What did the VHS revolution mean to you?

redwing

Well-known Member
It's so hard trying to explain to younger people how big the birth of the Video recorder was so I was wondering other people experiences.

First of all we only had a few chanels and once the programme was shown it was shown, that was it.
New movies we're cinema only, in fact, all movies were rare, just a few old ones a week.

So we get this video recorder and a few blank tapes (soon to be a big block of blanks) and then the birth of the video shop.
What a place!! All these films with the most amazing covers and you could stand there for ages reading each film and you could chose any one for 3 whole days lol.

My mum came home with 3 films with the famous words "the bloke in the shop said these are good" in fairness probably the only time he was ever right.
The Warriors, Magnum Force and Animal House. Of course you had to watch a few times in the 3 days.

I could go on Video Nasties are a whole subject themselves and the hype around them, I still remember a group of blokes talking about this real found footage film cannibal holocaust and of course porn. People forget this really was the birth of porn to the average person apart from channel 4.

Anyway just some thoughts, if anyone else has memories would be great to hear. First film you watched on your big VHS recorder or did you go betamax?
 
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SyStemDeMoN

Well-known Member
Wow the video was awesome to me.
I'm 44 and was one of three in a single parent family which was pretty rare then.
My mom rented a video recorder and every weekend we hired some videos. A kids one for me and a more adult one for my mom and older brother and sister.
My mom and dad had a functioning relationship just so us kids didn't suffer too much and my dad had a mate that got the old pirate videos to rent from work.

I watched loads of films that were only at the cinema for the longest time. When the Disney cartoons came around again (101 Dalmatians being a fond one) my dad got the video for me for a week and I could impress my friends by having them round to watch it.

I also remember trying to be brave and trying to watch some scary films which lead to some very sleepless nights !
I think the first film we recorded off of the tele to keep was the Elephant man. Not long after was the Michael Jackson Thriller.
Strange how some things stick in your head
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
First pirated film I watched on VHS was Blues Brothers. Quality was terrible, but who cared! We watched it over 3 lunch breaks at a mate's house who lived near school.

Some more dubious material was also presented from time to time if his dad had not hidden his "personal interest" tapes away properly...
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
The VHS Revolution meant that I was watching very inappropriate stuff when I was aged 9 or so :laugh:
I remember a lot of Bruce Lee movies and a Mitsubishi VCR with a long lead running from the little remote control to the player, and the wonder of watching a movie running in reverse. One of the films had a bloke getting his head chopped off so in reverse we could watch it reattach itself to the neck. Magic!
 

redwing

Well-known Member
We had an Ice cream man who used to sell blue films as they were called from under the counter well dodgy but in fairness to him he wouldn't sell to kids and you had to prove you was 18 so what you had was a queue of Dads buying ice creams for the kids.

My Step Dad used to bring home pirates, we would sit down start it up watch the picture bounce around with lines across the screen and all announce "oh this looks fine".
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
My brother had a naughty movie in his drawer. Looked like a blank tape but had a blue sticker on it. So robbed it and looked at it but the video recorder ate the tape! Eventually got it out of the video recorder but the tape was all unspooled and all that, so just shoved it into the cardboard pouch and back in the drawer and hoped for the best.. nothing was ever said, phew. :p
 

