VHS Massacre 2015 ***

Amazon Prime has a small and decidedly idiosyncratic collection of films about films; directors Kenneth Powell and Thomas Edward have created a Valentine to the old VHS format that’s hardly definitive, but is engaging and pertinent. Visiting closing Blockbuster sites, and documenting the obvious decline in the service, they look into whether streaming means the end of physical media, and mine a seam of nostalgia, notably showing VHS-off competitions where competitors bring along the most outré items they can find. Amusingly, there’s a tremendous slam on Amazon that the streaming giant seem to have missed in platforming this doc, but there’s also some sage words from the perennially savvy Lloyd Kaufman of Troma about how today’s streaming doesn’t begin to rack up the revenues of past formats. With Netflix still only providing the ‘cream; of their viewing figures, it’s hard to know the truth, but declining choice suggests that since VHS, it’s been something of a massacre for creative film-makers in the digital age.


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