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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cheepnis: Last year's Family Value Insanity.

Note: this is an old post I'm porting for posterity. Anyone who has followed me over here from my various Internet haunts will fondly remember the insane collection of Halloween discs released last year by Family Value. Here was my take on that. Hopefully they have something equally interesting up their sleeves this year, though all I've been hearing about is just some of last year's titles showing up again.

OK, kind of funny after my last post where I kind of blew off Treasure Box/Family Value, what happens but they unleash their Halloween collection. (Huge thanks to packratshow at for the heads up! Excellent live journal all about this stuff.) See, these things tend to be a bit seasonal in nature. If I had to guess, the two biggest movie/home video seasons would have to be Halloween and Christmas, so we're in the beginning of the good stuff now.

Packratshow has listed all the titles and whatnot, so I'm not going to duplicate all that. (Plus he links to Imdb for all the films, whatta guy!) I managed to find every title on that list with just two trips to Dollar Tree. Other stores may carry these things, but around here, Dollar Tree seems to be the only ones to have them.

Well, let's see, Family Value (aka Treasure Box) has improved things a bit. Instead of the cardboard cases, they're now using those slimline Amaray cases* which I guess is a step up. Oddly enough, some of these discs weren't shrink wrapped. They just have a clear sticker over the side to prevent you from opening them and boosting the disc. I found a Gamera double feature (more on that later) like this and of course it was the one disc I managed to spill coffee on before getting home.

Family Value has also joined the double feature crowd, which seems to be the trend. It seems to me like the market is getting pretty saturated and god forbid anyone put some money into trying to clean up their prints, so to stand out, cram another movie on there. I'd almost be willing to bet, by Christmas we'll see the first 4 packs for $1 because now everyone is doing doubles.

Anyway, too often with these doubles what seems to happen is rather than make the media bigger, they just make the film smaller. Yay, compression. However, Family Value actually has made these twofers flippers so each film gets a side to itself. Sometimes, it's the little things that make life worth living.

As for the quality of the films, I'm still too early into it to really comment. I've only had time to watch one film and the quality was about what one could expect from a "cult" video label such as Something Weird. In fact, the quality combined with some of the titles featured in this batch, which aren't the usual Public Domain suspects, have raised some eyebrows among horror fans. There's a lot of good info about that and about the movies and whatnot.

The Gamera disc, not part of the Halloween discs but I picked it up in this batch, certainly seems shady as I think Retromedia has exclusive rights to Gamera vs. Monster X. The question is, did Family Value work out a deal on their own, did they not know or do they just not care? Like the Treasure Box discs I reviewed earlier, there's no info on the packaging, no company logo on the screen, further adding to the mystery. In fact, many of the discs say "Treasure Box" on the inner ring even though the packaging says "Family Value!"

For right now, that's about all I have. I've got a million movies to make it through right now, and I was planning on focusing on another company, but these discs needed some attention as they're pretty much going to be off the shelf in less than a month, assuming they get restocked at all. Based on what I've seen so far, I recommend these discs highly, if you can find them. Be warned, if you're a serious genre fan, you may be offended by the apparent theft of other people's transfers that's going on here.

*Side note: am I the only one who notices the slim cases these $1 dvds come in have a weird odor? I am a bit more sensitive to smell than the average bear, but I was nearly gaging going through a huge bin of these things.

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