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The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

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The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Old 11-24-23, 05:24 PM
  #651  
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Only eXisTenZ for me. I have the 101 BD edition that was released a few years ago, so that will get retired. Might also get the standard BD edition of Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle, but we'll see.
Old 11-25-23, 01:19 AM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Visited the Vinegar Syndrome Toronto store today. Thought I'd need maybe 30 minutes to soak it all in since I own so much of their stock already, but that soon turned to about 2.5 hours just wandering back and forth and fondling everything (the movies, I mean). I'm sure many folks here would dig this place, and I'd be happy to pay for your airfare and accommodations to indulge if this were the kind of world in which I'd actually do that. So for now, if you're ever in Toronto, it could be worth a visit, just to see everything looking so pretty all line up on neat little shelves. Place did a steady business the entire time I was there. Lots of folks with fistfuls of sale items, and other stuff.

As mentioned earlier, their Black Friday sale was today. Much like the website, the discount was on only VS products older than six months, and for Canadians the pricing worked out basically the same as buying from the US site, even though the discount was 30% and not 50%.

For example, I picked up MADE IN HONG KONG VOL. 1, in the hard box. Sticker was $50. Discount was 30%. That made it $35. Tax brought it up to $39.55 CDN. On the US site, it's $29.99 US., which is approximately $41 Canadian. So the pricing balances out fairly well, which I wasn't expecting.

Mind you, I just bought the standard edition of MADE IN HONG KONG from Amazon Canada a couple of months ago for $37.91 CDN (so $43 with tax) and thought I'd got a super deal. That one's going right back up for sale. Idiot!

Another example: online, I bought the LOST PICTURE SHOW box set for $79.99 US, which is about $110 CDN. In the store, it was $110 CDN. The only difference was I didn't pay tax online. So if the order is large enough, which combined mine were, then online is probably a bit cheaper because you don't pay tax on Canadian orders yet. Had I known this place was open, though, I might have just bought everything in-store anyway, since I wouldn't have to wait for however many weeks until VS ships my stuff from the US.

The store is run by three or four guys who all have histories in fairly well-known indie video and record stores around here back in the day, so it's nice to see them pooling that into something like this (the basement here is a lot of cool curated vinyl). The main guy actually ran Vinegar Syndrome / OCN's Canadian distribution warehouse(s) up here for the years when they first offered the $10 Canadian shipping option so the store basically grew out of that.

In addition to all the VS and partner label titles, they've also got a well-stocked section with a good cross-section from virtually all of the other boutiques (Arrow, Kino, Severin, 88, MVD, Code Red, etc). The owner told me they don't have all their distributor deals in place just yet, so most of the store's stock is just stuff they liked and wanted to put out there.

Also as noted previously, the store is right across the street from one of the cooler rep cinemas in Toronto. Tonight's feature: ACTION JACKSON in 35 mm, a sold out show. I really wish I lived in in this neighbourhood.

Some pics (with apologies for any clarity issues):

1. Pano of the store
2. VS and Partner New Releases (note the stained glass window to the right - wouldn't mind one of those)
3. VS and Partner Older Releases (whole section)
4. VS Adult and VS + All Boutiques 4K
5. All Boutique releases (these tend to be a bit overpriced for my wallet, with most being in the $35 - $50 range, so buying from the US or overseas online during sales and shipping to Canada might be cheaper depending on volume. But for locals looking for a quick fix, I did see quite a few going out the door.
6: Used stuff (not a huge selection, but it is nice to see a 'used' section like this that isn't crammed with the kind of Hollywood crap you'd find at your local charity shop. Mind you, they know their prices, so this stuff is in the $20-25 range, some higher.












Last edited by Brian T; 11-26-23 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 11-25-23, 01:48 AM
  #653  
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Nice looking store!
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Old 11-25-23, 03:02 AM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

If I weren't living in an apartment with as many (or probably more) movies as they have on their shelves, I would probably do something like that in the basement of a house. And on the ground floor. And upstairs. Probably the garage.
Old 11-25-23, 01:20 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

If I had one nit to pick on that store, it's that the movies (at least the VS movies) don't appear to be in alphabetical order. It's one thing to have a website that lists the movies in reverse chronological order based on release date; I can always use the search function if there's a specific title I want. But if you're there and you want to find, say, Deadline (and you should), how would you go about looking for it?

