I’ve embedded all the videos below, in the right order, with a few notes on how to play.
First up is the first of two COMING SOON rounds. All you have to do is name the films. There are five trailers, a point for each:
Next up is a round called FEATURE PRESENTATION. It’s comprised of excerpts from the titles of six movies. Name the movies, a point for each:
Now the second COMING SOON round:
This is the last round. It’s called AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO BUY, and it’s a bit more complicated, but pay attention, because there are a whole fifteen points up for grabs. There are three pairs of clips from different movies. For each pair you have to name both movies, then identify two actors that connect the clips and a third film in which they have both appeared. You get a point for each detail, so five points for each of the three pairs:
There it is. Now for the answers. The first three rounds are covered here:
And the AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO BUY answers are here:
So there it is. Feel free to stick your scores in the comments. Anything more than twenty and you’re a true VHS supremo.
The next #VHSMovieClub is at ScooterCaffe on Monday 5th April. If you’re interested in coming this post ought to answer most of your questions. If it doesn’t you can always @VHSMovieClub on Twitter to find out more.
It’s 7.30pm last Monday, at the ScooterCaffe in Waterloo.
About twenty people have gathered downstairs in the stylish basement bar we’ve borrowed for the night. Some of them I know, some are complete strangers. All have answered the call of the first open-invitation #VHSMovieClub.
And all are now sitting patiently, having watched me fuck around with cables for the last forty-five minutes, working my way steadily towards the end of my tether. I can’t get the VHS player to work.
Somebody’s on their way with a copy of John Carpenter’s The Thing on DVD. We’re screening The Thing because it was my cousin Max’s favourite movie. He passed away in his sleep in November, aged just twenty-nine.
The day I heard he had died, in a state of alcohol-addled shock, I became obsessed with finding a copy of Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic on VHS. Four pints, five charity shops and several hundred cassettes later, I found it. Virtually the last tape, on the last shelf, in the last of my not-for-profit last-chance saloons.
And now we can’t watch the bastard thing. Not unless I can get this VCR and that projector to start to tango in the next two minutes. Not unless… hang on. What’s that little button. Haven’t pressed that yet. It’s marked ‘Super P’.
What the fuck is ‘Super P’?
You little beauty.
* * *
This a short excerpt from an article I’ve recently written about #VHSMovieClub. It’s for a friend of a friend, who’s putting together a journal about all things defunct. I’m hoping it captures the moment of abject terror I experienced at the prospect of having to resort to DVD at our last #VHSMovieClub – and the heavenly surge of relief as The Creature from the Black Lagoon first flickered into view, heralding the start of Max’s memorial double bill.
It was a great way to watch a classic creature double-feature, but it felt strange to have so many good people in one place and not to get to say more than the odd word to any of them – two movies pretty much monopolises a Monday evening, unless, like one or two reprobates, you’re prepared to stick around afterwards for shots on a school night.
With that in mind, we have something a bit different in mind for the next event, happening at the same venue, ScooterCaffe, from 7pm this coming Monday – that’s April 5th. It’s called #VHSMovieQuiz.
The format, as with all things #VHSMovieClub, is charmingly redundant. We’re basically talking pub quiz, sandwiching a movie screening. Except better, because pretty much every round is ‘Movies from the 80s and early 90s’. Oh, plus some sort of observation round. Think Krypton Factor for movie geeks.
And movie geeks we have, not least because Miss Geeky’s Movie Geeks of London appear ready to join forces to make this one of the moviest, geekiest comings-together ever staged. Should they put in an appearance, going on previous #VHSMovieClub events, attendance may even enter double figures. Enough for two small quiz teams at the very least, and all the excuse we need to temporarily appoint ourselves the Justice League of VHS Movie Geeks of London.
As for the main feature, it’s time to get back to basics. #VHSMovieClub only started because, returning from a trip to the local charity shop and finding myself incapable of deciding which movie to watch, I resorted to straw polling Twitter. With that in mind, anybody coming along on Monday is invited to bring along a movie of their own, and we’ll do it much the same way. Could be a bit of a lottery I know, but I guess we just wing it and hope that Stephen Fry doesn’t turn up with a copy of Peter’s Friends.
