In an era when DVD hire stores are disappearing across the nation, one basement outlet in Adelaide is bucking the trend, adding another 2,000 titles to its shelves.
Galactic Video on Gawler Place in the CBD has specialised in cult television and film, science fiction, horror and Japanese animation since 1995.
Its steady stream of customers and film aficionados find much more than media in the store.
“I’m a film and television buff myself, and I’ve got a lot of knowledge locked up in my head,” owner and founder Stephen Vincent said.
“So when people come in and ask questions, such as which film had Robby the robot in it, which is Forbidden Planet, I can tell that straight away.
“Or who was that Doctor Who who had the scarf and curly hair? That’s Tom Baker — people don’t get information like that if they go to a department store or if they go to a rental store half the time.”
Thanks to a donation from local filmmaker and Port Adelaide Film Co-op founder Mike Retter, the store is adding 2,000 European, arthouse, western, musical and comedy films, creating a store of more than 6,000 new and old titles across every genre.
Mr Vincent said they were in the process of putting the films into alphabetical order and entering new data into the computer.
“We’ll have to get in a few new DVD shelves, book cases and everything.”
Throughout the 2010s, the rise of internet streaming and film downloads has caused DVD and VHS hire stores to close across suburban Adelaide, with just a handful remaining.
Mr Vincent said this had directed more customers his way, although he admits the store now takes half its earnings from sales rather than rentals dominating its income.
He also offers services such as DVD cleaning and restoration, as well as transferring VHS to DVD.
“I track down titles for customers, and you’d be surprised, but lots of people don’t have a computer or the internet or credit cards, so I place orders for people like that, which is mainly mature-age people or elderly people.
“But we also have a lot of younger people on our books, with teenagers and people in their 20s who come in and join up because they’re into retro stuff.
“Apparently video rental stores are seen as retro shops now.”
Titles that cannot be found easily through internet downloads comprise some of his most common searches, with TV shows like Danger Man, the original Thunderbirds and Monkey (Magic) among some recent orders.
“British TV shows always seem to be popular, with original shows like The Tomorrow People, and of course, we have a Doctor Who section, while ’50s American TV series are quite popular like the original Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.”
Mr Vincent said he had “soft spot” for classic science-fiction such as the original War Of The Worlds, When Worlds Collide, the original Time Machine, “and, of course, the classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and Planet Of The Apes”.
“I hate wobble cam or shaky cam, which is a lot of films made these days.”
As the new titles hit the shelves, Mr Vincent, his customer base and his staff, which is comprised of friends and volunteers, will have a bunch of new films to talk about.
“I think a lot of people who come to Galactic Video come in for a chat,” he said.
“It’s like a social outing for some of these people, because they don’t have a computer or the internet so they come once a week or once a fortnight and hang around for a chat.
“That social connection, I think, is what’s bringing some people back.”
With about 2,500 members on his database, Mr Vincent recognises the challenges the industry faces with the rise of streaming.
But he also points out the internet does not offer a one-stop shop where past classics can be readily found along with new titles.
“I think there’s always going to be a niche market for physical media,” he said.
“We still have a few bricks-and-mortar second-hand book shops around the place, vinyl record stores, and I think you will always see one or two video DVD stores in every capital city.”