Nightmare on Carlisle Street

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By John Kerrens (Light Sleeper)

Video Vision DVD rental store in Carlisle Street Balaclava is something of an institution among film buffs in the St Kilda/Balaclava area. At a casual glance the shop looks like your standard DVD rental store but a quick look inside reveals an altogether different sensibility from the average suburban Video Hangar. The staff have done a great job of making the place something special, rather than just another impersonal DVD barn.

Small statues and model-kit horror images liven up the atmosphere: Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Mummy, Frankenstein and others line the walls at the front desk. There is also a Horror Dungeon at the back of the store which is simply begging for a full-time, Pulp Fiction style, “Gimp” to provide a creepy ambience. Carlisle Street is not lacking in characters who could effortlessly play the role of a ‘Pulp Fiction’ creep-o (this writer is prepared to do it if the price is right).

Of course, it’s the content that’s most important. In this, Video Vision leaves the rest of the competition in their dust (the dust being a mysterious cloud appearing suddenly over a small isolated town, turning everyone into drooling flesh-eating zombies). And what content it is! There are the usual sections: Arthouse, Foreign, Chick-flicks, Dick-flicks, Stoner, Sci-fi, and everything in between. Some of the most obscure titles can be found in the shelves, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for the staff will order it for you. This reviewer was rightly gobsmacked when the shop ordered in cult-director Ray Dennis Steckler’s ‘Blood Shack’ aka ‘The Chooper’ horror flick after little more than a passing mention. Furthermore, they recently purchased ‘Birdemic: Shock and Terror’; a horror-turkey without peer, which has built up a world-wide devoted cult following. This kind of dedication and genuine interest by the staff is inspiring.

There’s lots of great obscurities/culties of every persuasion: ‘Spider Baby’, ‘Alphaville’, ‘Kiss Me Deadly’, ‘Teorema’, ‘Nashville’, ‘Pink Flamingos’, ‘Dark Star’, ‘The Long Goodbye’, and more. There is also a sizable collection, sorted by ‘Director’, containing the work of film-makers such as Woody Allen, Mike Leigh, Robert Altman, David Cronenberg, and a number of ‘one-name Directors’ such as: Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, Scorsese, etc…

Of course, not everything has to be cutting edge, literally-speaking. There is more mainstream fare also; everything from ‘All About Eve’ to ‘Captain Philips’, ‘The Last Picture Show’ to ‘Blue Jasmine’, ‘His Girl Friday’ to ‘The Lego Movie’, etc… and something for the whole family to enjoy (‘Driller Killer’, ‘Salo’) as well as for individual members and their own unique tastes.

Oh, and did I mention ‘Birdemic’?

Check out their new awesome website: www.videovisiondvd.com.au

 

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