Full Metal Jackets: I, Pod

With Halloween just around the corner, you may have scary movies on your mind. That’s only natural at this time of year. Unfortunately, if you happen to be a metal case collector, most of the following batch of horror-themed Blu-ray SteelBooks won’t be released until after the holiday. Will you still be in the mood for a good scare at the end of the year or the beginning of the next?

‘Halloween’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: Oct. 21, 2013
Price: £14.25
Region code: B

This one is actually available now, but if you’re importing to the United States, I can’t guarantee that it will get here in time.

The SteelBook contains the same controversial 35th Anniversary Edition disc that was recently released on these shores. (Cinematographer Dean Cundey supervised the color transfer and claims that this is the way that ‘Halloween’ originally looked in theaters – or should have – but it’s significantly different than a previous DVD transfer that Cundey also approved.) Setting that issue aside, the SteelBook features the movie’s traditional poster art. It looks fine to me, but I think I would have preferred a new design.

That being said, the American release came packaged in a thin Digibook that holds the disc in a flimsy sleeve, and its artwork isn’t much better. A lot of fans weren’t too happy with that aspect, and may prefer the SteelBook for collectible purposes.

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1978)

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: Nov. 18, 2013
Price: £16.62
Region code: B

Jack Finney’s 1955 science fiction novel ‘The Body Snatchers’ has been adapted to film four times officially, and been ripped off countless more times. While Don Siegel’s 1956 version is the most famous (and often regarded as the best) of the movies, many fans consider Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake as at least its equal, if not superior.

The artwork here (based on a vintage poster) more evokes the 1950s than the 1970s, but it’s very creepy and I kind of dig it. It’s certainly an order of magnitude better than the hideous cover art on the domestic Blu-ray release. Ick.

‘Nosferatu’

Available at: Amazon UK
Release date: Nov. 18, 2013
Price: £20.27
Region code: B

If you want a classic horror movie, you can’t get much more classic than F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent vampire tale ‘Nosferatu’, an unofficial adaptation of the novel ‘Dracula’ that was almost lost to history due to a lawsuit from Bram Stoker’s estate. The film established many of the conventions that would be used in the cinematic vampire genre, and features a still-unnerving performance from star Max Schreck.

The hand-drawn design of this artwork is interesting. It’s almost childlike, and yet somehow fits the material. I like it.

‘Tenebrae’

Available at: Zavvi
Release date: Dec. 16, 2013
Price: £14.99
Region code: B

Like most of Dario Argento’s movies, his 1982 giallo slasher flick ‘Tenebrae’ is a case of style over coherency. But if you’re into his style, it has plenty to spare. The film was banned in the UK as a “Video Nasty” until 1999 due to its violence and gore, which will no doubt seem almost comically tame by modern standards.

The movie was previously released on Blu-ray in Europe with a crummy video transfer widely disparaged by fans. The SteelBook edition is said to contain a new remaster that’s much improved. I like the art design too.

At the time of this writing, I’m not aware of any plans for an American Blu-ray release of ‘Tenebrae’.

‘The Shining’

Available at: Zavvi
Release date: Feb. 10, 2014
Price: £14.99
Region code: Warner Bros. titles are almost always region-free

We talked about the greatness of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’ in a recent Roundtable post. What more needs to be said? The movie is a masterpiece of the genre.

I find the very simple front cover art, with nothing but the “REDRUM” door pictured, intriguing in its minimalism. The back and inside have the type of images more commonly associated with the movie. I think it works.

8 comments

  1. Damn you josh, you got me hooked on these things. Gonna end up costing me a bundle.

    I have picked up Tron, Time Bandits and the Little Mermaid, Plus a bunch of the Universal ones with the Comic inspired covers for quite a few movies.

    I really enjoy these as they are the only real way to end up with the original Poster artwork.

    • Ha, funny, I’m in the same situation. Ever since Josh started these posts, he has got me hooked on Steelbooks. Prior to August, I only owned two (Death Proof HD DVD and The Dark Knight), but I’ve received 5 new Zavvi discs in the mail over the course of September and October.

      • William Henley

        Same here – I just got my first discs in from Zavvi, and am hooked. Thank goodness that Zavvi usually has great sales. It’s expensive to get on release date, but just wait a couple of months and you will get some great deals – unless it’s a Disney movie. Just got in Ben Hur and Ted, which I paid GBP9 each for, and Team America is in the mail. Not sure how much I paid for Team America, but there wasn’t a US release, and I love that movie anyways.

        So three steelbooks in the past two weeks. I haven’t checked to see if they all work in my PS3 yet, but I checked DVDWorldUSA.com and two of the titles were listed as being Region Free (the third is not on there yet).

        The biggest annoyance is the shipping time. I know, I am ordering international, but was pondering something the other day when Ted came in – it says it was shipped airmail – why did it take two weeks to get here? Must be the slowest airplane in history! I can order stuff from China, they put it on a cargo ship and I get it in two weeks. I know that Zavvi and Amazon.co.uk doesn’t have any control over that, but, come on Royal Mail, REALLY?

        Hey, I don’t know how much trouble this would be, but I got a great idea for an addition to the site (you may already have this in the forums, but it would be great if it was actually a site feature). It would be great if there was an Imported Titles area on the site, and users could go in and confirm features, language tracks, and, mainly, region codings (and if they checked the disc for any problematic PAL encodings). Maybe even a user-ratings and scoring system (similar to what the rival site does, but users can add titles that are not already in the database). Also there needs to be an option to select edition and store purchased from (ie Amazon exclusive / Zavvi Steelbook exclusive, etc). Also, if title includes a DVD, please include an area that you can list the region-coding on the DVD and if it is in PAL. There are many times that I have wanted to purchase movies internationally, but have hesitated on many occasions waiting for confirmation if a title is region-free.

        Anyways, yeah JZ, you got me hooked too.

  2. Timcharger

    Steelbook, Inc or zavvi should be sending some royalty checks to HDD and Josh, or be advertisers here.

    Actually, strike that; that might lead to other problems. The advertising part is fair.

    My addiction to collecting HD media has been fueled by these posts. Made my first zavvi Steelbooks purchase last month.

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