I moved to Norfolk, Virginia in 2016. When I stopped at a local shopping center I was excited to see a real live video store. Open for business! I almost ran in the door and was shattered when I saw the signs saying the store was closing for good on the very next day. People were in line to purchase used discs, not rent them.

I pass by the place all the time, but last night we ate at a Chinese restaurant right next door to the old video shop. The store is empty, but the signs for House of Video still shine on.

I walked to the plate glass window and gazed in at the barren room. The shelves and movies are gone. Nothing there but ghosts.

I stood there, reminiscing about the early days of home video. I have difficulty expressing the miraculous feeling it was to get my first video card and have all those choices at hand. There was nothing like it before and despite the endless selections now at our fingertips, nothing like it since then.

The novelty of it all. You could take a movie home. Start and stop it at will. Watch it five times in a row if you wished.

I believe I got a little teary-eyed. My vision blurred and everything became hazy. I tried to focus and I could see...

I felt like I dropped into a time portal. I could see the customers, joyfully perusing the selections.

Look over there! A trio of cool kids with horror shirts. They are trying to decide on an old standby like Phantasm or Friday the 13th Part 2, or maybe one of those Italian spectacles they've been reading about in Fangoria.

There's a couple of bros looking for some T&A. This was before anyone could dial up soul-killing porn on their devices. Gentlemen, may I suggest Hardbodies?

Here's a group of fresh-faced, giggling girls looking to see love won and love lost. I can picture them devouring pizza, slurping sodas, and mooning over Kevin Costner or Erik Estrada.

A pair of pre-hipster college guys saunter to the foreign section. I salute them and wonder if they've seen any Bunuel movies.

A family of four are out for a night of fun and they rent E.T. yet again. A package of microwave popcorn and a couple of two liter soft drinks and they're off and running.

A lonely-looking senior citizen selects Vincent Price in William Castle's House on Haunted Hill. Excellent choice.

Two teens decked out in punk t-shirts and buttons are checking out with John Waters' Desperate Living. Stay weird, guys, the mainstream sucks.

A few old ladies are out for the latest Meryl Streep or Jane Fonda snoozefest. We aren't very interested in that.

And the employees! Sure, they are working for crap wages, but they don't care. They happily suggest titles and enthusiastically talk movies with the customers, thrilled to be a part of the motion picture distribution industry.

This, my friends, is just about as good as it gets.

Then, as suddenly as the visions appeared, they began to fade. Evaporating like a sweet dream escaping our consciousness.

Back to the present.

Is it all gone? No. No way.

The slashers, the monsters, the ghosts; the heroes and swashbucklers; the nerds and the fratboys; the swinging cheerleaders and the young nurses; the lovers and con men and dorky-hip teens, they all swirl through the clouds and the streams. They live in collections of movie-obsessed fans like me. They will always be a part of our mythology.

Maybe, just maybe, they will go farther than that. If we all can stop hating and blaming each other and focus on the things that matter, maybe our heroes and horrors can live on for a thousand thousand years. Even after our sun burns out and the Earth is a desolate ruin.

Perhaps humankind will reach the stars. Is it so fantastic to imagine Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger tagging along? Will Paul Kersey and Harry Callahan carry on to show what strength we had? With Abraham Van Helsing to demonstrate our humanity? Boris Karloff to represent the dark side of all of us? Can we hope the dreams that illuminate our darkness be passed along from generation to generation to generation, along with Shakespeare and Van Gogh?

I like to think they will. These things are far too precious to become extinct.

Now I sit alone in the very early hours and watch old movies. It's not so bad. At least I was there for the beautiful spectacle of it all. I have the sweetest memories.

Written by Mark Sieber

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