Tag Archives: used dvds

Bargain Bin(ge): The Music Box (Pensacola, FL)

Pensacola, FL is a top-notch beach-going destination for the southeastern United States, and is perhaps the gem of the Florida panhandle. Not only that, but it is also home to the acrobatic airplane team The Blue Angels! Unfortunately for the pasty and nerdy of us, that is about all there is to the city.

musicbox15
This is pretty much all of Pensacola in one image. This is even from the city website.

Lucky for you fellow film geeks, there is some DVD hunting to be had in Pensacola! Specifically, there is a little record shop called The Music Box with a significant selection of eclectic films (interestingly set aside in a glass-cased room), as well as a ton of soundtracks on vinyl. I honestly lost count of how many rare flicks and IMDb Bottom 100 entries this place had copies of, because most of them were things I personally already own. That said, I still came out with a nice little haul to round out my collection.

musicbox1

musicbox7

musicbox8
The DVD chamber

musicbox9

Bad Taste

musicbox4

For those who don’t know, Peter Jackson’s origins are a bit…strange. Bad Taste was his first feature back in New Zealand, and is true low-budget comedy gore in its purest form. It isn’t particularly easy to get a hold of at this point, so I was happy to find a copy here. If you haven’t seen it, it is an interesting forerunner for Dead Alive and Meet The Feebles, which both improve on various elements introduced in Bad Taste. Also, Jackson cuts a rubber alien in half with a chainsaw at one point, which is awesome.

Trick or Treat

musicbox5

At this point, I think more people are familiar with the similarly titled 2007 cult classic Trick ‘r Treat than this earlier flick from the 1980s. However, Trick or Treat certainly has its following, particularly among classic rock and metal fans. As you might deduce from the box art, Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons both pop up in small roles, and have been used significantly to try to sell the movie in recent years. I’m curious to give it a watch, because the plot reminds me a bit of the lawsuit against Judas Priest that popped up a few years later, alleging that subliminal messages were put into their albums encouraging harmful behavior. Otherwise, I have heard mixed things in regards to its entertainment value, but I’m more than willing to give it a shot. Look forward to a review of this flick in October.

Showdown in Little Tokyo

musicbox6

Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee is one hell of a duo. This is another one of those action movies that is clearly up my alley, but has managed to somehow evade me over the years. I’m looking forward to finally catching it, as I assume it is as magical and wonderful as it appears to be.

Warriors of the Wasteland

musicbox3

Enzo Castellari is a name that deserves a lot more attention in the bad movie world. He is one of the masters of the Italian knock-off, with works like The Shark Hunter, The Last Shark, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, and Inglorious Bastards to his credit. Warriors of the Wasteland (aka The New Barbarians) is yet another one of his b-movies with a dedicated following, focusing on the aesthetic of post-apocalyptic flicks like Mad Max. I’ll be interested to see how it stacks up next to other Mad Max knockoffs like Hell Comes to Frogtown, which starred the late Roddy Piper. The involvement of Fred Williamson (Black Caesar, Hell Up In Harlem, 1990: The Bronx Warriors) here has me plenty excited to check this thing out as well.

Teen Wolf / Teen Wolf Too

musicbox2

Teen Wolf is considered a classic of the 1980s, and I imagine that everyone has at least heard of the defining werewolf teen sports comedy of the age (though Full Moon High had its moments). The popular re-imagining on MTV has kept the idea in the public consciousness at the very least, even for those who don’t recall Michael J. Fox’s hairy basketball career.  Teen Wolf Too, on the other hand, goes among the rankings of the most maligned and unnecessary sequels in movie history. Jason Bateman (who was at the time just a recognizable child actor) has succeeded in his career as an adult in spite of the hiccup, but it still looms over him like a black cloud for people who are aware of the film.

As I mentioned earlier, The Music Box also had an interesting selection of soundtracks. Of course, I picked up a couple of notables that I couldn’t turn down:

Xanadu

musicbox12

Xanadu is a deeply polarizing movie, with die-hard fans and staunch detractors all carrying passionate opinions on its value. Whether you consider it a cult classic or a bad movie of the lowest order, nothing defined this flick quite like its soundtrack. Here, I managed to dig up a vinyl copy of the ELO-helmed album, which I’m happy to have in my collection. Again, this is a movie that I feel will make for an inevitable blog post, as it was a winner/loser in the very first Golden Raspberry awards, and made a significant impact on the public consciousness. Not only that, but it also released on one of the most infamous double bills of all time with the unarguably wretched pseudo-biopic of The Village People, Can’t Stop The Music.

