The Scarecrow Project
October 1, 2014 7:41 PM   Subscribe

Scarecrow Video (previously), also known as "the largest independent video store in the world", announced back in August that they were closing its doors. But Wait! There's More! Scarecrow also announced their plans to soon after re-open as a non-profit. And after a successful Kickstarter effort that ended two weeks ago, they have now launched the first phase of The Scarecrow Project with the "singular purpose of protecting the invaluable collection of Scarecrow Video under a four-pillared mission of preservation, access, education and community".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (8 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
"singular purpose of protecting"
" a four-pillared mission"
"of preservation"
But Wait!
posted by Mblue at 8:14 PM on October 1, 2014

I lived 3 blocks from Scarecrow back in the late 90's. Every week I'd go in, get some aesome avante garde film or foreign movie, the clerk would look at my choices, no comments, sometimes a smirk. It's how you knew a video store was good.
Then, one day I was in the mood for some cinematic comfort food, judgemnet be damned. I strolled up to the counter with a vhs copy of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. The clerk looked at it, lookd at me, and just said, "Nice".
That was a pretty cool day.
posted by mikoroshi at 9:13 PM on October 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

That little documentary made me miss browsing in video stores (oh, Suspect and Queen video). It also made me want to go to this place.
posted by Alex404 at 1:30 AM on October 2, 2014

I also lived in Seattle in the late 90s, though in Capitol Hill, but it was worth the trip to the U District to Scarecrow, a trip I made once a month or so. It can't be overstated just how amazingly diverse and big the store was/is. So so many movies, more than you could watch in a lifetime. And it seemed to be based on the obscure, hard to get titles, with the popular studio fare off to the side. Seattle is a real cinephile town, with great little rental stores (at least, there used to be) and more theaters per capita than any other place in the U.S.
posted by zardoz at 3:39 AM on October 2, 2014

Hell, I'd drive over from the Eastside to go to Scarecrow when I lived in Seattle.

And I loved their categorization. Downstairs, the central section was sorted by director, but upstairs you had categories like "Vengeful Acts of a Wrathful God" that contained disaster movies. And they had everything. You think "Plan 9" was bad? Don't be silly - Scarecrow had some of Wood's *really* bad movies.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:49 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Makes me a little sad (again) that Video Americain's collection in Baltimore was scattered to the wind.
posted by transient at 9:50 AM on October 2, 2014

I live two blocks from Scarecrow. I go very, very rarely - I'm just not a movie person.

The last time my boyfriend and I went, we splurged on a $200 deposit to rent Time Masters, which we watched very stoned, in the original French, which neither of us understands. It was the best movie night ever.

One of my friends with impeccable taste in Terrible Films backed the Kickstarter at the Private Screening Room Party level. I am looking forwards to that.

And yeah. If you like movies, Scarecrow is a holy temple. It is to movies what LA's Amoeba Records and Powell's Books in PDX are to their respective media, though not quite as big - those two fill entire blocks, Scarecrow is just one decent-sized building. If you like movies and do a tourist thing to Seattle, make a stop at Scarecrow.
posted by egypturnash at 5:44 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seattle used to have two really great shops like this, with multiple locations. Rain city video, and scarecrow.

The biggest rain city in fremont was an actual fucking warehouse. It was like one of the big tower records stores or something, and then you went to the back and it continued into a whole other part of the building, and even that had a couple rooms off of it. I have a pretty clear memory of this scarecrow(i never lived near it, so i never really went there) and i think it was probably larger.

And they had a hilarious, "you don't know jack" style 90s bit of movie recommendation software on a crappy old computer that would snarkily explain movies to you, from obscure stuff to new releases. It was constantly updated, and i really wish i remembered the name of it. The interior/decor of the place was also totally amazing in a sort of pee-wees playhouse/nickelodeon gameshow/dorky cybercafe kind of 90s way.

I was never a huge scarecrow fan, but i fucking loved rain city. They had all kinds of cool shit, a netflix style monthly all you can rent X number of things at a time plan, assloads of VHS-only stuff, tons of weird anime, tons of foreign films, and most importantly really nice staff who didn't give a shit about talking to you for a half hour about weird nerdy stuff. They also had really silly categories just like scarecrow.

I really wonder if when it closed, that's where the most interesting stuff went. Wouldn't surprise me. It's the place i remember as a kid though, just like the shitty end-of-its-life arcade(the funplex!) and a lot of other things that died around high school.

Seattle's really changed. We used to have a ton of quirky video shops like this(video vertigo anybody?), and quirky record stores with weird theme sections and shit too. Now it's like, this place is a non profit and everything else is gone. I really wonder how much interesting shit was just sort of, lost to the universe in $1 sales and goodwill donations as those places shut down.
posted by emptythought at 3:04 AM on October 3, 2014

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