I'm wondering if they do that just to force visitors to look through all the movies. I know a used record store that did that. They put the "used new arrivals" in small chunks throughout the store rather than in just one place, to make the diggers peruse the entire store instead of just one bin. I asked and they said it was very intentional.
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Old 11-25-23, 02:17 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Good point. I’d wager it was a combination of them wanting a bit of randomness so you have to scan around for stuff you’re looking for and see other cool stuff while you’re doing it, and Black Friday customers putting things back on the shelves where they didn’t belong, making things even more disorderly. There were sections that looked like they might have had some alphabetical consistency earlier in the day or week, but they just decided to roll with the disorder.

Their main competitor in town is a place called Bay Street Video, which probably has a larger stock, for now (due to distribution deals) but less room to display it, so one section of their store has all the new releases (like, everything, even Big Studio titles) lined up on similar little shelves, end to end, floor to almost-ceiling, and spines out, in alphabetical order. Earlier this year though, they decided to break that order into distributor sections, still alphabetical, which I think was a logical move as so many of these labels have distinct artwork when you place all of their releases side-by-side that you can instantly spot, say, the VS or a Severin ‘sections’ the moment you walk in. And a lot of collectors actually store them that way at home. A subsection of this room, closest to the entrance, has all of that week’s latest releases, albeit in alphabetical order regardless of distributor, fronts facing out. It works fairly well. I suspect the Vinegar Syndrome store guys want as much VS and partner product front-facing as possible because they’re affiliated with the brand, while the non-VS section pretty much has to be mostly spines-out because there’s just so much of it. I mentioned earlier at least one of the guys running this place had earlier worked at a famous shop here called Suspect Video. That place was a shabby little cult film goldmine, with so many disc and tapes that they could only flatten the paper dvd sleeves and VHS boxes into plastic sleeves that you would flip through the same way you would a bin full of LPs, all scattered in ‘genre’ sections, but further broken down into so many weird subsections (dope movies, Christian scare movies, hentai movies, Mexican wrestling movies, you name it) that every visit literally because a treasure hunt.

The new VS store a pretty spacious store, but with new boutique labels popping up practically every week these days, I’m sure they’ll need to be somewhat picky about what to stock (and what will sell) as time goes on. But even if they don’t, and it becomes a giant genre mish-mash in there, that would be kinda cool too.

Last edited by Brian T; 03-21-24 at 06:00 PM.
Old 11-25-23, 02:30 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Wow man. A VS retail store. That would be way too tempting and dangerous for me. But very cool that there is one up there in Toronto. One of these days I have to make my way back there. I was in Toronto in 2018, did that store exist back then?
Old 11-25-23, 02:43 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Nope, this store just opened on October 27. The Vinegar Syndrome website had a Toronto location listed as “coming soon” for a good year or more. I incorrectly assumed it would probably be some kind of partnership with one of the two existing video stores in town, or maybe our big online distributor Unobstructed View, so it was cool to discover that it’s a whole new entity. Apparently the store guys were keeping people up to date on social media, which is how its progress flew under my radar completely, until just after I’d placed a bunch of orders online, of course.

If I recall correctly, you’re a convention goer, so if you’re ever in town for FanExpo Canada, this might be worth a little side trip.

Their Instagram is here (with videos):
https://www.instagram.com/vinegarsyndrometoronto/

Last edited by Brian T; 11-25-23 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 11-25-23, 05:33 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

I have never bought anything from VS, but I've been wanting the 4K of Death Wish 2. I saw it was on sale for $22.49, so I went ahead and splurged. Came out to a little over $29 after tax and the $5 shipping charge. Not horrible for a 4K from a really small boutique label. And there was only 18 copies left according to their site.

Nothing else really caught my eye. A lot of junk overpriced B and C titles.
Old 11-25-23, 05:54 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Originally Posted by DJariya
I have never bought anything from VS, but I've been wanting the 4K of Death Wish 2. I saw it was on sale for $22.49, so I went ahead and splurged. Came out to a little over $29 after tax and the $5 shipping charge. Not horrible for a 4K from a really small boutique label. And there was only 18 copies left according to their site.

Nothing else really caught my eye. A lot of junk overpriced B and C titles.
A lot of their stuff is junk, and a lot of it is definitely overpriced. Some of it is even overpackaged. I still don't see the attraction of $45 US / $60+ CDN for some old nostalgia piece like D.A.R.Y.L. that's never really been unavailable on home video and wasn't even a box-office hit, but clearly they know their audience. Also, we seem to be in an era now where getting the rights to these old films, be it from a major studio or some defunct distributor in a third-world country, is probably cheaper than ever before, because honestly, where else are these entities going to keep making money with their catalog products?