So there it is. We’ve set up an event on Yahoo! Upcoming and the usual Twtvite, both of which seem like perfectly serviceable ways to indicate that you might turn up. Coming as part of a fully-formed quiz team is even better, although any one team probably shouldn’t have more than four or five members.
Ah, and the prize. No idea. It’ll probably be pretty crap though, that’s how #VHSMovieClub rolls. If it’s prizes you’re after, best head for the bingo.
Why this particular line-up? The reason is my cousin, Max Biles, who passed away on the morning of our first #VHSMovieClub get-together, and would have loved this shit. I’ll elaborate a little on the night, if I’m feeling it. If not, we’ll just kick back, raise a glass, and watch two of his favourite movies.
For anybody wondering about the venue, you can find it here:
And it looks like this:
It’s not costing anything to hire, so the only thing you’ll need any money for is the bar. Which is probably for the best, in that many of us won’t have seen a pay cheque for the best part of six weeks.
Try and ping @VHSMovieClub or @ewebber on Twitter if you want to come along, just so we can keep a sense of where we are with numbers. Shouldn’t be an issue though – if last time was anything to go by, we do quality, not quantity.
A is for AFK – I seem to get some of my best work done when I’m not staring at a screen. I guess I’m more of a pencil person.
B is for BREAKFAST – The most important meal of the day. And a chance to get ahead on all the fruit and fibre of which my diet seems to be otherwise totally devoid. Take my word for it, breakfast is going to be BIG in 2010. And fibrous. And, well, rather boring.
C is for CRUNK – My version of Lent, involving a break from all the crap drugs. You know the ones; booze; coke; sugar; television. I’m not damning them outright, they just aren’t my cup of green tea. Last year I managed 37 days. As of right now I’m four down and counting.
D is for @danlight – Twitter’s become an outlet through which I waste time and energy trying to validate inconsequential aspects of my life in the eyes of people who likely couldn’t give a shit. Which would be fine, except that that’s what my blog’s for. Going to try and mix it up a bit on Twitter.
E is for ELECTION – Some of my favourite blog posts (by me, that is) were written about the 2008 US presidential election campaign. Hopefully I can find some time to conjure a bit of commentary on the ‘compassionate conservative’ clusterfuck we can look forward to in the run-up to May 6th. Without having to break my leg in two places in the process.
F is for FAMILY – It’s the easiest thing in the world to cite work/writing/whatever-you-fancy as a reason for being an absent or inadequate husband/father/son. Even worse, you might actually try to convince yourself that it’s more difficult, or more important. It’s not.
G is for graze.com – One of my oldest friends, Tommy P, is one of the founders of graze.com. Honestly, I didn’t see them surviving the downturn, but they seem to be doing just that. What’s more, I met a few of the guys behind the business, and they’re an impressive bunch. Expect good things in 2010.
H is for HELIOPOLIS – James Scudamore, another very old friend – try 30-odd years – published his second novel, Heliopolis, exactly one year ago. It ha since received considerable critical acclaim, and was long-listed for the Booker Prize. I still haven’t read it. (In fairness, it’s not like I read any other novels in 2009.) This is lame as fuck. I will read Heliopolis in 2010.
I is for INSHRIACH – The hard-working highland estate owned and managed by our pal Walter. Just back from spending a truly magnificent few days seeing in the new year, and set to get back up there for one family holiday, three stag weekends and one music festival over the next six months. Oh, and I want to try and shoot a film there (see L). Project Inshriach goes from strength to strength.
J is for JUICE – Just don’t drink enough of it. Cranberry is best, for the kidney win.
