Buying advice: Spaghetti Westerns

When I had a trivial problem with a Mill Creek Entertainment DVD megapack–in this case, a 60-DVD set of 250 mysteries, where one disc was duplicated–and let them know about it, they not only corrected the problem (for free), they sent me some collections as a form of apology.

One of those collections was a five-DVD set of 20 Spaghetti Westerns, entitled Spaghetti Westerns 20 Movie Pack (the link is to Amazon’s record). I liked the set quite a bit, giving 14 of the 20 movies better-than-mediocre scores, even though it’s really 19 spaghetti westerns and one American film that’s a strong contender for worst movie ever made. The complete set of reviews is in the June 2010 Cites & Insights, or you can just search “Spaghetti” in this blog’s sidebar to pull up the five posts, one for each disc.

In late May 2010, the set was selling for $9.49 at Amazon. I thought it was a heck of a bargain. Now, the set sells for $5.49 at Amazon, which is even more of a bargain.

And I think maybe it’s not the right choice.

Why? Because there’s a newer product that Amazon calls Spaghetti Western Collection (11pc) although Mill Creek calls it Spaghetti Western 44 Movie Collection. It’s essentially a Mill Creek 50-Movie Megapack–but shy one DVD and six movies (all of which would be short ones, to fit 50 movies onto 12 DVDs: some of the 50-Movie Megapacks run to 13 DVDs because there are no short movies suitable for the set). It’s actually longer than some of the 50-movie sets, with 69.5 hours total running time.

OK, so it’s really 43 spaghetti westerns and the gawdawful Apache Blood. Still, that’s another 24 movies beyond the other set, and from reviews I’ve seen, it looks as though there are even more that are widescreen (not anamorphic; you’ll have to use a zoom function). You’re not going to get Clint Eastwood, of course; you are going to get a surprising amount of stuff you may find entertaining for…$12.49.

No, I’m not going to buy it: I think at least 10 of the additional movies are in another freebie I already have, and I’m not that big a fan of spaghetti westerns. But I was pleasantly surprised last time. (You may know I’m not much for violence–and, with one major exception, most of these have what I think of as SpagViolence: like cartoon violence but with live actors. The exception, a brutal massacre of innocents, is–as far as I can tell–truly an exception.)

Warning: There are other DVD sets called “Spaghetti Western Collection” on Amazon, including a notorious Madacy 3-DVD set with all of three movies on it for a higher price; based on one review, that set may be inferior video quality along with costing more than 12x as much per movie. Make sure you’re getting the 11-DVD set. The user reviews are worthless, since Amazon’s algorithms mean that all the reviews show up for any title with “Spaghetti Western Collection” as part of the title, even if they’re for entirely different products.

Am I thinking of getting any more of these megapacks? Well…I have three 50-movie sets in queue (one that I’ve started on) along with the 250-movie mystery set, but I must admit that the Heroes set is almost enticing in its way. (It’s mostly Hercules/Sons of Hercules/etc. movies…)

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