Yes, you read that correctly. The cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse will launch its own rental store called Video Vortex next year, giving consumers a way to rent physical movies…including rare VHS tapes. The exact opening date isn’t clear yet — we only know it’ll be during Q1 2018 — but once it does open, Video Vortex visitors will supposedly have access to one of the largest video archives ever.
Rental stores are mostly a thing of the past — Hollywood Video and Blockbuster shops are long gone, with only Family Video remaining, that itself only seemingly surviving due to its symbiotic relationship with Marco’s Pizza. For most people, watching a movie means buying it or pirating it…but either way, it is acquired through a device and streamed digitally on a display.
Video Vortex will try to buck that trend, though, by offering DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and, yes, rare VHS tapes for rent. Why would anyone be interested in these VHS tapes? Because, according to Variety, some of them haven’t been released in digital formats — whether that means officially released is unclear.
There’s a strong selection of ripped VHS movies available on pirate sites, not that we’re advocating finding them. Because most people no longer own a VCR, Video Vortex will rent them to customers who rent a VHS movie. The VCR — with included RCA cable adapters — will be offered for free.
It’s an exciting prospect, potentially bringing to public attention a huge selection of movies otherwise forgotten during the advent of the digital age. Video Vortex won’t be a widely available chain, however. The rental store will open at Alamo Drafthouse’s Raleigh, North Carolina location.