I've admittedly bought a ton of VS stuff over the years, much of it known to me but some of it blind, and a fair amount of partner label product from them. But I've exclusively done so only during their sales. It's the only way I can justify probably 85% of the purchases, along with the fact that their resale value up here in Canada makes it profitable for me, even when they're still in print. Otherwise, I'd have to be veeerry choosy. I even spoke about this on Friday with the owner at the store. I only bought one item there because I already owned so much of the rest of it thanks to the sales, and VS's cheap Canadian shipping option. He understood that, but I did tell him I'd consider buying my sale items from him if he matches the parent company's online deals from time to time. He said they have plans to at least match the Half-Way and Black Friday sales. He wasn't so sure about all those $10 deals they do, and honestly, that's where I picked up a lot of stuff, because truth be told, some of these aren't even B and C titles; they're Z titles, even borderline home videos by people who went on to great success in day jobs, I'm sure. But man, there's just something about seeing it all displayed like that which might make it hard not to treat myself when I'm in the neighbourhood, even though I know their regular prices on everything are pretty steep.

- - - - -

Incidentally, I thought it was interesting timing that the Toronto Star ran a piece today on Toronto's booming Rep Cinema scene, which includes coverage of the theater I mentioned that sits right across the street from this store. Thought it was a better fit for the Movies forum, though:
https://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk...xperience.html
Old 11-26-23, 06:52 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Sorry to keep harping on the VS Store, but almost on cue after their article yesterday about the rep cinema scene here, the Toronto Star ran a nice piece today on the VS Store. I added a couple extra pictures from it for those who might not want to click through, or hit a paywall if they do, mainly because I thought the one customer's toque was pretty cool. Second pic is the main guy that owns/runs the place.

- - - - - - - - - -

This new Toronto shop offers genre film lovers something streaming services cannot
Vinegar Syndrome sells restored versions of cult, action and horror movies on Blu-ray and DVD.
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/thi...f56de9dcb.html









“Is this really a new DVD store?” a woman asks incredulously after walking into Vinegar Syndrome, a new retailer on the busy Roncesvalles Avenue strip.

It’s a question that co-owner and operator Andy Williams has been getting a lot since late October when he opened this haven to physical media, just across the street from the Revue Cinema.

Williams happily replies, “Yes,” and takes the curious visitor on a tour of the store’s offerings.

With its walls of DVDs and Blu-rays, this store may evoke memories of Blockbuster Video, but the space is much smaller and the films are much stranger than the latest releases featured in that long-gone blue-and-yellow-logoed chain. Also, unlike other local video haunts Eyesore Cinema and Bay Street Video, Vinegar Syndrome doesn’t rent — it only sells — so it will need to find an audience that is willing to shell out $50 for a title like “Bloodsucking Freaks” or “Mark of the Devil.”

Since launching in Bridgeport, Conn. in 2012, Vinegar Syndrome has become well known in the film community for preserving cult, grindhouse, horror and other genre films from the 1960s to the ’90s in pristine transfers with new cover art and often with bonus features. When film stock degrades over time, it gives off the distinct, sour smell of vinegar, which the store and its parent company, a film restoration and distribution business, have taken as their namesake. Before setting down brick-and-mortar roots here, Vinegar Syndrome sold its products online for delivery to cineastes across Canada.

Williams has been with the company for almost five years, initially handling Canadian distribution, and says that his bosses, who have stores in Connecticut and Colorado, were always open to expanding to Toronto.

“They basically said, ‘Andy, where do you want to put it?’” says Williams, who preferred a place with a “community vibe” and found one near the Revue Cinema. “It was almost a no-brainer, because you’ve got all these film fans that are literally 50 feet away.”

He carried over that love of cinema by bringing in a pair of seats rescued from Massey Hall before its renovation, as well as a “Night of the Living Dead” poster, honouring that film’s director, George Romero, whom Williams randomly met years ago in a Toronto coffee shop.

“We hit it off and started having these weekly meetings for coffee. It wasn’t until a few months in, when I asked him what he did before he retired, and he said he was a director, and I was like, ‘You’re George Romero!’” says Williams. “He became a dear friend before he passed away.”

It’s that type of serendipity that Williams hopes will extend to the store, and customers will find something there to keep them coming back.

“I think there’s enough people that love the tangible act of owning something and putting it on when you want to,” says Williams. “There’s nothing wrong with streaming. It’s very instant gratification, and it gives you many options. But owning a piece of physical media is a big thing still.”

