Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Walking Head

Behold this handsome and stylish packaging for Anchor Bay's upcoming blu ray release of The Walking Dead: Complete Season 2 Limited Edition!

This tasteful packaging, designed by McFarlane Toys (makers of Spawn action figures), would be a charming addition to any home decor.

To access the discs, one simply grasps the handy built-in screwdriver protruding from the elegant zombie head's eye socket and gently tilts it back, much like a giant Pez dispenser. Tres chic!

Whether you keep this exquisite simulated rotting head in your home theater or display it proudly on the mantel in the living room, your wife is guaranteed to love it!

There's lots more to see here. Read it by clicking below!

OK, it's time to go into Old Man Rant Mode again. I don't like this type of packaging. In fact I despise it. Really, really despise it.
The main reason I hate it so much is the incompatibility. I keep most of my DVDs, which are all of a uniform height and width, in a bookcase and they fit in it neat and tidy. What the hell am I supposed to do with something like that Walking Dead abomination? There's no way a damn 12" tall zombie head would fit on the shelf with the rest of my movies. I'd have to sit it on top of the bookcase or on the floor. Or more likely deep in the back of the closet, especially when I had company came over.

I know, I know, most of these special editions are extremely limited and you can usually buy the DVD in a normal box, but I still hate them. Why? Because it gives the people who design disc packaging ideas, that's why. Ideas that often seep into regular mainstream packaging.

Case in point: the Special Limited Edition of Total Recall. It came in a round metal tin that was supposed to look like the planet Mars. You know why making a round package is a bad idea? Because a round package is basically a wheel that rolls off your freakin' shelf every time you turn your back on it, that's why. Who thinks a round package is a good idea?

Another example: the first five seasons of The Simpsons on DVD came in normal, rectangular, human packaging. Starting with the Sixth Season though, some genius at Fox got the bright idea to place the discs in a plastic replica of various Simpson's character's heads. Never mind that this packaging didn't match the previous five boxes on your shelf, it was clever and designy! 

To add insult to injury, the flimsy plastic they used for the head was about the same quality and thickness of the average Halloween mask, making it extremely fragile and prone to breakage. It didn't help matters any that as soon as you picked the thing up, the discs would unexpectedly slide out the bottom and go crashing to the floor.

Luckily fans like me managed to whine loudly enough until they began releasing two versions of each subsequent season; one in a normal box and one stuffed inside in a cheap Halloween mask.

Even Star Trek isn't immune from this annoying packing trend. The Original Series was released on DVD a few years back and came in clunky, color-coded plastic cases that would only stand up if you carefully balanced them on the shelf and then daintily tiptoed out of the room, taking care not to create any disruptive air currents on your way out.

To access the discs inside, you had to grasp both sides of the plastic case and pull them apart, splitting the packaging in half and flinging the discs inside haphazardly into the air. Convenient!

But those examples seem normal compared to some of the abominations below. I will admit that some of them look kind of cool, but once again, what the hell are you supposed to do with them? They're not going to fit on the shelf with the rest of your normal DVDs. You're going to have to build a special display case just for these stupid things. 

And what about accessing the discs inside? When it's movie time at Stately Canada Manor, I want to be able to get to my movies fast. I want to be able to just open the box and grab the disc. I don't want to have to pry the translucent carapace off an insectoid alien's head just to get at my movies.

Get a load of some of the more extreme examples of disc packaging below.

With this Bender head, I have to assume you access the movies inside by pushing down on his antenna like a dynamite plunger, causing the discs to shoot out of his mouth.

Question: As far as I know, Family Guy is still in production. So what happens to this set once more seasons are released? Do you have to buy another hollow Stewie head in which to store them? Didn't think about that, did you Mr. Fancy DVD Graphic Designer?

This one's a special case. Not only is that robot's intense but unseeing gaze creepy as hell, but that whole elaborate head houses a grand total of TWO discs. At least the other monstrosities here contain entire TV series or film franchises. Was it really necessary to construct a disturbing robotic head for two measly discs?

OK, this one does look pretty cool, I'll give it that, but once again, it ain't gonna fit on the damn shelf!

And here we have the prize for the most the all-time most ridiculous DVD packaging: Planet Of The Apes The Ultimate DVD Collection. Featuring an authentic ape face based on the award-winning makeup by John Chambers, a simulated zippered jumpsuit, and authentic genuine fake ape hair.

The best part is when you're done watching the movies, you can style and braid your new ape friend's luxurious tresses! Magnifique!


  1. Wow! Do you actually own all of those special sets?

    Me? I generally buy disks used. Put the artwork in a plastic sleeve in a 3-ring binder and put the disks in a Discgear case. I ditch the black plastic cases at a local thrift store that doesn't mind getting them for some reason.

  2. Heh, no I don't own all those; I found the photos online. Truth to tell, some of them are only available in Japan, where they always get way cooler stuff than we do.

    Even if they were all available I wouldn't buy them, for all the reasons I listed above.

    That's a good idea to put the discs in a binder. I could clear out a ton of space in my house if I did that!

  3. Watch out putting the disks in a 3-ring binder. Some of the vinyl sheets pull the ink from CDs and DVDs. I put the art in the binder and the disks in a rolodex-type case from Discgear. Look for them on eBay.


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