Before websites and discussion forums could clue you in to what movies you might want to spend your Friday night watching, roaming the aisles of a video store was the norm. Distributors knew you might make a spontaneous choice based on box art, which tried to be as provocative as possible. The clamshell cases were usually dirty, smudged, and marked with store stickers.
If you miss that experience, an artist named Steelberg has got just the thing: He’s been posting retro VHS rental cases of newer films on his Instagram feed, and they’re so accurate you can practically hear the condescending tone of the clerk nearby.
In an interview with Vehlinngo, Steelberg says that being a “child of the ‘80s” got the work started, and that he tries to pick films that lend themselves to that VHS aesthetic. He also mentioned that some directors—he didn’t mention who—have gotten in touch to pay their compliments. He has even been approached to do some commissions.
Another Instagram artist, OfftrackOutlet, has a similar project underway, but he’s taking the additional measure of dubbing the films over to a VHS cassette for that snowy, tracking-enabled feel. The format may be gone—the last VCR unit rolled off the assembly line last month in Japan—but it might be a long time before it's forgotten.