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Eye-catching artwork is something American DVD distributors seem to either take for granted or are just no damn good at, especially when it comes to selling B-movies. The Japanese, on the other hand, can make a $2 million Syfy TV movie look like a $200 million blockbuster. As a special Christmas treat, I’m here to gift you with 60 stunning examples showcasing the awesomeness of the artwork for Syfy and The Asylum Japanese DVD releases.
This is a truth I first discovered one evening back in 2007 when I was browsing a website selling Japanese import DVDs. I forget which then Sci-Fi Channel original movie I stumbled upon a DVD for but distinctly recall being taken aback by how impressive the artwork on the DVD was. I began looking up more and more titles released by Syfy and The Asylum and could not believe my eyes. This is the kind of DVD art that gets people to want to watch your movie. Imaginative, fantastical, sensationalistic, a teaser to capture the imagination and get you so pumped you have to see what the movie has in store for you. Sure, the viewer then finds out that the actual film is probably only about 1/100th as exciting as the artwork makes it look, but still – this is how you sell a movie; this is how you make money.
In fairness, The Asylum has been better at this than most other DVD companies out there, but my point still stands.
Now with that said, even the Japanese have their quirks when it comes to their B-movie DVD artwork.
The shark on the Dinoshark artwork is just an ordinary giant shark and not even close to looking like the reptilian shark seen in the movie.
Why Ogre was retitled Incredible and given artwork that makes it look like an Incredible Hulk knock-off is anyone’s guess.
The Stonehenge Apocalypse artwork showcases what looks like a South American pyramid, but Stonehenge itself is nowhere to be seen.
The Fright Night-ish Never Cry Werewolf has been hilariously titled School Girl vs. Werewolf, and in true Japanese fashion the artwork has star Nina Dobrev in a Japanese school uniform with just a hint of upskirt action.
It’s no surprise that the titles of these films often get changed for foreign release, sometimes for the better (I would argue Battlefield Abyss is a superior title to 2012: Moby Dick), sometimes for the worse (Basilisk: The Serpent King renamed Nightmare Museum despite having very little to do with a museum), sometimes the title change is damn funny (the Iraq War monster movie Manticore becomes Manticore vs. USA), and sometimes it’s kind of a push (Does the grammatically incorrect Mega Python vs. Gigant Gator sound any less corny than Mega Python vs. Gatoroid?).
The Japanese seem to love changing monster movie titles to include the word “predator” almost as much as they love putting jet fighters and helicopters in artwork regardless of whether or not any appear in the actual film. Several creature movies have been slapped with the title U.M.A. that I was once told stands for “Ultimate Monster Attack”. Yeah, right, because when I think of an ultimate monster attack, I think Lake Placid 2.
Whatever you may think about the quality of horror/sci-fi/creature/disaster movies produced by Syfy and The Asylum, if you’re a lover of movie posters or B-movies in general, you should take a few moments and feast your eyes on all 60 of these primo examples of outstanding Japanese DVD artwork, all suitable for framing, with the possible exception of the Gryphon DVD art that I suspect was Photoshopped in 15 minutes by a drunken graphic artist who knew nothing about the movie other than being told it had something to do with medieval knights and a gryphon.
And before anyone asks, no, that’s not a fake nor is it a joke; this past summer’s Syfy flick Swamp Shark really was released on DVD in Japan a few months ago under the uproarious title Frying Jaws.
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