Sunday, October 17, 2004

horror DVD bundling

horror DVD bundling... the argument against it, and my argument for it.

What is it?

I'm talking about the DVD box sets that contain four or more movies and several DVDs and sell for a price lower than that of an average single movie. Have you seen a box containing four basically unrelated horror movies selling for $5.99 at Best Buy? That's what I'm talking about. The reason these packages can exist is that the movies are often in the public domain and no royaltees need to be paid to the makers or actors. Famous examples include Night of The Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, Dementia 13, and Nosferatu. The copy writes to these movies have expired in the United States. If a movie's copy write has expired in this country (every country has different copy writes, some movies can be public domain in one country and not another) than anyone can package and release this movie. There are many horror films in the public domain and a lot of different DVD bundles are available, though many titles overlap even in sets from the same company. Not every film is a public domain film in a bundle, sometimes the companies do buy the rights, but only if they are very cheap.

A DVD bundle that includes four movies will often consist of two double-sided DVDs. I bought a package from Platinum Disc Corp that had four movies on a one-sided DVD. There are bundles of ten, twenty, and even fifty horror movies.



The famous 50 movie box on 12 double-sided DVDs. I have not bought it yet. Can be found for $20.

The most famous bundler is Brentwood Home Video and you can read an interview with their Senior Vice President that explains bundling even better than I did.

interveiw with Brentwood Home Video...

Of course the quality of these DVDs is not as good as that of a Criterion Collection release and that is an understatement. Some horror purists hate DVD bundles and I'll present their arguments and my counter arguments... right now!

The movies on the DVD bundles look crappy on my tv! Well, they look a lot better than some VHS tapes I've bought and rented in the past. I think people are spoiled today, and need super sharp quality. Don't they remember growing up and having more important thing to complain about than tape quality. It was awesome just to be able to find any cool bloody movie. Some of these movies in the bundles are pretty rare, movies that we would settle for third generation bootlegs of in the old days.

The movies are cut! The people putting together these bundles don't bother to censor the movies, they are too busy putting them out to make a profit to take time tamper with them. However, they also release the first version of them movie they can get their hands on. Often the cut version is most common. The movies we rented as kids from the video store were often cut and we did not even know. Many of those movies were cult hits anyway. Once again we are spoiled now.

Also, not all the movies are cut. I was shocked to find an uncut House By the Cemetery on a Brentwood Disc under a different name. The version of The Devil Walks at Midnight I watched last night (Platinum Disc Corp) had more nudity that a tape I own of the movie that I thought was uncut!



this one has House by The Cemetary (uncut I think), Night of the Seagulls, The Ghoul, and an Italian classic, some under different names

There are no extras! No, these bundles do not contain deleted scenes, director's commentary, or bios, etc... Neither did video tapes in the 80's. As I said... spoiled. Once again The Devil Walks at Midnight from Platinum surprised me by showing the trailer at the end of the movie.

There DVD menus look bad! So what, is that what you are paying for? When I see these horror web sites that get all worked up at getting ahold of screen shots of a soon to be released DVD's menus - I wonder why I am at that site at all. Lame, I don't care about menus, they are glorified web pages. There are millions of fucking web pages. So what.

None of the original box art is present. I do like original box art. The bundling companies keep the product cheep by not buying the rights to the artwork. However, this is not the first time original artwork has not been used. All throughout the 90's movies were packaged by every company with new more contemporary artwork and shots from the film instead of using the drawings from the original movie posters and box. That sucked too.

The movies are put together by people who don't care about horror movies. I agree and it does bug me that sometimes they give the movies new names for no good reason. Here is an interesting point though. What about stars (starlets) and directors who are in horror movies, but in interviews express how they don't like the genre? They are involved with films in a far more intimate way that a releasing company and they are rarely criticized.

I've had good experiences with bundles, but a washed-out image or some pixilated bits here and there don't bother me. I just want to see the movies and I watch large quantities. You can't beat twenty movies for $20. I also like all genres which is good because tapes include every type of horror film. Here is a breakdown.

- European films from the 70's (Argento, Fulci, Bava)
- forgotten American TV horror movies
- 60's classics (with Lugosi, Karloff, Roger Corman movies)
- new slashers (a new DVD from 'Bad Taste Theater', a Brentwood imprint has two new Polonia brothers budget shit movies)



expect reviews of all of these movies...

Here is a link to the Brentwood Home Video site

1 Comments:

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