Trick or treating is dead. But Halloween is here, fellas, and, just so you can get your spook on – horror flick-styles – Life & Art paid a visit to Dracula Video Rentals, the most spine-chilling video store in South Florida. But just as it’s a hell of an ominous experience inside, the owners are apparently also freaked out by their clientele, given the inch-wide steel bars incarcerating this “yellow haven.”
Shake off those I-can’t-go-anywhere-I-don’t-know jitters because this place is smack in the middle of the ghetto downtown, and like Flipmode Squad, they’re taking their chances. This isn’t some wuss-ass Blockbuster, where they need to run a credit check and tie you down by your bank account; rather Dracula Video is confident that you’ll return their videos – so confident that they only require a photo ID and $10 membership fee to open an account with them.
They must have some other way of making sure their loyal customers return videos on time, such as having you leave your pet “Foofoo” for collateral or something. But really, if you absolutely cherish that copy of Child’s Play, you probably could tuck it in your scary movie collection and disappear.
Alright, enough facetiousness. Truth is, this place isn’t daunting at all, except for the highly dubious environs at night. Man, that crackhead on the corner is scarier than this little old mom ‘n’ pop, fruit-standish shop that’s been opened since 1987 and has nothing to do with horror movies.
According to the manager, Jose Terzado, the place was named when naming video stores after popular movies was trendy: “Ju know,” he says, in a thick Hispanic drawl, “eees like da name, man, eeet jus-a-stick in people’s minds better when ju gotta name like Dracula Video.”
Even if talking to the manager is kinda like listening to the Marlins’ players after the World Series – no one speakie the English here – you just gotta love this place. The store could almost have the same funky, free-spirited vibe to it that the cult comic book store in Lost Boys did, if it were occupied by to Coreys instead of a couple of middle-aged guys.
Here’s the best part, though. Keeping in line with good marketing strategy, the owners devised a plan to keep customers in their store as long as possible – or just drive them insane. They put all of their movies into two categories: “Old” shit and “New” shit. Now you no longer have to worry about whether a movie’s in “Drama” or “Action.” Here, it’s all in the same place, as long as it hasn’t just come out in the cinema. OK, by now, this place is getting a little freaky.
Basically, it’s like this: they’ve got Spike Lee’s Girl 6 right next to Stigmata. This shit isn’t even alphabetized! “Yeah, we don’t even carry the movie Dracula,” Terzado laughs.
What’s that, no Bela Lugosi? Oh well, our hearts are not broken. We still love you Dracula Video for fooling the world with your adult video storefront, your ever-so mainstream films and giving us the spooks for having that chilling title and then turning out to be a fuckin’ bodega-styles hole-in-the-wall. You show those ‘ol Blockbusters that keep springing up on every corner like campus crimes who runs Miami – soon enough, you’ll devour those corporate bastards, ya wicked bloodsuckers.
Join the local ghetto folk for some heavy film debating at Dracula Video, 3201 NW 2nd Ave, Miami. Call 305-573-7048 for more info.
Linda Hoffman can be found on a street corner in Overtown peddling scary movies or at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Mustachio Bashio on Saturday.