I’ve had some questions in the past on where to find some of the obscure movies that I review. In a nutshell the answer is anywhere and everywhere. In case you are just as maniacal as me, here are some of the, both well known and strange, places I’ve scoured. And I didn’t even have to leave my living room to do it.
www.alibris.com has a lot of stuff, and they do have some deals, especially for the newer old movies and former box office hits. They deal a lot with Goodwill stores and discount book stores so your movies will come from all over the place. Some are shipped free but there are conditions and you need to buy a certain dollar amount of goods. For most, however, standard shipping is $3.99 for the first item and $2.49 for each item after that, in the lower 48. After that it’s all over the place. Be careful. You may get a deal on a movie for $1.99 but shipping for that one movie is $3.99 so you are paying $5.98. It may still be a deal but if you order a bunch of movies it adds up fast.
www.amazon.com is probably everyone’s first go-to place. Sometimes you can find a deal there or just get an idea of what you may expect to pay so you can judge if you are getting a deal on another site. Just be careful and read the DVD product information to make sure your purchase will work on your equipment. There are a lot of items that show up from other countries so first, check where it is shipped from. If it’s from out of the country, chances are it won’t work on your machine so, second, check the coding. Shipping varies.
www.barnesandnoble.com has both an on-line and brick and mortar stores. Prices are average with FYE, Amazon and Deep Discounts. They also have a market place similar to Amazon and Bonanza. Once in awhile you may find something used at a reasonable price. Lots of thrift stores use their market place to sell used DVD items. Shipping is a little complicated. They offer free shipping on ELIGIBLE items over $35 worth. Eligible items are designated on the item. Not all items are eligible. Market Place items are not eligible for free shipping. That is where some of the good stuff is. Market Place items are quite often offered by Goodwill and thrift stores. Shipping in that case depends on the store offering it.
www.bestbuy.com does have some older DVDs and perhaps a few rare ones that have reached cult status. They too have brick and mortar stores. Prices are similar to Wal-Mart. Shipping costs are not known until the end. They do have a store pickup option for shipping. They also have a price match guarantee and some sales. You can search by genre and year range.
www.bonanza.com works similar to Amazon Market Place. Various sellers have booths under the Bonanza umbrella. Many sell new and/or used DVDs or older movies. My favorite booth is The_Archive_Depot. They have a good selection of public domain old and hard to find DVD-R movies that are made on-demand. DVDs have movie artwork label and ship in a paper sleeve. Prices are around $7.50 per movie, buy 2 get 1 free and shipping is free. It’s a good way to expand your collection. You’ll have to get jewel covers somewhere else if you want them. You can get them by the case on E-bay or Amazon. Also on Bonanza is a seller called All Time Movie Classics. They also specialize in rare movies. Their DVD-R movies are also sent in a paper sleeve. DVDs are generally $3.99 and shipping is free. No fancy artwork on the DVD labels. I have gotten a bunch from them. Movie Matinee Discs and Tapes is the third vendor where I’ve found a few things. They have new and formal rentals. Prices vary. Shipping $4 for the first and $1 each additional item. Orders over $25 free shipping. Another booth is Public_Domain_Films. They also have some rare films. Prices vary but for the most part are quite reasonable. Shipping is free. The next booth that may be of some interest is rareandcollectible. Prices again vary but are reasonable. Their movies come from Australia so you may need to keep an eye on the shipping costs. Shipping varies a little and is per item but generally $6.83 to the US. They do have some that ship free. Be sure to check the region code. The Classic Movie Serials booth deals mostly in movie serials and cliff hangers. Some are shipped free. Prices are reasonable. They also sell under their website www.vintageandmore.com. There are many other booths out there on Bonanza. You may stumble upon something I haven’t found yet. You can also roam around and look at all the movies out there.
www.cheesyflix.com specializes in older DVDs and has an extensive MST3K library. Most of their movies are $6.00. Their movies are DVD-R and are shipped in paper sleeves with no jewel cases or fancy artwork. Fancy packaging is available on the MST3K items for an additional cost.
www.classicmoviesdvd.com has some old rare and hard to find movies at reasonable prices. DVDs are much cheaper than Blu-ray. Shipping is a flat $6.00 to the US $10.00 to Canada no matter how many DVDs you order.
www.deepdiscount.com deals in newly released and re-released movies from the 1910’s to current. They are not as cheap as you would think. If you are looking for a deal you will have to hunt and peck for it. They do have movies from poverty row to Universal and Alpha video to Criterion. They have sales on some movies from time to time. They do have a price match guarantee but it can not be combined with coupons. Free shipping on orders over $25, $1.99 per item for orders under $25.