K is for kickstarter.com – a clever little site, recognising the amplified power of Internet crowdsourcing as the basis for funding a range of worthwhile endeavours. Hope to try it out with something, quite possibly…
L is for LOCH GHOON – …a film I’m going to make. So far I’ve failed spectacularly in almost everything I’ve set out to do. Fortunately, for as long as I’m only playing with my time or money, that doesn’t really matter. Expect more spectacular failures in 2010.
M is for MAX – My cousin, who passed away in 2009. I’m going to honour his memory in the year to come, in a number of ways. (See L, N and V.)
N is for NORTH DORSET RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB – Max was their Club Captain. Going to make sure I get a long to a game or two, starting with the home game against joint-leaders of the Southern Counties League, Frome, on January 30th. Let me know if you fancy it.
O is for ORGANISED – Not very. Just a bit. I’m talking a to-do list on a Monday morning, is all. Meaning that O is also for Optimistic.
P is for PSYCHOTHERAPY – The new vocation Ems has chosen for herself, following almost a decade in corporate public relations. Her foundation year starts right here, and four years down the line…
Q is for QUALIFICATIONS – …enabling her to practice Psychotherapy in a professional capacity. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about what could come out in the wash along the way, but it feels great that she’s pursuing a vocation that has the potential to play to her real strengths.
R is for RESOLVE – Emma has it. Once she commits herself to something, she gets the job done. I’ve always been more of a butterfly, but I don’t beat myself up over it – it has its own advantages. Between us we both seem to get stuff done. I guess R is also for Rapport.
T is for TOMMY P – He’s getting married in May. I figure that gets him his own entry, especially being that I’m best man. Soon as I’m done with this list, I need to make a start on that speech.
U is for UNSUBSCRIBE – Meaning I don’t care how many of my friends took quizzes this week. Or what kind of dried fruit you are. Or what kind of dried fruit I am.
V is for #VHSMovieClub – and the 365 VHS videos I’m going to watch in 2010. Follow @VHSMovieClub to keep pace, and for details of our occasional outings, the first of which is the Max Biles Memorial #VHSMovieClub taking place at The Scooterworks on January 25th
W is for WILLIAM DESMOND TAYLOR – The subject of the most grown-up thing I’ve ever attempted. Watch this space.
X is for EXERCISE – kind of. Because I’m going to start taking regular exercise. Kind of. It starts with getting back on a climbing wall. Reckon my leg is back where it needs to be, and I can probably squeeze a spare evening out of the week, especially during Crunk. Probably Thursdays at The Castle in Green Lanes, if anybody fancies it.
Y is for WHY NOT? – It’s a much better question than ‘Why?’ For someone who’s supposed to be creative, I think my mind is sometimes far too closed to the more challenging ideas of the people around me. Need to fix that.
Z is for ZZZ – Every aspect of my life seems to be improved off the back of a good night’s sleep. It’s effortless, enjoyable, and a great way to experience the extraordinary imaginative energy and latent creativity of the human mind. Speaking of which, I fancy a kip. See you in 2011.
Anybody who follows me on Twitter may have noticed me using the #VHSMovieClub hashtag here and there. The particularly observant among you will have noticed that only I use the #VHSMovieClub hashtag. That’s because, to all intents and purposes, I am #VHSMovieClub. And so is my wife.
#VHSMovieClub is an amalgam of two of my great loves – the cinema of the 80s and early 90s, and charity shops. (Not charity, charity shops. HUGE difference.)
Now that DVD is being supplanted by Blu-ray, and the ownership of films as physical media is being marginalised by digital downloads and VoD, VHS seems to be gradually taking its rightful place as the vinyl of video formats.
Purists will tell you that, quality wise, VHS is not to cinema what vinyl is to music. And they’re correct. So correct, in fact, that my analogy pretty much falls apart on that basis. Pretty much. Except that for some of us, quality isn’t exactly what it seems.
Take Firefox for example. Watched it last night, on an ex-rental VHS given to me by the lovely @skinnertron. Would I have preferred to watch it digitally remastered in glorious HD on a 50″ inch plasma screen? No. I wanted the VHS experience, the nostalgia trip, all the speckled filth and dusty residue of a decade in which the mobile phone was invented, Captain Sensible sang Happy Talk, and Britain was effectively governed as a dictatorship.
