For a release to be truly ‘special’ it has also to be ‘limited’
9,972Special Edition. Collector’s Edition. Special Collector’s Edition. Limited Special Collector’s Edition. What do these all have in common? They are overused statements when it comes to Blu-ray releases.
It seems adding one of the above tags to a release will guarantee it a good sale, but the tide is turning and the public have been burned too many times (looking at you, Lucas) so that for a release to be truly ‘special’ it has also to be ‘limited’. There are labels (Twilight Time for example) that have limited releases of discs, but that is due to licencing issues and not to create specific editions, and Steelbooks, by their very nature could be deemed limited (as indeed are some Criterion releases as they run out), but all are not created to make a ‘special limited edition’ per say. What we are concerning ourselves with here are specially crafted releases of limited numbers, and as such are normally of greater expense they the ordinary releases and have a greater value both monetary and nostalgic.
We are looking at ten genuinely limited releases that have hit the shelves in 2014. There is no specific order from best to worst in the list; rather it looks at what makes a release limited and thus better value.
10 - Nightbreed Director’s Cut Limited Edition
Somewhat controversial, and we shall see why soon. In 1990 Clive Barker was riding high on the back of his successful literary career and his first move into cinema with Hellraiser. He was then given another directorship to helm Nightbreed, a supernatural story about otherworldly beings living on the cusp of reality who are ultimately persecuted by humans in what is Barker’s modus operandi. However, the studio were not convinced and took the film, re-editing it into something it was clearly never meant to be; it took twenty five years, but Barker’s original vision has finally been seen. Controversial yes, but not what we were alluding to in the opening sentence. When originally announced, this limited edition was going to have a run for just 5000 copies, now it turns out there are a run of 10000 – each numbered, yes, but significantly devaluing those that bought at the inflated purchase price!
So what’s in the box? Three blu-rays (Director’s cut, theatrical cut, special features) a book and cardboard slipcase to house it all in, plus a poster if you ordered early enough.
Where and How much? US Region A release, sold out from Scream Factory, but available from Amazon.com at around $80.
9 - Space: 1999 - The Bringers of Wonder Special Edition
In the countdown to the release of the complete second series, this disc (of a limited run of 1999! copies) contains the only two-parter of the entire series run and goes someway to showing the advances in clean up that have been made even since the release of the first season in 2010 (can you believe that!) as well as a terrific piece of advertising material. The second season was well known for its vamped up titles, reliance on monsters and a faster, more ‘dramatic’ pace from producer Freddy Freiberger – the madman who killed off the Star Trek franchise! Notable for the introduction of Maya as the shape-shifting alien who became a huge hit within the show. Notwithstanding the season had lost the majesty that the first contained and catered for a much lower common denominator; it does sit uncomfortably alongside what is undoubtedly a superior first season – however, it has its fans and this release goes to show that.
What’s in the box? The episodes and exclusive extra content only.
Where and How much? UK Region B release, available only from Networkonair.com for only £13.
8 - Vincent Price in Six Gothic Tales
Arrow are well known for packing their ‘normal’ editions full of extra features, and indeed putting six already available films together in one package isn’t that special either, what makes this one stand out, apart from newly recorded commentaries and featurettes, is the addition of a 200 page sumptuous book that is limited to just 2000 copies. Price is extremely well known for his filming output, and this set brings together six films that were made for Roger Corman under the Edger Alan Poe guise. Gothic tales is an apt title for in this set you get: Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror, The Raven, The Haunted Palace and The Tomb of Ligeia with all their respective extras for a full on release that, if you don’t already own the respective films, deserves a place on your shelf.
What’s in the box? Six films, newly recorded audio commentaries and featurettes and 200 page book.
Where and How much? UK Region B release, can be found on Amazon.co.uk for a little over £60.
7 - Necromantic: Director-Approved Limited Edition
This late eighties German shocker is not to everyone’s taste, but has managed to forge its way into cultdom and this release, again from Arrow, goes to show that no matter how depraved a release might be it will always have its fans. Necromatic tells of Rob Schmadtke, whose job of clearing up bodies after grisly accidents means he can indulge himself in his hobby – the collection of body parts. When he brings home a full corpse, however, there forms a sick ‘love’ triangle between him, the corpse and his girlfriend, whose outcome showcases some of the most depraved scenes ever put on film. Filmed to shock, it amazingly spawned a sequel with equally sick results.
What’s in the Box? Blu-ray, DVD and CD, newly recorded extra features and 100 page book – contains individually numbered certificate of only 3000 made.
Where and How much? UK Region B release, can be found on Amazon.co.uk for around £23.
6 - Possession Limited Edition
Another eighties ‘shocker’ (kind of), this time from the early eighties. It was made by Andrzej Żuławski in Berlin while in exile from Poland and during a messy divorce; it’s best described as peculiar. The story, such as it is, centres around three individuals, Mark (a spy), his wife, Anna (actress Isabelle Adjani won best actress at Cannes) and her lover Heinrich, as well as supernatural elements, thriller elements, dramatic elements and sci-fi elements that all together form a not too coherent narrative that encompasses love, possession and loss. Censored on its initial release and struggling to find an initial audience due to the off-beat themes and filming style, the film has, over time, become very highly regarded, both critically and commercially and this edition goes someway to show that. Again, not to everyone’s taste, this time due to its filmic nature rather than any shocking elements contained therein; notable for Adjani’s subway scene that shows such intensity that you think she is going to burst!
