“Mine’s bigger than yours”: the willy wavers of home video collecting.

willy wavingWelcome, 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?

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6 replies

  1. Hi ..exactly!! I and my partner have colleges a handful of films ..we watch them ..they sit in a shelf ..some,like the mighty Robot Monster get verbally revisited often ..other folk ..of which I was trolled by sit on the web and basically sneer down their snouts and preen..really flipping lame.
    I do wish the breed would die out but short of them being put on the ‘Dangerous dickheads list’ of which they are banned from being unmuzzled on public forums..they sadly will go on..and on..on..sadly..on

  2. Sadly the Dangerous Dickheads Act doesn’t stop them from appearing in public forums and giving their views ..squatting like fetid tramps above a mouldy skin peeling toad stool..this breed of collector is a sham..a lame ass.. A wannabe loud noise maker who has the personality of a traffic accident..sadly they have the power of the Internet to brag about the size of those collection..sadly that’s the only thing they can brag about.

  3. Agree up to a point though given that I have a too many friends who sound like this I will not really say anything especially judgemental. I have wondered about the psychological aspects of this. Personally I am in it for watching the films and when I first discovered the online film community I was pretty excited to discover what I thought was like minded people. After seeing these vast collections of toys, dvds, video cassettes, posters, photos and so on I realised, sadly, tnat these were not people like me and it was not a community I was a part of- sure I have a stack of film books, but mine are well thumbed and as such have little money value now. My Blood and Black Lace fell apart and is held together with staples. I have a dvd collection- some of the films in it are pretty rare. Worthless too though as I threw away the cases to save space. For me its just the films- since I was a kid and my dad started taking me to the flicks aged 3, I have loved watching films. My first cinema viewing that I can remember was Enter The Dragon.

    Anyhow, this means I watch films on telly, on cassette, on dvd-r, off emule, torrents or wherever. I buy stuff, I swap stuff or whatever. I’ll buy from amazon or hmv. I even watch films on youtube. Currently I am working through archive.org public domain films- a wonderful journey that is.

    My point? Well as I said at the outset I recognise what you are talking about. How many times have I heard a cult film fan say something like “I need to see this”, or “need to get this”. My answer? “Enough! You do not need to see this film”. There are a lot of films out there. If you like films then just watch anything- thats how new gems get uncovered. Not by retreading the same titles every other fan does. As great as it is as a film, no-one needs to get a fifth copy of Suspiria just because this one has 3 extra seconds of Jessica staring out of a taxi window. Back in the day we just watched what was on telly or at the local flicks. The result? We watched loads of great stuff that gets overlooked these days will people octuple dip on City of the Living Dead or whatever.

  4. Firstly that was a nice article . For a long time I’ve wanted to read about other movie collectors. There are a few documentaries out there but thats it . However i do have to point out three things that not everyone is a willy waver lol,there are cheaper things to waste money collecting .And some people see movies as art. I have been collecting movies for years and there is thrill to finding something you have been looking for but for me it’s all centered around the movie . If there is an extended or alternate version of a movie im going to wnt to see it because i love movies . I dont think many people just go buying any old shit for the sake of it ,there hss to be some kind of intrest in the genre or the film itself. What im trying to sah is that some people are passionate about movies as others are passionate about music or art . It’s not the kind of hobby where you can just spend a lot of mony on some random film your not intrested in for the sake of it

    • Hey Lee,

      Thanks for your feedback, I am glad you dig the article. Yeah I agree not everyone is a willy waver, the focus here was on a small minority of collectors who seem to hang out on Social Media groups trying to be as annoying as possible. I think the main thing for these people is the actual obtaining and showing off that comes with it, rather than the film (which is what most film collectors are into). Hopefully I got that across in my original post. Thanks again for checking us out.

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