We take it some of you caught this feature, run by The Daily Illini on Tuesday, February 24, about the venerable Campustown institution That’s Rentertainment and their continuing mission to keep the faith with physical media. While such pieces appear almost like clockwork in the local press – if you run a theater, drive-in, perennial film event, or persistent last-of-its-kind like a video store, you will get covered frequently in Champaign-Urbana – we’re always happy to see Geoff Merritt and his staff of “Rentertarians” receive a friendly nod. Given the incessant reshaping and homogenizing of real estate adjacent to the University of Illinois this past decade, we need to pay lip service to the local business folk over the invasive national chains and congestive rental properties every chance we get.
The themes of embracing “old school” goods and services in the DI article remind us of our promise to develop C-U Blogfidential material regarding film culture that is ignored if not simply unheralded. We hit on the idea back in January when introducing you to the Austin, Texas, micro-label Bleeding Skull! Video, founded last year by Joe Ziemba and Zack Carlson in cahoots with the Alamo Drafthouse’s Mondo Video. (A third collaborator, Annie Choi, joins them in writing the Bleeding Skull! Weblog.) We still plan to chat them up in regards to their budding catalog of VHS wonders, which also includes the discovered-in-a-car-trunk (!) action opus RUN COYOTE RUN (1987) and the trash horror experience HEAVY METAL MASSACRE (1989), but this post will focus on another individual we had mentioned previously.
Born and raised in Champaign, freelance videographer Samuel M. Oldham moved to California in the Seventies to pursue filmmaking, taking classes and accepting jobs to shore up his skills. Respectable tenures have included positions as an instructor at the Sherwood Oaks Film School in Hollywood and director/writer on television specials produced by Global Science Productions of Beverly Hills, but the offerings at his personal YouTube channel paint a radically different picture. Oldham is an individualistic thinker and dreamer whose heart lies equally with classic cinema and what he calls “psychotronia;” how else does one explain a playlist littered with custom footage captured at horror conventions, martial arts demonstrations, wrestling matches, and female bodybuilding competitions?