This week the original 1978 Inglorious Bastards (Optimum ●●●●), the ‘men on a mission’ movie which Quentin Tarantino has cheerfully revised (and misspelled) for his forthcoming Brad Pitt release, is re-released. As well as some top notch combat scenes and rousing performances from Bo Svenson, Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson and Ian Bannen, the DVD’s desirability is further enhanced by an impressively cheap price of £2.99 (via Play.com), a price far easier to pay than for the three-disk US import, which costs nearly ten times as much.
Such stripped-down, no frills ‘vanilla format’ DVD releases, marketed at aggressively low prices is one way for film distributors to ensure that the DVD buying habit shouldn’t be affected by the credit crunch, with HMV offering boxed sets of staples like Rocky (Fox ●●●●), Pirates of the Caribbean (Buena Vista ●●), Planet of the Apes (Fox ●●●●) and Die Hard (Fox ●●●●), but also film-buff favourites such as Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy (MGM ●●●●) or a nine film Powell and Pressburger anthology (Granada Ventures ●●●●●) including I Know Where I’m Going (all of the above under a tenner at HMV.com).
The days of forking out £20 for a new release are long gone, and even a trip to the supermarket for a bag of sprouts could easily lead to a good night in, with chain-stores like Asda offering decent fare like Watchmen (Paramount ●●●●) or Let The Right One In (Momentum ●●●●) (pictured) for £10 to £13. Even Borders have plenty of low-priced cult items, with Linsday Anderson’s O Lucky Man! (Warner ●●●●●), Alex Cox’s Repo Man (UCA ●●●●) and Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude (MGM ●●●●●) all costing about the same as you’d pay for a cinema ticket.
With growing studio awareness that cult successes like Donnie Darko (In2Film ●●●●) found their largest and most appreciative audience on DVD, despite the ongoing recession, DVD watchers have never had it so good. Staying in is the new going out, for now.