Thursday, August 29, 2013

ADJUST YOUR TRACKING (Review)

ADJUST YOUR 
TRACKING (2013)

review by AARON ALLEN

Directed by Dan M. Kinem and Levi Peretic

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Don't you dare tell the filmmakers of the documentary Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector that VHS is a dead format. 

If you do, you may find yourself one day pelted with cassettes or strangled with magnetic tape. If nothing else, Adjust Your Tracking proves that VHS and VHS collecting is very much alive. Brilliantly, deliriously, and fanatically alive!

From directors and fellow VHS-enthusiasts Dan M. Kinem and Levi Peretic, Adjust Your Tracking is a low-fi but high-energy tour of the VHS collector community as it stands today. 20 years after the video boom of the 1980s, following the fall of Blockbuster in the age of digital video and Netflix, Adjust Your Tracking poses the question: "Why do people collect VHS, and what kind of people would devote their lives to collecting, cataloging, pursuing, and preserving cassettes?" As it turns out, the answer is all about passion and nostalgia. Bringing tremendous dedication and love to the subject of VHS collecting, Kinem and Peretic's Adjust Your Tracking taps a deep vein of nostalgia to reveal that those who collect VHS do it mostly out of a love for what VHS represented in their youths and to preserve the supreme cultural influence of VHS that many feel has been unfairly and unceremoniously forgotten in the rush toward bigger and better video formats.

The love of VHS for these collectors is more than skin deep
Absolutely full of energy and brimming with pure fan-love for the days of VHS video, Adjust Your Tracking assembles taped interviews featuring a motley crew of VHS collectors, enthusiasts, filmmakers, and cultural preservationists in the horror and film community and splices them with snippets of retro clips and commercial footage from the heydays of the VCR. Skipping effortlessly from history to collector spotlights -- including a look at Bradley Creanzo and his homemade VHS store that he built in his basement -- Adjust Your Tracking is a fun and fascinating look into collector fandom that many people, I suspect, don't even know is out there. But Adjust Your Tracking is no dry, sociological study. No, sir. It's a fast and fun film by the fans and for the fans. Adjust Your Tracking celebrates the very niche dedication to VHS preservation and the hardcore tape hunters out there making it happen by raiding old video stores, garage sales, and dusty dank basements in search of rare and beloved video gems.
Bradley Creanzo: Outliving Blockbuster
While Adjust Your Tracking is largely accessible and a lot of fun to anyone outside of the horror fandom or VHS collecting community with an interest in pop culture, it is definitely a film geared toward those with a pre-existing love of VHS. Some of its best segments, such as the section dedicated to the growing popularity among collectors of a Tales from the Quadead Zone (a weird little video oddity that most people don't even remember let alone knew ever existed), might not be fully appreciated for the detail in which Adjust Your Tracking explores the quirks of the fandom or the cheeky ways in which the filmmakers make use of VHS detractors like Troma's Lloyd Kaufman. But like I said, this is a film for the true tape heads and VHS vixens out there.

Not a fan of VHS
Join Horror in the Hammer for the Hamilton Premiere of ADJUST YOUR TRACKING at our Summer VHS Celebration. From 6-7:30pm, we'll be hosting a FREE VHS swap/trade/sale at The Staircase (27 Dundurn St. N.) followed by a screening of ADJUST YOUR TRACKING at 8pm with directors Dan M. Kinem and Levi Peretic live and in person.



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