As you enter the store, the left wall features Vinegar Syndrome’s own releases. Then, as you move through, there are more general releases, including several films that have garnered cult status, like the original “Death Race 2000.” There are even coffin-shaped displays featuring VHS tapes and vintage paperbacks. Williams has also been driving around the GTA looking to buy vinyl collections, which he says will take up the yet-to-open basement level, where there will also be VHS tapes for sale.

It’s an interesting time for physical media, as some experts feel DVDs and Blu-rays just might be ripe for the kind of renaissance that vinyl has enjoyed for more than a decade. One reason is that they are getting more scarce, as industry players abandon the formats. Netflix, originally a rent-by-mail business, sent out its last disc in September, and Best Buy announced it would stop selling DVDs and Blu-rays by the end of the year. Streaming services continue to flourish, but their ever-shifting libraries add and drop content all the time.

“If you own a physical copy, people can’t take that away from you,” Williams says. “These days, it’s common to look for something online, and all of a sudden, it’s gone. Or it’s been cut because something in it has been deemed inappropriate. For anybody who loves any kind of art, if you’re getting something that hasn’t been tampered with, that’s important.”

Collectors have been pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Vinegar Syndrome. One recent Wednesday, Chris Roberts, 61, who drove in from Mississauga, had a copy of “House,” a horror movie from 1986, in his hands.

“I bought their videos before (online), so I knew the label,” says Roberts. “Someone told me they were opening a store here, so I decided to check it out. I think it’s great.”

That same afternoon, Matthew Macdonald, 25, who works in the film industry, popped into the store after hearing about it while at a screening of “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” at the Revue, and wanted to see if he could get a copy on Blu-ray.

“I’m a big fan of slasher (movies) — the cheesier the horror movie is, the more fun I have with it — so I heard that that’s exactly what this store has,” says Macdonald.

“I’m very much pro-physical media because not everything is available on streaming, and streaming doesn’t give you all of the bonus features and all the useless little doodads. I will always support it because it’ll go away if we don’t.”
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Old 11-27-23, 04:32 AM
  #662  
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Originally Posted by Bluelitespecial
Jeff from Films at Home had Oscar Bechar who's the archivist from Vinegar Syndrome on his podcast. They go into detail about the "lost film" box set.
https://youtu.be/Y9A7zkrRz2w?si=HlZFkAmDNxAuC53o
His unboxing and review. You can pretty much guess it was overly positive

Old 11-27-23, 06:51 AM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Yeah I want The Lost Picture Show set but it'll have to wait until I have the money for it.
Old 11-27-23, 03:33 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Originally Posted by TomOpus
His unboxing and review. You can pretty much guess it was overly positive
When isnt it? These YouTube “reviewers” kinda bug me because they eff’n love everything. All of them. It’s almost impossible to find a negative review! The boutiques are fortunate in that they can literally do no wrong with these guys, no matter how shitty the movie(s), because the ‘preservation-first’ model is practically critic-proof at this point, so these “reviewers” are really just free marketing departments (well, not free, per se, when the products are often supplied to them for free to begin with, but still). I do watch random ones from time to time, though, mainly to see the packaging opened up a bit, so I’m clearly fuelling a thing that irritates me!

That said, the VS Store guys were letting folks flip through the Lost Films box and I must say it’s an impressively designed package. I ordered it from the site, but who knows when I’ll see it.

Last edited by Brian T; 11-27-23 at 03:42 PM.
Old 11-27-23, 06:37 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

He very rarely reviews the actual movie. He mainly talks about the A/V & packaging. Another reviewer I checkout self-admits to putting positive spins so when there is something negative, it's got to be bad.

It's all about perspective you gain from different reviews. If you don't like to hear anything positive, there's Armond White for you.
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Old 11-27-23, 09:30 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Originally Posted by TomOpus
Another reviewer I checkout self-admits to putting positive spins
A lot of them seem to do that. So, free marketing, basically. And hey, if it moves more units and keeps these companies humming, who am I to complain! At this point, all of these boutiques have A/V down to an art form, even with oddball obscurities. It practically goes without saying, or reviewing . . . and yet it doesn’t.

Originally Posted by TomOpus
It's all about perspective you gain from different reviews. If you don't like to hear anything positive, there's Armond White for you.
It’s not that I don’t want to hear anything positive. I guess I just get tired of all the cookie-cutter shilling (often seemingly to get free stuff as their visibility increases). And there is a lot of it out there now. Synergy, I suppose. They even start to look alike after a while. But that’s clearly a sign that I am watching regardless. But when the products are essentially faultless (maybe moreso than the films contained on them), as many from VS and other labels basically are, then the unboxings and “reviews” can often come off like unpaid promotion.

