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Steals, Deals, and the Horror Collector’s Frenzy

By Gina Freitag

As a horror collector of cheap DVDs, special edition Blu-rays, or discontinued VHS finds, where do you source your collections?

Anyone who knows the thrill of finding a hidden treasure in an unlikely or unusual place knows the joy of the avid horror movie collector. And this is often built around a sense of urgency – find it before someone else does! Get it while the getting’s good! And oh, what we can sometimes find: an early Hitchcock or Romero film, or an unexpected J-horror film buried among American blockbusters, or a random experimental horror film that you heard about in a film class or workshop.

The circumstances that we find these treasures in is often marked by a satisfying sense of discovery: when a video store is going out of business and “everything must go!”, or when there’s an urgent flash sale on Amazon (“limited time only!”), but often these finds are abandoned at the curb with other purged household items, buried in the used section of a shop, uncovered in a discount rack at the pharmacy, neglected in a wire bin at Giant Tiger, for sale in a milk crate at a flea market, offered up by an online seller looking to make a quick buck, or by happenstance, in stock at a specialty booth at a convention.

It’s interesting to map out the highlights of our collections based on the locale or even occasion of purchase. Every collection seems to have a unique history. But what motivates us to invest in our collections? Maybe we’re keen to recapture a fond memory, or relive that favourite association from a past or original viewing. In some cases, it’s about that hungry need to complete outstanding gaps in your studied horror knowledge. Of course, it can also really just about having pride in an impressive display.

As Patrick Dolan’s upcoming lecture on Terror Trophies will explore, maybe there’s something more to be said about the value of physical horror media in this current landscape. Join us on February 13th and find out for yourself: what is at the root of your collecting obsession?

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