Could Alamo Drafthouse Bring the Video Store Back to Texas?
When I was a kid, I looked forward all week, every week for my trip to the video store with my dad. It was very much our thing. I liked to walk the aisles as he decided, memorizing the cover art of movies I was too young to see. I had a runaway favorite video cover that I always came back to:
I practiced making her face, stretching my mouth, pretending a skull was looking out. I was a strange child. When I finally got to see it, I loved it. Of course, who could forget the Rat Monkey?
I'm sure many of us 20-40+ somethings have similar (maybe slightly less creepy) warm and fuzzy memories of time spent at the video store. And Alamo Drafthouse is looking to bring it back.
Alamo Drafthouse is unique among theaters in that it celebrates the history and fun of the movie going experience. While other theaters focus their efforts on promoting only the blockbusters, Alamo, in addition to showing those blockbuster, also gives screen time to the weird and wonderful: foreign films, independent titles, cult classics and nostalgic favorites.
They also have a bit of delightfully odd programming, known as Video Vortex. Video Vortex is late night screenings of B-movie classics. (Not sure "classics" is the right word.) Either way, it's the most fun two-ish hours you'll get for $1 anywhere.
Video Vortex is also the name of Alamo Drafthouse's new video store concept that will open soon in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to renting films in various formats (VHS included!), it will also serve as an enormous film archive, furthering what I perceive as the spiritual mission of Alamo Drafthouse: promoting film as culture and a fundamental component to modern American identity.
Of course the first thing I wanted to know was, 'when is this coming near me?' I reached out to Robert Saucedo, Programing Director for several Alamo Drafthouses in Texas, to ask about the likelihood of a Video Vortex in my hometown:
There are no current plans to bring this video store concept to the Lubbock theater - but it's an amazing idea and I'm going to be keeping a close eye on its success to see if a case can be made to bring a similar store to our location. I love the idea of extending the curated experience and the film conversation culture outside of our eight auditoriums and a video store - like the kind a lot of us grew up with - is a genius way to make that happen.
With the death of Hastings, there really isn't a place to physically browse film titles in Lubbock -- or much of West Texas -- anymore. I'm hoping that Alamo Drafthouse fills that particular cultural void, much in the same way that it has already enriched the film going experience in its theaters.