Today I want to take the time to talk about something I find more annoying than anything else and that’s the multiple releases of the same movie on DVD and Blu-ray that basically give us the same film over and over just with a couple new special features and at times, nothing really new at all. Now naturally most times the first wave of a movie on DVD is the “bare bones” version. This includes the movie, and usually just the trailer and trailers for other films. Then we get into the milking the cow portion of putting out movies where you get the “Special” edition, then sometime later you then get the “Special SPECIAL” edition or maybe the “ULTIMATE Edition” followed surely by yet another edition OR if it’s a film that has a lot of sequels you get a boxed set of all the movies in the series that they wrap up in just the right package to make you want to buy it again when you KNOW you don’t really want to. A prime example of this comes with the “Friday the 13th” series where after giving us a whole slew of bare bone releases of each film they then gave us a nice looked box set of every film under the Paramount banner in the series. Not so bad right? WRONG! Turns out early this year they started putting out single special editions of each movie yet again in a very nice looking package and this time they toss in some new special features and even part 3 actually in 3-D..I didn’t buy those and I probably won’t since I have the box set. I MIGHT eventually get the 3-D version of 3 but that’ll be when they hit the very cheap rack at my DVD store if I even break down and buy it then..
For a good example of the ridiculous when talking of DVD companies wanting you to “double dip” look no further than “Army of Darkness”. The original DVD run of the film came out in 1998, followed by another bare version in 1999, then the “Director’s Cut” in 2000, the “Bootleg version” in 2001 (the one I actually own), The “Boomstick Edition” in 2003, and low and behold a “Screwhead” version fresh out on DVD this year! This isn’t as annoying if you don’t have a version yet and you want to look over the extras to decide but if you’ve already gotten one and was told at the time it was the “end all” of all editions this can really piss you off. The original “Evil Dead” has just as many versions but I settled on the “Ultimate Edition” of that and I’m somehow sure in a year or so the “Super MEGA Ultimate” Edition will be out. See when this happens you feel compelled to buy another edition and as much as I love Evil Dead I will refrain and refuse to buy the same DVD twice for no real reason. The only time I’ve ever actually double dipped came with “Night of the Living Dead” which as most of you know is probably the most popular movie in the public domain and as a result has like a zillion different versions out there on DVD which are pretty much all the same besides the cover art for each. I had one of the cheap ones and had decided to finally get a more appropriate version for the collection, that being the “Millennium Edition” but low and behold right before I pulled the trigger on that purchase out came the “Romero Approved” version by Dimension so I got that one instead, but that’s it, and that will remain to be it unless I one day buy a Blu Ray player and pick a FEW certain movies to upgrade as well. And as you can guess this sorta thing has happened with a few major horror movies before one off the top of my head I remember is “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” that I believe has about five editions out there on DVD and I bet you anything before all is said and done we will have a lot more. Blu Ray pretty much gives companies excuses to do this, they won’t just make another edition just in Blu Ray they’ll just HAFTA make a few more for DVD as well…And just to let you know, “Army of Darkness” already had TWO versions out on the Blu Ray format…Oh that Anchor Bay…they sure want to piss me off don’t they?
But at least they can say they waited a year in between right?? Imagine my surprise in March of 2004 I got the “DiviMax” edition of “Dawn of the Dead” only to turn around and see the freakin’ four disc “ULTIMATE” edition come out September of that SAME darn year! Again by our friends at Anchor Bay..I haven’t broken down for that one yet..and I won’t..or at least I hope not..I keep telling myself to be strong.
Just remember folks, “Special” doesn’t always mean better. Nine times out of 10 your getting the same movie just a different package. And after the hour or so you spend watching the new features on the new version is over ultimately your still left with the same movie you already had. So is that REALLY worth 20 more bucks?? I think if you take the time to really think about it you’ll decide it isn’t.