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August is VHS MONTH!

See rare & odd titles from our VHS rental collection all month long

This month’s Scarecrow Video Screening Room programming spotlights some of the rare and weird titles on our shelves that have yet to see the light of DVD. These offerings are rich with ghosts, explosions, mohawks, aliens, and Beatles. We’ll also host another VHS Box Art Show and Seattle’s first (or at least most recent) VHS Swap Meet.

The series was inspired by our friends and neighbors at Grand Illusion Cinema, who are showing two VHS-centric documentaries this month: Dan Kinem and Levi Peretic’s Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector on Tuesday, August 20 and Josh Johnson’s Rewind This!, chronicling the home video revolution, starting Friday, August 30. Look for glimpses of our store in both.

All Scarecrow Video events are FREE and are 21 and over. Beer, beverages, and snacks will be available from VHSpresso. Screenings are subject to change; stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest updates.


Sports, Leisure, and Videotape!

Saturday, August 3   8pm

We kick off VHS Month with a whole lot of kicking, plus juggling, swatting, headbutting, and more! This hilarious hodgepodge of sporty VHS clips was a hit when it debuted last summer at the Grand Illusion. From their description:

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition...sidesplittin
g thrills...unintentional hilarity...and astonishing music videos... This is Sports, Leisure, and Videotape! Another amazing night of uproarious entertainment culled from the astounding VHS collection of Scarecrow Video.



On display Tuesday, August 6 through Friday, August 30

A collection of specially created VHS boxes by cartoonists and illustrators from around the country will be on display beginning Tuesday, August 6. The boxes will be silently (sshhh) auctioned off during this VHS documentary heavy month and will end on Friday August 30 to coincide with the Seattle premiere of Josh Johnson's documentary Rewind This. The money raised will go to help our store continue on as the largest locally owned and independent video rental store in the country.

For more information and samples from the first VHS New Wave collection, visit their Tumblr page. This box by Scarecrow employee Bryan Theiss was done for the VHS New Wave collection commemorating Independent Video Store Day:


Let it Be

Friday, August 9 and Saturday, August 10    8pm

One of the rarest and most sought-after VHS tapes in our collection, this 1970 documentary chronicles the making of Let It Be. Long done with the romps of A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, the film follows the band through their cranky and rambling recording process and is most notable for including the legendary Apple rooftop performance. Rumors of a proper DVD release circulate every few years, but for now we’ve just got a tape. So if you’ve always wanted to see it but got rid of your VCR (or find the security deposit too dear), join us and watch The Beatles makes excellent music as they fall apart. Noted Beatles expert Ethan Jones from local band Math and Physics Club will introduce both screenings.

While usually shelved in our Beatles' section, Let It Be is currently in our special rental section of Mojo magazine's 100 Greatest Music Movies.


Turn of the Screw (1959)

Monday, August 12 and Tuesday, August 13   6pm

Director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate) made this version of Henry James’ sinister ghost story as an episode of the anthology TV series Startime. Ingrid Bergman stars in her first US TV role as the Governess, for which she won an Emmy. We got this episode courtesy of Mr. Frankenheimer himself, thus it has no box art and one of the highest security deposits in the store.


Tales from the Quadead Zone

Friday, August 16  8pm

A supremely rare film with a hefty rental security deposit, this 1987 straight-to-video horror directed by Chester N. Turner is an anthology of three ghastly stories read from a not-from-our-dimension storybook.'s Lily Rothman recently discussed its cult status amongst collectors with the Adjust Your Tracking filmmakers. We were called upon to scan the cover when the New York Times asked several horror video experts to compile a list of “10 VHS-Era Horror Obscurities Not to Miss.” Here it is:

Cover art for the movie


Men of the 1980s Double Feature with Don Johnson and Mr. T

Saturday, August 17  8pm

Two VHS-only offerings from two of the decade’s most iconic men! First, the 1987 experimental video Heartbeat. How experimental is it? Allow the VHS box description to explain: “Don Johnson’s Heartbeat is not just another rock video. It is not a movie. Instead, it is a music video feature using technologies and styles from both mediums.” Johnson stars as a documentary filmmaker reflecting on his life, which is told quite conveniently through all the songs from his smash debut album. Expect lots of intense steamy action and a special appearance by Willie Nelson.

We’ll balance that with the 1984 motivational video Mr. T’s Be Somebody or Be Somebody’s Fool. Mr. T and a troupe of his singing / joke-slinging / breakdancing pals (including “hot new musical group New Edition”) instruct viewers on how to have healthy self-esteem and be kind to their mothers. “It’s a direct line from the heart of Mr. T to the hearts and minds of kids everywhere.” Plus, lyrics by Ice-T!


Viva VHS!

Monday, August 19   6pm

Our original VHS compilation of forgotten gems and mind-blowing revelations made to honor the fallen format way back in 2009. It made its theatrical debut at Northwest Film forum and played to enthusiastic crowds at Central Cinema. We now we resurrect its glory on our own screen with a version that was previously only deemed fit for viewers in Austin, Texas. For more, we refer you to The A.V. Club article on Viva's Austin debut and their conversation with our former colleague Tommy Swenson. Here's the cover art by our colleague Marc Palm:


VHS Swap Meet

Wednesday, August 21  5:30pm-9pm

VHS Swap Meets have been cropping up all over the country, recently in such fashionable places as Portland and Austin. It’s a great way to for the magnetic-tape minded to unite and buy, sell, and trade the rarest titles. In conjunction with the Grand Illusion’s screening of VHS collecting documentary Adjust Your Tracking, we are bringing the videocassette trafficking fun to Seattle. Tracking director Dan Kinem will be in attendance to check out the tapes and talk with fans of the film. Whether you’re an avid VHS fan or just want to get lost in nostalgia for a thought-dead format, we hope to see you here.

Are you a collector who’d like to participate? To reserve a FREE space at the Swap Meet, contact Kevin Shannon at



Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24   8pm

A warrior and his former master team up to fight aliens who have been turning people into animals and serving them in restaurants. Maybe. Why do the evil henchmen play in a Devo-like new wave band in the basement of their headquarters? We don't know. Did that wizard just magically shoot a chicken at someone? Oh My God, YES HE DID. Sometimes you find a film so crazy and filled with such wild energy that you just HAVE to share it with people. Furious is without a doubt one of the greatest no-budget unearthed treasures we've ever encountered. So rare, in fact, that the copy we're screening is a loaner; Furious isn't even in our collection (yet). It's proof that a rare alchemy of enthusiasm, overreaching ambition and creativity can overcome any budgetary limitation. The 70 minutes you'll spend watching Furious will change your life. Possible very special guest TBA.


In addition to all of that, we'll throw on some random VHS oddities in the afternoons, so take a peek in the screening room / VHSpresso seating area while you're here and see what's on. Happy VHS Month from all of us here at Scarecrow Video!

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