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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Festival highlights oddball VHS finds

    Some people go thrifting for good deals. But when Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher land in Tucson tomorrow, they’ll be hitting up every thrift shop in town in search of the worst deals they can find — the VHS tapes most of us wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

    They’re the co-creators of the legendary Found Footage Festival, which compiles the wildest, weirdest and creepiest video clips they can find into a jaw-dropping parade of horror and hilarity.

    “”It’s really about the thrill of the hunt,”” said Prueher, who will be co-hosting two shows tomorrow night at The Loft Cinema. “”About 99 percent of what we find is just pure garbage.””

    The festival was born nearly two decades ago in a Wisconsin McDonald’s break room, when a teenage Prueher stumbled on a training video for custodians. “”I couldn’t believe how dumb it was,”” he said. Reasoning that he’d never seen any custodians working there, he slipped it into his backpack and walked out. Something this terrible, he reasoned, had to be preserved.

    Over the years, Prueher and Pickett’s collection of bizarre VHS finds has grown to an estimated 3,000 tapes. The festival must be seen to be believed, but highlights include violent insurance videos, loopy aerobics videos, music videos by no-name artists, pool and gambling instruction videos by self-proclaimed experts and one unsettling ad for a Canadian couple’s movie-making business. In the ad, the couple stare at the camera and drone their sales pitch in a disturbingly deadpan tone.

    For years, Prueher and Pickett shared their weird discoveries with their friends. In 2004, they decided to see what the rest of the world thought.

    “”Someone suggested we rent out a theater in the back of a bar,”” Prueher said. “”We sent out some press releases, not really expecting much.”” They found themselves with an unlikely hit on their hands.

    As well as unveiling a new feature — a slideshow of some of the weirdest video covers they’ve stumbled on — Pickett and Prueher will be filming part of their latest DVD, their fourth, at their Tucson shows.

    “”We love The Loft and we love Tucson, so we thought this was the place to do it,”” Prueher said. “”The Loft attracts our kind of people. Last time we were there, a bachelorette party showed up.””

    The Found Footage Festival will be showing Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m. Adult admission is $8.75; seniors are $5.75; students and military are $6.50. The Loft warns that the film “”may be dangerous for small children and the uptight.””

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