Die Hard, The Siege Popular Video-Store Rentals

While heightened sensitivity to movie violence has prompted film studios to pull terrorist-themed flicks like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage from the big screen, video stores are reporting a run on sticking-it-to-the-terrorist movies like Die Hard and Executive Decision

Video stores saw a steep increase in rentals of all categories as early as Tuesday afternoon, an assistant manager of the Hollywood Video store on Westwood Boulevard in West Los Angeles told the Los Angeles Times. "We had three times the normal volume on Tuesday, as people came in sad and depressed and sick of what they were seeing on TV."

"People are coming in for comfort food," said Chris Reidy of Videoactive in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. While some renters opted for family-oriented fare like Home Alone and Disney's animated films, others were seeking — perhaps unexpectedly — movies like 1998's The Siege, centered around terrorist attacks on New York, which is about as close to last week's horrific attacks as you can come.

"They wanted patriotic titles like The Siege and anything where terrorists got the stuffing kicked out of them," a Blockbuster manager in Los Angeles told the newspaper. The Tribune of Mesa, Ariz., reported increased demand for comedies. "Customers say they don't want to watch TV because it's too depressing," a Hollywood Video manager told the paper, a sentiment echoed over at a local Wherehouse Music, where a manager told of one customer who initially wanted to rent The Siege, but opted for something more lighthearted. "He decided not to because it was too depressing," the manager said. Books on 16th-century prophet Nostradamus have been fast sellers since Tuesday, and video stores are also receiving repeated requests for films about the French astrologer and doom forecaster who has allegedly predicted the major events of the past centuries.

"An employee at the Blockbuster video store in Tustin, Calif., told the Times, "I've had 10 calls a day for Nostradamus [films], and we only have one copy."

People are renting videos because, "they just basically can't watch any more [news] on TV," a Video Giant store manager in El Reno, Okla., told the Daily Oklahaman Friday.