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Video store Videodrome remains despite streaming services

Sophomore+Tate+Mikula+browses+DVDs+at+Videodrome.+
Presley Lindsey
Sophomore Tate Mikula browses DVDs at Videodrome.

During the ‘80s and ‘90s, video stores could be found at every street corner in Atlanta. Now, streaming services are readily available to any film enthusiast, leaving almost all video stores in the past, except Videodrome.

Videodrome was founded in July of 1988 at the peak of DVDs and video stores and has stayed open despite the growing popularity of streaming services.

“We’ve been really stubborn, we’ve worked really hard,” Manager Matthew Booth said. “We’ve tried to cultivate a customer base that really wants to be here. We’ve built a really big collection of things that are hard to find on streaming and otherwise.”

Combined with the dedicated customer base, Booth said Videodrome has been lucky in terms of its location and rent.

“We’ve also got kind of lucky in a way, our landlord’s been pretty good about keeping our rent low, and the space we’re in is a really good location,” Booth said. “So that’s helped us a lot even though Atlanta’s gotten a lot bigger and spread out more, but this location is still pretty central to what everyone does.”

Videodrome is still able to keep a large collection of DVDs by using large distributors and holding onto the discs to preserve them.

“It’s not easy anymore, there’s not a one-stop place to get anything so I do order from a big distributor, Alliance Entertainment,” Booth said. “We used to order from Ingram Entertainment but they actually stopped carrying Blu-Rays and DVDs at the end of last year. I also order from at least thirty different boutique labels, I order from Criterion, I order from OCN which is Vinegar Syndrome.”

Sophomore Mira Silverman has only recently been going to Videodrome but has used it to find inspiration for her own personal film and to find styles that she can’t find anywhere else.

“I seek out movies that have really old styles of production because it’s interesting to see how I could do that, or things that wouldn’t be screened on Netflix, old movies,” Silverman said. “I’m really into old cartoons, I just like to find random stuff, they [Videodrome] have a really good selection, and I also love going to Videodrome to talk to the people that work there, I think that’s one of my favorite parts about it.”

Sophomore Aubrey Senter said she enjoys the fact that Videodrome has easily available DVDs of films that aren’t easily accessible or available on streaming platforms.

“I really like to look for movies that I can’t find anywhere else, and ones I really want to sit down and watch,” Senter said. “Having physical media is a very ritualistic thing to me, and the act of going to the store, buying the movie, coming home with my little snacks, taking it out, putting it in my DVD player, sitting down and watching it, it means that I care about the movie and I care about what I’m about to see rather than just mindless consumerism, I’m stopping to actually feel this thing.”

Since Senter has been going to Videodrome frequently, she has felt that movies should be more respected and cared for.

“It’s definitely brought this sense that film is something to be respected and admired and I now see the importance of knowing a lot about it, because then it’s a whole community,” Senter said. “When you know a lot about film in general, and you know a lot about movies and past directors, you can start a two-hour conversation with someone.”

Although Videodrome has been in Atlanta for almost 40 years, Booth believes that it has a very established and dedicated clientele and is still very niche for non-cinephiles.

“We’ve always had a really diverse audience, I do think at this point, you can classify everyone that goes in here as a cinephile,” Booth said. “We were the weird video store, but we were still a video store, so we had more regular people come in here. When we opened there were six video stores within 2 miles of here, we were the ones that had more Italian horror, more animation, and more Hong Kong. We were trying to push the boundaries of things that other stores didn’t have and be different.”

Videodrome also collaborates frequently with the Plaza Theater and screens some of the store’s favorite movies there and other local theaters.

“We do monthly at the Plaza, sometimes if we have a bigger event we do two times a month,” Booth said. “We also do screenings at Tara, which is Plaza’s sister theater. We do events at bars and restaurants and breweries around town, we just showed the first episode of Twin Peaks at Halfway Crooks last night.”

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About the Contributor
Presley Lindsey, Writer

Presley is a sophomore and this is his first year on the Southerner staff. He is part of the marching band and loves music and playing guitar.

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