Thursday, April 28

N.P.Y. Video's Cry Onion and how it finally landed into my hands...a decade late.

Here's a selection from my horde that has one of the more interesting stories attached to it. A good decade or so before I started seriously collecting any magnetic tape-based formats, I came across a copy of NPY Video's Canadian clamshell of Cry Onion at a local swap meet that has sadly since closed. I distinctly remembered the tape not so much for its goofy cover but for the sticker on the case. It was a rental from the mom and pop video store (and pharmacy) of my childhood, Independence Drug, that had even then been railroaded by Blockbuster into a shadow of its former self. The building is a vacant lot present day...

But that tape wasn't destined to been mine upon getting giddy seeing the names of Enzo G. Castellari and Franco Nero. No, before I could even ask, I heard a voice loudly bark "They're SOLD." There he was, Mr. Asshole buying the whole lot. I've talked about Mr. Asshole, proprietor of Videoland, before with The Deep End of Horror and the A-Hole Video Dealer. Most of this entry detailing dealer annoyances is also modeled from encounters with this rude prick. Certainly one of the most disrespectful human beings I've ever had the unfortunate luck to met with ludicrously expensive prices on even the most average videos ($13 for Fried Green Tomatoes...huh?).

Flash forward to about two years ago. Mr. Asshole's "Videoland" at a nearby swap meet had disappeared. A new dealer of little odds-and-ends had taken his place...along with boxes of attic tar dusted tapes. I struck up a good rapport with the guy, who was about 378% kinder than who he replaced, and never questioned where his collection was accumulated until I saw "it". There was NPY's Cry Onion; the same copy I lost out to Mr. Asshole years prior. Only with the rental sticker halfheartedly torn off in half.

I inquired about origins of the apple crates of tapes. Apparently, Mr. Asshole had lived in an apartment of sorts in the unseen second story of the swap meet's ex-department store building. The trinket seller moved in and Mr. Asshole left stacks of tapes...everywhere. Cry Onion and a bunch of other great tapes were the ones that know-it-all deemed worthless. I had no idea what happened to Mr. Asshole until he recently surfaced again at another swap meet. Looking through his tapes, while his multiple cameras looked at me, nothing really interesting or of value caught my eye. Years later, I ended up with some gems of his collection that he willingly let slip through his fingers. That's what you get for being an asshole...


Anthony1138 said...

Great story. Whether the tape is worth any money or not, I can imagine it's one of the prizes of your collection.

I've never heard of Cry Onion. Is the film any good?

Ian Miller said...

I remember this getting another tape release as SPAGHETTI WESTERN with a cartoon (U.S. poster?) image of Nero on the front. Never took the chance because this store owner was another jerkface, and the fly-by-night operation ("Video Outlet", a lot of thought went into that business name!) was always an iffy situation. Case in point: a friend purchased an SLP or LP (again, I don't remember which) copy of Paragon's VIOLENT PROTECTION, turns out the audio was wiped somehow. Friend takes it back, Mr. Asshole hems and haws about a refund before finally relenting, and the next time I go back, that tape is re-wrapped and back on the shelf!

Got my SOMETIMES AUNT MARTHA DOES DREADFUL THINGS, DON'T GO NEAR THE PARK, BLOOD MANIA and MASTER'S REVENGE tapes there though, so the place had its benefits.

ryan gelatin said...

These guys are a blessing and a curse, in my experience. They are horrible, without a doubt. But I'm finding it harder to discover the in-betweens. I talk to a lot of dealers who will only bring out their Disney vhs and family friendly stuff, and pretty much regard any other release as trash, and either don't even bother to bring them to swap meets/flea markets, or simply throw them away. They tell me as much, and it's flat out heartbreaking.

Unknown said...

Proof that karma does exist! Great story Jayson and I am intrigued by "Cry Onion." Nero AND Sterling Hayden. That is cooking with some oil right there. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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