RICHMOND, Va. — Local patrons of the popular video rental service Redbox have complained to company officials about bizarre happenings during their checkout experience at Richmond locations.
Reports of a disembodied voice complaining about the lack of an arthouse film section, changing customers’ selections to mid-20th century Russian filmmaker compilations, and audible but soft scoffs after films like “Frozen” or “Transformers: The Last Knight” are requested, have been received by the company.
Some speculate these events are linked with the closing of Richmond’s beloved Video Fan, a local movie rental store, whose shelves were lined with cult and rare films often arranged into unique sections. It is rumored that one employee could not part with the place that once held a pair of French auteur Jean-Luc Godard’s glasses and stayed as the inside of the building was demolished. People say his spirit now haunts those he deems to have lesser taste.
“If I wanted a list of David Lynch’s favorite movies from Japanese directors who only used 35mm film I would move into my son’s dorm at VCU,” Museum District resident Kerry Becker said. “When I want to watch ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary,’ I should be able to do so without a phantom hipster whispering in my ear.”
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Melvin Brewer, the manager of a Walgreens that has a Redbox in the front of the store, complained that this pretentious spirit is driving business down.
“Picking a movie is already hard enough,” he told reporters. “Add in some interdimensional judgy ghost and you’re going to start losing customers.”
The paranormal instances have worsened to the point that many customers have exclusively started renting during the morning because, even in death, the spirit never wakes up before 11.
Former Video Fan owner Jeffrey Hanson defended the ghost against the criticism. “Look, maybe if people’s film taste were a bit more refined, he would be complimenting them, instead of lecturing them on Stanley Kubrick’s use of wide-angled lenses.”
Hanson continued, “Film was his life. And now that he’s condemned to walk this earth for eternity as a hazy shadow of his former self, you can bet that he’s going to spend his time as he always did — attempting to remedy everybody else’s subpar taste in cinema.”