The other day Ian and I got a text from a friend letting us know that Video Culture, a local independent video store, was closing this weekend. Now, the fact that a video store—especially a locally owned, non-chain one—was closing wasn’t a surprise. But for anyone who went to MTSU, at least in the mid- to late-90s and early 2000s, Video Culture was an integral part of the college experience.
The store they were closing down this weekend is the newer location, over off E. Main Street at Rutherford, but when I was at MTSU they were over by the Package Shop (later renamed the University Package Shop) on Tennessee Blvd. (now called Middle Tennessee Blvd—Jesus Christ, Murfreesboro, does anything stay the same?). When I lived on campus my freshman year of college, my roommate and I would walk over and rent movies, and when we moved to Nottingham Apartments our freshman year, we were there a lot (as well as the Package Shop, whenever we had someone with an ID to get us a handle or two of shitty booze).
When I was in grad school, I had to rent Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi and Video Culture was the only place locally that had multiple copies of all three. Like an asshole, I waited until the last minute each time I needed to rent each movie to complete my assignments. This was before Netflix, and Blockbuster and Hollywood Video sure as hell weren’t carrying anything that independent or interesting. Video Culture saved my ass each time.
They were the go-to place for cult classics, anime, funky stickers and movie posters. Oh, and porn. If you were of age, you could quietly turn the handle of the backroom door and find yourself in a small, non-ventilated room filled to the brim with skin flicks. (Or so I’ve heard, ahem.) When they were over on Tennessee Blvd, a women owned a store upstairs that she called a “gift thrift store,” but that I pretty clearly remember as a head shop. (A guy we talked to this weekend claims she didn’t sell pipes, though, so maybe she had all of the other accoutrements of a head shop except for the pipes, who knows).
A few years ago they moved out to the most recent location, the location that Ian and I visited on Saturday after drinking our lunch at Old Chicago, the location that’s taking the store to its grave. All of their inventory was severely discounted, including naughty titles that I could not stop laughing at. I mean, Womb Raider? The Witches of Breastwick? How do you get the job making up porn titles? Wait, I don’t want to know.
We picked over the shop’s remains, not really finding anything interesting until I noticed a pile of huge movie posters laying on the ground. We were about to leave when I off-handedly asked the guy at the counter if he had any X-Files posters. Remarkably, he remembered seeing one the day before and invited me to look through the pile. Ian and I rummaged for about five minutes when I noticed something that looked familiar.
It was the poster for The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
Holy shit. I had found it.
The poster was $1 or free with any movie purchase, and since we didn’t have any cash on us we gave the shop another run-through and came up with The Crying Game and all three Shafts. For $16. Definitely an awesome score, although I’m way more excited about finding the X-Files movie poster than the DVDs.
And despite not having set foot in Video Culture even once in the past five years, I’m pretty sad to see them go. It’s definitely the end of an era. “Progress,” the guy at the counter said.
I wonder what will come next. Can anything out there kill the internet?