I’ve noticed that there are three types of cinephiles outside your average movie enjoying public. I’ve categorized them as follows:
1. Snobs. These are your hoity-toity cinephiles who sometimes use their movie collection to feel culturally superior to others. Be it Criterion Collection, anime, or something else. While not always snobby, not to make them sound like terrible people, they are after your more specific classic, arthouse, or genre film, and sometimes because they perceive it to be better then the typical pop-culture dreck put out there.
2. Sluts. These people collect everything. Usually on a certain format, like: Laserdisc, D-VHS, 3D Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray, etc. $40 for [insert terrible movie]… Ok! Their collections can be in the thousands of pieces and dollars.
3. Garbage Collectors. These are people who are intentionally after so-terrible-they’re-good or so-terrible-they’re-terrible movies. Often horror genre but also some sci-fi, martial arts, exercise and other instructional videos of decades past.
The main difference between sluts and garbage collectors is that sluts are usually buying mainstream new releases. Doesn’t matter how terrible that new big budget blockbuster is, they’re going to own it on X format with all the bonus content, Atmos sound, and special packaging. And they’ll pay whatever high dollar it costs. Whereas garbage collectors are after niche stuff within a specific genre. Usually low budget. Mostly older stuff that is found on the used market. These are the guys ransacking videos stores as they are going out of business looking for those old gore porn videos from 1985 on VHS.
The one thing all of these people typically have in common is that many are collecting physical media of some type, whereas most of the mainstream population has moved on to streaming and digital downloads. That said, there are also digital collectors and many people with a mix of both.
Where do I fall myself? I’m pretty average. I don’t really fit into the the snob category when it comes to movies. I don’t collect those kind of movies. They really aren’t my thing. I find most of them boring and pretentious. As if painfully slow pacing and overinflated dialog scenes are going to reveal some kind of mysteries of the universe to the audience watching. Whereas the only real depth that is actually there is that sinking feeling you’re wasting your time as you’re watching it.
On the flip side, I have bought my fair share of big budget terrible movies and sometimes paid way too much money just to have the 3D or steelbook version (or both-in-one). But it’s only every once in a great while. The kind of people I’m talking about are picking up a handful of movies every week it seems. These are guys (typically) who are middle class and have sizable disposable incomes, and they just love movies. The bigger, bolder, more action packed, and over the top the better. Look at all the pretty lights!
I once heard movies like that described as “movies for guys who like movies” and it’s perfect. And while I do have plenty of guilty and not-so-guilty pleasures among them, I still have standards.
Lastly, there are a more than a handful of garbage movies I’ve enjoyed. As an indie filmmaker these were often some of the most inspirational movies because they seemed achievable. They’re often low budget and typically don’t have any big name actors in them. The special effects are usually ridiculous and they can be funny or at the very least, fun to make fun of. And while I’ve got a handful (or two) of these movies, I’m far from being one of the guys who have an entire basement full of old VHS tapes of obscure cult b-movies from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Obviously there is nothing wrong with any of these types of collectors. I’m not here judging. In fact, there is a certain part of me that wishes I could be more like these folks. They obviously get enjoyment out of it.
Having been a low budget indie filmmaker in the past, you might think I would be. However, my personal movie collection is not as sizable or specific as you may think. Outside of a few specific choices, it’s pretty mundane and average and can fit on a single bookshelf. My folks old VHS collection (that I’ve inherited) aside.