The picture says it all: it’s pretty much a textbook example of a Used To Be A Pizza Hut. But it’s actually not that much of a stretch. Pizza Hut dine-ins were fully licensed back in the day (!), so all that Liquorland have done is do away with the doughy, yeasty stuff to make room for more booze.
In Port Macquarie, that’s actually kind of an affront. Back in 2003, the town set a national record for the most amount of pizzas eaten in a day. According to the Port Macquarie News (and really, who’d be better qualified to know), 4890 pizzas were consumed on Saturday, December 13, 2003. Whether the record still stands is unclear, but since those figures came from Domino’s, you can bet a similar record for most amount of toilets clogged in a day was set on December 14.
It’s not all bad news for Port Macquarians jonesing for a fix of crusts thick, thin or stuffed, however: they’re still makin’ it great at this downgraded Hut down the road. For those who knew the dine-in Pizza Hut experience biblically, the above picture is a sad sight, and for everyone else, it’s a shocking reminder that there’s a Video Ezy still in operation.
Only in that wondrous age that was the 1990s could a store like this flourish. Movie Supermarket at Hurstville was the place to go for obscure VHS tapes. The place was huge, like the Gould’s of videos, and carried things Video Ezy didn’t have. The first time I saw Faces of Death anywhere was in here, and it was unsettling. Even worse were the prices – you may be used to $5 DVDs in the bargain bin at JB Hifi these days, but back then movies on VHS cost upwards of $20 each.
And there were no two-disc special features director’s commentary editions in the VHS era either – those were reserved for the hardcore Laserdisc set. Movie Supermarket’s new videos came in at around $30, sometimes more. Their ex-rentals (mostly from the Video Ezy across the road) were a little cheaper, but for what you got it was criminal. Unfortunately, the only alternative back then was to tape a film off TV, and that required the film to be shown. Faces of Death III fans holding their breath for Channel 9 to screen their favourite film probably held on long enough to wind up in Faces of Death IV. If you weren’t satisfied with renting a film, if you HAD to own Lethal Weapon 2 on tape and you couldn’t wait for it to be shown, you coughed up $40 bucks at Movie Supermarket.
But neither time nor technology were kind to Movie Supermarket. The public’s whole-hearted embrace of DVD by 2001 left the original location here with stockpiles of useless, worthless VHS tapes. By 2007, the rent that the sale of a dozen brand new tapes would have covered could no longer be paid, and the shop moved two streets over to a much smaller location. They tried to get into the DVD market, but selling DVDs for $50 each was more of a 1999 thing to do. The Movie Supermarket website is dated 2009, but as far as I could see the shop no longer exists. I hope someone filmed the closure, Faces of Death VII could use some more material.
In the beginning, there was Video Ezy. And it was good. The first Video Ezy store in Australia, it sat on the corner of Forest Road and Queens Road, Hurstville, and had a carpark out the back where each spot was done up to look like it was reserved for a particular 90s superstar. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore were not beside each other. But the small space allotted to Video Ezy wasn’t big enough, so the Caltex petrol station across the road made way for BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO, the biggest, most explosive video shop experience the 90s had ever seen. It had it all – TVs built into the GROUND! Two storeys of videos, with the action and porn upstairs TOGETHER! Sonic the Hedgehog flying a plane IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOP!
Yes, you read that right. The shop also featured a drive-thru feature for those not extreme enough to handle the assault on the senses waiting inside. I always thought about how annoying it must have been to be the drive-thru operator at Blockbuster, especially in the 90s, and despite the helpful Top 10 Hottest Movies list they had outside:
45th CUSTOMER OF THE DAY: Hmm…The Specialist! What’s that about?
BLOCKBUSTER GUY: Uh…Stallone–
CUSTOMER: No. Cliffhanger! What’s that one about?
BLOCKBUSTER GUY: Kill me.
These days, it’s pretty standard shoeshop fare inside. Even the floor TVs are gone. They went to a lot of effort to paint over things, but clearly only in the areas they knew the customers would be. Blockbusters everywhere are disappearing rapidly as the video shop ice age sets in. Rivers on the other hand are set for life – people will always need terrible looking ties.