Mannequin

musicbox11

Not too long ago, I had a request to cover Mannequin, one of Cannon Group’s many odd contributions to the 1980s. If there is anything that has stuck with the public consciousness about this flick, it is the hit song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. As opposed to being a full album, this one is just a single, but I figured it was still certainly worth picking up. I’m thinking it will go nicely on one of my walls, even if it never comes anywhere near my record player.

Advertisements

Bargain Bin(ge): Replays Gameware (Tuscaloosa/Northport, AL)

Tuscaloosa, AL isn’t a particularly big or interesting place. Unless you’re there for football, school, or the unimaginable combination of the two, there isn’t a whole lot to soak in. I would know, because I lived there for a while.

That said, there are a surprising number of used media stores in the area for how modest the population is. I’ve already covered the MovieStop chain quite a bit, which has a prominent location in Tuscaloosa. However, the real gems in the area are two sites of the small franchise Replays Gameware & DVDs, which you will seldom see outside of small towns and modest cities like Tuscaloosa.

replayttown6

While the selection isn’t outstanding, these shops aren’t afraid to hold blowout sales to clear out their stock, particularly for their DVDs (as they are primarily vintage gaming shops).  If you catch them during one of those (as I did), the deals are very solid. There is also something to be said about the atmosphere at these shops: they are far less sterile than many of the larger buy/sell/trade chains, and hold on to the intimate and casual ambiance that a lot of people miss from the days of video rental. For people who are into that, Replays has never failed to deliver that for me.

Getting on to the actual haul, let’s start with the central Tuscaloosa location:

replayttown4

Evolver

replayttown3

Holy shit! It’s my favorite William H. Macy-voiced killer robot: Evolver! I covered this particular flick as part of Killer Robot Week, but this is actually the first time I had come across a DVD copy of it. Of course, I had to pick it up. Why wouldn’t I? If you want to know more, go check out my earlier review of it. Or, better yet, just dig it up on Netflix without any primer.

Action Jackson

replayttown1

Action Jackson is a movie where Carl Weathers (Predator, Rocky, Arrested Development) plays a super-cop, which is all I need to know about it. Also, Vanity of Never Too Young To Die and The Last Dragon co-stars alongside him, in case I needed extra incentive to pick this up (I didn’t). This is another one of those movies that I have just never gotten around to, so when I spotted it on sale, I decided that it should come home with me. I have a feeling that if I throw that movie in my DVD player, I’ll have a mean stew going.

The Thing With Two Heads

replayttown2

Gosh, where can I possibly start with this bizarre b-movie? It is about a racist white man whose (functioning) head is grafted onto a black guy, which results in a movie’s worth of hilarious, action-filled hi-jinks. Academy Award winner Ray Milland did this flick in 1972, the same year in which he featured prominently in the outlandish horror movie Frogs, which I covered here previously. I first heard about this flick when Stuart Gordon did a spotlight on it for Trailers From Hell, and it has been on my to-watch list ever since.  Keep your eyes peeled, because this sounds like a lock for me to cover at some point in the future.

While the Tuscaloosa location did yield me those three much-appreciated finds, the Northport location just outside of town really gave me some fuel for the bad movie fire:

replaynp5

The Crippled Avengers

replaynp1

Martial Arts films definitely aren’t my strong suit, and my knowledge base is admittedly pretty lacking in this department. However, this is a flick that I heard about recently via The Cinema Snob, and I was a little surprised to see it with a DVD release at all given how obscure most of his picks are. I hear that this is actually a pretty decent action flick, but I may just cover it anyway for its cult appeal.

Children of the Corn II / Children of the Corn III

replaynp3

This is a franchise that I have no experience with outside of the original. However, I do know that people hate these two movies with a burning passion, and that I have never seen them. Thus, this was an obvious pickup for me.

The Substitute / The Substitute II / The Substitute III / The Substitute IV

replaynp4

There are three sequels to The Substitute? And they all star the zombie-cop  Treat Williams? There is absolutely no way that these movies are good, and the fact that I had no idea they existed makes me absolutely giddy. I can’t wait to dig into these, and I hope they yield something worth covering here on the blog.

The original The Substitute was featured on the We Hate Movies podcast not too long ago, which made me give consideration to picking it up at some point. I vaguely remember seeing it as a kid, but it was really easy to get confused with The Principal, one of the finest films in the history of cinema. Regardless, I am baffled that this flick managed to spawn so many sequels, which has me deathly curious as to how the story continuity works between them.

Fright Night / Monster High / The Craft / Brainscan

replaynp2

It is hard to resist the allure of a cheap compilation DVD. In this case, cult classics Fright Night and The Craft anchor a couple of lesser-known flicks that leech onto their sides like barnacles. The one that initially caught my eye was Brainscan, which was on my shortlist to cover back during Killer Robot Week. However, I have a hunch that Monster High is going to be the highlight of the bunch, because it sounds absolutely wretched, and holds an unenviable IMDB rating of 3.3.

