The Glory of Scarecrow Video

I would like to talk today about how great Scarecrow Video is.

Scarecrow Exterior

There aren’t as many video rental places as  there used to be. But even when they were everywhere, there were hardly any places like Scarecrow Video. They’ve got around 118,000 movies. And that’s not individual discs. That’s titles. That’s more than your precious Netflix, and a lot more than you can stream.

Scarecrow interior

I’m going to present a case for why a physical video store like Scarecrow is a better browsing experience. If you’re online and you know what movie you want, you can dial it up. And then there might be a list of four or five “People who watched this movie also watched these.” Compare that to Scarecrow’s director-specific sections:



That’s not the entire directors section, of course. It’s just M through W. Or let’s say you want to browse through a particular genre.

Section BANG

Wandering around in Scarecrow is great. It’s a lot of fun to dip into a section (“BANG!!” is for shoot-em-ups, of course) and look at the box art and pick out a movie. It’s also nice knowing that if a movie exists, I can see it. I was listening to an episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour from last year, and Stephen Thompson had some very nice things to say about a movie called The Uninvited from 1944. But he said it was VHS-only. That’s not a problem at Scarecrow:

Uninvited VHS

That’s part of the Classic Horror section. And I was all set to rent the tape, but it turns out there was a non-US DVD release from earlier this year:

Uninvited DVD


This section is the “Second Take” area, which are movies that are fairly recent releases, but not the most recent. I mention that to explain why The Uninvited is next to Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. Incidentally, the Universal Soldier movies have somehow turned into a very credible action series, even though they’re straight-to-video.

Of course, in order to watch this DVD of The Uninvited, I needed a DVD player that’s not region-specific. And also of course, I have one. Because where Scarecrow really gets fancy is in the foreign movies. I could show the enormous sections of movies from France, Japan, Korea, and so on. But I think this will better convey the flavor:

Foreign Movies


So what I’m saying is that Scarecrow is great. Really great. It’s part of what makes Seattle a great film-lover’s city. And they’ve added an espresso stand now, cleverly titled “VHSpresso”:



They’ve also started doing things to make themselves more of a cultural center. They’ve added a screening room:

Screening Room


They also serve beer now, but I didn’t get a picture of it. The point is that people will start coming to Scarecrow and drinking beer and watching movies. I’m going to suggest to them that they try playing the Clue VCR Mystery Game, but they might think I’m taking it too far.



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