Destination Film: Long Live Physical Media!!! Grindhouse Video - Tampa, Florida

Somewhere in the humid core of Tampa lies a corner retail shop that's keeping the independent spirit alive. We went straight to the source and spent way too much money. 

As a purveyor and collector of all things movies, with a specialty in horror and the absolutely terrifying, it's easy to say that we now live in a sad state of affairs where the video store is comparably a magical unicorn. They simply don't exist in most areas, and the ones that do still operate typically stock the normal, routine fare that satisfies but doesn't quite hit the spot for those of us that require boutique titles, rarities, and the hard to find shockers that satisfy our thirst for something different. We're looking at you Family Video.

Well, upon traveling to Clearwater Beach, Florida a couple weeks ago, this blu-ray collector stumbled upon a find that blew my mind and had me chomping at the bit to spend as much cold hard cash as possible in a divine little corner shop in Tampa called Grindhouse Video. 

Knowing how few and far between these stores are in our modern age is rather depressing. But also realizing that places like these still exist in areas you'd least expect them is an absolute wonder and an accomplishment that only horror connoisseurs and dedicated collectors can fully respect. Finding and experiencing Grindhouse Video was literally the best part of my week away from home, while I twice visited their dynamic little store that features the pinnacle of purist shopping escapism. Dedicated to a varying array of genres, sub-genres, and old school porn, this store is a sight to be experienced first hand. Featuring a massive library of titles from Arrow Video, Criterion, 88 Films, MVD, Scream Factory, and every other unique brand under the sun, those that require physical media will be blown to bits by this solo location. 

Shop until you die of exhaustion. This selection is no joke. 

Get used. 

Stepping foot in the store, my mouth was agape immediately. Rack and rows of exploitation and horror filled my tired eyes with a renewed sense of excitement. Heading in, one thing was made apparent immediately. The owner, Mike has a real sense for knowing what us horror and film nerds want and need. We. Are. Addicted. We are obsessive completists. Spreading across decades of film, his store has a massive selection of brand new titles, older titles, and cult stuff that's all kept at a very reasonable price. Where many stores might take advantage of their captive audience, Mike doesn't squeeze his clientele and keeps things right inline with the same price tag as shopping on that evil internet outlet, Amazon. 

Arrow Video and Criterion Collection until your cold, dead heart is content!

Bro, laser. It's the future! Jenny McCarthy is coming. Are you?!

The main section of the store is nearly all new blu-ray releases with a small bin for (new) used titles and a shelf dedicated to soundtracks on vinyl (yes, heaven). Then the store continues through to a secondary room that has a massive (I repeat), massive selection of used titles that definitely run the gamut. The used bin doesn't just stick to horror, but is a more rounded selection of movies, that continues to show the evolution of his full inventory. This room also includes a full wall dedicated to Arrow Video blu-rays and dvds as well as a large selection of those much needed collectible steelbooks and Criterion discs. Shall I continue?

You have to see this place to believe it. With so many choices, it could quickly become an all day affair tearing through the assortment of formats here. Once I thought I was done, I was once again in shock as a rear room exists that has an entire wall of old VHS tapes. For those that aren't in the know, video tapes have made a huge comeback with devout collectors. Documentaries have actually been released on the reinvigorated interest in old school videocassettes, with their tracking issues, blemishes and all. If you're on the lookout for VHS paradise, this is it. And have we mentioned the large table of assorted laserdiscs and other long dead formats? 

Tons of rare and unique laserdiscs!
Did someone say Steelbook?

A full wall of VHS tapes! Be evil. Don't rewind. 

Mike has created his own realm here. This store is a time capsule that sucks you back to an era when you couldn't order at the click of a button. The enjoyment of looking at the boxes, setting your eyes on the sexy, near pornographic cover content, and being able to lay your fingers on an actual physical copy is something that needs to be coveted. Grindhouse Video offers that old school sense of being able to pick and choose from an exaggerated amount of independent films that are getting the love and attention they deserve.....on a shelf where people like me get the feeling we might not get to feel for much longer in a world that's trying its damnedest to kill physical formats! There should be one of these stores in every major city. 

Long live Grindhouse Video!! 

Even Heather Graham came to shop!