Odd Obsession Tries To Keep Video Rental Shop Alive With Fundraising Campaign

By Joel Wicklund in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 8, 2015 4:05PM

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An Odd Obsession promotional postcard.
For those of us who still treasure independent record shops, movie theaters and other bricks-and-mortar anachronisms of the digital age Odd Obsession Movies is one bastion against the encroachment of "online everything."

But while record shops have benefitted from the vinyl revival and collectors' habits, video rental outlets have struggled to maintain relevance as streaming media becomes the norm. The few survivors must to offer something really special to keep going. For Odd Obsession, that has meant maintaining an incredibly eclectic selection and made-for-movie-buff environs.

But survival isn't easy. Escalating rent has forced Odd Obsession to move its massive library a couple of doors down from its previous Bucktown address, and in April owner Brian Chankin told DNAinfo that his beloved shop has lost as much as $25,000 in movies that were stolen, lost or returned damaged.

So to defray expenses and to add to their already impressive library, the store has a crowd-funding campaign up on Indiegogo. If the Pirate Pancake Griddle and a giant inflatable head of Lionel Richie can generate thousands via public donations, it would be a crime if Odd Obsession does not meet its modest goal of $20,000.

In the shop's Indiegogo promo video below, Chicago Reader critic Ben Sachs and A.V. Club critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky join Chankin to point out the many merits of Odd Obsession, including oddball titles you won't find on any streaming service.

Want to get a sense of how wide-ranging the store's collection is? Play a little Recommendation Roulette on the Odd Obsession website and see what pops up. I played within the horror genre and, even with only a small portion of their overall catalog in this particular game, several curious titles immediately grabbed my attention: Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly; Body Melt; and The Woman Eater. Viewing their crazily sensational trailers, I think I need to stop by Odd Obsession very soon.

The sustainability campaign needs to meet its goal by June 20. There are plenty of great perks to woo your contribution, including weeks or months of unlimited rentals and cool movie merch. It depends on on how much you give to help keep one of Chicago's cinema havens up and running.