We discovered another still-running video store, and this one was just nuts. Feast your eyes on 112 Video:
Part of a small strip mall in Patchogue, New York, 112 Video opened in the mid ‘80s. The current owner, Rick Something, purchased the store around 7 years ago. Nice guy. Wore lots of blue.
112 Video is “east coast famous” among VHS fanatics, thanks to its absurdly large collection of super rare tapes. I was not at all prepared. It was too much to handle in one visit. There were hundreds of videos that I never thought I’d see in person, from every conceivable genre.
What sets 112 Video apart from other still-going video stores is that it has never been picked clean of the good stuff. Hell, if you look close at the 100+ tapes I scored from the incredible Four Star Video, you’ll notice that nothing was particularly rare. Over time, collectors usually take the best apples from these trees.
It’s a miracle, really. Even as 112 Video evolved to be more about DVDs than videocassettes, and even as it again evolved to deal more in sales than rentals, all of those glorious old clamshells remained on the shelves.
Rick told us that the videos were technically for sale, but only if you were gonna match the going rates on eBay. Whatever frustration I had over not being able to afford The Video Dead was belied by the knowledge that if Rick had been agreeable to discount rates, collectors would’ve bought the soul out of 112 Video years ago.
Here are some of the highlights, separated by genre:
The star of the store is undoubtedly its immense horror section. It’s a breathtaking collection of practically everything, save for the handful of movies that were almost never carried even when they were still current.
It helped me to remember the many afternoons I spent spying on our first video store’s horror section. The one filled with cardboard demons and floating bloodshot eyeballs.
Since my own VHS collection is mostly composed of mainstream stuff, I’d forgotten just how depraved the box art could get, and how so many of those boxes felt like portals to hellish dimensions.
I tried to capture the horror section on video, but it was no use. There were simply too many tapes. I’d need 100 photos just to show you a tenth of them. I felt like Mr. Katsuji from Gremlins 2, always snapping but never done.
I was almost as impressed with their sci-fi section. I was practically an adult when I finally dropped my look-but-don’t-touch approach to horror, but my Star Wars obsession led me to embrace sci-fi from a very early age. (Even if most of those movies were “half-horror” anyway.)
Standing there, I felt like Seventh Grade Matt, searching for aliens and dinosaurs while praying that no classmates came into the store. (I didn’t want to risk being caught with a copy of From Star Wars to Jedi. Wasn’t quite sure what would’ve happened had I been, but none of the possibilities seemed good.)
The children’s section was a bit less robust, but on the other hand, I couldn’t name much that 112 Video didn’t have.
I gravitated to the Family Home Entertainment tapes, naturally. Everyone my age remembers those. It’s how kids like me got to see the earliest episodes of G.I. Joe and The Transformers.
(For their normal afternoon airings, both shows leaned heavily on their most recent episodes. The older ones also aired, but typically in strange weekday morning time slots that you were only around for when you had the flu. I used to fake fevers for a shot at seeing Skyfire all the time.)
…but I may have been most impressed with 112 Video’s ridiculously good wrestling section, stuffed with what felt like every WWF tape from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
As a kid, I lived on these videos. There was no internet and certainly no WWE Network at the time, so these tapes were the only way to watch big events from months or years before.
I still associate so many of wrestling’s historic moments with videocassettes, from the cage match at WrestleMania 2 to Hulk making Gene Okerlund drink egg yolks.
While 112 Video’s best tapes are reserved for rental purposes, they do sell piles of also-rans, too. These tapes aren’t really worth anything, but since they’re three for a dollar, they don’t really cost anything, either.
Oh, and before anyone congratulates me on finding Ghost Chase for 33 cents, that one was five bucks. And I was fine with that. Really, I’d spent way too long rummaging through those shelves to get away with a $3 tab.
(Jay, for his part, left with Mr. Mom and The Blair Witch Project, because of course he did.)
All in all, I’m super glad that we made the trip. The very long trip, on a horribly damp Saturday, in terrible traffic. Totally worth it.
If you’re near Long Island and you’re into this sort of thing, you totally need to go here. Check out 112 Video’s Facebook page for addresses and phone numbers and more tantalizing photos.
If you decide to go, make sure that you buy something, too. It’s pretty amazing that Rick leaves all of this stuff out in the open, so consider whatever you spend more of an admission fee. He should be charging one, anyway.
PS: Big thanks to Kevin Redding for tipping us off about 112 Video. You were so right.