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Film / Rewind This

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Rewind This! is a 2013 documentary about the VHS format. The film chronicles its beginnings (when it was in competition with Beta), its boom in the mid-80's (especially when it comes to rental stores, which exploded in popularity around this time), the fandom that still exists to this day (some fans show off their massive VHS collections), the massive porn industry that emerged as a result of this format, the impact that VHS had on up-and-coming filmmakers, the difficulty of preserving these old tapes that are plagued with gradual wear-and-tear, and how much the home video market has changed in the last decade (particularly with the advent of digital distribution).


In addition to VHS fans, a number of filmmakers are interviewed, including Mamoru Oshii, Lloyd Kaufman, and Frank Henenlotter, among many others.

This film contains examples of:

  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: One of the fans interviewed likes to sort her VHS collection by color. She thinks it looks more aesthetically pleasing and easier to find something.
  • Contemptible Cover / Covers Always Lie: Some of the interviews discuss this, how many VHS covers attracted your attention merely by the cover art.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Invoked; the movie discusses how common bootlegging was in the VHS days, especially for movies without a major distribution studio. In many cases, bootlegging actually helped an up-and-coming talent be discovered more easily.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Frank Henenlotter does a Take That! at The Criterion Collection, arguing that their covers are extremely boring. He says they are terrible at attracting your attention in a video store.
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  • Not Safe for Work: There are gory film clips and actual sex scenes (naturally, shown during the section on porn).
  • Pan and Scan: Discussed as one of the downsides to many VHS tapes of widescreen movies.
  • The Rule of First Adopters: A section of the documentary covers this, and argues that it was a major reason why VHS lasted for as long as it did.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Invoked; many of the VHS collectors interviewed in the movie mention how much they enjoyed a B-movie precisely because of how bad it was.

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