The Alamo Drafthouse chain is taking a step into the past by launching Video Vortex, a reimagining of classic video rental stores, at its upcoming 11-screen location in Raleigh, N.C.
The company, now in its 20th year with 29 locations in operation, is touting Video Vortex as one of the largest video archives on the planet. The North Carolina location will open in the first quarter of next year. Visitors can return rentals on their next trip to the location or mail DVDs and Blu-rays back to the shop with a return envelope.
Along with Blu-ray and DVD titles, Video Vortex will contain a “massive” rental selection of rare VHS tapes, including titles never released on digital formats. The store will also rent VCRs as well as provide renters with the equipment for RCA adapters free of charge. The space will also feature a selection of curated Blu-rays for sale, film-related merchandise, and Mondo releases.
The inspiration for Video Vortex comes from a long-running Alamo Drafthouse programming series that celebrates straight-to-video movies from the 1980s through the early 2000s. That series is curated by Joseph A. Ziemba, founder of review site Bleeding Skull and director of genre programming for Alamo Drafthouse, and Bleeding Skull writer Annie Choi.
“It gives me hope for humanity to see Video Vortex grow from a series at the Alamo to an actual video store,” says Ziemba. “VHS is still the only way to see hundreds of forgotten genre movies. But in this era of rare tapes selling for insane amounts of money, Video Vortex will make them easily accessible for everyone in the Raleigh film community.”