Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Crap of the Ages

You young whippersnappers don't know what it's like to have lived in a time when you only ever got to see a small percentage of what had existed before you. For most of mankind's history - like, up until fifteen years ago - most films were read about but seldom seen.

You'd think the Internet would be what's responsible for this mass explosion of whole-track cinema consciousness, but no - it's actually the DVD that did the trick. For some reason, when the DVD boom really started gathering steam, all manner of mega-obscure crap began to surface as a digital beer coaster. Even if it hadn't been previously deemed worthy to be released on VHS. We're very close now to a point in history, once unthinkable, where everything that ever existed is now available.

When you operate with such lowbrow aesthetics as I do, it really makes things easy for a cinephile. The crazy people over at Alpha Video have been cranking out virtually every B-movie ever made, and at rock-bottom prices that are basically giving it all away. Something Weird's catalog may in fact be deeper, and they do give you loads of bonuses and extras, but there's no topping Alpha's prices, that let you buy 'em by the sack like White Castles.

I first got hipped to the joys of Alpha back in 2003 when I had my Voodoo Video video store in the basement of the Sqecial Media building in Lexington. When I realized I could quickly fill the shelves with this antiquated garbage, I was thrilled. Soon a whole new world of mediocre moviedom opened itself up to me - a vast niche of black-and-white celluloid sludge, mine to wallow in. I can - and often do - stay up all night many a night, watching stacks of these damn things. I'd rather watch a bad black and white movie than a good color one. I'd rather watch a bad old movie than a good new one. (Cloverfield, for example, has been recommended highly to me, and yet I found it unwatchable. Give me The Great Gabbo any day, or Hillbilly Blitzkrieg.

- - JSH

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