Tuesday, January 5, 2016

R.I.P. DVD? Not so fast.

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"DVD's are obsolete!", cry the beard-necked betas, as consumerist as they are OCD,  as they scramble to unload each and every cumbersome dvd in their movie collections yesterday, if not sooner, replacing them on the wing with shiny new blu-rays of the same movies they just got rid of, in many cases. If they've bothered to research the BD release before their purchases en masse, credit card poised for assault in one hand, margarita in t'other, I wouldn't be lying if I said I'd be fucking startled by this. From where I'm standing, though, I see none of that going down. Obsolete how? Obsolete as VHS, which was officially read it's last rites over twenty years ago, last I checked, yet it remains a popular format for these same cats, who pay hundreds of bucks for a flimsy video cassette in a big bulky cardboard box, not unlike the thousands that once cluttered up my party palace on Cherry Street. I'd been collecting them since 1981, and it took me some eighteen years to finally give in, and upgrade everything to DVD, after my buddy Doc effortlessly demonstrated their overall superiority over, say,  an ancient Paragon VHS of  Fulci's Gates of Hell with tracking issues throughout, or my Media VHS release of Night of the Living Dead, which jittered, flipped, ghosted, and was scorched with tracking lines, beginning to end, to me. I didn't need much coaxing, my endless bookshelves of VHS and to a lesser degree, Beta, had transformed my beloved digs into the back of a pick up truck at an outdoor flea market of late, some toothless hag buying makeup for a nickle out of a plastic bucket and spitting, "Ya got Ghostbustuhs in theah?", in my general direction, without missing a beat. It took me fucking years to amass such a thorough collection, and just as long to get my current one up to specs, but making the video tapes disappear was as simple as leaving crates behind, as I moved my address around quite a bit, for a minute there. No e-Bay auction scratch, no trades, no gifts. Double Live Gonzo.

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Obsolete since 1995. 
Along comes blu-ray, a concept I can appreciate when executed properly, though I've seen some pretty bad transfers of Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), and Dawn of the Dead (1979), and less extensive extras on some releases along the way since the outset that lead me to believe that not every BD copy is the definitive edition to own, by a long shot. Then there's the subject of  fare like micro-budgeted eighties shot-on-video slashers, and even the historic genre turds of yesteryear from icons of rotten cinema like H.G. Lewis, Ray Dennis Steckler, Andy Milligan, Larry Buchanan, Ed Wood...and countless others. Do ...movies, ahem, like Chooper (1971) or The Ghastly Ones (1967) really need a hi-def special edition BD release? What good is 1080p gonna do something like Blood Freak (1972)? I've got an all-region dvd player for all the foreign releases I've acquired over the years, the only way to find many of them for decades, and a Playstation to upconvert the region-free discs to blu-ray quality anyway. And what about 4K blu-ray on the horizon? Is that gonna spark everyone into a sudden collection-wide purge of all ordinary blu-rays for the latest players and media? If it's all the same,  I'm gonna sit this latest technological phenomenon out, and let you young, snot-nosed punks enjoy it for yourselves. I'm comfortable with a collection as complete in my eyes as it's ever been, though I always seem to find a new, undiscovered rarity destined for my shelves in my travels, and I'm pretty cool with that. It's one of the perks of getting older and wiser, I guess.

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Watching the glorious blu-ray, I saw Michael lurking in the background the whole time. R.I.P. shadows. I liked having you around.
Does any of this disclosure reveal me as a lesser example of genre fanatic? How many times do I have to purchase Army of Darkness (1988) if I've already got one that suits me? Also, I've got five or six releases of Dawn of the Dead (1979) as it stands, and I'm not especially spun on the concept of adding any more to that number in the future. There's actually quite a few movies that I have multiple copies of, for whatever reasons sounded good to me at the time, I'd presume. They're called "favorites", of course, but even favorites can be exhausted, and most of mine have already reached that point. I'm not saying I'll never pick up a special edition steelbook/mediabook BD that's too good to pass up along the way, because I probably will. I'd just advise you not to hold your breath while you're waiting for that to occur, O magnificent Blu-Ray. Partying isn't cheap, and movies aren't my sole inclination, either, as you may have guessed by now. Speaking of which, let me wrap this up and get back to some of those unnamed inclinations. My rambling can be endless.

Up DVDs!

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