Gives Me Chills, Pt. XXI.

Posted onFebruary 29, 2012

And by “it,” I think they mean “the English language.”

Gives Me Chills, Pt. XX.

Posted onDecember 6, 2011

It’s fitting that this, the twentieth installment of “Gives Me Chills,” should feature a DVD cover which exemplifies so many design errors all at once.

(You may need to click through to the larger version to fully appreciate it.)

  • Poor photo with on-camera flash? Check.
  • Distorted aspect ratio of said photo? Check.
  • Photo of too small a resolution blown up and used anyway? Check.
  • Clashing background? Check.
  • Sloppy/skill-free PhotoShopping to integrate the main image with the background? Check.
  • Title in all-caps in a font that should never be used all-caps? Check.
  • Almost unreadable text all over the cover? Check.
  • Labeled “Special Edition” even though the only thing “special” about this DVD is that someone finally decided to rescue this movie from VHS obscurity? Check.
  • Lens flare just cuz? Check.

In case you’re wondering if the cover accurate represents the contents, here’s the description from Amazon:

Shawn, a skeleton freak philosopher and his drug induced zombie henchmen rule the bowels of the sphinx guarded “”Unknown Cemetery””. As an outcast cult leader Shawn is always on the lookout for students to educate into the arts of mental expansion. Four naive college kids find their way into the domain of the graveyard weirdos and their playground of occult teaching methods including forced opium smoking, sexual deviancy, hypnotic anti-religious dialog and Tarot. Dark Night of the Soul delivers in originality with heavy occult overtones, eerie atmosphere, drug usage and nudity.

Pretty accurate, I’d say.

Gives Me Chills, Pt. XIX: Halloweenapalooza!

Posted onOctober 25, 2011

Don’t blame me, blame the people who think that a shoddily-packaged horror DVD is more likely to score a few more sales to shoppers with low standards at Halloween than at any other time.

First up is Lust For Vengeance, which trumpets itself as the “Tenth Anniversary Explicit Version.” None of that decade-long period was spent brushing up on PhotoShop skills. (Comic Sans AND Papyrus? Bold move, sir!)

The next up is Hidden, which answers the pressing question, “What do you do when the only production photos anyone thought to grab and unimpressive, and the wrong dimensions to boot?” Answer: SSTTRREETTCCHH.

For the designer of the “10th Anniversary Special Edition” DVD of The Resurrection Game, the normal trick of compositing multiple headshots with different light sources simply wasn’t enough of a challenge. No, the hurdle he set himself was this: How many different saturations and hues can those photos be in? Extra points for including both monochrome and hand-tinted!

Because House of the Damned comes to us from the same self-distributing auteur as Lust For Vengeance, it is therefore no surprise to us that he thought Comic Sanes was entirely appropriate for cover copy meant to be taken seriously.

Gives Me Chills, Pt. XVII.

Posted onOctober 11, 2011

You may not know this, but when I troll through the new releases at Amazon, I wishlist all the DVDs which look like they have genre content, but don’t have any product image — just that curving arrow that looks like a smile. This DVD, Kill With the Dance, has been sitting coverless on my wishlist since April 5 of this year.

I just found the cover on Suddenly I know why Amazon thought it had a better shot at sales without it.

Camera phones have many great uses. Taking the shots for the front of your DVD cover is not one of them.

Gives Me Chills, Pt. XVI.

Posted onSeptember 21, 2011

Because on-camera flashes are scary.

Really. Scaaaary.

Gives Me Chills, Pt. XV.

Posted onJune 21, 2011

What follows are not the worst examples of the recent spate of silent film releases from Grapevine Video — I am trying to keep this series within genre boundaries, after all — but they’re indicative of the median quality for the whole series.  The quality and design sense on these indicates someone whose last design job was for bootleg VHS tapes in the mid-’80s:

You know, if you’re going to plaster a publicity shot of Will Rogers all over the cover instead of anything spectral or fantastic or in any other way headless-horsemanish, wouldn’t it behoove you to label him “Will Rogers” somewhere in the cover, instead of assuming that his seven-decades-dead likeness is instantly recognizable to kids these days?

Well, at least the star power of Henry B. Walthall is trumpeted loudly on this one.  Doesn’t the spookiness just chill your bones?

Gives Me Chills, Pt. XIV.

Posted onJune 7, 2011

Designed by a guy who was kicked off the K-Mart flyer design team for being “too garish.”

Gives Me Chills, Pt. XIII.

Posted onMay 19, 2011

Good thing they labelled it “exploitation movie,” or I might have mistaken it for the latest Criterion release.

Gives Me Chills, Pt. XII.

Posted onMarch 23, 2011

Betcha can’t guess what the secret is!

Gives Me Chills contest: The winner!

Posted onMarch 14, 2011

But before the winner, the runners-up!  Because you all should see what we saw.

In no particular order:

Birdemic: Shock & Terror, the original:

…and two entries, from Christopher Swindell and Doctor Mabuse:

With a Mouse (to Your Mouth), the original…

…and an entry from Christopher Swindell:

And now the winner, remaking the cover of what was the first DVD featured in “Gives Me Chills,” Grave Danger.  The original…

…and the redesign by David Foster:

Congratulations, David! You win… a free ebook copy of my novel The Demon Cross!  Yes, I’ve been giving out free copies recently, but this one comes without the obligation to review it!  (Though you can if you want to, of course.)  Let me know what format you’d like it in.

Thanks for playing, everybody!