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Friday, May 14, 2010

I Am A Product Of Mom And Pop Video Stores

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

I have always believed that I could trace my love of horror movies to the fact that my Mom worked at our local mom and pop video store, Alta Loma Video.
Back in the mid to late 80's, she worked most weekday evenings and on Saturday, most of the time with me in tow. She didn't take me to work with her because of a lack of willing babysitters, I just always wanted to be there with her, right behind the counter. To this day, I can still remember the store set up and where the different genres were located. If you were standing behind the counter looking out, the horror section was on the right hand side with two aisles dedicated to the best in splatter, Italian, slasher, and exploitation fare. I would spend hours walking those two aisles looking at all the wonderful covers and memorizing the synopsis that was printed on the back. If anyone ever came in with a question about a horror movie, I was the one they turned to for an answer. When I wasn't wearing ruts in the carpet pacing the floor, I would take a stack of films behind the counter, pop them into the Panasonic VCR and be entertained by the likes of Dolls and Monkey Shines. The wall behind the counter was adorned with rows of movie posters like Basket Case, Aliens, Nightmare On Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and countless others. I actually got to take the Aliens poster home and it hung in my room for many years. It has been at least 18 years since Alta Loma Video closed it's doors, at that time Blockbuster was pushing its way into every Southern California neighborhood. I wish I could find some pictures of the old store but I don't think any exist anymore. I do remember their logo was a 1950's Chevy Panel Van with Alta Loma Video written on the side. I read an article not too long ago stating that with the decline of the major video store chains, mom and pop's are poised to make a comeback. The article specifically said that to succeed, the stores would have to focus on cult films and movies that you cannot get from other sources. They say that everything old becomes new again, maybe that will hold true for the video store. Below, I have posted some of the posters that hung in the store and why they had an impact on me.

The first thing I noticed about the Dolls poster was the doll she was holding. The evil look on its face and the fact that it looked like it was waiving at me actually had me a little hesitant to watch the film. As far as evil toy horror movies, this is one of my favorites.

After looking at this poster, how could you not want to see this film? Those little toy monkeys are evil and this one looked even more so. One of my favorite Romero films.

One of my favorite horror movies of all time. I actually got to see this opening night at the drive-in with my parents. We piled into our 1981 Buick Regal with an Alpha Beta Grocery paper sack full of home made popcorn and enjoyed this and The Fly on double feature.

I must have watched Critters 100 times when I was little. I always thought Dee Wallace was the coolest Mom.

If I watched Critters 100 times, then I watched The Monster Squad 1000 times. When i didn't rent the movie, I watched it every weekend on HBO.