Metropol: Why Studio DVDs Make Me Want To Shave My Head.

Im more then that. But Im no Coolduder.

I'm more then that. But I'm no Coolduder.

Hey everyone. For those who are still new to Metropol, I’m a big fan of Exploitation films and it is through Exploitation that I’m also a big collector of DVDS. I buy almost anything from your $5 bargain bin DVD to your 460 DVD box set. If it interests me, has a nice set up and is at a decent price, I’ll normally buy it. Lately, I’ve been noticing the major studios trying to reach out to the collector community. Some have done it through box sets of what they probably deem “throwaway” titles, thinking they’re throwing a bone out for the collector to want more. Others have done Special Editions. All of them have in some way failed. It frustrates me to the point that I want to rip my hair out by the roots. It’s so simple, a kindergartner can get it. I’ll explain as simple as possible.

As a collector, I’d like to say to them that we would like to buy their products, but they need to change several things before they get mine or someone else dollar. I’ve had a lot of problems with studio DVDs, but I’ve decided to focus on three of them that really stick in my craw.  You can read about them after the break.

Part 1: Uncut and Unrated.

Now, in my understanding, when I see a DVD labeled Uncut, I think that I’ll get the director’s true cut of the film before recutting for time, story flow and MPAA rating. When I see a DVD labeled Unrated, I’m think this might not be the true director’s cut of the film, but it’s the cut that was brought forth to the MPAA, so therefore it must be more raunchy or more gory then what I’ve seen in the theater. Lately however, I’ve been seeing a bit of a blur between the two and sometimes a reverse of the two. I’ve seen DVD that were supposed to be Unrated, but was just the same or almost the same as what you see at the theater just with a couple seconds more gore and a ton of exterior shots. I’ve also seen Uncut DVDs where there are some scenes that really don’t work and shouldn’t have been added into the film, but was because the studio wanted to release an Uncut disc.

*takes a deep breath* You get all that?

Good!

Now, I’m not against creating Uncut or Unrated DVDs. I think both are great ideas for DVDs and create hours of viewing pleasure. Sometimes it even makes the movie better. What I’m asking is a clear definitions of Uncut and Unrated. When A DVD advertises itself as Uncut, that doesn’t mean dumping excessive exteriors shots in or lingering interior shots. It also shouldn’t dump any and every meaningless dialog scene between characters just to call it Uncut. It’s supposed to me a possible subplot or two that ether adds more to the senario and/or the character(s), thus better enjoying the director’s true vision of the film.

Now Unrated is a bit weird to me. When a DVD is advertised as Unrated, they only add back maybe 15 to 30 seconds of truly unrated stuff. The reason for that is that’s how they set it up for the MPAA Ratings Board. the footage is a decoy to give the board something to do. To me, adding that footage back doesn’t really make it Unrated. If the footage that was cut, wasn’t intended to be cut and it does actually work with the film without ruining the pace. If the cuts disrupt the flow, then the creation of the Unrated DVD is justified. Adding decoy material is just masterbatory, really feels like a waste of money and is just asking for piracy.

Part 2: A Million little pieces….of Fluff.

You want to piss a DVD collector off? Pad a mediocre or bad film with endless mini documentaries about nothing. Studio DVDs are rife with these 20 min time wasters. You name it, they did a documentary about it. Sure, our movie is crap, but here! Watch this mini docu on our bitchin’ 3rd rate special effects and then after that, watch our stars go to the local hair salon and get their hair done. That’s our Stylist Docu!! That and ten more mini docus all on our two disc DVD! Buy now!!

I want to say Liongate is a major offender in this area, but then I remember that they work with Mike Felcher and his company Red Shirt Pictures for suplimental material these days. If you really like to see how suplimental material done right and how it’s supposed to be done, check out Felcher’s work on The Monster Squad 20th Anniv. DVD. While it sates the thirst for the mass amounts of docus, Felcher makes these mini documentaries chapters of a much larger documentary, thus making the two disc DVD feel less padded and the collector less stupid for forking over money.

Honestly, if studios want the collectors to keep buying DVDs, stop treating them like stupid marks that will buy anything. No one is going to buy your Supreme version of Mansquito just because it’s got an interview with an actor and ten bazillion mini docus. Matter of fact, it’s a joke if someone bought that on that setup alone. If you truly want to give the collector more bang for their buck, do some quality service for some quality films. Yeah, Criterion charges almost an arm and a leg for their DVDs, but at least I know that there is some quality work being done to supplement the movies they showcase and make it better for the viewing public.

Part 3: The Crime of Dating DVDs with Ads.

When one collects DVDs. They feel like they’re collecting a bit of a moment in time. A chance to see a great or a brilliantly worked on film. The extras, be they comentary or documentaries or even the easter egg of radio spots done to sell the movie in it’s hayday adds to that chance and makes the experiance more fun for the owner and viewer. Overall, it gives a feeling of timelessness and gives importance to a collection. something to be proud to own and show off.

This is the big point the major studios do not fucking get. When they ad unskipable ads to their DVDs, including classics mind you, you kill the timelessness of the product. I’ve got a Sabata Trilogy box set where two of the three DVDs have anti-piracy PSAs playing before the movies and you can’t skip it. That instantly kills the fun factor of the DVD right there. Dead in it’s tracks. No one is going to play the disc knowing they’re going to sit through something you can’t skip over. They do this with ads too. So instead ofthe viewer feeling like they put in a good investment in a DVD, they feel shamed into buying a movie they’ve got to jump hoops through just to see the DVD package. And just to let you in on a secret. That’s one reason why piracy is there.

Studio heads have got to understand this isn’t VHS anymore. People like to be in control of their DVDs. Even if it’s bare bones, the ability to access a movie on the fly is a part of that control. You make them sit through ads, you take away the control people like to have. The more they do this, the less replay value the discs will have and the more one will seek out avenues of piracy just to get back that control. Especially with box sets.

It’s simple arithmatic. Change these three major areas and I believe they will no doubt be at least scratching the surface of the collectors market. All we have to do is hope that someone around there is listening.

Hey! If you have any comment or you’d like to ask a question or two feel free to either leave it in the comment box or email me at [email protected] Love to read from you.

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One comment

  1. thespianphryne /

    Of course, putting unskippable ads in the front of the DVD only makes us want to play the DVD on a computer where we can skip right to the main video chapters, which then leads to ripping of DVD’s, which then leads to technology development that circumvents copy protection.

    Unskippable ads are the gateway to piracy! I have just proved it.

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