An interesting post over at HorrorBid (generated by a debate on their forums) poses the question: Is it better to watch horror films on VHS or on DVD and Blu-Ray formats.
Let me be honest. I don't own ANY horror VHS tapes from the 1980s and 1990s. None. It's not a video format I'm a fan of.
Even back in the day, I wasn't a fan of watching VHS films despite my love for their packaging. Until I saw the films on DVD as an adult, I never really experienced the value of many classic horror films. Take for example Sam Raimi's Evil Dead. When I rented the original Evil Dead VHS, the picture looked something like this.
Only darker. Grainier. A nauseating ride of visual sea sickness. I spent most of the time just trying to figure out what was going on. Even the parts that were clear were still grainy and hard to see. For years, I enjoyed Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness better only because their VHS copies were less stressed. It wasn't until about four years ago that I finally got to see Evil Dead on DVD and realized it was legitimately one of the best and scariest horror films ever made. It quickly became my favorite of the series (putting me in a minority, I know. Let's save that debate for another day.)
Therefore, when people ask me if I've seen 'this horror movie,' or 'that horror movie' from the age of VHS, my usual response is, "Sort of." Based on the quality of the VHS films I rented in my youth, one can hardly say I saw the films at all.
Picture and sound quality aside, renting a VHS movie often resulted in misadventure and heart break. For example:
Rosemary's Baby on VHS: Rented three or four times from different stores only to have video stop or break on each occasion.
Gods and Monsters on VHS: First attempts to rent the film resulted in me receiving a mislabeled copy of Pierce Brosnan's Grey Owl and, once, a copy of Steven Segal's On Deadly Ground that was itself mislabeled as Grey Owl.
This intimate screening is exactly what we offer through Horror in the Hammer. Horror in the Hammer is a group of writers, artists, filmmakers, and fans based in Hamilton, ON who host and sponsor horror-themed events. Each month, we do a film screening at the Staircase Theatre (27 Dundurn St. North) called FRIGHT NIGHT THEATRE. This month we screened Korean vampire film Thirst. Next month, we're screening Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge. Come check us out if you like variety in your horror and an intimate horror movie experience. Don't worry, I won't try and cop a feel -- unless that's what you're into.