www.ebay.com is always worth a look. But be careful and read the product information. People from all over the world use e-bay so you could be looking at a DVD that is not coded correctly for your area. E-bay also has items out for bid. If you have a good strategy you may be able to get a good deal. Shipping depends on the individual sellers policy. Most sellers on E-bay are very accommodating and are more than willing to answer any questions.**
www.elvisdvdcollector.com is a website based in Germany and is one of my favorites. They specialize in public domain movies but they also have some studio release material. They have a unique collection of rare Elvis Presley DVDs, Beatles DVDs, other Rock and Pop artists. They also have a large selection of rare movies which are otherwise hard to find. They have a lot of DVD-R discs manufactured on-demand with slender jewel cases and are (NTSC) region 1 unless otherwise labeled. Prices are usual about $10.00 DVDs, Blu-ray cost more. Regular shipping is minimum $6.99 to the US. $10 to the US for orders over $20- $49.99. Free shipping on orders over $50. 10% discount and free shipping for orders over $100. Since they are coming from Germany it will take longer to get them. Check their website for details. E-mail them, they are nice people.
www.fye.com has both an on-line and brick and mortar stores. Prices are average with Amazon and Deep Discounts. Sometimes discounts are available. They have a mix of used and new DVDs. Free shipping on orders over $40.
www.hamiltonbook.com has thousands of DVDs and some are reasonably priced. They also have sales from time to time. They are geared towards books so refining your search may be difficult. Also I wouldn’t expect to find a lot of rare DVDs but some cult ones should be available. They do have paper catalogues that you can request. Once you are on their mailing list you will then receive lots of them but you can browse their catalogues on-line. Shipping is $4 per order.
www.hpb.com is Half Price Books. They deal in new and used DVDs. They do have some deals available but shipping is $3.99 per item for standard shipping.
www.importcds.com has a little of everything. I’ve gotten a couple older movies at a reasonable price there but they usually run average with Amazon and the others. Standard shipping is $2.99 for the first DVD and $1.49 for each additional DVD. There is also a weight charge of $1.00 a pound if your package is over 2 pounds.
www.millcreekent.com is a home video entertainment company that makes compilations of old and mostly public domain movies. Mill Creek has a lot of 50 100 and 150 pack variety movie DVDs. Movie quality is not always the best transfers. They are good if you just want a lot of movies. The mail problem with the movie packs is you get a lot of junk that has nothing to do with the genre you are looking for. For example a 50 movie horror pack may include some noir, mystery or detective movies. Also some movies in one compilation pack may also be in another compilation pack so you end up with several copies of the same movie. They also have some complete TV series and individual films. Their products are available almost everywhere including department stores, Amazon and E-bay. Website will direct you to stores and websites that offer their products.
www.moviesunlimited.com has a decent inventory but the prices, even on sale, are not necessarily better than anywhere else. There aren’t a lot of them necessarily rare, at least by my standards. Many of them you can get in those Mill Creek collections, although the quality of the movies that Mill Creek throws together are not usually cleaned or re-mastered in any way. Free shipping on orders of $50, otherwise, $4.00 per order plus $1.50 for each item ordered on economy shipping.
www.oldies.com specializes in newly released and used older videos as well as some newer ones. They are also the primary dealer in Alpha Videos. Movies range from the 50’s to current. Prices vary but can be a little expensive depending on what you are looking for. Alpha videos are cheaper and are discounted when you buy ten of them.* Movies are made on demand and are DVD-R. Free shipping on orders $75 or more, otherwise shipping depends on order total, under $10 $4.98, under $20 $6.98, under $40 $7.98, under $60 $8.98, under $80 $9.98. Oldies has tons of movies and it will take you awhile to go through them.
www.onesmedia.com has a limited inventory. They mostly deal in film collections and old time radio shows. They are good if you want an entire collection of “Outer Limits”, “Jungle Jim” or “Mr. Moto”, something like that. They have very few individual movies. Prices vary. Shipping is free in the US.
www.raredvds.biz is another site for OOP and rare movies. Prices vary. Lots of things are cheaper elsewhere but they are worth a look just in case. Movies are DVD-R and created on-demand. You can add laser artwork to the DVD for an extra charge. Some DVDs discounted if you add another. You’ll have to check the specific DVD for what is offered. Shipping calculated at time of checkout.
www.roguevideodvd.com is a fairly new company. They have some rare DVDs. There inventory is fairly small as of yet. They offer DVD-R NTSC movies and are made on-demand with printed artwork. Includes jewel case. DVDs are region 0. Prices are about average to a little above. Shipping is not calculated until the end. Their videos are also available on Amazon.
www.secondspin.com deals in used movies. Prices are all over the board depending on what you are looking for and whether or not something is on sale. There are discount codes available on the website and various sales and some really good deals on used videos. They have thousands of DVDs. It will take you a long time to go through them since, even though they have them separated by genre, you can’t narrow it down by release date range. Standard shipping is $3.99 for one to 40 DVDs. After that it is considered another order and another $3.99 will be applied for the next up to 40 DVDs. Not a bad shipping charge. All items mailed in the US have a jewel case.
www.shoutfactory.com deals in newly or re-released movies from old classics to newer movies. Most are blu-ray. Their films are more expensive than other sites but are generally better quality. They also have a selection of MST3K movies. Shipping is $6.99 up to $50 and free over $50 in merchandise in US.
www.sinistercinema.com deals in mostly old and rare movies and poverty row films. Prices are a little high but they have stuff I’ve never seen anywhere else. There is still the question of is it something you want to spend your money on. They do have some serials available. Most movies range from thirteen to seventeen dollars each but they do have some specials if you buy 5 you get 1 free but be careful. They don’t figure out your shipping until the end. Generally it is $2.55 for the first movie and $1.05 for every additional movie after that.
