Yeah, you read that right.
The House of the Devilwas not only my favorite horror film of 2009, but in my humble opinion, one of the best of the year in any genre. Borrowing inspiration from 1970s and '80s "auteur" horror films like those of Roman Polanski (Rosemary's Baby) and Stanley Kubrick (The Shining), writer-director Ti West created a modern-day vintage masterpiece with his tale of a babysitter terrorized by a crew of Satanic cultists. And it's not only his influences, but his effectiveness rendering a believable 1980s world – both cinematically and on-camera – which left me unsurprised when an odd-shaped package arrived at my house last week from the good folks at MPI Media containing an actual videotape of the film.
Although the videocassette does indeed feature a beautifully creamy, pan-and-scan version of West's film, neither he nor MPI are especially serious about the outdated format being the only way to watch The House of the Devil. (It's available February 2 on DVD and Blu-ray.) Rather, they sent out tapes as a throwback to precisely the movies it would sit with on video store shelves – complete with a logo from iconic '80s distributor Gorgon Video – in the process creating what I'd argue is one of the most gloriously authentic pieces of swag in the history of home video promotion. In fact, this tape literally puts the video back into home video.