We movie collectors can be an obsessive bunch who often feel compelled to rebuy new copies of films we already own in order to upgrade to a new format, benefit from a slightly-improved video transfer or obtain some new supplemental feature we hadn’t seen before. In this week’s Roundtable, it’s time to confess (or boast) about the movies we can’t stop ourselves from buying again and again.
For me, this is an easy one. I own multiple copies of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World‘. I’ve purchased versions from different regions, SteelBooks, regular editions, etc. Why? Because I love ‘Scott Pilgrim’ beyond all reason and want as much of it as I can get my grubby hands on. I also have all the comics (two copies of the last volume, one signed by Bryan O’Malley), an original page of artwork from the comic (also signed by O’Malley), the videogame, merchandise, shirts, you name it. I had a keychain too, but the image wore off.
Like many (I assume), the original ‘Star Wars‘ and its two sequels (‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’) are the movies I’ve bought the most times on home video. My first copies weren’t on VHS, but rather on CED, the old RCA-created format that was a precursor to Laserdisc. [Ed: Actually, CED didn’t debut until 1981, while Laserdisc goes back to 1978. -JZ] Laserdisc was the second format I bought the trilogy in, and I still own those letterboxed, unaltered versions. Next up for me were the VHS releases of the Special Editions, followed a few years down the road by DVD. I actually bought the re-released DVDs of the original trilogy too – since those contained (very poor) copies of the unaltered versions as extras on the discs. Finally, I picked up ‘Star Wars: The Complete Saga’ when it hit Blu-ray, marking the fifth time I’ve purchased some version of the original trilogy on home video. George Lucas may not have raped my childhood, but he’s certainly raped by wallet over the past few decades.
I’m sure that I’m not alone on this one. The movies I’ve bought the most are the ‘Star Wars‘ franchise. I own this series on VHS, the “Definitive Collection” on Laserdisc, the Special Editions on Laserdisc, multiple versions on DVD, and ‘Star Wars: The Complete Saga’ on Blu-ray. You win, George. You win.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
If only I’d picked up ‘Predator‘ on VHS…! I’ve owned the movie on just about every other format out there. It was my most endlessly rewatched Laserdisc. I had the two-disc special edition DVD set, and I’m the not-so-proud owner of both of the Blu-ray discs that Fox has churned out so far. I guess I’ll have a third copy on Blu-ray once the shiny new 4K-sourced version comes out in a few months.
‘Army of Darkness‘ is right up there too. I’ve owned both the theatrical and “Bootleg” editions that Anchor Bay put out on DVD, I was first in line when Universal put it out on HD DVD, and now I have the theatrical cut on Blu-ray too.
I have purchased every version of each of the ‘Evil Dead‘ movies from VHS through to their current Blu-rays. I even have several of them signed by Bruce “Man-God” Campbell. I have the infamous Bootleg copy of ‘Army of Darkness’, the double-disc Director’s Cut, and the Conan cover version. Not to mention the “Book of the Dead” versions with the rubber skin covers, the Ultimate Edition 3-disc DVD set, the two Blu-ray versions of part II, and of course the big tin box set of part II as well. Hell, I even owned the HD DVD version of ‘Army of Darkness’. I would say that, in total, I’ve owned these three films at least 17 times over, and I plan to buy future versions and re-releases whenever they come out. I just hope that Bruce adds another commentary. GROOVY!
For me, it’s the original ‘Clash of the Titans‘. This was actually the very first movie my family owned on VHS. Then I bought it again when it eventually came out on DVD, and now my go-to copy is the Blu-ray Digibook. I’m just a sucker for this film, and would probably buy it again if a 4k release (or an Ultimate Collector’s Edition with live Kraken!) ever surfaced.
M. Enois Duarte
Next to ‘Blade Runner’, which I have various copies of, I think the movie I’ve probably collected the most is George A Romero’s original zombie classic ‘Dawn of the Dead‘. Starting with my two VHS copies — one with the theatrical cut and the other an anniversary director’s cut — I’ve owned this particular film in several variations because it has a history of being edited in various countries due to different censorship laws.
