Half Price Books is a significantly-sized chain of physical media buy/sell/trades, located primarily throughout the Midwest and Texas. I had never been to one until I moved to Ohio, but they have quickly become go-to spots for my DVD hunting here.
Though their selection is primarily books, all of the locations I have been to have also had significant stocks of DVDs, and every visit has yielded something interesting.
In keeping with the name, the prices are pretty great: I’ve rarely spent over $5 on any one DVD (usually in the $2 – $3 range). Additionally, I’ve found a lot of movies I haven’t found anywhere else before: everything from Lucio Fulci movies to shitty Saturn Productions kung fu flicks to a special edition of the razzie-nominated “Supergirl.”
This time around, I wound up with a handful of interesting / cheap finds. First up:
Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series
This isn’t the sort of thing that I would normally pick up. In fact, I left a couple of Mario Bros. animated show DVDs on the shelf the last time I was in the store. However, I actually remember watching bits of this show way back when I was a kid, and I figured the nostalgia of blasting through these would be worth a couple of bucks.
I don’t actually remember if this was any good as a cartoon or not. I seem to recall some later incarnations, but I don’t recall if they were better or worse than this original one. Aren’t chili dogs involved somehow?
“Slither” is almost the perfect median between the James Gunn who created “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the James Gunn who interned with Troma and wrote “Tromeo and Juliet” for peanuts. You can tell that he has some real skill here, but “Slither” still has a lot of those Troma-tic, cheesy body horror roots. Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker are both really awesome in this thing, and it still stands as maybe my favorite James Gunn movie so far. Somehow, I had never picked a copy of this up: $3 is a good enough price for me.
Oh boy, it is another Saturn Production DVD! These are almost always horrible kung-fu movies, and I suspect this one won’t be an exception. It has ratings from a whopping 12 users on IMDb, so I am guessing this isn’t exactly a well-known feature. Here’s hoping there is some entertainment value to be had from this one: the last Saturn Production I watched was Godfrey Ho’s “Dragon Against Vampire,” which was (to the shock of no one) fucking atrocious and complete nonsense.
I am a little disappointed that the synopsis of “Dragon Force Operation” doesn’t feature martial arts trained surgeons, but I am not giving up hope yet.
I’ve actually been looking for a copy of this for a while. The original “Willard” is one of those films that I have always heard of, but never seen. I recently caught a trailer for it before a Fritz the Nite Owl screening, and it reignited my interest in digging up a copy. I had actually completely forgotten about this2003 remake until one of the Video Central clerks mentioned it. I think Crispin Glover is a pretty impressive and intense actor who has the ability to shine in otherwise poor movies, so I’m looking forward to checking this one out. The original is on YouTube, but I’m keeping my eyes open for a physical copy of it as well.
This one initially caught my eye because it looks, at first glance, to be a typical low-budget sci-fi flick. However, after reading the blurb, it is looking like it has real potential for a (God)Awful Movies review: it is apparently about a time-traveling Bible professor from 1890 who is shocked by the secularization that he sees the present day (and, y’know, just kids these days in general).
After doing a little research, it turns out that this movie only has at most two degrees of separation from the abysmal “Escape From Hell,” which has me super-excited to check it out on top of everything else. Also, the director’s most recent film is a rip-off of “God’s Not Dead.” Again: this guy made a worse version of “God’s Not Dead.”