But over the past decade, streaming has decimated demand and stores have closed by the thousands. Today, while Redbox has a limited supply of DVDs outside of CVS stores and Kroger supermarkets, there is only one real rental store left in Atlanta: the quirky mom and pop videodrome in the Poncey neighborhood. Highland, open since 1998.

Ironically, Netflix – which helped shut down Blockbuster and other rental stores – aired a documentary earlier this year called “The Last Blockbuster” about the last one in Bend, Oregon. And recently, Netflix booked actor Randall Park (“Fresh Off the Boat,” “WandaVision”) to star in a workplace comedy at The Last Blockbuster.

Legend

Anthony SantAnselmo’s basement in Woodstock has a room for sports-themed movies and other 1980s trinkets. RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Sant’Anselmo, when he bought the house with the spacious basement, first thought about creating a Disney-style haunted mansion. “As much as I love this vibe, it just didn’t feel quite right to me,” he said. In early 2018, a film historian friend Mike Malloy was filming a “Talking Head” track for an additional Blu-ray video for the 1975 movie “Syndicate Sadists” and needed someone to play a salesperson. of video behind him.

It was then that he got the idea of ​​creating his own video store.

He tore up the basement rugs and spent weeks installing black and white tiles: “I love 1950s dinners and think checkerboard floors are just more interesting and energetic than a floor. Virgin. Plus, he didn’t want it to look like the more cohesive chain stores that came later.

He painstakingly created “distressed” brick walls running down the stairs and entering the main room to resemble a Manhattan-style video store circa 1986. He asked a friend to design a special Mondo Video logo of a girl. on a Pee Wee Herman style scooter. with VHS tapes on the back. He installed a double-door sedan for a small “adults” section. Movie posters (“Risky Business”, “Mac and Me”) and cardboard cutouts from “ET”, Chevy Chase, Richard Pryor and Paul Hogan from “Crocodile Dundee” accentuate the space. He even built shelves which are actually hidden doors in other rooms.

While Sant’Anselmo’s replica shop is like a feverish childhood dream, it allowed a glaring anachronism in his dream: modern flat-screen TVs mounted in a few rooms rather than the bulkier CRT TVs of in the past. .

“I opted for features with a larger display screen,” he said, jokingly adding, “Doc Brown brought them from the future,” referring to the 1985 film “Back to the Future” . He enjoys showing 1980s MTV videos such as “Take on Me” or films like “Major League” on screens when visitors come to admire his work.

Genevieve DeMars, producer of a children’s TV show in Smyrna and sister-in-law to Sant’Anselmo, said she never questioned her ambition. “Her love of history is woven into the video store,” she said. ” It’s an experience. It’s immersive. We live in such a virtual world and it’s something tactile and tangible. It’s a feeling you have that he’s captured.

As a young child, Sant’Anselmo spent a lot of time at the Mom-and-pop Movie Mart in Canoga Park, Calif., In the 1980s before chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video began to take over. 1990s. He turned to the colorful graphics of the horror section, even when he was too young to praise them. Her mother was particularly strict. At age 11, his father let him hire “The Toxic Avenger”, “Surf Nazis Must Die” and “Class of Nuke’em High” and he was suitably captivated.

He also became fascinated with puppetry and animatronics after watching films like “Clash of the Titans”, “Gremlins” and “Dark Crystal”. As a teenager, he shot horror short films in stop-animation. After college, he briefly worked on a Hollywood video in Michigan. All of this ultimately led to his career in animation and working with Matt Stone and Trey Parker on “South Park”.

Anthony SantAnselmo's replica video rental store in his basement features oversized cardboard cutouts of films
Legend

Anthony SantAnselmo’s replica video rental store in his basement features oversized cardboard cutouts from the “Cool World” and “Crocodile Dundee II” movies. RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

His wife Fabienne is both understanding and exasperated by her husband’s chimerical pastime.

“It was definitely a trying process,” said Fabienne. “A very long process. It’s been several years and every time I think it’s done it’s going to change color and everything falls apart and it’s a disaster again. Then he puts it back in place.

At the same time, she admits, “it’s really fun to be there. It is much better than any caveman. Of course, when my 70 year old mom comes for a movie night, she has to walk through the adult section to use the bathroom. My mother is very stilted and correct. It’s quite funny.

Fabienne said there was a little battle for real estate down there. She had hoped to keep a room as a mud room / dog toilet, but he turned it into a room filled with children’s VHS tapes which he calls Mondo Kideo.

“I tried to stop it several times,” Fabienne said with a sigh. “He took over. “

Anthony SantAnselmo of Woodstock built a children's rental corner in what is normally his basement locker room.  RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
Legend

Anthony SantAnselmo of Woodstock built a children’s rental corner in what is normally his basement locker room. RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

He noted that VHS tapes have become more expensive to purchase over time as more collectors enter and supplies become scarce. It tracks down specific titles everywhere, be it thrift stores, Goodwill, Craiglist, eBay, and VHS groups on social media sites. He said he also invites VHS collector friends to his house for shop talk and “nerd out on tapes” about once a month.

Although he said the store was ready to visit, he said he would continue to play. There is a space behind a door marked “manager” which has not been finished. He plans to create a tracking system for his VHS tapes and purchase a vintage cash register to complete the illusion.

Sant’Anselmo will not be disclosing how much he spent on the project, although it is evident from his attention to detail and the large number of videos that this was by no means a bargain basement. .

And he’s also well aware that he wasn’t the first to try this. Early on, he found out that James Rolfe, known online as the “Angry Video Game Nerd,” had beaten him in the fist. “The idea I had visually was quite different from his, so it didn’t catch on and I was still motivated to build it,” he said.

Then earlier this year, an Iowa man’s basement rental store went viral on TikTok and landed him a spot on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in March.

“It’s great that it went viral and had such a good response,” Sant’Anselmo said. “It shows that people really miss video stores. “

Anthony SantAnselmo bought a movie seat to fit into his fake video rental store in his basement in Woodstock.  RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
Legend

Anthony SantAnselmo bought a movie seat to fit into his fake video rental store in his basement in Woodstock. RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Because his basement featured a kitchen, Anthony SantAnselmo of Woodstock created a "food themed" section in his fake video rental store.  RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
Legend

Since his basement had a kitchen, Woodstock’s Anthony SantAnselmo created a “food-themed” section in his fake video rental store. RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Anthony SantAnselmo of Woodstock installed the black and white tile floors in his basement to look like a 1980s video store he imagined was in a corner of New York City.  RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
Legend

Anthony SantAnselmo of Woodstock installed the black and white tile floors in his basement to look like a 1980s video store he imagined was in a corner of New York City. RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO

Credit: RODNEY HO

While Anthony SantAnselmo's basement fake video rental store in Woodstock has over 8,000 VHS tapes, it also has a handful of laser discs on display.  RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
Legend

While Anthony SantAnselmo’s basement fake video rental store in Woodstock has over 8,000 VHS tapes, it also has a handful of laser discs on display. RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]

Credit: RODNEY HO/[email protected]