Steel Yourself

Saturday, September 6 2014
Steel Yourself

The humble Steelbook is strangely reminiscent of the found footage film; hugely popular, initially with the cognoscenti, then crossing over to a wider mainstream audience. They’ve become a de facto default setting for genre fare, but the original fans (horror aficionados for the films, diehard collectors for the special packaging) have been grumbling about how the concept has been over-egged.

But then, every time you think the mine has been exhausted or the well has run dry, along comes something that works so well, it restores your faith in the whole thing.

Step forward then, Icon’s Cold In July.

Harking back to a bygone era of VHS cassettes and rental stores, it’s a homage to the big box and rewind before returning, perfectly in keeping with the thriller itself. Outside it mirrors the old boxes (see left), while inside it looks remarkably like a VHS cassette (see below).

It’s a collaborative effort: icon worked with agency OTMe to get the look and feel just right, while the limited edition set is retailing exclusively through Zavvi.

“It’s a film that appeals to genre fans, collectors and the broader audience in search of a good thriller,” says Icon’s Chris Warrington. “Many people compared it to No Country For Old Men and our own Drive and like those films it’s unpredictable, hugely entertaining and eminently re-watchable.

“We’re excited by our limited edition Steelbook, the look of which has been inspired by VHS rental sleeve designs from the 1980s – the era in which the film is set. Kudos to the designers at OTMe and anyone who can spot the reference to the film in the design.”

For their part, the designers at OTMe looked back at VHS cassettes, Be Kind Rewind stickers and more. We did some really nice alternatives as well (personal fave was the front of Don’s car),” explains the company’s Ben Parker, “but ultimately, it was our thoughts on the VHS, which was integral to the plot of the film that lead us down the avenue of making the steel into a VHS homage.

It’s a little tricky, because I think alot of standout of a VHS is its big size and width and we knew we were always going to have the slim BR steel case. But any design that lets you trawl the internet for your favourite VHS covers is entirely welcome with us…”

Zavvi too is pleased with the end result. The online retailer’s Joe Anderton says: “Zavvi is delighted to be releasing the exclusive Steelbook of Cold In July, one of our favourite movies of the year to date. Icon and the designers have managed to at once capture the essence of the movie and tap into the fabric of film collectors with a great pastiche of a format from yesteryear.

“We’re sure collectors will really love the finished product once they get to see it in October.”