In the days before Blu-Ray, DVDs, tablets, touch-screens, and the ability to watch whatever you wanted wherever you went,
there was only one way to see a movie outside of the theater: the VHS.
Everybody’s favorite plastic rectangle that was so often and infuriatingly not-rewound has since drifted to the peripherals of mainstream movie watchers.
But not for all. No, for some the videocassette is a medium that is alive and well, something to be cherished and collected, savored and stockpiled. This large subculture of collectors and tapeheads who preach the virtue of the VHS is the subject of the new documentary, Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector, coming to the Somerville Theatre September 3.
Directed by Dan Kinem and Levi Peretic, Adjust Your Tracking weaves interviews with directors, industry professionals, video storeowners, and out-and-out tape lovers together with a grainy videocassette aesthetic.
A film made by VHS collectors about VHS collectors, Adjust Your Tracking, reminds us about everything we used to (and still do) love about tapes:
how cheap they are to buy, how hard some can be to find, how ridiculous some of the cover art is/was, and mostly just how many kick-ass movies we owned back in the day. It also serves as a comfort and consolation that so many of the gems that we lost or gave away or sold at a yard sale for a quarter-a-piece are coveted by a dedicated group of videotape lovers out there. Just think: someone, somewhere has your copy of 3 Ninjas or Swamp Thing on their shelf.
While the days of tracking lines, blue screens, fuzzy audio, and the dreaded rewind may be behind us, the love for them certainly is not.
VHS has a place in our culture, and in our VCRs.
ADJUST YOUR TRACKING
55 DAVIS SQ.