The internet has made movie accessibility a breeze. If you want to find a movie to watch, you got Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, and all manner of streaming sites on top of Amazon ordering and local Red Box rentals. But it didn’t always used to be this way. Back in the day, the best way to find a specific movie, especially a horror movie, was to visit your local video store. Walking those hallowed aisles of VHS and later DVD divided by genre, alphabetical order, and new releases. Those days, and most video stores have gone the way of the dodo, though. Blockbuster all but a myth. But what if I were to tell you there was a place to witness the video rental days of old, complete with art pieces and other goodies? Then let’s take a trip down to SLASHBACK VIDEO!
An art installation event in Burbank, California located at the Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum, and presented alongside Blumhouse’s Ryan Turek with support by genre companies like Fright-Rags, Creepy Co., Waxwork Records, Phantom Carriage, and Mixtape Massacre. With that kind of pedigree, you know it’s a good time.
Visiting the store myself, it was like travelling to a wonderful alternate universe where not only video stores still existed, but there was an entire store devoted to the horror label. All across from another exhibit revolving around Ben Cooper Vintage Halloween Masks and costumes. There are dozens of rare and collectible genre titles to look at (but not physically touch) such as A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, HELLRAISER, and FRIDAY THE 13th, to obscure and gonzo titles like THE KEEP, STAGE FRIGHT, and SOLE SURVIVOR (The Slashback Video Pick of the Month). Slashback Video operates as a true art gallery for the video era. As so many movies tantalized with simple things like cover art and memorable titles.
The setting decorated with all things genre related and from the time long past. With inflatable promo items for THE CHILDREN OF THE CORN III: URBAN HARVEST and even JAWS: THE REVENGE. A small TV plays round the clock horror movies (I was lucky to see them play ARMY OF DARKNESS on a loop.) As well, there were several custom art pieces such as movie posters and VHS boxes featuring pop up monsters and items. All of which are for sale to video connoisseurs.
One of my favorite galleries was the ‘New Releases’ aisle. Featuring VHS versions of modern horror with retro overtones such as THE FINAL GIRLS and BEYOND THE GATES. As well as a multitude of faux VHS tapes made by artist/writer/comedian, Rob Schrab. Featuring ludicrously awesome titles and cover art like TREE-ANIMATOR, SHARK HOTEL, and CANNIBAL AIRLINES among many more.
And on top of everything else: They have a working SPLATTER HOUSE arcade cabinet with a quarter per play!
And yet, there is so much left to discover down the magnetic tape rabbit hole. So, if you’re in the Los Angeles area, and want to relive the golden age of horror rentals, or even give a history lesson to someone while looking at some kick-ass art, check out Slashback Video!