I also purchased two Laserdiscs – again, a Director’s Cut, followed a beautiful black box set with a copy of the original script, called the “Collector’s Edition.” On DVD, I have the Anniversary Edition, the Collector’s Edition and the Special DiviMax Edition.
My favorite edition is the attractive black box with three different versions of the movie, including the European cut made by Dario Argento, dubbed the “Ultimate Edition.” To top it all off, I also own the German “Red Edition” DVD with the Langfassung cut, which was reportedly edited slightly differently than Argento’s version. Finally, jumping into Blu-ray, I’ve purchased every release thus far, including a lovely edition from Arrow Video, which is a nice match to the previous “Ultimate Edition.” So, this is the one movie I’ve collected the most over the years, followed closely by ‘Blade Runner’, the ‘Evil Dead’ series and ‘Day of the Dead’. Ain’t this hobby grand!
Naturally, the answer would be ‘Blade Runner’, without contest. That said, the second most owned for me has to be ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail‘. That’s mainly because the movie is both a classic and the height of hilarity, but also because I triple-dipped the DVD versions. I think I got all three in in a two year period starting with the vanilla release. Of course, despite my efforts to obtain the Collector’s Edition with the film cell and paperback script, more versions followed. Thus, I realized that companies like Anchor Bay and Artisan (and even Sony) had some experience reboxing from the VHS days and had no problem putting out a new version every year just so long as suckers like me kept buying.
These days, with Laserdisc, VHS and even HD DVD in my rear view mirror, doing something like buying ‘The Hobbit’ on Blu-ray, and then buying the Extended version, and then buying the box set or 3D version, really isn’t in the cards. I’d much rather read-up on High-Def Digest and avoid such a mess.
Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)
Coming in only behind ‘Star Wars’ (VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray), my next most purchased title would be ‘Blade Runner‘, one of my all-time favorite films. After seeing it in the theater in 1982 (at least twice), I eagerly awaited its arrival on VHS tape and snapped that up when it came out. After just about wearing that out, I purchased it again on the Criterion Collection Laserdisc. I loved viewing the Syd Mead concept art photos that were each presented as still frames on the CAV copy. I also purchased the Director’s Cut on Laserdisc, but wasn’t as impressed with it. (I actually like the voiceover.)
I bought the Director’s Cut version again on DVD, but never even broke the shrink wrap. I even somehow got a VHS bootleg of a workprint of the film that had been making the art house cinema rounds for a while. Horrible quality, but it had its moments. When the movie came back to theaters in its Final Cut version, I was all over that, and happily plunked down the cash for the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” boxed set on Blu-ray. I was so happy that this movie got the deluxe treatment it deserved. I use the intro scene with the eye and the smokestacks venting flame into the polluted night sky as a reference scene when I review TVs and projectors. This scene really tests a display’s ability to reproduce black levels, but also presents the starkly contrasting white text of the intro, as well as bright flames against that pitch black background.
It will come as no shock to regular readers of this blog that I’m obsessed with David Lynch’s misunderstood sci-fi epic ‘Dune‘. Yes, the banner image above this post is a small portion of my own personal collection. At present count, I own 35 unique copies of the film. That breaks down as: 2 VHS (one pan & scan, one letterboxed), 1 Betamax, 1 CED, 1 VHD (bet you never even heard of this format), 1 VCD, 6 Laserdiscs, 13 DVDs, 1 UMD, 1 HD DVD and 8 Blu-rays. (Germans apparently love this movie. It’s been reissued in that country more times than any other.) Of the Blu-rays, one contains a 3D conversion of the movie in crappy anaglyph format and another contains a slightly-less-crappy version in full 3D. I also have a copy of the movie’s trailer on 35mm film.
That’s to say nothing of the vast quantities of other merchandise and memorabilia from the film that occupy a shrine along one wall of my home theater.
I also have 8 Laserdisc copies of ‘Blade Runner‘ that I collected for their cover artwork, a couple DVDs, the HD DVD box set that came in a plastic briefcase and the Blu-ray in a Steelbook case. Strangely, I haven’t bought the Digibook Blu-ray yet. I probably need to do that.
What movies have you found yourself buying multiple copies of? Tell us about your collections in the Comments below.