Bargain Bin(ge): Edward McKay Used Books

On this entry of the Bargain Binge, I’m going to spotlight one of my favorite little used media chains: Edward McKay used books of North Carolina!

edmckay6

Not to be confused with the similarly-named regional chains “McKay Used Books” or “Mr. K’s Used Books”, “Edward McKay Used Books” has locations throughout North Carolina, specifically in Fayetteville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh. I have been to three of them (the only exception being the Fayetteville store), and I absolutely adore the wide selection of DVDs they typically have had to offer.

edmckay2

 

I have most recently visited the Raleigh location, which seems significantly smaller than the others to me. It also is located right next to one of my favorite bargain hunting locations: “Trade It!”, and it is probably hurt by the direct comparison. That said, the chain has a unique charm to it, and I always aim to pick something up when I go through. I mean, just look at these t-shirts:

edmckay7

 

If you ever find yourself traveling through North Carolina, definitely seek out a local Edward McKay. I have found some great obscure and rare stuff in their cult section before, and almost picked up the Hasselhoff “Nick Fury” movie on my most recent visit. They are mighty cool spots with decent prices on DVDs, books, and albums, so you are bound to find something you’ll like there. They also usually have an extensive DVD bargain section of movies between 3-5 dollars, which certainly isn’t bad.

edmckay4

edmckay5

edmckay1

 

 

Bargain Bin(ge): Washington D.C.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of doing some travel around the country for work. Whenever I get the opportunity, I love to dig around in new locales and find their local used DVD shops, and see what specific cities have to offer. In fact, I have done enough of this recently that the activity inspired this specific section of the blog. I started the “Bargain Bin(ge)” feature in order to spotlight local physical DVD shops and the hauls I pick up from them, particularly in the aftermath of the fall of BlockBuster Video.

block

One of the areas that I hit on this most recent trip was Washington, D.C.: the U.S. Capital, and one of the major metropolitan areas in the states.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/US_Navy_030926-F-2828D-307_Aerial_view_of_the_Washington_Monument.jpg

Given the size and population of the DC Metro area, I expected to find a wealth of used DVD and physical media stores. Unfortunately, this was not at all the case. While my initial Google-ing yielded a number of results, it didn’t take long for me to find that almost all of them had closed. In particular, I found out that the DC area was once home to an expansive local video rental chain called “Potomac Video”, which only shut its doors in May of this year.

pvideo3 Pvideo

That really is a shame, because it looked like quite a fantastic place from all of the pictures that I have seen.

pvideo2 pvideo1

I am curious as to what became of the extensive stock of these Potomac Video stores, as it doesn’t seem that any heirs have popped up in the area. I have noticed that a number of thrift stores bought out the stocks of local BlockBusters as they fell, and I can’t help but wonder if that may have been the same case here. In any case, I didn’t find any promising DVD shops in the DC Metro area, which I was really disappointed by.

On a whim, I decided to check out a record shop in Arlington, VA on my way out of town. I have noticed that record shops will sometimes carry a decent stock of DVDs, but it is never really a sure thing. Luckily, in this case, CD Cellar had a small, eclectic collection of cult movies and rare finds.

cdcell1 cdcell2

One of the coolest finds here was a copy of Larry Cohen’s early mob feature “Black Caesar”, starring Fred Williamson. If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. I think it far surpasses “Scarface” (1983) on just about every level while dealing with similar themes, and it predates that film by a whole decade. It might be my favorite movie to chronicle the rise and fall of a gangster, and that is saying something for this low-budget feature. It is worth noting that this was the first time, outside of Atlanta’s rental location “Videodrome”, that I have found a physical copy of this movie.

cdcell

Apart from “Black Caesar”, there were some great cult deep cuts like “Head of the Family”, “The Ice Cream Man”, and “The Mangler” that don’t make your typical DVD store catalog.  That said, the prices were far from stellar, but I wasn’t particularly surprised by that. I still walked out with a few DVDs, even though none of them were what I consider “bargains” (most DVDs were 6 dollars and up, a handful got down to 4). Regardless, I was happy to not leave the DC area completely empty-handed.

cdcell3

I am hoping that perhaps MovieStop or another chain will make its way to the area before long to pick up the slack in the wake of Potomac Video, or maybe someone else will get something started locally. I’m sure that DC could use a reasonably priced movie shop, or even a eclectic video rental shop along the lines of Atlanta’s Videodrome or Seattle’s Scarecrow Video. As for right now though, the area is regrettably a desert for people looking for bargain DVD shops.