I want to watch it on a television with a 15″ screen and built-in VHS player – the kind of diminutive, highly unstable unit my mum was fretting about when she told us that if smoke ever started pouring out of the telly we should leave the room immediately and call the fire brigade.
Of course, sometimes the experience can be a little bit too authentic. Imagine my disappointment at discovering that a copy of Zardoz plucked from a cardboard box at Brick Lane market was nothing but a snowstorm of static, offering just the occasional glimpse of Sean Connery’s leathery red posing pouch. That’s #VHSMovieClub all over though, you roll with the punches. (Then you realise that the tape was in perfect working order, and that Zardoz was a work of deranged lunacy visionary genius.)
#VHSMovieClub does seem to have caught the imagination of one or two tweeting cinephiles. @bennycrime is a fellow believer, although neither of us has the wherewithal to work out exactly where our interest (in VHS, and pretty much everything else) overlaps.
It was Benny’s idea to try and use Freecycle as a way of getting more VHS players back into circulation. Damn fine idea if you ask me. Haven’t got a clue how it would work, but it’s a damn fine idea.
This allows me (and anybody else who cares to bother) to flag and photograph the VHS inventories of any charity shop on planet Earth. So far, I have done two, both pictured here, and nobody has done any others.
A worthless endeavour, you might say. And you would be right. And I would say “So? What’s your point? Why are you so damn preoccupied with the superficial value of using your time in supposedly meaningful ways. Christ, you’ve changed, god knows, you really have.”
All of which is all well and good, but where would any club be without some hard and fast rules. #VHSMovieClub has rules. Several of them. Namely…
1.) You do not plurk about #VHSMovieClub
2.) YOU DO NOT PLURK ABOUT #VHSMovieClub
3.) You don’t get to keep the tapes, not unless they’re seriously unusual. Anything bog standard has to go back within a week or two of being watched, preferably to a different charity shop. Or you can lend it to someone. Or add it to a stockpile you will one day use to construct a stately pleasure-dome fabricated entirely from VHS video cassettes.
4.) All over the country Charity Shops are hemorrhaging VHS copies of The Full Monty. Sure, it was pretty well put together, and that bit in the job centre was very amusing, and, yes, it made us all feel slightly better about the fact that we had reduced Sheffield to the status of a third world country, but enough is enough. Like a rampant bacterium, The Full Monty poses a threat to the very video home ecosystem on which we depend. As such, every copy you encounter must be purchased, and burned to a crisp.
(Please note: there is a concern that the VHS Full Monty plague will one day mutate into full-blown pandemic DVD Mamma Mia – if you see a single copy of Mamma Mia on DVD in your local charity shop, please contact VHS Direct immediately on 0845 4647484950comingreadyornot.)
5. You’re not allowed to ask staff for permission to take photographs of their inventory, or to explain your actions in any way. Kindly old women such as those staffing Polegate’s Salvation Army charity shop must be left to wonder why on earth an otherwise normal-seeming person would want to take a photograph like this one:
There are a few other rules, at least there will be, once I work out what they are. There are also a few standard practices, one of which is to buy a mixed bag of movies, and to put it to Twitter (or, if you have proper friends, Facebook) to find out which is to be your evening’s entertainment.
It’s a pretty good basis on which to get into an argument about something that doesn’t really matter with someone you hold dear. Failing that, it’s a fun way to use the interspaz as a medium through which to advertise your eclectic taste in 80s and early 90s cinema. Failing that, it’s just a really pointless exercise.
And be prepared for the odd nail-biter. I’ve had more than one #VHSMovieClub come down to a single vote. Which was my vote. Which was the only vote. And that was great, I got to watch what I wanted to, and after a while I stopped feeling like a complete dick. Which is more, I would imagine, than can be said for Captain Sensible.