Seven Great Boutique Physical Media Labels

Most recently big chains like Target, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart have decided to stop distributing physical media like DVD and Blu-Rays both in store and online. This is all a part of the fallacious propaganda that Hollywood has been pushing that Digital media is so much more superior while Physical Media is a defunct media format. It’s been proven that digital titles don’t really belong to those that garner digital film libraries due to a plethora of legal and licensing issues.

But it’s a part of the movement Hollywood has had since the eighties to phase out physical media and ultimately take control of all of their content. Nevertheless while the big chains have fallen in to this mind set, there are still a wide array of various outlets online that specialize in physical media, from mainstream, cult, underground, horror, box sets and the like.

As an ardent proponent of physical media and its inherent value, I’m recommending seven great boutique movie labels that still sell physical media, while a few practice both digital and physical releases. These are only a few of the great labels you can seek out. 

Diabolik DVD
Diabolik DVD is more of a hub and store for a ton of interesting, underground and beloved distributors and labels. While they do have mainstream titles, they dabble more in stuff you couldn’t find in Wal-Mart or Target. They sell a massive library of Blu-Ray, DVD, and 4K re-releases and restorations of excellent titles from folks all over the cinema world including Troma, Altered Innocence, Grindhouse Releasing, Full Moon, MVD Entertainment, and so many more. They have massive holiday sales, big bargains, and their prices are very fair. 

Vinegar Syndrome / Severin Films
Vinegar Syndrome and Severin excel at releasing titles you’d never ever expect to see on Blu-Ray, DVD or 4K. So many of their releases have been of highly coveted (and very quickly sold out) horror movies and action movies, all of which you’d never find at chain stores. These are titles you’d have found at mom and pop, and brick and mortar stores in the heyday of video stores. Both stores also have wonderful bundles, and box set releases that include mementos for collectors (e.g. stickers, plushies, and even pajamas). Both labels are highly respected, and are all about celebrating movies, no matter how awful they might be considered, and movie buffs have been drawn to them because of that fact.

Undercrank Productions
Undercrank is an absolutely wonderful distributor of some of the rarest silent films of all time. A lot of silent films that were once thought lost or destroyed have been painstakingly restored on DVD and Blu-Ray here. The company has amassed a massive library of downright marvelous silent titles with the help of film lovers like Ben Model. Undercrank has unleashed a ton of silent titles in the Western, Comedy, and Drama variety, as well as compilations of shorts that have been given new music and a chance for a new audience to discover the genius of early cinematic pioneers. 

Opening recently, Mélusine is strictly a shop for adults, and is a branch off from Vinegar Syndrome. It side steps other genres in favor of mainly adult genres and sub-genres like X Rated, Pornography, Sexploitation, Exploitation and anything else that you’d have found behind the curtain of a normal video store in the heyday. This is for connoisseurs of adult cinema and for folks that are fascinated by great releases of often ignored, and forgotten X rated and erotic cinema. Like Vinegar Syndrome, they have sales, bargains, and very fair prices. NSFW.

Arrow Video
Arrow Video has been around for a long time and while most of it limited to the UK, they are widely available in the US. They have released some amazing box sets and big releases of cult, horror, fantasy, and action cinema over the years, with many physical releases being immensely hyped, and highly sought after by collectors. If you’re a big proponent of physical media, Arrow Video really is a great online shop with a lot of great movies that were out of print, and rare for years. 

Mill Creek Entertainment
While Mill Creek Entertainment devotes its time to distributing movies and television shows to other outlets, they also sell their library on their website. Mill Creek is mostly centered on the mainstream titles and value packs, selling two and three feature DVD and Blu-Ray sets of action films from the eighties and nineties, as well as classic comedies. They also have brought to print a lot of obscure television shows that haven’t been on physical format since the VHS era. They also dabble in the occasional cult title, as well as faith based films, and documentaries.

Criterion is still whipping out impressive releases for movie buffs of all kinds. They deal in arthouse, foreign, experimental films, and on occasion will release a somewhat well known feature. They’ve been offering up some great titles lately as well as top drawer box sets, and have also embraced modern art house masterpieces, bringing them in to the Criterion label. For folks that want to experience the films along with viewing them, Criterion always delivers with essays, commentaries, interviews, and insight from diverse film historians.

Full Disclosure: These are strictly opinions; we have not been paid or sponsored by the stores listed here.