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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Home Video > Film Industry > VHS Massacre: Cult Film & The Decline Of Physical Media (2016/Troma Blu-ray)

VHS Massacre: Cult Film & The Decline Of Physical Media (2016/Troma Blu-ray)

Picture: B Sound: C- Extras: B Documentary: C

The Troma-produced documentary, VHS Massacre: Cult Film & The Decline Of Physical Media (2016), takes aim on a hot topic for cinephiles: the evolution of home video i.e. the rise and decline of the VHS format and its transition into DVD, Blu-ray, and Streaming (the old 12-inch LaserDisc format, SelectaVision discs and 4K UHD weren't mentioned. Hmmm.)

Featuring some interesting interviews with Lloyd Kaufman (Troma CEO), Debbie Rochon (Tromeo and Juliet), John Bloom (Monstervision) and others - the film has an interesting topic that is often overshadowed by its leads: a ragtag group of indie filmmakers/podcasters.

The 1980s were the age of VHS (after beating out Betamax tapes), a now dead format that once helped give rise to video stores and gave home entertainment a new meaning. Just about everyone had (and still has) a VCR and many, if not all, of today's most prominent filmmakers were inspired by the format in some way. Once the '90s came in, VHS was replaced by the superior standard definition DVD, which was then replaced now by Blu-ray, HD and streaming. Some focus points are the rise and fall of the video store phenomenon (including depressing shots of what they are now), physical media versus digital media, and the culmination of the whole thing is a podcast where they watch a handful of hilariously random VHS tapes and mock them.

In a way, the whole film feels like more of a podcast than a complete thought as some of the filmmaking is a bit rough (particularly some bad editing choices) and some of the lead filmmakers/actors a little whiney. Still, their hearts are in the right place and overall the doc ends up hitting its points but doesn't quite reach the level of potential to which its aiming.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a hideous 5.1 mix that is so-so at best. Most of the audio editing in the film itself is very bad, with no audio dialogue transitions in during some opening segments and even cuts from interview to interview. In short, the mix is very sloppy and I'm surprised it passed quality control. The image itself is so-so too, as the formats they are shooting on are obviously prosumer cameras. All in all, not a very good presentation, especially for Blu-ray. They should have just released this on VHS.

Special Features include...

Intro by Lloyd Kaufman (President of Troma Entertainment and Creator of The Toxic Avenger) & VHS Massacre Directors

Director's Commentary

Deleted Scenes

Troma Now! Extreme Edition

Theatrical Trailer

A Full Episode of Monster Kill: Merminators from Space (The New Web Series by Kenneth Powell and Thomas Edward Seymour)

Radiation March

Return to Nuke 'Em High: VOL.1 Trailer

Return to Return to Nuke 'Em High AKA VOL.2 Fantasia Teaser

VHS Massacre is interesting, but could have been fleshed out better and used some more time in post production.

- James Lockhart



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