DAY 17. VIDEO STORE DAY: (10th anniversary!!) This is the big one. Watch something physically rented or bought from an actual video store. If you don’t have access to one of these sacred archival treasures then watch a movie with a video store scene in at least. #vivaphysicalmedia
The last Family Video in our area closed this year. Both of the spaces have been filled with new stores, as if someone you love had been replaced by someone you never want to meet.
I try not to dwell on it, but honestly, life hasn’t gotten better once we lost video stores.
That’s why the Scarecrow Challenge is so important to me. It’s a chance to celebrate physical media, as well as genre films, in all their wonder and glory. 2020’s Scare Package may have been a movie that I caught on the Shudder streaming service, but it feels like it was made by people who know more than a little about the feeling of having a stack of rented movies on top of your VCR and a cold beer in your hand.
Written and directed by Aaron B. Koontz, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Emily Hagins, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan and Baron Vaughn, it revolves around Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium, a store stacked with horror tropes that we expect and that subvert those expectations. This framing sequence allows the employees and the video tapes of the store to tell several stories, along with bringing Chad into the orbit of the Devil’s Lake Impaler (Dustin Rhodes!) and even Joe Bob Briggs.
Here are some of the other stories.
“Cold Open” tells the story of a man named Mike Myers, who yearns to be the main character in the many movies he walks into. Instead, he is the one that moves the characters through their stories. Pay attention to Mike, as he makes another appearance.
“One Time in the Woods” takes the slasher trope and body horror and goes wild, with more gore than in twenty modern films.
“M.I.S.T.E.R. (Men In Serious Turmoil Establishing Rights)” is about werewolves and the occult and men’s help groups, while “Girls Night Out Of Body” concerns sugar skull lollipops and “The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill” is concerned with the multiple ways that slashers are dispatched and yet come back, again and again, ruining lives.
Finally, “So Much to Do” features plenty to do all amidst the worries of having one’s favorite show get spoiled.
While not every segment hits perfectly, many of them do, making one remember the feeling of getting to the third or fourth video in a stack of weekend movies, knowing that you still have a few more hours left in a Saturday night, an entire Sunday to sleep in and plenty time to watch teh rest before they’re due back at the store.
You can watch this on Shudder with and without commentary by Joe Bob Briggs. You can also get this on blu ray from Diabolik DVD, which lives up to the demands of video store day. And hey — if you live near a video store, take advantage of it! You never know when the things you love will go away.
From segment to segment and filmmaker to filmmaker, this is every bit as much a mixed bag as most horror anthologies. However, the adherence to the playful meta-movie theme really works well as its better qualities make the overall experience much more enjoyable than I expected.