Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Phelpster's Custom DVD Covers - Volume 5

With all the outrage over Amazon's choices for Night of the Creeps DVD covers (seriously, check everywhere, lots of bitching, I'm starting to feel bad for the designer) I am working on my own cover using one of the much loved original VHS covers. So I thought I'd show it off to get some feedback/ideas. And what better way to do that than another Phelpster's Custom DVD Covers post.

Remember, click on the images to be taken to the full size image on my Deviant Art page.

Up first, the Creeps.
This is actually my third cover for this movie. But I did the others a couple years ago, when I had no idea what I was doing and I'm just not happy with them. Now, I still don't quite know what I'm doing. I do a lot of flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants winging it when I work. I just start throwing things around on a template and work it out until I like what I see. Really, you should see my layers window. Choas. However, I'm fairly happy with this one so far. I'm not quite done with it yet, but I thought I'd post it just because it's most of the way done.

And, who knows, maybe they'll catch wind of the less than stellar reception of their prposed covers and decide to just use the awesome Whitlow/Lively vs. The Legion of Undead Fratboys art after all. I'm still wondering if Sony will find a way to mention Jason Lively's relation to Blake Lively on the cover somewhere. Little sticker perhaps: "Starring the brother of Gossip Girl star Blake Lively".

Next, Deathdream
The late, the great Bob Clark directed this chilling tale back in 1974. Deathdream and Black Christmas (in my opinion, the finest of the Holiday-themed slasher pictures ever released) in the same year? Holy shit, this guy was on a roll. Anyway, Blue Underground put out a fine DVD release a few years ago, but I found this poster and it blows away the image they chose to use for their DVD. Their cover is pretty cool (despite a fairly garish front image) but his poster is too badass to ignore. Why is this image not on a shirt yet? While I was at it I kinda reworked the back cover as well.

Cannibal Girls
A film Ivan Reitman, Black Christmas star Andrea Martin and Eugene Levy would like to forget. Well, maybe not Levy. He has been in seven American Pie movies, he's a hard dude to embarrass. Note: Ignore the credits on the cover, those are from Eaten Alive which I used when making the Dark Sky template.

The Strangers

I did this cover immediately after seeing this poster on Final Girl way back before the movie even came out. Of course, as usual, the DVD comes out and they go out of their way to avoid using a great original poster image for the DVD cover. If I didn't know any better, I'd say these studios are just fucking with us. Teasing us with a cool poster, then throwing some dude who thinks he's the villain from The Town That Dreaded Sundown on the cover dragging someone by the feet with "UNRATED" splattered across the box.

Sure the UNRATED thing sells and Sack Race there is an imposing enough figure, but I just don't see how that image is better than the gray one-sheet.

Bucket of Blood
Dick Miller - one of many, many people who got their start working with Roger Corman - stars in Corman's 1959 film about talentless, and occasionally murderous artist Walter Paisley. The image I used for the front is from a poster from 1959. I thought it was interesting because the artwork was pretty similar to Daniel Clowes' style.

That's it for now. I do hope I don't come off as snotty when talking negatively about the DVD covers that studios put out. As a practicing designer I know what an absolute bitch it can be to put together a cover, even with pre-existing elements. So I mean no disrespect to any of the lucky individuals out there actually getting paid to make these things.


Dennis said...

Gorgeous - inspired design, and i agree completely if someone goes through the effort of designing a poster - why eff up the dvd release with a hacked up photoshop work. You should post more failures where the poster was great and dvd wasn't. Strangers is a great example - EVEN the poster where the family is on the couch looking at them is better than what they came up with.

how did you set up the DVD cover mockup template? that looks fantastic. keep up the great work and inspired posts - your fan.

phelpster said...

Thanks, I appreciate that! Yeah, there are actually 3 or 4 decent enough posters they could've used for The Strangers. They could've just grunged one of them up and slapped an ugly Unrated! sticker on those if they had to.

As for the templates, I can't take credit for the Blue Underground, Sony or Universal templates, I found those on a cover designing forum. I did make the Dark Sky and MGM ones I used though. I'm not sure the more professional way to do it, but I just scanned in a DVD cover, opened it in Photoshop and just worked over top of it. I wrote in all the text where it needed to be and added logos and everything on separate layers.

It's actually a bit of a pain in the ass to do because it takes like an hour to finish, but I think it really helps the covers to look more professional.

Will said...

Those covers look amazing! Impressive work. I used to manipulate movie posters as invitations to parties at my place and I know the work that goes into the art.

Dennis said...

i gotcha thanks, the template I was curious about was that gorgeous 3D simulation of the dvd box standing up with shadows and reflection - that is top notch.

and one thing came to me after commenting - i had the "other" creeps poster in my room in high school - the "date" poster. sadly i wish i still had it.

William Burchfield said...

I actually supplied that Deathdream one-sheet artwork to Blue Underground for their DVD release, along with some other stuff for the still gallery (my old Gorgon video sleeve, some rare photos from Savini's Bizarro! book, etc.) - it all landed me a special thanks credit on the disc, which I'm pretty darned proud of. I'm a huge fan of the film. Probably in my all-time Top 5.

Great DVD sleeve. That artwork does indeed belong everywhere possible, as it really does sell the atmosphere of the film perfectly. I'm actually working on a shirt design for the flick, but it's not that. It's a completely new and original design inspired from various imagery from the film. It's been a work-in-progress for a few years now.

BTW, your Creeps cover is dead-on - that's exactly what Sony should be doing with theirs, instead of the horrible trio of choices they've been getting votes cast for over at Amazon. Those designs are beyond laughably bad.

phelpster said...

Dennis - Ah, I actually use a program for the 3-D effect. It's called Imandix Cover Pro, it's a pretty fantastic program. You just open the cover, then you can pick which angle you want to display it at, set up the lighting and reflection.

William - That's great, wish I had a DVD credit:) Let me know when you get that Deathdream shirt design finished, I'd love to see it.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me how can we download the full covers. When I press download, the cover is on 3D. There are some covers that I like to replace in my collection.

phelpster said...

I almost got into a bit of trouble posting my full covers online (they were being used for eBay bootlegs) so I only post the 3D covers. If you're interested in any of the covers just leave me an email address and I can send them to you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the trouble you had regard the abusive use of your covers. I just want them for replacement in my collection. My email is and the requested covers are: "Night of the Creeps", "Mortuary", "Headless Eyes", "Terrorvision", "Rabid Grannies", "Rockula", "Witchboard 2", "Cellar Dweller" and "Hamburger".

Many thanks and keep up the good work.

Te* said...

I really like the Night of The Creeps cover. I was one of the many that wasn't too fond of the new covers, but like I said on my blog, one can always make/ find and print out one to ones own personal taste. Good job on these covers!

Mario said...

Sorry for the trouble you had regard the abusive use of your covers. I just want them for replacement in my collection. My email is and the requested covers are: "Night of the Creeps", "Mortuary", "Headless Eyes", "Terrorvision", "Rabid Grannies", "Rockula", "Witchboard 2", "Cellar Dweller" and "Hamburger".

Phaota said...

I like your NOTC cover, though it is pretty much null and void now that the awesome Director's Cut DVD is out. I will be posting a new edition of the soundtrack on Inferno Music Vault very soon when Ripper gets back from his much needed break.


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