Vol. 3, Issue #5 March 7th - March 20th, 2008

Don't Know What You Got...saving Digital Video Depot
By: Adrian Fallwell

Blaine Dickerson has been in the video rental business for a long time. He managed the Kaliedoscope Video store for 12 years, until the owner retired and closed the store. Blaine purchased a portion of the inventory, and started Digital Video Depot, off of N.W. 63rd and Meridian, which has been in operation for 9 years now. Several things about DVDepot set it apart from all the other independent video stores in OKC and surrounding suburbs. For fans of “cult” films, it used to be a struggle to find such rare gems, and the few stores that had a section for the genre, could only fill a rack or two with what they had. Blaine, being the hardcore movie buff he was, focused on carrying not only the usual cult finds(i.e. Rocky Horror, Eraserhead), but a vast collection of foreign, explotative, out-of-print, unrated, banned videos and DVDs that filled walls, not just racks. Buying the out-of-print videos from Kaliedoscope, he invested in several genres going out of print, such as Disney classics and older films with big stars like Carey Grant. He bought controversial movies that had been legally banned at some point, such as Cannibal Holocaust or The Tin Drum, and unrated or NC-17 movies that no corporate video store would touch with a ten-foot pole. Along with all the other usual titles and new releases, Blaine built up his collection.

Fast-forward to today. With vending machines at every McDonalds and Wal-Mart, Redbox is the largest DVD renter, killing even giants like Hollywood Video, with Blockbuster just barely holding on. Of course, all video rental locations are suffering from the increase in online viewing and renting too. The movie studio companies themselves push for direct viewing, taking in more money by cutting out the middle-man. A look around the metro will show you that the only independently-owned movie renters left are in the suburbs and towns around OKC, if they survived the influx of corporate chains that set shop in the town just long enough to kill the competition before they closed down due to low profits. ...and Blaine, with one of the few metro stores existing, is hanging from the cliff by his little pinky. Should this be? It’s the nature of the game, the evolution of technologies? Perhaps, but what do we stand to lose?

A very basic “cult” classic, John Woo’s The Killer made famous in the U.S. by Quentin Tarantino, is now out of print. You can’t get it from Netflix, and you most likely won’t find it in any corporate store. It was stolen, discount sold, or horded by a collector long ago. But you can rent it at DVDepot, and that’s just one example. What about The Little Mermaid? Wouldn’t you like to share one of your favorite childhood movies with your child? Disney has a cycle of taking it’s older titles out of print, and then re-releasing them several years later, if at all. In the meantime, you can’t find these titles in corporate chains, but you can at DVDepot. What if you just saw I Am Legend, and you heard that there were several movies preveasly released based on the same book and you wanted to see them? What are the chances that the clerk at the corporate store knows the answer to that question, or that they would have Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price or The Omega Man with Charlton Heston? But you would see all of this setup on display as soon as you entered DVDepot, because Blaine is in the business for the love of movies, not just to make a buck...although, without that buck there is no store at all, which brings us back to the point.

If you take interest in movies beyond what a machine can spit out at you, or if you would like to be able to talk and ask questions of someone who is knowledgable of multiple genres and eras of filmmaking, then it’s up to all of us to take the initiative and rent from our local video stores (especially the “cult” ones) to keep them in business. The world may be changing, but how often we learn the lesson of loss too late.

Please take my advice movie fans and check out Digital Video Depot at 6209 N. Meridian, or give them a call at 721-3505. Also, look for their commercial later this month on local channel 43 KAUT.

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