Boy, that quarantine sure made me appreciate my physical media collection. With so many folks at home streaming, most services had to reduce their quality and, with a few exceptions, didn’t have much I was interested in anyway. I already stood on my physical media soapbox last year so today I’m going to focus on some of the products themselves. Imprint Films is a new premium blu-ray label courtesy of an Australian company called Via Vision Entertainment. Last March (just before the Apocalypse) they advertised their first five releases; films that were never upgraded to Blu-ray before. Three of these, I really wanted in my collection and quickly pre-ordered despite the steep shipping charges. They finally arrived last week and I eagerly watched all three. Was it worth it? Well, let’s dive in and see. Also note that, despite coming from the land down under, these releases are all Region Free and will play on US Blu-ray players.
This blog was originally titled “Physical Media’s Last Stand” but I thought it too pessimistic. And when it comes to this topic, there’s plenty of cause to feel that way. The MPAA recently revealed a staggering 50% drop in sales as the rise of Streaming services takes hold. I agree, it’s a lot easier pushing a button than getting off our butts to pop on a disc. However, anyone who’s spent 20 minutes scrolling Netflix only to finally give up in frustration knows what we like isn’t always as accessible as the modern world would have us believe. This is especially true for horror fans like us who have a fondness for older and more obscure titles. We, in fact , have plenty of cause to continue covet physical media especially nowadays. Despite the current Blu-ray apocalypse, some of the most amazing upgrades and rare titles are being released every month – though you may need to look beyond Amazon.com to find them. There are several amazing companies out there fighting the good fight and I’d like to highlight a few I feel are worthy of support!
I recently hunkered down with my new Blu-ray copy of Night of the Demon (1957) from Indicator (Powerhouse) Films and held my breath while pressing “Play.” As it was a British import, it cost more and I’ve had my fair share of disappointments with so-called “upgrades” of Black & White classics. 96 minutes later, I was grinning from ear to ear.
I recently watched VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media; an entertaining documentary that delves into the loss of hard copy films in favor of streaming services. Having been a teenager in the ‘80s, the film struck a chord as I’d witnessed the rise of VHS tapes first hand and was an avid collector myself. By the ‘90s, I had a custom VHS shelf that took up the better portion of my basement wall.
If you think its hard tracking down some of your favorite vintage horror movies, try finding their lesser known sequels! Sure we’re all familiar with the numerous Halloween and Friday the 13th films but the original Prom Night, House, Amityville Horror, and Silent Night Deadly Night (to name but a few) also spawned numerous follow ups that often got lost on the old video store shelves. Horror collectors are left in a quandary as these films are hard to come by or, in the rare event that they are re-released on DVD, are usually bland transfers often sold as double features. Thanks to the folks at Blue Underground, this is not an issue for fans of the Maniac Cop sequels. They’ve not only re-released BOTH on blu ray but with noticeable improvements!
I have been reading about this film for some time now, both in Fangoria and HorrorHound magazines. For the most part the reviews have been favorable and I am always up for a new monster movie. This is not your typical monster on the loose film and to be honest, I wish it was. The movie I am talking about is BENEATH, directed by Larry Fessenden.