frankly, for the most part I like 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 doesn’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 that are so heavily animated and flashy they take half a minute 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.

Jordan Garren:

VHS is a dead format, we all know that, but some people are too stubborn to upgrade to a DVD player. For those of you who are still buying tapes, I hope you’re buying films that are currently out of print and unavailable on DVD, because that’s the only justification I can grant you. If you don’t want to go out and replace all of your tapes with new factory made DVDs, then buy a DVD recorder, hook it up to your VCR and copy your old tapes onto blank DVDs! Hurry up and get with the times before the next generation of High Definition DVDs comes out and leaves you even further behind! However, if you’re still buying VHS tapes because you don’t want to have anything to do with new technology, then I pity you and wash my hands of you. Stop buying VHS tapes!

Danny Runion:

Picking up Ghost in the Shell for $2, when if you found it in Musicland a couple years earlier it would have been $30, that is a pretty good deal. So many video stores are so desperate to get rid of VHS tapes the clearance prices are continually getting cheaper and cheaper…Does a DVD version of Virus with no special features seem really that much superior than the VHS version? However, nowadays, we have so many DVD connoisseurs who are convinced of their superiority that only they are right and if you disagree you must be a philistine.

Really it is anybody else’s business what format you prefer? I cannot see a single reason why should anyone care if I buy VHS, DVD, or whatever. The world should help support the idea that all of Uwe Boll movies should be transferred to Betamax. Some of the larger chains like Wal-Mart have announced they will start to quit carrying VHS movies in the next couple of years. More stores will start phase them out to the point VHS tapes will be as hard to find as album cassettes.