Caution: This article may contain spoilers. And I’m not sure if I’m kidding, although I’m sure I am.
We’ve all had that video store experience; You’re browsing their selection, not sure of what to get and you spot a movie that looks interesting. You may have heard of this movie, but never seen it and the art is compelling. I still purchase films based solely on the box art all the time. I guess sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Or something.
Older films that are being re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray have been doing this for years, redesigning the cover to look more appealing, but sometimes they forget that what they are presenting on their boxes may be ruining the movie for those who have never seen it.
Planet of the Apes
Most notably, is the Planet of the Apes 20th Century Fox release in 2000. Right on the front cover, the first thing you look at is the epic, iconic image from the film. The Statue of Liberty, implying he was on Earth the entire time, in shambles with Charlton Heston in defeat. That memorable scene, that epic conclusion, spoiled by some marketing numb nuts over at Fox. You could argue that because of the films age the decision to use this image as the DVD’s packaging was for the fans to take notice, but it ruins the ending for those who never saw it.
Friday the 13th (Uncut) Ultimate Edition
Sure the front of the packaging steal leaves the identity of the killer concealed in shadow and cutting the image off at the head, but turn it around and look at the screen shots on the back. You see it there? Pamela Voorhees holding a knife. There you go. Now you know who the killer is. Oh is that not enough spoilers for you? Look next to that. Jason is popping out of the water. Now you know the final jump scare of the film. It just saved you the joy of watching the film.
To some, this is fairly unknown slasher flick, although not all that scarce. That still doesn’t excuse the Wizard Entertainment release of the DVD. On the back, there is not one, but two shots of Danny Hicks’ character Bill soaked in blood. In the first image, he is even pictured with a knife with a severed head, revealing him as the killer. Sure, there could be another reason for this photo, but within the first ten minutes of the film, you would see where this would spoil the twist. And on an odd note, there is a picture of Bruce Campbell, but it’s not from this film. My guess is Wizard wanted to throw on a picture of ol’ Bruce to catch people’s eye for this release. Come to think of it, his and Sam Raimi’s are the two names boldly printed on the front of the box!
Death Race 2000
This one isn’t so much as a spoiler as it is me nitpicking, but who cares. Right on the covers of various releases you’ll notice star David Carradine’s face, but in the film his face is covered for most of the first half of the film. Why is this a big deal? Well, it’s not but his character Frankenstein goes through the trouble of not only hiding his face behind some S&M mask, but he disguises his actual face with some burned makeup underneath the mask. You can see how this would spoil the reveal in the film, right? I’m not just complaining, am I?
The New York Ripper
Various box art designs of The New York Ripper reveal this film’s conclusion as well, including the 2008 Blue Underground release. I never thought they’d do such a thing. Again, you could argue that because this a lesser known film, but the back image of the release shows the two characters, Fay standing over the body of Peter. Now this wouldn’t be such a problem… if these two characters weren’t suspected of being the killer the entire film. One release even blunt out tells you Peter is the killer! Take a look!
Townspeople are being killed off screen by an eerie, shadowy figure. Their face expresses shock and horror of the last thing they saw before their demise. Anyone who has seen the film had to wait over halfway through the film to see the face of a monster that was ranked #4 on Empire Magazine’s list of “Top 10 Scariest Movie Scenes”. But not Joe Shmoe at the video store. All he had to do was look at the back of the box and right on the top, boom. So much for a terrifying surprise.
Ok, you could argue that this entire article spoils everything I was ragging on, but you know. The end justifies the means. Is that how the saying goes? Eh, who cares? And who cares that the box art spoils some movies. They are still fun to watch and that’s what matters.