Blu Ray CollectorI’m a blu ray collector. I’ve been a collector of some description for as long as I can remember. Comic books, sticker albums, books, that’s where it began. Way back in the early 1980s as a child I always kept things I bought that many felt were “throwaway”. And as I got older, I started to collect VHS tapes. Especially horror films. If I wasn’t in my local HMV or Virgin Megastore branch on a Saturday, then I would be found at my local flea market on a Wednesday. Or the 2nd hand video shop nearby. I’d buy ex-rental tapes from my local rental store. At one point, I probably had over 100 tapes precariously stacked up in my bedroom. I’d have had more if I had the space.

The arrival of DVD changed my focus. I eventually got rid of almost all my VHS tapes, and replaced them with DVDs instead. All told, over the decade between buying my first DVD player, and my first Blu Ray player, I probably owned and traded over 2000 discs. And I went looking for the best editions of films I could find. This often meant importing from the US in the early days. I still have my Region 1 discs of Evil Dead 2, Natural Born Killers, Man On The Moon, and a few others.

Eventually, many of the films I wanted to import began showing up in nice special editions here in the UK, so my imports got fewer and further between. Labels such as Anchor Bay opened UK divisions. And companies such as Arrow Video sprang up to fill a more niche market. Sure, sometimes you still needed to go the import route to get the best versions of specific films, but it all got a lot easier.

Then came Blu Ray. Oh, how I love Blu Ray. Incredible image quality, superlative sound, and all in a small package that manages to take up less room than a DVD case usually. So that is what I collect now. Sure, streaming is more convenient most of the time, but nothing beats a good old bit of physical media. The feel of the case, the smell when you open a new one. The act of loading the disc into the player. It evokes a nostalgia for the VHS days, with the actions being largely the same. Plus, I still feel that most physical discs have superior image quality to their streamed counterparts.

Now, when it comes to being a blu ray collector, I’m becoming increasingly picky as I get older. I tend to only but films from certain labels these days, as I know they are generally a mark of quality. Arrow Video. 88 FIlms. 101. Eureka!. Second Sight. Scream Factory. Synapse Films. These are labels that treat their releases with respect. They are run by film fans, for film fans. They produce editions of films that are far better than some of the titles deserve. Hell, Arrow have even managed to get films into the UK market totally uncut that many thought would never see the light of day over here (such as the works of Jorg Buttgereit). And I love them for it.

Recently, I took the very belated plunge into importing blu ray discs. I finally got my PC to play nice and read none Region B discs, which opened up the catalogue of Scream Factory for me. Now, there are plenty of films on Scream Factory that have been released in the UK by the likes of Arrow, etc, byte there are still some that haven’t. There are some, like their excellent Friday The 13th box set, that almost certainly never will. And their are some titles that have different extra features. Or even use a different print (Return Of The Living Dead, I’m looking at you).

Frankly, it’s a great time to be a blu ray collector. As the physical media market shrinks, these specialist labels are increasingly important. They are showing that there is still a market for top quality physical products to studios. And this is giving us collectors some truly great sets to purchase.

I’m a blu ray collector. And I’m damn proud of it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.