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SXSW 2013 Review: Josh Johnson’s Rewind This!
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Rewind This: Filmmaking Trio

Rewind This!
Director: Josh Johnson
Cast: Atom Egoyan, Cassandra Peterson, David “The Rock” Nelson, Jason Eisener, Chris Strompolos, Frank Henenlotter, Lloyd Kaufman, Kevin Tenney, Charles Band, Mamoru Oshii

Synopsis: Home video changed the way the world consumed films. The cultural and historical impact of the VHS tape was enormous. REWIND THIS! is a documentary that traces the ripples of that impact by examining the myriad aspects of art, technology, and societal perceptions that were altered by the creation of videotape.IPF Productions.

Directed by Josh Johnson, Rewind This! chronicles the rise and fall of the Video Home System, better known by its acronym, VHS. Produced by Carolee Mitchell with cinematography and editing by Christopher Palmer, Rewind This! was shot over the course of three years as the filmmakers interviewed film critics, filmmakers, and industry professionals in the US, Canada, and Japan.

Check out the trailer and the hi-res poster art below!

Over 100 interviews were conducted in attempting to tell the story of the VHS revolution – which meant following collectors (or VHS Warriors, if you will) such as Zack Carlson and visiting video tape meccas like I Luv Video. Obscure, ridiculous titles like Heavy Metal Parking Lot, Bubba Smith’s workout video, Bubba Until It Hurts, and Rolling Vengeance, a movie about a killer monster truck with murderous modifications like a big-ass drill, showcase VHS’s varied, bizarre collection of movies.

TROMA's Lloyd Kaufman

All your old favorites are there: Street Trash, Basket Case, and Cannibal Holocaust, complete with thoughts on the death of hand-painted cover art and Hollywood’s desire for photoshopped, “floating head” art that focuses on the celebrities in the film rather than the story.

Back in the ’80s, you judged the quality of a film based on its cover art – it’s what jumped out at you on the rental store shelves that made you throw down a few bucks to check it out. I remember renting Troll, Ghoulies, Chopping Mall – so many absurd video tapes – based solely on how sweet the box covers were.

The most interesting aspect of Johnson’s film, aside from revisiting these forgotten gems of the direct-to-video days, is the revelation that – though the DVD format is extensive – only 40-50% of movies released on VHS made it to disc format – that’s a lot of movies that haven’t been seen. The filmmakers explore this somewhat surprising fact and bring in archivists to examine the loss of these films as we move away from physical media.

Rewind This! made its world premiere at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival and is easily one of my favorite movies of 2013 – it’s informative while being nostalgic and entirely entertaining. Johnson, Mitchell, and Palmer have crafted one hell of a great documentary – and for children of the ’80s who remember exploring the dusty shelves of their local video store, Rewind This! will take you back to Saturday night sleepovers spent renting tapes and eating pizza, watching movies and hoping the movie itself lived up to the box art.

Be sure to follow Rewind This!, Josh Johnson and Carolee Mitchell on Twitter! Also, be on the look out for my video interview with Johnson, Mitchell, and Palmer here on Geeks of Doom soon!


Rewind This! Poster


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