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  • Rob Freese

Slipcovers?

Updated: Jan 22

What is the deal with slipcovers, those cardboard covers around a DVD or Blu-ray? And I'm not talking about the custom slipcovers from the boutique labels. I understand why they have become part of collecting culture. Personally, I don't care for them but I get why people like them.


Used to be, in the VHS Daze, we'd get a talking Frankenhooker VHS box or a Dead Pit with the glowing eyes or a dimensional Black Roses box cover, and it was special. They were done purely to grab attention when they appeared on the shelf of your video store in the hopes of attracting an overnight rental. They were an eye catching gimmick that served a definite purpose. (You never saw any of the major labels doing that, which is why we never got a talking Rocky VHS box ("Yo, Adrienne!") from CBS/Fox or a dimensional The Elephant Man box cover from Paramount.)


I understand why Severin and Vinegar Syndrome and Dark Force Entertainment and all the other indies do it, but it doesn't make any sense that brand new movies from Universal, sitting in every Walmart across the land, have a slipcase. I mean, when every new release has a cardboard slipcase, what is the added attraction?


Last night I figured it out. Earlier in the day I picked up a copy of Last Night in Soho. I saw the last Blu-ray on the rack, wrapped in a slipcase, and grabbed it up. No fuss, no muss.


Later that evening, when I grabbed it to watch it, it was already open. Did I already open it? I don't think so. I open it and put the Blu-ray in the player and all of a sudden it dawns on me that the digital code is not in the case. I didn't even notice that it was open when I found it at the store. I never even considered that was something people would do, but of course they would! I just snatched it up and went on my way.


It's probably the middle age man in me, but that crawled all over me. I didn't buy the disc for the digital code, I bought it to have the movie on disc, but if a digital code is in there I want my digital movie, especially when I'm paying new release price for it. It's supposed to be in there, I want it.


I was going to let it go, but it was that "new release price" that was grinding me up. It was the thought that someone picked it up, broke it open, took the code out and probably watched it and forgot about it, and now I had actually paid for it.


I hate returning stuff to stores, but dang it, I paid the full ticket price, I want the whole show. When I buy a disc from a discount rack, I pick it up knowing full well the code might be expired. If it is used, I can almost guarantee it is not included. But this was different as it was a new release and it should have been there and it wasn't. It was the principle.


I took it back and the store where I got it didn't have any more. That made me happy to know the movie sold out, but I had to go to another store. I went through the whole story at the next store. I blew my morning driving from one store to another looking for a replacement copy. (It made me sad. Back 15 years ago, you had your choice of where you wanted to purchase your media. Now, you're lucky if you can walk in a store and still find what you are looking for in a lot of places.)


At the second store the lady who helped me assured me that it happens all the time. 'The cardboard cover makes it easy. Most people don't even notice when they buy it."


"The cardboard cover makes it easy."


Slipcovers. I hate them. I know the slipcover didn't steal the digital code. Slipcovers don't steal digital codes, people do. But why do all these releases need slipcovers? News flash: they don't. What do they even offer? (Certainly not added security, as the culprit is smart enough to slip it right off to get into the blue case.)


I'd be just as happy if they would go back to no slip covers, unless the slipcover talks or blinks or glows in the dark. They take up space. I don't like them.


What do you guys think?


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