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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ugly Blu Mess

No, not the films--some are actually quite brilliant. I'm talking about the hideous covers chosen for the Blu Ray releases.

I'm often curious about the instinct or inclination that goes into making these choices. Is it as simple as the original art being unavailable for some reason? Are they hoping to differentiate it from the packaging from older formats? Maybe they're trying to capitalize on some trend or other (Twilight-fever seems to have inspired the Near Dark cover).

Besides being ugly, many of these covers often offer something the movie frankly isn't selling. They promise something either cheap, silly, or compromised. They say, "hey, this movie's not so great but it's cheap--give it a try!" 

Compare it to the original art used for either the DVD release or the theatrical posters and you'll find some prime art going unused.

Look at that Return of the Living Dead (1985) poster - say what you will but it's a distinctive image. Not like the slime green mess used for the Blu Ray (which is actually a pretty stacked, excellent disc, by the way). Looking at my copy of the disc I wish Fox had shipped the movie with a reversible cover.

Ditto, the Night of the Creeps poster, which I think was the art used for the video advertisements for the movie back in the day. 

Finally, I find the Near Dark image to be the worst offender, pandering as it does to the Twilight audience. Not necessarily because I have anything against the franchise, but because it's pushing a soft, feminine vibe that's really only a small part of the movie. It's actually a pretty gory outlaw vampire movie. I'd have to imagine the audience that picks it up based on the art would feel like a bait and switch had been pulled on them.

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