POLL: Is VHS Nostalgia Actually Cool?
Since the advent of DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD we’ve seen a veritable FLOOD of older films, both obscure and classic, rediscovered by new generations who never had access to them before. What we did NOT expect is that these younger generations would still want to watch these movies the way they were released in the 80’s and 90’s: On VHS tape. ComingSoon.net has put together a poll to get an idea of how many of our nostalgic readers actually still enjoy watching VHS, and you can vote in the poll below!
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The poll was inspired by trendy lifestyle chain Urban Outfitters recently offering shoppers the chance to purchase a bundle of five VHS versions of 80’s and 90’s comedies for $40 dollars, movies you might find for 10¢ at a thrift store or yard sale. The store has made a mint off of selling LP record players and new vinyl albums to hipsters, but can they spur a renewed interest in retro VHS love?
Now we here at ComingSoon.net don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum. If you still enjoy the look and feel of VHS tapes we support your format of choice. We are, however, going to list the pros and cons of VHS and the disparity is not pretty…
PROS of VHS: The box art is cool. Really cool. Whether you play them or not a vintage pre-recorded VHS tape has some great artwork on the cardboard slipcase, and if it’s in a plastic clamshell-style box like Disney movies used to come in even better! There are also certain films -all of them fairly esoteric or amateur (or, yes, pornographic)- that are still ONLY available on VHS, as chronicled in Josh Johnson’s excellent 2013 documentary Rewind This! or at Alamo Drafthouse’s signature revival series Video Vortex. If you’re 25 or older you probably remember actually popping VHS tapes into your player, watching them on your square 4:3 TV and geeking out on how cool it was to be able to watch a movie whenever you wanted. That nostalgia factor is not to be discounted, and if it helps transport you back to your childhood then that’s all good.
CONS of VHS: The picture quality of VHS is not good. Let’s be straight up about this. Just from a film fan standpoint the “Pan and Scan” process of taking a widescreen film and shrinking it down to pre-2000s 4:3 TV standards robs you of the original framing and resolution intended by the filmmaker for the theatrical experience. The resolution is murky, and makes it difficult to see small details. That’s not even getting into the poor sound. There’s also the issue of deterioration, as VHS tape gets more washed out, fuzzy and wobbly the more you watch them. Since mainstream VHS ceased production in the mid-2000s, modern DVD, Blu-ray, 4K and Digital HD streaming technology has given home viewers the chance to experience films with the type of theater-quality picture and sound they’ve always dreamed of, with bonus features like documentaries and audio commentaries.
How about it, CS readers? Are you still rockin’ the VHS player? What’s a film you still own or want to own on VHS? Let us know in the comments below!