What’s in the box? Blu-ray, CD, 84 page book, lobby cards, art cards, numbered certificate of only 2000 made.
Where and How much? US Region A release, only on toufaan.com and mondo-vision.com for $65.
5 - StageFright Limited Edition
This release of StageFright is notable for not only being limited to 3000 copies, but is the first time it has been made available uncut anywhere in the world. This Italian thriller brought by Michele Soavi treads a familiar path, that of a group trapped people where one is a killer; this time it is actors on a stage being menaced by an owl headed fiend hell bent on slicing them all up. Filled with outrageous deaths and equally outrageous dialogue, typical of this Italian genre, Soavi still manages to inject a good deal of originality as well as some spectacular set pieces. Also notable is the wild overpowering but evocative score from Simon Boswell showing clearly where Soave drew his inspiration. The set has plenty of extra features and is probably limited due to licensing rights rather than packed to the gills features like the rest on this list.
What’s in the Box? Just the uncut Blu-ray with its included extras.
Where and How much? UK Region B release, available on amazon.co.uk for £23.
4 - Suspiria Limited Collector’s Edition
Dario Argento’s quintessential horror, much copied but never bettered is a true tour de force for the senses, battering you into submission within the first ten minutes! Has had plenty of ‘special edition’ releases, but this one, hailing from Germany, has the most faithful representation yet, as well as a host of extra features (unfortunately in German). The story takes second place to the visual flair, but it tells of American dancer Suzy attending the world renowned ballet school only to find murder, intrigue and a witch’s coven hiding in the basement. Argento at his creative peak forever changed the film grammar for horror films with Suspiria, it was wild, it was outrageous but above all it was and remains thoroughly nerve shattering in its pure and unadulterated terror. Unfortunately he never managed to scale such lofty heights again.
What’s in the Box? Blu-ray, DVDs, CD and 52 page glossy booklet.
Where and How much? German Region B release from amazon.de €46.
3 - Withnail and I Limited Edition
Perhaps the most quotable film of all time and made an instant star of Richard E Grant. Telling the semi-autobiographical tale of two actors struggling to find work who embark on a holiday ‘by mistake’ and recounts their adventures therein, made for an incredibly funny film. Director Bruce Robinson poured everything into the making of the piece and found, within the actors, a kindred spirit and managed, in a low budget independent offering, to bottle lightning. Equal parts comedy, pathos, tragedy and drama, Withnail stands alone amongst its peers and still manages to split audiences with vulgarity and profanity, yet be tremendously heartfelt as well. It’s been on Blu-ray for years, always in a grubby print and this limited edition attempts to readdress this with a new 2K re-mastering and a bucket load of extras to boot.
What’s in the box? Blu-ray and DVD of the film, Blu-ray and DVD of How to get Ahead in Advertising and Hardback book packaging with 200 pages of writings.
Where and How much? UK Region B release, found on amazon.co.uk for £400!
2 - Halloween: Complete Collection Limited Deluxe Edition
What a set this is. Halloween, the original film by John Carpenter, needs no introduction; a seminal piece that kick-started a genre and spawned a whole franchise of offerings, as well as remakes and reboots. And for the first time, this set brings everything Halloween related together in one set, that’s fifteen discs with more extras that you can name. The antagonist, Michael Myers ,will never lie down and die, and this set proves it. No less than 16 Halloween films (that includes TV edits, unrated edits and a producer cut exclusive to this set) each with their own extras and a fifteenth disc dedicated to extra features. There is a 10 disc version of this set available, but it is the 15 disc deluxe that is the limited one.
What’s in the box? 15 discs, every Halloween film including TV, unrated and producer cuts of the films, exclusive extra content, 40 page book and new artwork for the collectable box.
Where and How much? US Region A release, Shout Factory still have it at $135, but amazon.com show $80!
1 - Supermarionation Box Set
A lot has been said and written about Gerry Anderson and most of it can be found in this box set. The creative genius behind such titans of TV as Thunderbirds, Joe 90, UFO and Space 1999, amongst others, is deserving of his own set, and this is a set to beat all sets. Boasting two Blu-rays containing all new interview and documentary material as well as re-mastered episodes from every Supermarionation series this is simply an Anderson fan’s wet dream.Not enough? Well how about an updated book with exclusive slip case, a newly commissioned TV21 comic book and exclusive postcards? Still not enough? How about 2 additional Blu-rays containing key episodes from all the Supermarionarion series’. And all packaged in together in a deluxe set that is limited to 2500 copies. Yes we know we opened this article saying there is no order, but if we had to pick just one, then this would be it.
What’s in the box? 4 Blu-rays, updated book, newly commissioned comic book, postcards.
Where and How much? UK Region B release, only from networkonair.com for £100.
So there you have it, ten genuinely limited editions released in 2014. Which ones do you have?
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