Welcome to The Video Lost And Found! Here's a history of what it is and how it came to be.
Between 2001 to 2012, I had published twenty-five issues of The Eclectic Screening Room- a film zine which (as the title suggested) ran the gamut of everything but what was being put into multiplexes: cult movies, independent-underground cinema, and genre films from yesteryear. Although the zine isn't officially dead, it's been more than three years since I've published or written anything, while figuring out what to do next with it. In the meantime, I remembered a little side project I started, but never brought to fruition.
In 2004 (as if I already hadn't enough to do), I began putting together material for a website called The Video Lost and Found. Its inspiration was born from a trend at that time where video stores were purging their VHS stock to make room for DVDs, which had become the dominant home rental format. Film freaks like myself took advantage of this veritable gold rush, as many obscure, hard-to-find titles were being sold off for peanuts!
The object of The Video Lost and Found was to bring life back to these films that would otherwise sink through the cracks of time, with little hope of resurrection. (To this day, many of the titles I would've reviewed still have not been resurrected on DVD or any digital formats.) I had written several reviews, but once I shelved the website (predictably I had too much on my plate), none of these pieces were ever publicly shown.
Flash forward ten years later. I stumbled upon all the HTML for the long-abandoned Video Lost and Found, and began thinking about it all over again. This site could now serve as a way for me to get back into writing about the obscure movies I so love to uncover and share with everyone- without the necessity of cruel publication deadlines or massive overhead.
A lot has changed in the past ten years. The way in which we now watch movies has altered greatly. With never a greater set of options to watch a film without leaving the couch (thanks to Netflix or video on demand), video stores have become an endangered species. The chains like Blockbuster or Jumbo (which put a lot of the mom and pop places out of business) have evaporated, and now ironically, all that's left are little independent places. And it's even tougher for them to make a go of it now, as they try to coax people to get off their bums.
In more ways than one, The Video Lost and Found is a look back at a lifestyle that is fast disappearing in the digital realm.
So what is The Video Lost and Found, exactly? It is all about those kinds of movies that used to collect dust in the back of those mom and pop rental stores; the elusive titles that were put on the 99 cent rack to attract a certain daredevil viewer; the odd obscurities that fill out those DVD megapacks of so-called public domain material; the video boxes that exploited the name values of their stars who were either on the way up or the way down. It is all about the fun we had while sometimes being had.
Here, you'll find reviews of films found under those conditions: quirky independent movies, or low-budget genre films (western, horror, action, comedy, and so on). And since this site beckons from Canada, there will also be a generous selection of homegrown cinema (since most of our films end up in the "lost and found", so self-deprecating are we). Generally, (with some exceptions) the films date from somewhere in the late 1960s to the 1990s.
Here are some things you won't find on this site. As a rule, we don't include "classic Hollywood film" from the Golden Age of Cinema (dating from the mid-1960s back to the silent age), as we feel this is a different breed deserving of its own classification. And while we would include foreign-language films that subscribe to one genre or another, we won't include what is colloquially referred to as "foreign art cinema". (Margheriti? Yes. DeSica? No.) And as much as made-for-TV movies have found their way into VHS and DVDs under the above conditions, they won't be included here simply because I have another website which completely devotes itself to them.
This site is also about a way of life, and a state of mind, that is fast disappearing from this climate of instant gratification. We'll attempt to present each film with a greater context, addressing the piece of pop culture that went into its creation. Additionally, every title included here will have had at some point a legitimate release on VHS or DVD, so it should be easier to track down a film that interests you.
"Then" is "now" again. We hope you enjoy taking the trip with us.