Video Store Day, Post #3

October 25, 2013 | By

With Video Store Day now done, here’s a small treat: a scanned issue of Canadian Video Retailer, circa 1986, featuring some industry news, gear reviews, ads, articles on tailoring product, and what to do when your video store is raided because a PC wanker didn’t like some of the product you carry.

The scenario was a very real concern for owners & managers, and could’ve even involved a curious visit by the law or an official from the former Ontario Censor Board / its video classification division.

A friend used to have to contend with the odd visit whenever a prude complained about the adult section being open and too accessible to kids – which wasn’t true. It was in a separate room and had saloon doors – what the law required to demarcate smut from Disney fodder.

More annoying to him and fellow video shop owners was the board’s decision to mandate the application of certification stickers to already certified titles, so an inspector would know if what you were renting had been properly cleared. A sheet cost $500, and not long after its implementation, use of the stickers was aborted since detailed shots of explosive moments and cavernous entry points were subsequently cleared for legal ingestion by smut connoisseurs. It was basically a cash grab, and one of many headaches typical of the industry.

Another friend worked at a large franchise location whose new product was sent up from the U.S. Whenever a box of new titles arrived, they’d cross-check what they received with the official banned list, and pull out those titles which were very taboo in the late 8os / early 90s – like the Faces of Death series, an el cheapo mondo chronicle of death and traumatic footage real and utterly bogus – and pack ‘em up for a return trip down south.

The irony is most films once banned in Ontario – one of the country’s more conservative provinces, in terms of allowable naughtiness and shock material – are now available in shops and online. Emanuelle in America was still taboo in the early 2000s, and yet its contents are no different than Saw X or a far more extreme torture porn crap. Other taboo titles took longer to get certified because the distributors didn’t want to fork out a fresh re-certification fee – one key reason why titles like Caligula and Man Bites Dog were still technically banned in Ontario at that time, but legal in other provinces.

There are still exceptions, but as the article in the mag describes (click on the scanned images below for readable versions), getting raided wasn’t a pleasant experience for store owners & managers who made a point in doing business by the book:


The second most interesting piece in the issue is titled “Love, Laughter, Horror and Bullets: Choosing the Most Popular,” a lengthy article piece on tailoring stock towards your local clientele featuring interviews with the owners of Video Visa in Thornhill, The Video Disc Centre at Toronto’s Union Station which rented RCA’s CED video disc platters, and Mr. Video, which eventually became Bay Street Video (p20-25):

I’ve chopped the entire 31-page issue – articles, reviews, and vintage ads – into two PDF files, and these will be downloadable until (roughly) the end of the month because they do eat up some transfer allowances.

Here’s what lies in each part:

Part 1 (pages 1-15) includes short news blurbs (p5); “What’s New in Childen’s Video?” (p6); a retailer survey (p10); “What to do if your store is raided?” (p11-13); reviews of Return of the Jedi, Prizzi’s Honor, Betrayal, and Sun-City (p14-15).

Part 2 (pages 16-31) includes reviews of European Vacation, A Woman of Substance, and Volunteers (p18-19); “Love, Laughter, Horror and Bullets: Choosing the Most Popular,” the aforementioned piece on tailoring stock towards your local clientele; video equipment reviews: the Mitsubishi HS-43OUR HiFi VCR and HS-F10-UR “cam-corder” featuring a ½” striped saticon video tube (p26-27). There’s also a “Sell Through Seminal” ad; 3 quick snapshots of the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, circa January 1986 (p29); and “Video Retailers Association Report” that begins with the line “The summer sucks” (p30).

Enjoy the issue while it’s available, and remember one thing: this particular piece of ephemera – the magazine – isn’t mine; it was loaned to me. I don’t own it and it’s not part of my small stash, so all mockery for retaining this issue must be directed at its owner.

Lastly, the scans & PDF files are provided for entertainment purposes. Any images and articles remain the property of the original copyright holders, and by accessing / downloading the PDF files you agree to accept responsibility the risk from bugs. (In other words, while they do not contain viruses and anything that could create issues, the risk & responsibility is still yours, just like any shareware software, patch update, archived manual, comic book scan, or upgrade you access from a website or the net in general.)

Coming next: a review of Alamo Bay, newly released by Twilight Time on Blu-ray.





Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

Category: Uncategorized

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