VHS is slowly coming back. It won’t be readily available in stores again but there’s still a huge market for it under the table. I’ve been collecting VHS for many years and have quite the collection. I adore VHS for many reasons and I know others have the same feelings about this dead format.
Rewind This! is a documentary that focuses on the VHS boom and the effects it had on the film industry. VHS changed many people’s lives and altered the industry forever. Laserdisc, DVDs, Blu-Ray, and other formats didn’t even come close to doing what VHS did.
That’s one reason why the format was important but the other is the most important: there are thousands of films that are only on VHS and will probably never see the light of day on DVD or Blu-Ray. There are many great films out there only available on VHS that will be lost forever and never seen again.
Back in the day, when we would go to the theater to see the latest big blockbuster, there were only a few other big films also playing, but in the video store those same big blockbusters were next to films that anyone could see even though they never made it to the theater. Films without any name actors, money, or great effects stood on the shelf along with titles like The Terminator and A Nightmare On Elm Street. VHS was a way to have more people see your film. You could get it into rental stores cheaply and not lose money on it.
With VHS it was easier to release your film without a huge budget or big stars. Some of these films were even SOV (shot-on-video) because the production couldn’t afford anything else. Rewind This! takes the time to go into detail about the industry and how it affected the people who ran these small companies, even the ones overseas. They focus on the some of the distributors and filmmakers themselves and show how the home video boom changed their lives forever.
The documentary also delves into the history of the early porn industry because it changed that as well. Some people were embarrassed to go to the theater to watch a porno and they couldn’t do things there that they would do at home. (*wink wink*) VHS made it so people could rent or buy pornographic films and watch them in the comfort of their own home.
One thing that I was very happy not to see in Rewind This! was clip after clip of old films. Sure, they showed plenty of them, but it was limited. They truly focused on the documentary rather than making a two-hour clip show of their favorite films.
The VHS format truly changed everything about movies. We were able to own them or rent them, and the filmmakers and distributors made more money to put out more tapes and make them more affordable to the public. The filmmakers of Rewind This! understand this. Just because the format is dead doesn’t mean the impact is gone or didn’t happen. I’ve seen some people snicker and laugh that other people still have VCRs. Some kids have no clue that format exists but they don’t have a clue what it has done for film, and for you and me.
Rewind This! was released on DVD on January 14 through MPI Video.