Welcome, welcome, to the first of- or at least I hope- my personal editorials. It struck me of late that as most of the site is devoted to reviews only, it might be nice to mix things up a bit, and hopefully generate some conversation. Some weeks it might just be me ranting off, other times maybe a mood piece, or even just a general look at what I have been watching that week.
My burning topic of the day surrounds something that has been bothering me for a long while. It is something I have addressed openly on forums, but never here, and never in depth. I want to talk about Willy Wavers, Ladies and Gentlemen. For those scratching their heads in confusion let me clarify. For some time now- largely guided by market forces that dictate that certain cult or hard to find films will enter the digital domain on ‘special limited editions’- there has been- (well let’s face it, to some extent, since the inception of home video this has always been a thing)- a hardcore breed of super-duper film collectors. I am going to focus on those who hone in on horror offerings, or exploitation, but I am pretty sure this can be applied across the board to all genres. My main beef is this, there are plenty of forums to discuss these releases, many, many outlets in fact. But in my experience all that usually unfolds around the topic of a certain film coming to blu-ray or DVD is what I like to call a bout of willy waving, usually from silly little people who clearly have too much time.
An example of a conversation will go like this-
Person A- Such and such film is coming to BD in April. I already have this on Star Betamax special people edition with extra footage. It’s limited so I have pre-ordered several copies.
Person B- I also pre-ordered a few. I have this on the Star Betamax you mentioned and a Triple Special people edition of VHS/DVD combo.
Person C- I have those editions, signed.
Person B- Yeah mine are signed, by all the cast.
Person C- Yes so are mine, and by the people who were in the catering.
Person D- Will it be cut? I have just checked the running times on IMDb, it says this edition is 92 minutes, and my old VHS edition which was hand recorded by the director for just me, is 93 minutes.
Person A- I think that might be the NTSC conversion, let me just copy and paste a list from somewhere off the internet of all the editions this ever existed in, ever (even though I have never seen the film).
Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, ad nauseum.
I am pretty sure many of you will be nodding along in unison to this. Some of you may feel ashamed that you have indeed tried to wave your willy in someone’s face on Facebook, and rightly so. Some of you might be an out and proud waver. Whatever the case, I am quite sure I am not the only one who has noticed this? The only thing I can equate this behaviour to is to something similar that used to happen when I was a kid- namely the crazed collecting of Panini stickers, and the things kids would stoop to, to try and out collect the rest. You would have kids fighting over stickers, pretending they had stickers they didn’t have, stooping to underhand tactics to con others of their stickers, and battling it out to be the king of the Panini album (or the only person who ever finished one, no one did, it was impossible). The thing is no one ever cared what was on the fucking stickers?! Just like none of these people appear to care about the films! You hardly ever hear anyone talking about the content of the film, you never hear them saying, “oh wow, I love this”. My theory on this is it’s because they don’t care. It’s just a compulsion to collect whatever, it truly could be anything ,it just happens to be DVDs or Blu-rays. Where is the love??? Where is the adoration for lost classics?? Who cares if you had 50 copies of it in 1982 (to be honest they would probably stink of mould now anyway), or if you discovered it last year on YouTube- surely it should be about the love. The other side effect of course amounts to the rise of petty squabbling. We even have people now that will only buy from certain labels, blindly, or those who boycott labels out of the strange dislike for someone who did a commentary, or designed the art. Cutting off their noses in the process (or maybe not, I guess you can’t miss out on something you have little regard for in the first place).
It’s a sad thing that in the wake of this, the community, or at least the sense of, seems to be declining. Surely the fact that some of these things are ever finding a way to digital media should be cause for celebration, not a source for petty squabbling or ridiculous territorial behaviour.
What say you?