Hard-To-Find Movies That Remind Us Why VHS, DVD, And LaserDisc Still Matter, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and VOD give us the impression that there are a lot of movies at our fingertips available to rent or stream, but the truth is there are plenty more that aren’t. Every time we make a leap in technology, from film reels to VHS to DVD to Blu-ray to digital, there are titles that get left behind, and even when they do get a re-release, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay in print. Which is one of the reasons Seattle’s Scarecrow Video, home to the world’s single largest collection of VHS tapes, LaserDiscs, VCDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays, is looking for a second life as a nonprofit.
Killer Shark (1950)
You’d think a movie called Killer Shark really sells itself, but this 1950 thriller is very difficult to find and was only released on VHS. The movie, which stars Roddy McDowall as a college student dealing with sharks and smugglers, was directed by Budd Boetticher, who’s best know for making Westerns.
E. Elias Merhige directed Willem Dafoe in an Oscar-nominated performance in 2000’s Shadow of the Vampire, but the filmmaker’s debut, Begotten — a strange, dialogue-free, totally disturbing reimagining of Genesis creation story — has long been out of print on DVD.
Hal Needham’s terminally ’80s cult classic about BMX racing has yet to get a DVD release. Bill Allen plays a small-town guy named Cru Jones trying to make it in the cutthroat world of competitive BMX racing, while Full House’s own Lori Loughlin plays his love interest — they fall in love doing bike tricks at a school dance.
The Big Crimewave (1985)
This little-known black comedy is beloved by those who’ve seen it, but it’s only available on VHS. It was written, directed, and produced by Canadian filmmaker John Paizs, who also stars as a would-be filmmaker whose attempts to write a film are hampered by the fact that he can only manage to come up with beginnings and endings, but nothing in between.
Big Black: The Last Blast (1987)
Released by Black Label Records, this video recording of the farewell show from influential punk band Big Black (founded by Steve Albini) in Seattle on Aug. 9, 1987, is only available on VHS.
As a visual effects artist and compositor, Seattle filmmaker Tim Everitt has worked on blockbusters like 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and 2005’s Into the Blue. But his own movies can be much tougher to find — like his debut Furious, which, as promised, is about how “mystic aliens fight karate heroes for control of the universe,” and which was donated on DVD-R to Scarecrow by the director himself.