As a horror fan and collector, one of the things I find utterly maddening is discovering that a title I’m dying to add to my collection is out of print and selling for a fortune. Rather than do the sane thing, and wait for the film to be re-issued, I usually cough up absolutely idiotic sums of money, because I am reckless, impatient, and highly impulsive. Since I am also thoughtful, I have compiled a guide to out of print titles (OOP), the going rate, and more. Included in the list below are ten films in various stages of manufacturing moratorium. Several of them are recently out of print, so we are providing you a ‘heads’ up to so that you have the opportunity to snag them before they become hideously expensive.
This 1991 film is commanding nearly $80 on Amazon for a brand new copy. I impetuously shelled out a hefty pile of dough for this one. Popcorn is far from a perfect film, but it gets bonus points for paying homage to B-rated monster movies of the 1950s and featuring a supporting performance from genre veteran Dee Wallace Stone. Popcorn was recently slated for the re-release treatment, and then just as quickly as the re-issue was announced, the distributor pulled out. News of a re-release through a different company soon followed, but to date, the film is still out of print.
The 1987 Stuart Gordon helmed flick, Dolls, has just recently gone out of print. It’s steadily been increasing in price, with a new copy fetching up to $27 on leading online resale sites. Dolls is one of my personal favorite Gordon films. The concept is very unique. And Dolls sets itself apart from a lot of other films of its kind with likable leads and a unique fantasy spin on the killer doll sub-genre. Dolls is somewhat of a modern fairy tale, with the moral of the story being ‘Don’t be a dick and you won’t get killed by satanic toys’.
Madman received a 30th anniversary re-release via Code Red Releasing, and just as quickly as it came back in to print, went out. This type of thing is not entirely uncommon for Code Red. Their OOP catalogue is considerably larger than most distributors. The re-released version brought fans higher quality picture and audio than past releases, and an anamorphic widescreen transfer of the film. The previous release was in widescreen format, but not anamorphic, which caused it to display poorly on 16:9 televisions.
I lucked out, in that I bought my copy of The Brood when it was still in print, so I paid next to nothing for it. This is classic David Cronenberg. He puts his signature bizarre twist on the killer kid sub-genre in this highly enjoyable flick. Since The Brood hasn’t been out of print for an excessively long time, it can still be picked up for a lot less than films that have been OOP long term; it currently going for around $36 new, on Amazon. You can see more on The Brood in our picks for Essential ‘70s Horror Films.
Scanners was in print at the time that I purchased it, about a year ago. But, has recently gone OOP and is currently fetching up to $30 for a new copy via Amazon. Scanners is worth picking up while you can still get a used copy for around $10. Unless this David Cronenberg gem scores a re-issue, it will be commanding a king’s ransom on auction sites, before long.
Fright Night II
I personally got hosed on this title. I picked up a used copy of Fright Night II online and received a homemade bootleg. While the original film is readily available on DVD and has been reimagined in a critically panned remake, the sequel cant even get a proper widescreen DVD release. The OOP version of the film is presented in full screen format, with poor audio and picture quality. A copy of Fright Night II, containing the awesome special feature that is ‘interactive menus’ will run you nearly $100 on leading auction sites. Considering that the movie pales in comparison to its predecessor, the smart thing to do would be to wait for a re-issue.
Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit (Films I-III)
I bought the Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit at Best Buy about ten years ago for $30. I was absolutely shocked to see that this out of print set is being sold for upwards of $150 through various online resellers. The Sleepaway Camp box set was released with two different sets of cover art. The first generation release had a red cross on the front. However, The Red Cross took issue with the similarity to their logo, thus leading to a second DVD box set release with re-designed cover art. The price difference between the two sets is negligible. The first Sleepaway Camp film is an epic cult classic, but the second and third films are average B-movie sequels, at best. The first film in the series can be picked up new for around $35. Though, the sequels are worth owning for the completist, I would suggest waiting for a distributor to issue a re-release, rather than forking over a small fortune.
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
This 1970s classic horror flick is available as a digital download for $9.99, but OOP on DVD. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death will set you back about $30 for a new DVD and is probably worth picking up while it can still be had for a semi reasonable price. The film stars Barton Heyman, who two years later, went on to play Dr. Klein in The Exorcist.
Clownhouse is one of the most controversial horror films of the past 25 years, but the controversy has very little to do with the movie itself. The film’s director, Victor Salva, reportedly committed a sex crime involving a minor (who had a starring role in the film) during the production of Clownhouse. Many have speculated that the reason the film was pulled from shelves almost immediately after its release was in response to massive backlash regarding the controversy surrounding the film. A new copy of the US release will run you about $85 on Amazon.
This flick was originally made for television and stands as the hardest to find selection on our list. A new copy will cost you around $300. It’s hard to imagine why it’s so expensive, seeing as how both the critical and audience reaction to the film was extremely poor. Nightmares’ saving grace is its eclectic cast; it features performances from Emilio Estevez and Moon Unit Zappa. If you still own a VCR, a used VHS copy of the film can be had for under $20.
I would like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to my good friend Jimmy Squarejaw for lending his expertise and knowledge of rare and OOP titles to this piece and several others that I have contributed to FEARnet.