dmpoole

Active Member
I rented my first Ferguson 3V29 in 1981 and at a factory of 2,500 I'm pretty sure I was the first to have one although my boss had a Sony Betamax.
A year later my Dad had one and I used to borrow his to make copies of things I shouldn't :)
One evening I was making a copy of ET when there was a knock on the door and my wife let in a Policeman who was asking about neighbours in the street and there was no way he couldn't have seen two video recorders which was rare and ET on my TV. As soon as he left I took my Dads straight back because I was sure the Cop would do a double-take.
A year later my Dad bought into a business called Videovan Services where he was continually raided by Trading Standards and Customs & Excise with the main investigator being called David Bowie. They never found anything dodgy on my Dads van in 5 years but when my Dad asked for help because of people dealing out of car boots they wouldn't do anything. it ended up folding with my Dad in a bit of money problems.
I also spent a lot of time on that Videovan and I was sent to people with problems.
I've seen people try to force Betamax tapes into VHS and vice versa, one bloke completely wrecked one of our tapes (a movie could cost £120 back then) and he totally destroyed his video machine because he'd tried to put the tape in with a mallet - seriously.
If anything went wrong it would be the fault of a video tape eg I went to one bloke who wanted to record the golf but one of our tapes had messed up his video recorder. It soon became apparent he hadn't got any channels tuned in and had never had any channels tuned in since he'd had it :)
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
I rented my first Ferguson 3V29 in 1981 and at a factory of 2,500 I'm pretty sure I was the first to have one although my boss had a Sony Betamax.
A year later my Dad had one and I used to borrow his to make copies of things I shouldn't :)
One evening I was making a copy of ET when there was a knock on the door and my wife let in a Policeman who was asking about neighbours in the street and there was no way he couldn't have seen two video recorders which was rare and ET on my TV. As soon as he left I took my Dads straight back because I was sure the Cop would do a double-take.
A year later my Dad bought into a business called Videovan Services where he was continually raided by Trading Standards and Customs & Excise with the main investigator being called David Bowie. They never found anything dodgy on my Dads van in 5 years but when my Dad asked for help because of people dealing out of car boots they wouldn't do anything. it ended up folding with my Dad in a bit of money problems.
I also spent a lot of time on that Videovan and I was sent to people with problems.
I've seen people try to force Betamax tapes into VHS and vice versa, one bloke completely wrecked one of our tapes (a movie could cost £120 back then) and he totally destroyed his video machine because he'd tried to put the tape in with a mallet - seriously.
If anything went wrong it would be the fault of a video tape eg I went to one bloke who wanted to record the golf but one of our tapes had messed up his video recorder. It soon became apparent he hadn't got any channels tuned in and had never had any channels tuned in since he'd had it :)

Your E.T. must have been a dodgy cinema jobby as it didn't come out on video officially until October 1988! I remember Spielberg didn't want it experienced on the small screens at home at all, hence the delay..
 

dmpoole

Active Member
Your E.T. must have been a dodgy cinema jobby as it didn't come out on video officially until October 1988! I remember Spielberg didn't want it experienced on the small screens at home at all, hence the delay..

Yes but it was a brilliant dodgy copy, still one of the best I've seen from video days.
Working on a very large factory you could get your hands on anything and we had many raids over the years.
 

RicksonGracie1972

Distinguished Member
My first film was Superman 2 and the video recorder ate the tape just after General Zod landed on earth.
Luckily for us we rented the film from the same place we rented the recorder from so there was no monetary loss, just a very disappointed little boy. The video recorder we rented was one of those top loading ones
My first pirate was ET and it was an awful copy, which might explain why I never really liked the film that much.
 

bruce-leroy

Distinguished Member
As far back as I can remember, we already had a VHS player when I was infant age. It was the early 80s, and my dad must have bought a JVC top loading vhs cassette player when it came out. I’m sure it must have set him back much more than what it’d cost to get a half decent Blu-ray 4k player these days. My earliest memories of movies were bootleg Shaw Brothers kung fu movies my dad might have got off a relative. I remember my much older brother coming home with Rocky and Rocky II on vhs, and also vividly remember being terrified by the demon dog paws grabbing Dana in Ghostbusters on VHS.

A few years later, I discovered that you could rent vhs movies in my local off licence and my obsession was fuelled from there onwards. I missed out in Star Wars and Empire, so my first Stars Wars discovery was ROTJ VHS in the aforementioned off licence. I rented it again and again and thought black suit JEDI Luke was the coolest cat around. I couldn‘t believe he was such a dork in Star Wars.

Around the same time, my mum would take me to town where I discovered you could actually buy these things to keep! WHSmith was oddly the place to go for VHS retail movies. She wasn’t that fussed about certification so let me buy the Bruce Lee movies, and my first VHS Bond movie I owned was Moonraker. There was a kid on my street I played football with; his brother had loads of pirate vhs with coverart to sell. I was buying stuff like Cobra, American Ninja 2 and scared poo less by Nightmare on Elm Street. This is why the eighties was great and kids these days have been robbed of these experiences because I just don‘t think netflix is the same (I sound like an old bugger I know). :D
 

sdw

Active Member
First VHS I saw round a friends house was Phantasm.