That Lost Films box — which I admittedly bought — is a catnip product for YouTube reviewers, and by association VS, even though the ornate packaging easily allowed them to add $20 - $30 to the price, and there probably won’t be a ‘standard’ edition for those who might not want to pony up big bucks but would still like to see the movies. I’ll wager that once more YT reviews of that set start appearing, they’ll all be essentially the same as his: justifiable fawning over the product, with the only ‘criticism’ being a warning that these films aren’t for everybody’s tastes. And they shall be legion.

But I should talk: I’ve certainly helped the cause by promoting their store here!

It’s all good. I once uploaded a couple of bland, one-take, no-speaking ‘unboxing’ videos of me opening a bunch of bankers’ boxes full of old (and mostly unmemorable) Hong Kong DVDs that I got out of a Chinatown shop on their last day of business, and got like 500 and 1000 views on them, respectively, so obviously there’s something to it, even when you put almost zero effort into it as I did!

Last edited by Brian T; 11-27-23 at 09:41 PM.
Old 11-30-23, 11:57 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

How long does it take for VS to ship? I ordered my Death Wish 2 4K on the 25th and 5 days have passed without shipment. I know it's a really small label. So is the manpower to ship products a little slow too? I assume they probably have a ton of BF orders to ship. Just curious since it's my 1st time ordering from them.
Old 12-01-23, 05:39 AM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

They ship Black Friday titles in waves — first to subscribers, then to customers who pre-ordered titles, and finally to everyone else. Last year, I placed an early pre-order for Road House (in September) and didn’t get shipping confirmation until December 4. And that was the second wave. In 2021, I placed an order on 11/26 and got a tracking number on 12/14, putting me in the third wave.

I don’t think you’re in for an outrageously long wait, but it could still be a bit before you see movement. And like you said, it’s the nature of the beast with a relatively small team pitted against a very popular sale. They do put a lot of care into their shipments, so it’ll come really nicely packaged.
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Old 12-01-23, 06:45 AM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

You'll be lucky if you get it by Christmas.
Old 12-01-23, 01:48 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

I don't see eXistenZ on the web site anymore. Guess that means it sold out?

Kind of hate the way they purge all reference to a title as if it never existed at all the second they run out of stock.
Old 12-01-23, 02:04 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Death Wish 2 4K appears to be sold out too. When I got it, there was about 18 left.
Old 12-01-23, 02:32 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Originally Posted by Josh Z
I don't see eXistenZ on the web site anymore. Guess that means it sold out?
It'll be back in January. December is a Partners Only month. I wish they had a way to still list titles, with a "currently unavailable" button or something instead, but this is how they do it.
Old 12-01-23, 05:28 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

I mean, there’s a giant banner at the top of the website that says Partners Only, but questions come up literally every time, and people think all the VS titles have sold out.
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Old 12-01-23, 05:34 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Originally Posted by Dan
I mean, there’s a giant banner at the top of the website that says Partners Only, but questions come up literally every time, and people think all the VS titles have sold out.
And go to eBay and pay crazy prices. Time to unload those shitty $10 subscriber week titles!
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Old 12-01-23, 11:43 PM
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Re: The Official Vinegar Syndrome Thread

Some interesting new stuff in the Partner titles, though not for those prices, but maybe in a future sale (or even a $10 sale). SKATEBOARD is one of those only-in-the-70’s trendy bandwagon-jumpers along the lines of ROLLER BOOGIE, PINBALL SUMMER, THE VAN, even the recently-discussed-here RECORD CITY. The on-disc extras, though, are all ported from the old Code Red DVD, which has long been available on another label called Liberation Hall for about $12 at Amazon. But based on all the tchotchkes Factory 25 is releasing alongside it, they clearly know it’s nostalgia value.

TAKE IT OUT IN TRADE is also a hoot, with a surprisingly good performance by Ed Wood, although I could have sworn this was already on Blu-ray.

And THE DOG WHO STOPPED THE WAR is a Canadian kiddie classic.

I’ve also found some of weird Eastern European finds from Deaf Crocodile to be worth watching, but again, sale prices make a huge difference, so I can wait to check out MYSTERIOUS CASTLE down the road.

Last edited by Brian T; 12-01-23 at 11:52 PM.

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