A LOVE LETTER TO BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO.
On behalf of current society, TNUC would like to apologize for a large majority of us (not Uncle T) who acted like total PRICKS when the announcement came that Blockbuster Video had sadly passed away. The once reigning, defending, undefeated, undisputed champion of video rental stores had closed it’s doors for good and much of what could be heard by former fans/customers was nothing but negative comments and complaints. Instead of thanking Blockbuster for providing countless movie browsing memories, people took to the internet to whine and bitch about their “nightmarish memories” of late fees, customer service and other complete nonsense. It was demented and sad to see people so quick to bash a place that opened our eyes to so many classic and wacky film discoveries.
As for the independent mom-and-pop video outlets, we love em’ too, but Blockbuster was JUST as goddamn magical. Entering under that blue & yellow canopy and walking into an overwhelming movie paradise with racks of videocassettes stacked high and low was something truly special. I remember during one of my initial trips roaming through the ‘Action/Adventure’ genre section and seeing out of the corner of my eye two giant, tanned, almost-naked, oily freaks on the front of a VHS box with the words The Barbarians across the top. I was never the same.
Training Video  – Part 1 / Part 2
Just like so many others, the biggest impact came from the almighty ‘Horror’ aisle. The endless array of VHS covers with monstrous artwork featuring demons, beasts, maniacs with blades, women in terror and neverending nastiness made young imaginations run wild. I remember doing several laps around the store just to walk by these titles for a second and third time before having to choose a movie and go home. In prepubescent TNUC days I attempted renting horror movies but usually changed my mind last minute and rented Beetlejuice for the 9th or 10th time that month.
This letter of love wasn’t meant to bash our current times or make anyone bummed. Uncle T has no problem with movie streaming services and downloads. What we do have a problem with is unfair Blockbuster bashing. To those ungrateful pricks who haven’t let Blockbuster rest in peace: Guess what? Now there’s NO place to walk into and stare at boxes with strange and over the top artwork featuring masked psychopaths, seduced women, kid-friendly talking beasts and exploding-muscled, renegade heroes. There are NO aisles to roam down and get lost under the fluorescent lights and stale popcorn aroma. We know you miss this experience…and if you claim you don’t…YOU WILL.
With loving memories and deepest sympathy, Thank you Blockbuster.
*If you have fond memories of Blockbuster and can still close your eyes at night and smell that VHS clamshell plastic, share your thoughts below!*
Spent far too much of my adolescence grazing those aisles in hopes that I’d find a lost Van Damme movie I’d never seen, or a higher quality VHS of Best of the Best than the one my mom’s ex-boyfriend had taped from HBO 5 years prior. Thanks for the heartfelt tribute Uncle T, and RIP Blockbuster.
The horror aisle holds some very special memories for me. I got my mum to rent ‘Dawn of the Dead’ for me when I was 11 years-old; I wanted to watch it because the brutal cover art (the disfigured zombie with half his face missing) and suggestive tagline frightened me. This is also how I first saw C.H.U.D.
Here in Quebec the biggest video store chain(Superclub Videotron) is still up and running, they offer unlimited renting for 10$ a month, sell toys and cell phones. This post made me realize how lucky we are, I might go rent something there tonight. Screw you netflix.
It was more than 20 years ago but I clearly remember this night when our mom took me and my brother to the video store and we rent this unknown (for us) movie in the fantasy aisle because of the cool cover.
We watch it twice in a row and then another time in the morning before giving the tape back the following day.
It was about teenagers, awesome music and fucking blood suckers… and I swear I saw TNUC lost cousin in it ^^
Sweet, fellow Montrealer in the Land of Tnuc! Salutations Zack!
Uncle Tnuc does it again, leading the gang and bringing those to justice who talk bad about the legacy of the one called “Blockbuster”! I love the first pic in the post. Reminds me of some abandoned building you’d pass by on your way to the local flea market in search of completing your He-man or Ghostbusters toy collection!
After reading this post, and being so touched by it I reminded the hands of time on my RadioShack® VHS Videotape Rewinder. I did some thinking and thought “where was MY Blockbuster located?”. Well, doing a quick Google search and trying to find the place by Street View I came across a newly listed family pet shop called Mondou which replaced where the old Blockbuster I use to go to. As sad as this way, I was determined to find some old pictures of the location. Many memories there especially the Blockbuster video game tournament in which Bobby, with his jean shorts and bright orange hat beat us all and reminded us that playing video games on Saturday mornings and missing the early morning cartoons DOES PAY OFF!
Although I wasn’t able to find any pictures of my old Blockbuster location, I did manage to find an awesome feature within the Google Maps Street view which turns back the hands of time and shows you how a location looked like in the past. It goes back as far as 2007! . *Instructions*: If you see an hourglass/Clock icon in the upper left corner of a Street View panorama, that means there is past imagery you can view. Just click the hourglass or Clock and a thumbnail of past images will appear. When you see the period you want to explore, click it and the whole Street View will change.
Thus, without further ado, I bring you my Blockbuster location picture:
My Blockbuster Picture
My mom used to work at blockbuster when I was the ages of 8 to 14. I got one free rental a day, It was probably the best 6 yrs of my life. Browsing the horror isles filled me with such joy, and my mom loving horror as well, I had free reign to rent anything I wanted. Usually it was the newest full moon picture release, or monster squad for the 30th time. What I would give to go back in time and do it again.
For me, Blockbuster was all about the Nintendo game rentals. There was nothing more exciting than kicking off a Friday night with a new game and knowing you had a limited amount of time to learn and master it before the due date.
Thanks for commenting everybody! Your shared memories have contributed to giving Blockbuster the proper burial it so rightfully deserved.
In my old neighborhood in Queens, we had 2 – 3 video stores in the area, then Blockbuster moved in a block and a half away. Plenty of time was spent there. nintendo games rented, Always had fond memories of the snack deals when you rented a certain number of videos and get some free microwave popcorn or something. Not the best memories compared to the other stores, but you gotta respect Blockbusters legacy!
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