It seems the final script for Blockbuster Video is being written. The once powerful Video rental chain that put a lot much cooler video chains out of business is not faring well against downloads and Netflix. A recent work trip took me to the good ol’ USA and I couldn’t help but notice a lot of “Going out of Business” signs in Blockbuster windows. Things seem a bit better in Canada, but chief competitor Netflix will soon be setting up virtual shop up North very soon.
I can’t say Blockbuster doesn’t deserve it. For horror fans, they’ve always sorta sucked. All the blockbusters near me don’t even have a proper Horror section (they’ve lumped everything in Action, Drama, or Comedy). I’m pretty sure they don’t even carry films made before 2005. Let’s also not forget the serious lack of pornography (wimps). A lot of kick ass video stores were done in by the Blockbuster chain. These were the Mom n’ Pop shops that featured cool horror sections (often times in separate rooms done up to look like torture chambers and such) that featured obscure titles from long dead companies such Vestron and Prism.
For Horror fans of the 50’s and 60’s, it was the Drive in that provided some the best memories. In the 70’s and early 80’s, it was the Grind House. For me, in the late 80’s, it was the Video Store. VHS was the format that introduced me to the films of Lucio Fulci, Texas Chainsaw Masscare, Dawn of The Dead, Evil Dead, and a whole lot of other movies with “dead” in the title. Blockbuster had a decent selection of horror titles in the early days, but they eventually abandoned anything that was too obscure.
They’ve also had some weird policies. There “No late fees” was a disaster that only lead to really pissing people off when they (very quietly) brought them back. It’s not like people don’t rent movies anymore. Blockbuster still seems packed on the weekends, but they clearly aren’t renting like they used too, and the chain just doesn’t seem to know how to adapt.
On the bright side, they are selling a lot of previously viewed movies for cheap, even Blu Ray. Actually, I could write a whole other blog on how over priced Blu Ray movies are right now and how that hurts a new format trying to compete with free illegal down loads, but I’ve already rambled enough.