Occupy Scream Factory! (AKA Eli Roth Got FREE Stuff And That’s NOT FAIR!)

In 1998, less than a year after I’d purchased my first DVD player (specifically a DVD/Laserdisc combo player, since I owned an 8-years-in-the-making, 123-title LD collection which I hadn’t cared to replace just yet), I paid a visit to Best Buy and loaded a shopping cart with 39 brand-new DVDs and a $130 mini-stereo.

After I’d dumped the huge pile of movies onto the belt, the clerk ringing up my purchase seemed a bit overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of my DVD haul.

Fact was, this massive DVD purchase was made possible due to a voucher Best Buy had given me as part of their ‘No Lemon’ Electronics Return policy. See, the combo DVD/LD player they’d sold me earlier that year had repeatedly failed. I had already paid, in full, for the combo player after having saved up the money for several months.

We’re talking a straight-up, cash-down purchase, plus the added cost of an extended warranty, of over $1100 bucks. Money I’d earned working a full-time job. And I was not making money hand over fist back then, by any stretch of the imagination. I’d put myself on a tight budget in order to set this much money aside.

Unable to replace this hopelessly defective unit with another combo player, Best Buy handed me a voucher for the full purchase amount, but warned that if I misplaced this voucher or future vouchers, that was it. They would not provide me with another one on good faith.

Understandable, I thought.

In response, I decided to spend every penny on that voucher, since they also advised that they would not allow me to exchange a voucher for cash.

...though the flustered cashier did just that when my first and only MASSIVE purchase that day left a balance of $30. Oops. I then ran up the road to Media Play and picked up three more DVDs I’d been unable to find at Best Buy– “Unforgiven”, “10” and “Born On The 4th Of July”. Mostly, I was replacing Laserdiscs that day, since I knew, by that point, the format was on the way out.

This voucher-fueled shopping spree was one the happiest, most satisfying moments of my movie geek existence. From the moment I began loading that shopping cart to the moment I unwrapped each title at home, I was unable to quit grinning from ear to ear.

This is heaven, I thought. Sheer, unadulterated, pre-paid heaven.

Had anyone else in the store observed my purchase, along with my giddy Grinning Nerd expression during checkout, who knows what thoughts might have popped into their heads.

Perhaps:

“Meh. Fucking rich kid showing off, spending Mommy and Daddy’s money.”

“Arrogant yuppie. Look at all those DVDs he’s buying at one time. That’s obnoxious.”

In other words? Envy.

Envy doesn’t require context. It doesn’t require evidence beyond what the eye sees at a given moment. Merely individual greed fueled by cheap emotion.

Envy doesn’t make you right. It does, however, make you small.

Jumping to angry conclusions based on petty covetousness? Even smaller.

Do you suppose there would have been half the uproar here if Scream Factory had posted the above photo and said, “Hey, guess what? Eli Roth loves our titles so much, he just bought nearly two dozen of them…with cash from his own pocket!”

There’d be just as much uproar, if not more.

Why? Because Eli Roth is a successful filmmaker, i.e. “rich”, and the online Horror fans bitching about Scream Factory’s “bad PR move” are not. Most of these whiny zealots, I’m almost certain, have sizeable movie collections of their own, but view themselves as poor, nonetheless.

I’m reminded of John Saxon’s line in Dario Argento’s Tenebre:

“They love your books, but they hate success”.

If Roth had gleefully sat for a photo after purchasing these titles on his own, the anger instead would’ve been over a rich guy flaunting his wealth. I can almost guarantee it. Apparently, if you’re more successful than anyone else, especially if your success is the result of hard work/personal achievement, you’re supposed to feel guilty about it and keep it a secret.

How many DVDs/Blu-rays you suppose each one of these movie geek hipster/whiners possess in their own libraries? Several dozen? Hundreds? In the vicinity of a thousand titles or more, perhaps?

I’ve been collecting DVDs and Blu-rays for over 15 years now and my stash is closer to 1000 titles than 500. I can only imagine how many titles some of these angry obsessives ranting about Roth must possess.

Basic fact of life: No matter how poor one believes oneself to be, there’s always someone less fortunate who may feel pretty damn hostile towards anyone who has more than they do. That’s just the nature of human existence.

If said folks hate your guts for the fact that you have more than they do…regardless of how you earned it, how many sacrifices you had to make, how many hours you had to put in to acquire it…does the mere fact of that total stranger’s petty hatred of you justify that hatred?

No. Not at all.

Nor does it put angry, envious Horror fanboys in the right.

So Eli Roth and Scream Factory have a business arrangement where Roth’s agreed to record an audio commentary for the home video release of a TV show he had a hand in producing. He hadn’t charged Scream Factory a fee for his time, so they chose to compensate him with nearly two dozen Blu-rays of Scream Factory titles. A genre fan himself, Roth, photographed upon receiving this “free” swag, is clearly overjoyed.

Oh…my…GOD!!! That’s SO inappropriate!

Reality check, outraged fanboys: Scream Factory, a privately-held entity, chose to compensate Eli Roth for his time with a gift of 20 or so of their titles. Scream Factory apparently felt Roth’s contributions to their product– oh, yeah, that’s right, they’re a business inclined to add value to their product– were worth at least a few hundred bucks in the form of in-house merchandise.

A few HUNDRED dollars.

Roth wasn’t expecting this gift, as evidenced by his reaction in the photo they posted. Now, I’m not necessarily an Eli Roth fan– some of his work I’ve enjoyed, other films not so much– but, as a Horror fan myself, I found his reaction in Scream Factory’s photo to be quite endearing.

Okay. So he’s rich. This is shocking news? Which somehow makes his reaction in the photo less genuine? (“I can’t believe Roth didn’t have those movies already, anyway, if he’s a real fan” is a common refrain from these angry fanboys).

Pissed-off Fanboy = Mindreader, huh? Apparently so, judging by many of the comments left on Scream Factory’s post.

If the mere awareness of Scream Factory’s gift of a few hundred dollars’ worth of Blu-rays to a wealthy, well-known Horror celebrity/Hollwyood filmmaker rattles your cage THAT severely…

Perspective, geeks. Please. Get a grip.

If these bitter twerps were all that upset about Scream Factory’s “bad PR move” of posting a photo of a rich filmmaker they’d just rewarded with free swag, said twerps would stand by the courage of their convictions…

…and pitch every last Scream Factory disc they owned into the garbage. Or post photos of their own personal Scream Factory title bonfires, just to confirm the seriousness of their intent. Then they’d initiate personal boycotts of all future Scream Factory releases, no matter how badly they may have desired owning these titles beforehand.

But, despite all their foot-stomping and sulking, impetuous fanboys don’t do that sort of thing. Why sacrifice anything of personal importance when you can just take to the internet instead and pitch a hissy fit?

So enlightened. So mature.

Go Scream Factory!

Signed,

A Grateful Customer Who Envies The Earned Success Of No One

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