Thursday, February 7

Charles Band single-handedly destroys the Wizard Video VHS catalog

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UPDATE: Apparently there's been some question over the authenticity of these newly found "original" big boxes, eagle-eyed collectors have begun to notice logo and alignment discrepancies between the old boxes, we'll see... 

So Full Moon's Charles Band has found another cash generating scheme and unearthed a limited number of pristine, "lost" Wizard Video VHS big boxes stashed in some warehouse. Now they're slated for sale, at a ridiculous $50 a pop, for a timed release of over the next nine months at Wizard Video Collection.com with the first wave of four available for order right now.

The one caveat not made entirely clear from the website is the fact that the video cassettes and clamshell cases aren't original. Band only discovered original flattened boxes and adverts and then ran off reproduction tapes and clams for these releases. This only became clear when Band himself clarified this on Facebook's Horror VHS Collector's Unite group:

"Hi everyone – a little history: when we were planning to let people know about this discovery we weren’t really sure what to do with all these flattened original VHS boxes. No tapes/no clamshells. So we reached out to a few superfan collectors that I’ve met over the years and sent over several samples as a gift and to get their advice. They loved the boxes and sell sheets! And they recommended creating new VHS tapes and putting them inside clamshells and then into these original big boxes. FYI – Regarding printing - It was a real wild west back in the early 80’s - there were several print runs done in the states and even in Italy. We have no idea of knowing which print run(s) these boxes came from. But make no mistake… the VHS tapes and clamshells are new but the boxes are original. And we were also advised that $50 was a fair price for this little piece of home video history."

I can hear it now. Oh Jayson, you're just upset because you spent a lot for Wizard's big boxes on eBay! No, actually I bought most of the ones I've owned for nothing at flea markets. I don't purposefully collect Wizards because the majority of their big boxes really aren't that hard-to-find in the arena of VHS collecting. Sure, copies in stunning shape are scarce, but generally their BBs appear on eBay to only skyrocket to batshit crazy prices. Eventually, like a few days or weeks later, another copy in similar condition is listed and the cycle begins again. One of the priciest relatively common labels in all of VHS hoarding.

What I don't like is how this will ruin the collector's market of Wizard Video releases for quite sometime. These releases destroy the resell value and muddy the waters concerning the scarcity of near mint/mint "original" releases. Simply swap out one of these new boxes with an original tape from even a cut up Wizard big box and that's that. No thrill of the hunt, patience, or even aura of finding something that was once special. Hundreds of mint original big boxes yours with the click of a button. Essentially fifty dollar bootleg Wizards in original cardboard with certain films being released under questionable legality (Band still has the licenses for all these?). Bullshit. Yeah, and thanks for the shitty "Full Moon Grindhouse Collection" DVD series featuring horrendously encoded VHS rips...

Just another form of raping the memories of longtime collectors for profit much like all these new indie distributors riding the hipster trend of VHS collecting. Strike while the iron's hot I guess. Well, at least they'll probably a lot of people blowing their cash on this trash. Less competition for what's truly scarce. This is one reason why I've largely grown to hate VHS's recent revival in popularity and as for Wizard Video, R.I.P.
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10 comments:

Jayson K said...

Just heard with shipping these are $59.50, hahaha...

Dymon Enlow said...

Thanks for the heads up.

Jayson K said...

No problem, I'm still upset to be honest. The place in video history these releases reside shouldn't be tampered with, especially in this way.

If Band had found both original overstock boxes and cassettes, I'd feel differently, despite that still killing the market for these. But making inevitably cheap reproduction tapes and then trying to pass them off at $59.50(!?!) just reeks of a cash grab on the gullible or lazy. I really don't see all these selling out at that price point.

There are bigger ripples that end up hurting the little niche VHS collecting possesses currently. Although I feel things have already gotten out of hand with the glut of new "limited" runs of mostly unknown cult flicks on tape that reach absolutely insane prices on eBay. When does the bubble burst and what happens after that?

Anthony1138 said...

I honestly just don't trust Band or that the boxes are "original". They might be original reproductions or originally printed by Band, but I just don't buy that they're 80's overstock. But maybe they are and just another way for Band to make a quick buck.

Speaking of making a quick buck, remember when the Puppet Master snapper case box sets went OOP years ago? Then Band "found" a case of them and sold them at $75 a pop? Great deal since they were going for $200+ on eBay, right? Until they showed up on the Full Moon online store, fully in stock and available for a fraction of that price during holiday sales. Hell, they're still available today, so clearly going OOP was a fabrication by Band to sell off some of his own stock for double or triple price on eBay until his online store was up and running to sell off the rest of the stock.

I have one question about the tapes... Wouldn't the signature and number on each box give away what they are to collectors? And if there really is a stigma around these boxes, why would they be valued by collectors at all? How would that affect the price of the real originals from back in the day?

Jayson K said...

Anthony, when I first heard about these releases on Facebook, I immediately thought of those OOP Puppet Master sets found "in a warehouse" for sale on Full Moon's site.

I've even heard some found little differences in the art between Band's "found" PM sets and the prior sets that were commanding crazy prices on eBay.

The thing about the signature on these big boxes is a little Goo Gone would wipe it right off. Swap the tapes out and then jerk-offs could throw it on eBay as "all original, mint!" and that could devalue the originals, at least for awhile, since there would be a question of trust, at least that would factor in if I were interested in purchasing one. Band also found some supposedly original Atari console Halloweens and Texas Chainsaw Massacres which can demand much higher prices than most Wizard VHS.

I haven't heard yet, but if it turns out that even the boxes are reproductions, then that'll concrete this mistrust on all near mint/mint Wizards regardless of origin and make Band a certified greedy assface.

Anthony1138 said...

I hadn't even thought of using goo gone to remove the signature. This is going to be interesting. To be honest, I'd love to dedicate a couple of shelves to these tapes, reproductions or not. But $50 a pop is way too much.

As for the Atari boxes... if he was able to somehow come up with cartridges to go in them, that would be really interesting.

Jayson K said...

Has anyone gotten any yet? I haven't heard of anyone receiving one despite the first batch being available since February 12th...

Brian Zuleger said...

While I appreciate your enthusiam for VHS collecting, I think you anger regarding these re-release big boxes are a little over-the-top and a tad cynical. It makes no sense that Band would have also found cases/tapes to go a long with the newly found boxes...as they usually had boxes printed up before hand and would then record the tapes to fullfill orders to video stores, etc accordingly.

As someone who works in the printing/packaging field, this is usually how the operation works.

However, I agree the price tag on these is a tad egregious, and maybe Band is perhaps trying to make a few bucks. But so what?... times are tough for niche film companies...they need to make money somehow...Whether it be Lloyd Kaufmann giving rights to his films for remakes/sequels or Charles Band exploiting a current collecting trend, then so be it. If anybody has the right to do it, its definitely Charlie ...as he was at the very forefront of bringing movies to our homes.

I just want to also say, I enjoy your reading your blog and will continue to do so.

Jayson K said...

Thanks for the compliment, but I never made the charge Band found old tapes to go along with new boxes.

And of course Band has the right to do this (although maybe not the actual rights to these titles), but I also have the right to call him on his greed and perhaps lies to make a buck. It's not like he doesn't have a history. Times must have been tough for him for decades.

Brian Zuleger said...

That's Capitalism my friend.

What I'm getting at is I'd much rather read posts pertaining to films/tapes you find/watch rather than this tirade on Charles Band and Wizard Vdeo.

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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