As Texas Frightmare Weekend comes to a close, this VHS collector is finally able to view the Dan Kinem and Levi Peretic’ documentary film, “Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of a VHS Collector.” I didn’t really know what to expect. “V/H/S” had already bombed and “Rewind This” disappointed quite a few. Adjust Your Tracking is an endearing and comical project that even non-collectors will enjoy. The crowd seemed to appreciate every minute of it. From the moment “VHShitfest” popped up on screen, the laughs were continual and they’re not sympathy laughs. This crowd was entertained and several attendees even crowded the Wizard Video booth following the film.
The collectors nostalgic reasoning is nothing new to me. I’ve had to explain why I collect VHS so many times, I honestly get tired of it. These guys express everything from their happy childhood memories renting video tapes from their local Mom and Pop stores to the joys of owning that rare gem that will likely never see a DVD/BluRay release. Then there’s the love for the cover art. However, the cover art will lie to you! These films don’t always deliver after enticing you with their mind-blowing cover art. I cannot tell you how many times I see a cover and think, “This movie looks fucked up. I must see what’s inside!” Only to find that there’s nothing remotely appeasing about the flick.
When it comes to organizing their tapes, everyone is different. Some categorize by labels. Some by genre or even fun sub-genres to fit your current mood. Some go for alphabetical. I’d organize mine by genre if I had more shelf space. Until I find my new house, my tapes are tucked away in several boxes in my massive closet upstairs. For having around 1500 tapes, that makes me sad. I couldn’t help but admire them and drool when these fellas where showing off their collections. The added comedy of how their girlfriends and parents feel about their obsession was a relief. It’s nice to know that I am not the only weirdo that gets mocked by my nearest and dearest.
It’s fascinating to hear their tales of hunting VHS in people’s basements, yard sales, and flea markets. Some acquired colds, blackened fingers, and horrible odors. One guy even spent $600 on a copy of “Tales From the Quadead Zone.” Is this tape really worth $600? Not at all but when you have several collectors wanting a copy, they will go out of their way to put up their house payments for that rare tape. There’s even a guy who has a stack of paper work containing information on all the establishments in America that carry VHS. This one guy has his own fucking video store in his basement with a fucking gum ball machine. Not to mention, an old computer log for the tapes. That’s devotion.
The nerd boners for VHS may not be understood by many but there are a lot of us out there who have chills and excitement when we come across a stack on VHS. Hell, I passed by a store that said “Books and VHS” on my way home from the convention and I couldn’t resist shouting, “OH MY GERZZZZZ BOOKS AND VHS!”
Adjust Your Tracking closes with a reminder that VHS is not dead and there’s even a VHS collectors group on Face Book. I was introduced to this nifty group years ago. The majority of the people in this group are pretty cool. Earl Kess, the creator, especially. However, there’s your fair share of douche nozzles who are like, “You’re a woman. There’s no way you collect VHS. It’s only for us bros. I have a penis and Jurassic Park sucks. RAR RAR RAR!” I see a lot of ridiculous arguments and trolling happening in this group and I try my best to keep as far away from it as possible. If someone is mean to me, I just block them right away so I do not have to deal with it. This is a group where we can unleash our love for VHS. Not a drama infested bitchfest.