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Alice in Videoland

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Post by ThePunisher July 30th 2023, 5:52 pm

This morning I drove by a building that was the Alice in Videoland video store. This was obviously a place to rent movies, and back then, they were primarily VHS, but DVDs were coming around. This place had the standard popular issue movies like we see in theaters, but also a lot of foreign films that were lesser known. The horror section was my favorite.

This place was one of my favorite memories. I had a lot of fun just going there trying to find a movie to rent. It makes me sad to see it just standing there empty with just the sign on the building.

Did you ever have a place like this?
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Post by Jason Voorhees July 30th 2023, 6:17 pm

I've seen a few blockbusters still in business somehow! It's amazing to see!
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Post by ThePunisher July 31st 2023, 6:50 am

Jason Voorhees wrote:I've seen a few blockbusters still in business somehow! It's amazing to see!

I thought they were gone!!!!!
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Post by I'm Not a Goalie July 31st 2023, 11:21 am

I have a lot of fond memories of the Video Store as a kid. We'd go pretty much every Friday afternoon after school, pick up a video game and maybe a movie or two, and that would be my brother and I's entertainment for the weekend. Friday was always take out night too, so yeah I always looked forward to Friday afternoons for more than the obvious reasons, lol. I lived in the suburbs around Chicago for most of my childhood, and pretty much every neighborhood had a local Video Store that was a quick bike ride away if not walking distance.

Somehow I don't think your question is merely pertaining to video stores though.

The place that stands out to me was an old Mini-Golf/Arcade establishment called Haunted Trails. I loved that place as a kid, mainly because it was completely themed around Gothic Horror Movies and fables. When you first walked in, you had to pass under the legs of Frankenstein's Monster... Who, if I remember correctly was wielding a bloody axe for some reason. If my fuzzy memory isn't failing me, the golf course including a statue of Dracula, a hole based around a lake monster, and a two-head monster also wielding an axe. (I may be confused as to who had the axe lol) The arcade portion had this ghostly crypt keeper type entity hovering above the prize counter, and the whole arcade portion was decked out in tombstones, spiders, and other various spooky imagery. It was like Halloween all year round and I absolutely loved it.

When I took my wife on vacation up to Chicago one year, this was one of the first places I wanted to take her because I'm just romantic that way. I'd almost forgotten about the place until a few months before the trip when my brother and I started reminiscing about the place, and my nostalgia meter started jumping through the roof. She loves this kind of stuff too, so I couldn't wait to show the place off to her...

Only to discover they'd completely gutted the place and almost completely removed the horror theming to a point I'm not sure why the place was called Haunted Trails anymore... Frankenstein gone, Dracula gone, everything fun about the golf course gone... The only thing left remotely recognizable was the crypt-keeper guy in the arcade, but everything else had been stripped away to look like every other generic arcade. Obviously a bunch of Karens had blown through the place and complained their little Aidens had been traumatized by all the spooky imagery. My emotions ranged from being disappointed to straight up pissed off. Needless to say, we only stayed about ten minutes before walking right back out. I didn't get it... Yes the place might've been much for some three-year-old's, but Haunted Trails had always, I felt at least, straddled the line pretty well between staying relatively kid friendly while being just edgy enough to not seem lame to older kids.

But yeah, that's my place... I don't know if Haunted Trails still exists or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if they rethemed it into Candyland or something by this point. They'd already stripped away everything that made it special to me in the first place.
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Post by OCT 31 1978 July 31st 2023, 7:30 pm

We had several video stores in my neighborhoods both in NY and Florida! We rented games and movies all the time!! This is one of my favorite memories from my childhood walking up down the aisle looking at the VHS covers and video game covers the incredible stands ups,ans VHs Displays…..the build up of anticipation what you were about to watch was feverish because of going to those Videos stores…. RIP to my Childhood…..
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