www.somethingweird.com specializes in exploitative and cult films, mostly from the 30’s to the 70’s. They also have some horror and drive-in movies as well as a few low budget rare movies. Since a lot of their movies are sexually oriented their website is for adults only. Their films are all DVD-R manufactured on demand. Their DVDs are generally $10.00. Downloads are available for some movies. Shipping is $5 for the first movie $1 for each additional in US.
www.thefilmcsa.com has a decent inventory of old and rare movie DVDs mostly in the public domain. Prices are average to on the high side. DVDs are NTSC format on DVD-R discs region free. There is no artwork and DVDs are sent in individual sleeves. Shipping is $3 per order in the US, $8 International.
www.vintagetvandmore.com specializes in vintage TV shows and movie serials and cliff hangers. They have a good inventory to choose from. Prices are good. All items are public domain and are DVDR sent in paper sleeves with art work labels on the DVDs unless otherwise noted. I ordered one serial from them and signed up for their newsletter and they sent me a free serial of my choice. They also have special sales and package deals. The latest shipping information I have is $0 -$9.99 = $1.49, $10 - $19.99 = $3.99, $20 - $28.99 = $4.99, $29.99 - $199.99 = $5.99, $200 and Up = $9.99. Some items have free shipping. Check the details on what you are interested in. Also check out their e-Bay store “1st_choice_media” see below**. They also sell under "classic movie serials" on Bonanza. Check all three as sometimes there are sales in one place that don’t apply to the other stores.
www.youtube.com has many public domain movies available to watch on-line free. If you are a serious collector and are interested in purchasing an old or obscure movie you may want to check out Youtube. Quite often they will have full movies that you can watch to make a better determination if it is worth spending the money to add it to your collection. If your budget is limited or your space at a premium watching a movie on-line can give you insight on if a particular movie falls within your parameters. Some have commercials and some don’t depending on who uploaded it.
Brick and mortar stores can sometimes bring unexpected finds. There are many small mom and pop used DVD stores that have hundreds of DVDs at cheap prices. Finding the rare and obscure films will be difficult but if you are an explorer and just love poking around such places sometimes you can find a gem amid the dozens of duplicate copies of recently out-of-fashion block buster hits.
*Alpha video specializes in creating rare and hard to find DVDs as well as some lesser known amateur movie makers. Most of their films are public domain movies, TV series and exploitation films. Their DVDs are sold through primarily through Oldies.com but can be found on Amazon.com and a few other places as used. Alpha videos are cheap, no frills movies that are straight off the reel. No upgrades or restoration is done so if the movie is in bad shape from age, you will see every buzz, skip and flaw in the film. They are a low budget releasing company and most of their films are also cheap in price. They are packaged in plastic shrink wrapped jewel cases. The cover artwork is hand painted in vivid colors.
**1st_choice_media specializes in serials. They have a wide selection of serials and cliffhangers that are in the public domain. You can get them individually or in collections. Individual serials are usually five or six dollars. Collections are, of course, more. You can also create your own collection picking ten or twenty serials of your choice from a decent list of options. They also have sales and coupons from time to time. DVDR format shipped in paper sleeves with color artwork label on the DVD. They sell exclusively through e-bay under that name; however, they have a website under www. vintagetvandmore (see above). Prices are quite reasonable and shipping if free on some items in the US. If you are a fan of old time serials they are definitely worth a look.
Wherever you get your movies please make sure you read all the price, shipping, return and product info before ordering. This way you know what you are getting. Also the faster you want it shipped, the more expensive it will be. If you want your movies faster, you should have ordered them sooner. In addition, be aware that some dealers charge tax. Keep track of the bottom line. In the end, with the cost of the movie and any shipping or taxes, are you paying what you are willing to pay per movie?
One other note: There are websites that also sell on E-bay, Amazon and/or Bonanza or other market places. vintageandmore.com is one of them. They sell on both E-bay and Bonanza under different names. (see above) I found that sometimes vendors that sell in more than one place will sometimes have a sale in one market booth but not in another. When I am ordering something from a market place I will check and see if the have a regular website as well. If so I will compare prices and sales. I also found that in some places sales tax is charged but in others it is not. A small savings perhaps but that could depend on how many movies you are buying.
Whoever you deal with always check for sales, special discounts and bulk discounts if you find a lot of goodies you have to have. Use coupon codes if they have them. Some dealers will have a discount for your first order. Some will send you a coupon for your next order if you buy movies. Some have free shipping if you buy a certain merchandise level. Compare prices between sellers. Is it OK if you don’t get a jewel case? Most dealers are more than happy to answer any questions via e-mail or quick chats if they have it. Occasionally small operations go on vacation and take their site down while they are away. The archive depot does that. Wait a week or so and they’ll be back.
The point being, do some window shopping. Check out some dealers and find a couple that you are comfortable with. I have my favorites that I deal with most of the time, but if there is a special movie I want in my collection that they don’t have I will shop around and see if it is out there.
There are other dealers out there but this list will give you a good head start.