With sights set on a new home in March, Eyesore Cinema wants to prove that the video store is alive and well.
It’s a depressing sign of our times that many classic niche stores only get talked about anymore in the form of a eulogy. The reach of Spotify, Indigo, Netflix, and Amazon has extended further than ever, with its grip tightening at the sacrifice of small local businesses doing what they love.
When news like this breaks the narrative is so repetitive that it’s like an overplayed scene in a film. After a long, tired battle, the small business owner sighs, turns off the lights, and, for the last time hangs up the “closed” sign before stepping out of the building.
Eyesore Cinema is flipping that monotonous script. In fact, they’re coming out with a sequel that promises to be even better.
After nearly eight years of living upstairs from Queen Street’s Rotate This, one of the city’s best film rental shops for hard-to-find movie lovers will be moving to 1176 Bloor St. W, just a short walk from Dufferin Station.
Since 2008 owner/mascot Daniel Hanna and his volunteer staff have been providing algorithm-free film recommendations and a well-curated selection of movies ranging from the unmitigated masterpieces of cinematic artistry to the so-bad-they’re-good pieces of pure schlock. For folks in Toronto, Eyesore Cinema has always been a place where Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon share shelf space with Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, and Turkish Star Wars, with plenty of cult films such as Tetsuo: The Iron Man that are harder to place in the spectrum of good and bad.
However, Eyesore Cinema isn’t just renting movies. Using his more than 25 years in the film rental business, Hanna is adamant on creating a strong community of cinephiles and championing the fight against streaming services that discourages wide variety and removes the rewarding feeling of discovery. Along with hosting the Second Story Screenings on the third Thursday of every month at Tequila Bookworm, Hanna is also the founder of International Video Store Day, which brings together the world’s video stores with the people who love them, offering special deals throughout the day.
Eyesore’s new location, which Hanna hopes will be ready by March 15th, will be a far cry from its smaller, original location. Hanna tells Torontoist, operations are expanding to include a café, gallery, and screening space. New products will also include posters, soundtracks, vinyls, cds, and T-shirts. This kind of expansion, while also including sales of books, magazines, and a consignment space, will make Eyesore Cinema what Hanna calls “a general store of cool” for Toronto residents.
In the meantime, Eyesore is holding sales along with an upcoming crowdfunding effort to help with the costs of moving.
For more information on Eyesore’s upcoming crowdfunding effort or up to date news on events and deals, check out their Facebook group. In the meantime, head over there, get something raunchy to watch, and stay in with a bowl of popcorn.