Monday, July 30, 2007

Don't Be A Cheapskate! The Public Domain DVD Chronicles

Whenever I venture in my favorite video store or big boxstore and I am looking at the various DVD titles, I have noticed there were many of certain titles which have been issued by different video companies. Most of the titles are classics like "Night Of The Living Dead", or "White Zombie" or 'The Little Shop Of Horrors". But there are many new direct to DVD atrocities that make Ed Wood seem like Orson Welles. You can find these cheap DVD's anywhere from singles, Double Features as well as those multi mega packs with 20-50 movies. The video companies delivering this schlock include "Goodtimes Home Video", "Madacy Home Video", "Brentwood Video", "Mill Creek Entertainment, as well as "Alpha Video". The only plus about Alpha are the beautiful art on the covers. I only wished that the films on their DVD's were just as beautiful. Their prints are mangled, missing footage, fuzzy looking, altogether AWFUL! Retromedia is a mix bag. Operated by low budget filmmaker, Fred Olen Ray. Some titles are great (Like "The Deathmaster") to downright awful looking (Like "The Curse Of The Vampires"). But at least Retromedia has Extras that most budget labels have. There is a couple of labels like Mill Creek and Passport that have their "Watermarks/Logos" on the corner of the screen continuously. Now these P.D. companies aren't really new. They have actually been around since the dawn of the home video revolution. "Goodtimes Home Video" and "Video Treasures" were among the first. In those days, while most of the other major video labels offered prerecorded VHS movies from $39.95 to as high as $99.95, depending on the movie. The p.d. video companies offered their videos for a then affordable $14.95. To make them affordable, they recorded them in the dreaded SLP mode. There were times that they were recorded in the better LP mode, it still wasn't as good as SP. Goodtimes (founded in 1984) actually released most of their 80's VHS titles in LP. Most of the time, you spend 10-20 minutes just to track the movie (if your lucky). It wasn't until the DVD era, that you really realize how bad their film prints are since you don't have to track them anymore. It is funny though that I have seen some DVD's that seem to be mastered from video sources rather than film. Though thankfully gone today, Simitar Video was the worst offender of the budget labels. Most of today's budget dvd's average around $9.99 though there are so-called"Dollar DVD's" at Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree and Walgreen's, but you have heard the old saying: "You Get What You Pay For"! So remember, aviod, if possible, those cheap budget dvd's! They're just not worth it!

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