A viral TikTok video is highlighting just how far some homeowners can go with a quarantine project — one man turned his basement into a video rental store replica, complete with rows of VHS tapes and DVDs as well as its own porn section.
“During quarantine, my husband built a video rental store in our basement,” the man’s wife and TikTok user @thevideobunker wrote on the minute-long video that has since gathered nearly 500,000 likes and 46,000 shares. She takes the phone camera on a tour of the basement rental store, which opens up as a brick wall with a door and leads onto rows of plastic shelving filled with DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.
The store looks eerily similar to the type of rental stores that were popular up until the early 2000s, when Netflix and other digital competitors came on the scene. One can see a cash register, a drink fridge, a movie snack counter, posters and other movie memorabilia, televisions and players and even a giant E.T. figurine at the end of one of the rows.
“The start of quarantine last year coincided with the closure of our local Family Video, which gave my husband access to a lot of shelving and a crazy idea,” the TikTok user said. “He decided he needed a project at the house to keep himself busy. Instead of refinishing our kitchen cabinets, he decided to build a video rental store.”
To the side of the main gallery is a “viewing room” with two recliners, the couple’s VHS collection, a LaserDisc player and a variety of video games and playing devices. A second video shows a man dressed in a duck cartoon shirt and rainbow suspenders (perhaps the creator himself?) unveiling an adult content section behind the counter, similar to the way one had to ask and prove one’s age before being able to take out adult movies at old-school rental shops.
Once the best way for people to access movies that were out of the theaters, video rental stores became the subject of retro fascination and nostalgia for many in the last decade. A documentary about the last surviving Blockbuster store (what was once the most popular rental chain in the country declared bankruptcy in 2010) in Bend, Oregon is coming out on Netflix later this month.