Video Extras

VHS Collector Recreates His Own Blockbuster Store At Home

If you’re in Gen Z, Blockbuster was kind of like if Netflix was a store.

If you’re under 20 years old, there’s probably no point reading this article because you’ll have no idea what any of this means. Before streaming services existed, before YouTube and before 7Mate, if you wanted to watch a particular movie or series, you pretty much had two options: (1) hope that it would one day be played on free-to-air TV or (2) head down to your local Blockbuster.

Yes, back in the dark ages, humans used to go to an actual store and pay money to rent hard-copy videos of movies and TV shows. You’d pretty much go there on a Saturday with your siblings and your dad would say: “Alright, you can each choose one movie to watch this week and you better choose wisely because there’s no way I’m going to remember to return this video on time and the late fees are going to cost more than the actual rental price.”

And so you and your siblings would browse the shelves looking for movies that were not really kept in alphabetical order because the 15-year-old manager of the store didn’t exactly run a tight ship, and you’d settle on something like Saving Private Ryan, only for your dad to tell you it was too violent for a seven-year-old so you’d go back and get a copy of Titanic.

Anyway, this is precisely the nostalgia that has fueled one man in the UK to recreate his own Blockbuster store at home. The man, who keeps his identity secret like he’s a supervillain, goes by the moniker ‘The Mayor’ and has collected over 10,000 VHS tapes that date back to the 1970s, many of which are quite rare because they were withdrawn from shelves due to copyright claims.

"These things are collector's items. I had 10,000 in 2017, but I'm always getting job lots in - including another 2,000 this month alone,” he told the Liverpool Echo. "I'm always building it and building it. It's a full time occupation and I travel all over the country to get video collections."

The videos are even presented like an old-school video store, with HS tapes stacked across countless shelves and a large neon Blockbuster sign glowing brightly in one room.

It truly is a sight to behold. Also, if you forgot to return that copy of Titanic you rented in 1998 before Blockbuster went bankrupt, now is your chance to return it to The Mayor to make amends. Though, there’s a good chance the late fees that you’ve accumulated over the past 23 years might just bankrupt you too.