Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Video Castle and The Outing...

One of the main places that I discovered horror movies was a place called Video Castle.  It was on Vine Street in Willowick Ohio.  That town is about 20 minutes east of Cleveland.  It's where I grew up.  Video Castle is long gone.  The place where it was at is now a License Bureau.  I still remember the big Video Castle sign, giant white letters and a red background.  The place was smaller, with wire racks of movies along the walls and jutting out from the walls and forming mini aisles.  This was long before any of the giant movie rentals places existed.  When you came in the front door, the horror section was to your right.  I still remember certain titles, Microwave Massacre, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Re-Animator, the Howling, Slumber Party Massacre, Sleepaway Camp, The Outing, etc.  Video Castle always displayed the cool promo items too.  Posters, cardboard displays, etc.  There was an older guy who worked there.  He was heavier, with graying hair and glasses.  The other guy was younger, with black hair.  He would talk about movies forever, if you let him.  Not a bad thing.  I really wish I could remember their names so I could attempt to find them and interview them about the 80's video boom.  They had other genres too, but I was always a horror/action guy so those are what I remember best.  Later on when places like Blockbuster came about, the smaller places, like Video Castle, slowly died off.  At Video Castle, there was always a back room that rented porn.  Once places like Blockbuster took over the video market, the smaller places could only survive by renting porn because that was the one thing they could offer that Blockbuster did not.  Soon, all of the stock at Video Castle was for sale and they made most of their money from porn rentals.  That is always the nearing of the end for those stores.  I can name five or six others who followed suit in the years after.  I bought as much as I could while it was still open.  He had tons of great titles for sale, some of which I still own to this day.  Finally, I was there one day, and he informed me that they would be closing.  And that was the end of Video Castle. 
One of the titles that I bought the last time that I was at that store was The Outing.  It's a slasher/monster movie hybrid about a trio of thieves who rob an old lady and steal a lamp.  Well, there is an evil genie in this lamp.  Inevitably, the genies gets set free and lays wasts to most of the cast, in various gory ways.  People are ripped in half, eaten by resurrected mummies and impaled with spears.  Most of the movies takes place at night at a closed history museum.  This is a pretty cool atmosphere for a horror movies, as it is naturally shadowy and darker. 
Some of the acting isn't too hot, but the effects are good and the pace never really drags.  Honestly, the movie always seems to get average at best reviews but it has sentimental value to me and that is probably why I revisit it often.  I recently acquired a nice DVD R of this and anything I see it or the VHS on the shelf, I'm bombarded with memories of Video Castle.  The world is lacking without stores like that still around.

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