The Horror Movie Empire Debacle

I guess it’s time to address my small part in the Horror Movie Empire debacle. By which I mean you can add me to the number of people apparently ripped off by the online vendor. Even so, I’m going to say “ripped off” is a term I use reluctantly. I can be more confident and truthful in saying I’ve been let down by them, because I still harbor a ragged hope that I’ll get my goods, though finding my mailbox devoid of any such thing day by day diminishes that hope bit by bit.

If you’re lucky enough to have avoided this mess, or the blog posts or the forum threads: Horror Movie Empire, back in December of 2011, ran a rather extraordinary sale on Blue Underground DVDs and Blu-Rays: ten bucks for Blus, seven for DVDs. I ordered six in all, and I wasn’t the only one: HME said they hadn’t expected such a big response, which was, I suppose, the first sign of trouble.

I had dealt with HME before. I rolled the dice on their “Blu-Ray grab bag” and got Dead-Alive, which I didn’t own on Blu, so, hey, score (the fact that I could have gotten it cheaper from Amazon than the grab bag price is irrelevant. Caveat emptor is going to get more and more relevant as this thing goes on). The delivery time was a bit slow, but I had been warned about that.

So. I put in my order on that sale. At that price, I was picking up mainly discs I likely would not have normally, for the purposes of shoring up my education on various film genres, by which I mean a couple of respected horror movies I hadn’t liked when first released, and felt the need to revisit in my older, theoretically wiser state. One movie that I knew was coming up for a Daily Grindhouse podcast. The only movie that was actually on my “must have” list was the Blu-Ray of Zombie, which has gotten high praise.

Then I sat back to wait, remembering his fabled slowness. And wait. And wait. We’re now looking at 100 days of waiting. My order number was in the 2100’s. I have seen complaints numbering in the 3300’s. That’s… what? At least a thousand orders after my own? That’s a lot of people and a lot of money.

As bit of (I guess) commiseration, I have a saved Twitter search using HME’s twitter handle. I check it daily to see the questions, the demands, the vitriol. All of which goes without reply (much like my e-emails).

I’m not placing a link for the site here. It’s significant – but no real help – that a Google search will net you their dismal rating on the Better Business Bureau site. It also has a page by Noel Mellor of FilmRant under the similar URL of horror-movie-empire.com which he hopes will eventually supplant HME’s top search status, with the title heading “Horror Movie Empire – A COMPLETE RIP OFF”. Mellor’s page allows people to sound off about their experience. The last posting to the site is a week old at this point, is titled “A New Hope” and contains actual correspondence from the frustratingly silent owner/operator of HME. Will Noel get his discs? Will I? I guess we’ll see.

If nothing else, I’ve been aware for some time that the universe is a well-oiled machine designed to humiliate me. As this is the case, I am hoping that by finally putting my complaints into print, I will find a package in my mailbox this afternoon, causing me to write a wordy retraction.

Yep, that’s me. Still naive after all these years.

EDIT: So what’s on the front page of HME’s site today? (and a tip of the hat to Geoff Hunt for pointing it out):

YET ANOTHER EDIT: In all fairness, I must report that by the end of 2012, I had received each and every disc I ordered. It took nearly a year, but it finally happened. Now let us put this all behind us, and never click on that site again.

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