VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media (2016) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Kenneth Powell, Thomas Edward Seymour
Starring: Mike Aransky, Alan Bagh, Troy Bernier
Rated: UR/Region 0/Widescreen/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Troma
This lively documentary explores the rise and fall of physical media and its effect on Independent and cult films. Ranging from the origin of home movies through the video store era, it’s sure to entertain. With icons like Joe Bob Briggs (MonsterVision), Lloyd Kaufman (Toxic Avenger), Greg Sestero (The Room), Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke ‘Em High), Deborah Reed (Troll 2), Mark Frazer (Samurai Cop), James Nguyen (Birdemic) and many others.
I remember when I first heard about VHS Massacre I thought it was just another in the long growing line of VHS documentaries and while you do get some of that as well here, it also branches out in the idea of other things. Like for instance we go and see how all the rental shops have closed down in their area and we also ponder the idea of a world where no physical media is around at all. They interview several cool people along the way and we get some neat footage to go along with it. You could say that the documentary is a little bit all over the place at times but more times than not the subject matter stays pretty interesting and it is a welcomed look at a few cool things along the way. I’m always a big fan of Joe Bob Briggs and hearing his opinion on things is always a cool thing for me to see. Joe Bob and Lloyd Kaufman probably have the best insight over the ups and downs of physical media and streaming here.
The streaming media stuff is perhaps the most interesting thing here. We have the idea that it can give some money to indie directors, but then we also see some people say that it doesn’t really bring in much of anything. We also cover the idea of if the stuff we own on such things as VUDU is really ours or not. The movie covers the idea that if you own a VHS, DVD, or something else that it is really yours but if you own something online it could maybe be taken from you at any time. The movie is interesting enough and goes well with other documentaries about formats. We even heard from a few different people that aren’t on those documentaries. The Blu-ray looks awesome in some spots but a lot of it is made up of old footage so it doesn’t ALL look great. Still, it is a solid release overall.
– Intro by Lloyd Kaufman (President of Troma Entertainment and Creator of The Toxic Avenger) & VHS MASSACRE Directors
– Director’s Commentary
– Deleted Scenes
– Troma Now! Extreme Edition
– Theatrical Trailer
– A Full Episode of Monster Kill: Merminators from Space (The New Web Series by Kenneth Powell and Thomas Edward Seymour)
– Radiation March
– Return to Nuke ‘Em High: VOL.1 Trailer
– Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High AKA VOL.2 Fantasia Teaser
Quality of Transfer: 85%