For several years now, I have heard that VHS is the new vinyl. But aside from the occasional thinkpiece on the topic, I haven‘t see much tangible evidence to support that statement. A couple of the few remaining video stores in New York carry the analog tapes, but there hasn’t been a surge in new stores or specialty shops full of vintage VHS or VCRs. (And I live in Brooklyn; if such a place existed, it would be here.) With a few minor exceptions, I thought VHS was basically dead.
Earlier this week I was surprised to discover that the original Power Rangers movie was still on sale at Amazon on VHS. And looking further, I found dozens of other titles available through Amazon. These aren’t used copies available through resellers, either; these are brand-new VHS tapes. In fact, the 25 titles above (listed in ascending price order) aren’t just available on Amazon, they’re all available through Amazon Prime. If you need a copy of Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach in two days (with free shipping!) and you are willing to pay $15 for it, they can make it happen for you.
(Also, if you do need a copy of Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach in two days and you are willing to pay $15 for it, you sound pretty awesome. Congrats on winning at life.)
This is a strange and fascinating corner of the internet economy. How much demand is there for ancient VHS tapes? How many of these unopened VHS tapes are there out in the world? And why on earth would someone spend $30 on a copy of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 when you can get the DVD (which isn’t going to be pan-and-scanned, or low-res) for literally less than $4? I have so many questions. I think the only way to answer them is to buy a VCR. Too bad Amazon doesn’t seem to have one on sale for less than $300.