A few years ago there was a big announcement by Hollywood studios, and at the time it seemed like the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard: they were going to start releasing movies on video the same day the movies hit theaters. How the flying f*ck does that make any sense? No one is going to see a movie in theaters if they can get it on video the same day, right? This move was surely the end of movie theaters as we knew it and goddamn if the whole idea didn’t make me angry. Jump forward a few years where this plan of action is executed on a regular basis and where are we at? I’ll tell you where: the height of a horror fan’s wet dream, that’s where.
Movies aren’t released on DVD the same day as theaters, but rather through Video On Demand (VOD) services like iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Xbox Video, Comcast, and so on and so forth. In theory, what seemed like an idea that was set out to destroy the movie-going experience ended up being the greatest thing to happen to horror fans since red-dyed corn syrup. With VOD, we now have the chance to check out new horror flicks sooner than ever before. I live in Seattle, so when movies debut in a “Limited Theatrical Release”, half the time they’re in one of the theaters in the city, and the other half they’re not—they’re only in New York or Los Angeles. And even when these Limited Releases did happen to come to town, it’d be for one weekend and only a handful of showtimes… they might as well of not had a release at all. Which was a bummer, especially if it was some flick on my radar.
But now we live in a whole new era—now, the same “Limited Release” movie also hits VOD the same day it’s released in theaters in NYC and LA. So not only can I check out all these new movies when they’re released, but… I can check them out from the comfort of my own living room! It’s f*cking crazy when you stop to think about it, and yet so totally awesome. And maybe the best thing about this VOD revolution is that it appears to be benefiting the horror fan more than anything else, as the majority of these early VOD releases are horror movies, making it so much easier to be a horror fan in a time where horror flicks don’t get nearly as much love as they used to.
I have a few rugrats running around at home, making it nearly impossible to get out to the theater as much as I used to (which was nearly every weekend). And yet, with the glory of VOD, I was able to check out flicks like PIRANHA 3DD and V/H/S before they were even released in theaters. Sure, PIRANAH 3DD was a pile of trash, but goddamn was V/H/S a good time—and one that I wouldn’t have had the chance to check out for months if it weren’t for VOD. And the great thing is, this VOD trend is only getting better and better, with more and more big horror releases coming out this way. In the last month, a horror fan has had the opportunity to check out THE ABCs OF DEATH, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA, THE BAY, GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2, WOULD YOU RATHER?, and SPIDERS 3D (among many others) in the comfort of their living rooms, whereas just a few years ago, all of these movies would just be available in theaters of 2-5 cities across the country (and more than likely, not the city you live in).
I’m a big fife for VOD, but I can see where the complaints come from… to a point. Some don’t like the price, as it can upwards of about $10 to rent one of these VOD titles. For a rental, you say? F*ck that. Until you think about the cost of theater ticket prices, which will likely run you closer to $12… a person! With VOD, you can invite 5 of your friends over to watch it and it still only costs $10. So the price isn’t that big of a deal. And then, of course, the dreaded fear of killing the theatrical experience. But as we’ve seen, big ticket theatrical movies still go to theaters, this is just for the smaller gems that would only get a “Limited Theatrical Release” in the first place. People still like going to the theater—hell, I love it when I can make it. But for the times when I can’t, VOD is a goddamn blessing.
Maybe it’s the booze talking, but Video On Demand is a goddamn wet dream for us horror fans. Whereas before we were limited to just a few theaters getting cool flicks like V/H/S or THE ABCs OF DEATH early, now we all have the opportunity to check them out, without needing to seek out which city near us it’s playing. It’s playing in our freaking living rooms, yo! And there are so many damn options out there as to where you get your VOD that there’s really no excuse. You have the internet? Then you have VOD and a constant stream of super-new release horror flicks at your finger tips… and that’s cool as hell. So kick back a rack of High Life and check out WOULD YOU RATHER or SPIDERS or THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA (which is apparently better than its title) now before the DVD… what do you have to lose?