Sunday, September 25

Unsure what to think about this...?!? (calling all Hong Kong VHS experts)

Last week I was sorting through eBay and scored these "Mecapro" tapes of Wilson Yip's Bio Zombie. The VHS, which ended up being split on two cassettes, arrived yesterday and I'm baffled by what the deal is upon opening the package.

The whole double VHS set thing isn't the issue. For some unexplained reason, many North American-based distributors of Hong Kong films released titles that would easily fit onto just one tape spread across two tapes instead. This zombie horror/comedy only runs 94 minutes but that didn't stop Mecapro from breaking the film onto two T-60 cassettes. My only guess is that these outfits transferred films from LaserDiscs and opted to not join the two sides (@ one hour per side) considering the LD format's limitations onto one VHS.

What's the big deal? First, the seller used scotch tape to attached the two covers to "naked" hard clamshells that didn't have plastic covering. I had to very carefully "unpeel" the covers and grab two empty replacement cases. Second, the second half's cover is a PC-printed scan of the first tape's real cover (slight imperfections match). What the hell, man?!?

The catch is both cassettes definitely look official with "professional" face and spine labels. There's also no part one or two indication anywhere on the cover. So I'm hesitant to go fly off the handle at the seller. It isn't clear if the second tape's original cover was damaged or if it had a cover at all. Since the set was cheap and the VHS authentic (played perfectly as well), I'm keeping them, but it would be nice to confirm what's going on here...?


Jack J said...

I have a few of these one film/two tapes* releases but I've never been able to get an official explanation as to why this was common practice with some labels.

I figured some labels might do it to charge a higher price for the films that way - but your laserdisc-to-vhs theory sounds valid too.

The tapes I have state which part they are, i.e. "A" and "B" or Part 1 & 2. Some tapes use the same cover art for both tapes, and some have completely different art.

*actually as recently as this afternoon I posted the covers from one such release on my blog!

Stacia said...

When you described your box, it immediately reminded me of a local video store that would display 2-tape copies of movies like Lawrence of Arabia by putting out one official box and a second box with a Xeroxed copy of the official cover taped to it.

Jenn said...

I have a copy of King Kong that's split. It's the Paramount Video copy of the Jeff Bridges' version. I easily have this on one tape and DVD as well, but I like the split version too because the cover art is rad and it has that retro VHS look. It's a bitch to watch this way though, because I have a penchant for falling asleep and I never remember where I am or on which tape.

But through all my VHS collecting endeavors, this is the only 'split' tape I have.

robotGEEK said...

As an eBay buyer and seller myself I don't think it was cool that the seller didn't specify the condition of the box art or that the second image wasn't authentic, but a copy. For collectors as yourself, that stuff is kinda important and I would take issue with that since they weren't being 100% upfront on the condition. To me, that deserves a "neutral" rating.

If I was the one buying it and received it like that in the mail, I would have been a little pissed. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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