Think the first rental by parents, when got VCR from Radio Rentals (I think) was either Every/Any Which Way but Loose. Airplane! was another popular multiple rental.

One birthday (11 or 12) I chose Death Race 2000 & Hills Have Eyes for birthday party viewing, back them as long as you had a membership card, regardless of age, could pretty much rent anything. Parents not pleased , returned tapes and if memory serves me ended up with Battlestar Galatica & a Disney Film

In teens, one indie video shop owner/staff, kept recommending us films - the joys of experiencing The Thing, Videodrome, Basket Case etc for first time

Must of been a member of nearly every video store (inc garages, newsagents etc) in town plus quite a few outside of town.

Loved the trailers - especially on Medusa, Enterntainment in Video ones, normally got 4 or 5 trailers, always disappointed in none or only 1 trailer.

First ex rental bought (Radio Rentals moving premises so stock trimmed down)- Re Animator (EIV)
 

dmpoole

Active Member
As far back as I can remember, we already had a VHS player when I was infant age. It was the early 80s, and my dad must have bought a JVC top loading vhs cassette player when it came out. I’m sure it must have set him back much more than what it’d cost to get a half decent Blu-ray 4k player these days.

You probably don't know this but one of the things that helped to kill Betamax was that they wouldn't hire out their machines so in those early days people bought Betamax and us poor folk went to Radio Rentals for our VHS machines.
It was a while before Sony allowed hiring but it was already too late.
I hired a 3V29, 3V30, 3V31 and the first one I could afford was a 3V32 that cost me £599 but what a machine.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Back in the 90s I worked for an AV company and we have a 200 machine VHS copy bank with autoloaders. This could produce up to 10 copies per machine unattended, so overnight or over a weekend, you could produce a lot of tapes.

This was used for lots of limited run videos - company training films, local interest, American imports, that sort of thing, which left quite a lot of capacity for staff projects. This ranged from mainstream movies to slightly less mainstream movies and anything that came in for duplication that was deemed worthy of local release was given another run - just in case of faulty tapes you understand.

It got to the point that we were creating a 3 hour highlights tape of pure filth each month as the amount of material coming in was overwhelming. We even bought special cassettes with blue tape cover flaps instead of plain black, so that they couldn't be sent out to a client by mistake. I dread to think what would happen if the local school nativity recording got mixed up with the Friday Filth run!

The 2 middle aged ladies who quality checked, labelled and packed all the tapes loved to embarrass the younger lads by asking them questions about which scenes they enjoyed the most or by discussing which ones they were planning to try with their husbands. I reckon at its peak 70% of the staff - both male and female had at least a few tapes in their private collection...

When DVD came along, the copy bank was re-equipped and the quality improved, but very little else changed!
 

Storvay

Well-known Member
Betamax owner (well, son of owner) checking in.

Video for us was that fantastic ability to record your favourite telly programmes or any movies which came on TV. It was revolutionary. I must have watched Jaws a million times.

We used to rent out movies from a small place nearby which had the catalogue of movies typed out and photocopied. I saw far too many inappropriate films at far too young an age. Horror movies, mainly. Some incidental smut but nothing major but still of a nature that I’d be pissed off at if one of my kids saw the same at age 9/10.

Got VHS relatively late in 88, IIRC. Discovered porn at around the same time…
 

basiltherat

Active Member
It was amazing to be able to watch stuff whenever I wanted, I remember my dad got a dodgy copy of superman , he actually had to borrow a mates player to watch it.

Once we managed to get a proper recorder if our own, it was amazing being able to record things on one channel while watching another, the idea of recording stuff to watch again later never occurred to us😂
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
Still got a ton of VHS, funnily enough I got a box down the other day with some in. Will pop some pics up.

Kept something to play them on and a TV with a scart connection as well. Might set it all up and watch Poltergeist at the weekend :D
 

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