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Home » Entertainment » Up to 50,000 euros per tape: the latest VHS collectors make a fortune with the videos you’ve released January 4, 2022
1,300 euros. This is the amount that Antonio Soler just paid for one VHS from ‘Dark glass‘. The tape of Jim Henson i Frank Oz it comes a little pretty, though it retains the original price sticker. It is number 4,356 in a collection that started at a very young age and, at the age of 56, is barely home. In that time, he has never skimped on money. He is in love with the format and, as such, has invested much of his savings to satisfy his great passion. “I spent 12 years looking for this particular edition. Virtually no one knew her … it was like she never existed. In the end, it appeared on a second-hand website and I couldn’t resist, “he says proudly. “It’s a fantasy film classic. It revolutionized an era thanks to its particular way of using puppets to tell stories. It set my life on fire. To him, it’s almost a treasure. Hence the expense.
However, this figure is not one of the highest that can be found in internet. Not far away. On portals like Wallapop The Ebay it is common to find films that could only be accessed by a minority. This is the case, for example, with the first releases of Cinderella (1950), Aladdin (1992) the Pocahontas (1995), amounting to 6,349, 1,766 and 1,289 euros. The three titles of Disney they are part of a pack that their seller offers for 15,615 euros. What is the reason behind these numbers? Simple: these are articles Black Diamond. That is, they have the special series logo The classics on the front and show the figure of a black diamond on the side. No more and no less. “Fans are looking for very specific versions of which, as a rule, very few copies have been released. They have to have something special … if not, they are not worth it “, says Antonio.
“It’s a dead format, but we don’t care. The 5,000 euros that a tape can cost you make up for it if you get a piece of your life back. While meeting this need can sometimes be especially tricky. Or, rather, expensive: on the platform Esty it is possible to locate a copy of The little Mermaid (1989) which exceeds 36,866 euros. Or one ofThe Lion King (1994) which reaches 47,402 euros. However, not everything is Disney. Lawrence of Arabia (1962), for example, is available for the barbarity of 50,000 euros. The videotapes hit the market in 1976. They did so like any star product of a decade: with the support of the best brands and under the promise of conquering the masses. And so he did until the DVD, el pen drive i l’streaming he was knocked to his death: the last film released on this medium by a major studio was A story of violence (2006), starring Viggo Mortensen. Similarly, the players stopped manufacturing in 2016, after the closure of the Japanese company Funai Electric.
Since then, a small group of nostalgic people have been struggling to avoid total extinction. And not only that, they have also created fanzins dedicated to the subject, virtual video sharing communities, forums where impressions are shared … Of course, all this is limited to a specialized environment, not to mention underground: these are people interested in cult cinema who go to second-hand street markets, advertisements on portals, private anthologies and abandoned video clubs to complete their collections. Such is the case with Sergio Colmenar, which holds more than 3,000 titles. “I grew up in the 80’s, when I started compulsively buying any box that caught my eye,” says the young man, who places special emphasis on quality rather than quantity. “Now I’m just looking for the ones I couldn’t get in my day: my apartment is small and I already have most of the ones I’ve always wanted.”
One of his favorites is Zombie, twilight of the walking dead, from George A. Romero. Specifically, the original edition that contains two alternative covers: the unpublished of Hollywood and the one designed by the iconic poster designer Mac. “It was the first film that immersed me in the world of blood and guts. It’s very special to me, “said the short film director. He also has a special affection for the first production of Maniac (1981), from William Lustig, signed by the actress Caroline Munro. Not to mention Demons 2 (1989), from Lamberto Bava, which he lost and regained recently: “At that time, I had a very beautiful reunion. Many memories came to mind. How curious: we are talking about these materials as if they were children. And he is right, much of his childhood resides there. His next conquest will be the big box of Infernal possession (1982), directed by Sam Raimi. Although who knows … when you go to one of the select hangouts that are organized, it is very difficult to resist a whim. In addition, contacts are generated that provide first-hand information on the latest discoveries.
The genre that arouses the most desire in this sector is terror, but the old Spanish and Italian productions also have an extraordinary hook. “We love zombie stories, haunted houses, slasher, fantasia, possessions, giallos … », remarca Ruben Reyes, which has been buying VHS since 1995 and already has more than 800 in its possession. I am passionate about the cover, the touch, the smell, the shape, the design … ». The art of boxes is one of the main attractions for these experts. In fact, for some of them, these must always be in good condition, but without losing sight of a detail: the specimens gain value if the cases are original. “Some are real wonders, like Select Video or the KF Video, which included images inside “, adds Rubén. For this master, we are in view of the purest, most artisanal and artistic format of all that exists. Unlike DVD or DVD Bluray, there is nothing artificial: it is made to satisfy the customer and not so much to sell. He keeps his videos on a shelf where there is no sunlight and no moisture, as it must be kept in mind that they are made of a sensitive material and can be demagnetized over time. That’s why he’s so careful.
“For some, they will never go out of style, as is the case with me. I will be with my videotapes until I get tired, I will never leave them for fear that they will not look good “, says Rubén. Something that seems complicated at the time of the immediate consumption they have imposed Netflix, HBO, Amazon prime, Hulu, of the movie, Disney+… That is why, today, there are those who have come to consider them as real pop relics. This consideration opens the door to another possible business: that of reprints. In 2020, the news broke that Mandy (2018), directed by Panos Cosmatos and starring Nicolas cage, would be marketed in this medium. The information was then taken with tweezers, as virtually no one saw any significance. However, that September, the official website of Witter Entertainment put it up for sale in different versions, including one with illustrations by Vasilis Zikos i Cristopher Shy. Also, the film was transferred to the 4: 3 system, it was granted the official license of RLJE Movies and was approved by the producers of SpectreVision. Within hours, he was exhausted. This is not the first time the company has released films under this campaign. Among his latest releases are Patchwork (2015), Red Christmas (2016), Nightmare Cinema (2018), Portals (2019) the Willy’s Wonderland (2021).
That said, the question becomes more than obvious: will they be back in vogue as has happened with vinyl? Antonio, Sergio and Rubén are clear: no. On the one hand, today, it is very difficult to locate devices that allow them to play with guarantees. And on the other hand, it is a material that is deteriorating over the years. Two reasons that make them think that, if possible, they will be resurrected in a very timely manner … although without further ado. At least, a Spain. Since als United States, a movement has been launched that aims to recover both yes and no. Is called Free Blockbuster, which owes its name to the former international chain of video rental premises. Its aim is to turn the old newspaper boxes into mini-libraries that anyone can go to, free of charge, to borrow old videotapes. This system, which was founded in 2018, is supported by the fans themselves. “I like to keep old hardware alive,” he said Brian Morrison, its founder, a The Wall Street Journal. Such has been his desire that, at present, this initiative already has its website and has opened 69 exchange points in the United States, the Canada i Australia. What is not so clear, for now, is whether the magic of analog will be strong enough to re-entangle us all as it did more than four decades ago. Love will tell.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my
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