Film 

THE DEATH RATTLE: A VIDEO STORE EULOGY

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Friends, we gather here today to mourn the inevitable and premature loss of our dear friend, Video Underground, who is set to meet its maker in March at the tender age of thirteen. Nestled among the single-story Jamaica Plain shops populating Centre Street in Hyde Square—right across from the site where we got our first tattoo, down the hill from where we had our first and only threesome, around the corner from where we drunkenly smashed our glasses that one time—Video Underground was a good neighbor, and an even better friend. And it will be dearly missed.

But we don’t gather to mourn one beloved video store, but rather, to mourn an entire community of fallen friends that has been decimated by the inevitable march of progress. We mourn the video store where we worked in high school—struck by lightning just weeks before succumbing to chain-cancer. We mourn the video store we frequented into college, which fought the good fight while supplying us with a vast selection of Giallo films before eventually drowning in the great deluge of streamed movies. We even mourn the loss of Blockbuster, which was a terrible fucking store with an evil business model, but always had a copy of Carnosaur when we were hard up.

And we are not here to wallow in the mire, or to mope in the muck—we are here to celebrate the glory and greatness of video stores. We are here to praise their legacy as community centers for cinephiles, and as incubators of independent cinema. They were truly curators of film culture. So we are here to say thank you, especially to the stoned dude behind the counter who thought renting Faces of Death to a bunch of 13 year-olds was a good idea. May his visage carry on in the stars above.

We are also here to pay our respects to the customer that leaned over and said “Dude, you need to see Bad Leuitenant.” We salute you. And give thanks for the ever-flowing bounty of the used-video bins which bequeathed upon us such wonders as Driller Killer, Gold Told Me To and The Seventh Seal.

Video stores are survived by their robotic niece Redbox—who embodies all of the sour and unnatural things about the video store lineage, with none of the good qualities—and their cousin Netflix, who will never understand our tastes, but at least they’re trying.

In leiu of flowers, the family asks that donations of VHS copies of Suburban Commando are made to the charity of your choice. And one last time…be kind, please rewind.

VIDEO UNDERGROUND. 385 CENTRE ST., JAMAICA PLAIN. 1-11PM. CLOSING END OF MARCH. VIDEOUNDERGROUND.COM


About SEAN L. MALONEY

Maloney listens to a lot of weird music and watches a lot of bad movies.
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