Look, I know that times are changing, and that brick and mortar just isn’t what it used to be. And that you can’t go all Sonny Corleone in certain situations just because something may be personally upsetting. After all, this is just business. But when I found out last week that my favorite, most seminal video store of my halcyon 4×3 youth was being forced to shutter its doors come April 30th, I was upset enough to crash and burn off my Atkins diet and empty the wine I had been saving for when I got back under the ten stone mark.
Arrgh. Urrgh. Alexandria, Virginia’s Video Vault is closing after 25 years. If you want a rough equivalent of my feelings of winsome, fractured woe, play the last verse of “Puff the Magic Dragon” at about 80 db while watching the final scene of Gallipoli while shotgunning Rhine Wine with Now & Laters, and you’ll have about half the idea.
Even if you don’t know squat about the Vault, it’s probably safe to say you had an equivalent in your movie-loving formative years.
Personally, I can safely say that if there had been no Video Vault in Alexandria, Virginia, that there would be no Severin Films. I can safely say that because without the Video Vault, I would have never gotten into the right films at that right age, and never would have met David and Carl, and never would have won that “let’s name our new label” contest. Yes, if not for the Video Vault, right now you’d be on www.shinyshinyshinybootsofleatherfilms.com, orwww.chelseagirlsfilms.com, or maybe even nottinghamforestwillrideagainfilms.com. (And I’d probably only have a, say, five figure student loan, but this is about the Video Vault’s problems, not mine).
I first went to the Vault in high school, when I was looking to avoid reading Oedipus Rex by looking for a film to watch to go along with my just-bought Cliffs Notes. The only film version I could track down was contained in one little copy in this one little store. Little did I know that a) Pasolini’s version would leave me painfully and hopelessly exposed to a pop quiz and B) I would be forsaking other video stores for the rest of my previously referenced halcyon 4×3 youth.
A couple years back, we returned to the Vault to film a featurette for the Sinful Dwarf DVD. To think of these glorious Metzger-Meyer stuffed shelves being given over to some Gap, Old Navy or Georgetown Tobacco makes me want to put my fist through a wall. (Am I engaging in faux-angst hyperbole? No. I live in a cheaply made house. It’s not that hard to do. One hole in my living room’s just from a particularly gripping McLaughlin Group).
Here’s a featurette we shot at the Vault a couple years back re-chronicling one of my seminal movie-renting experiences…
Now, I probably kept the Vault afloat for a half-decade singlehanded on late fees alone (although I still maintain to this day that I didn’t have Flesh Gordon out quite that long.) So while I feel like I’ve done my bit, if Severin can do anything else, someone let us know.
And I’m definitely down with Civil Disobedience.
To buy some stuff, go to www.videovault.com.