You have to wonder what Warner Bros. is thinking at times. For years they have had the U.S. home video rights to the first three/best three (of the five) Fu Manchu films starring Christopher Lee, which were long only available on VHS. Meanwhile, the last two films in the franchise (directed by Jess Franco and generally regarded as the weakest entries in the series) were given deluxe DVD treatment by Blue Underground. So when the folks at WB finally decided to debut Fu Manchu on DVD, instead of going with THE FACE OF FU MANCHU (the film that started it all) they picked film #2, BRIDES OF FU MANCHU, and paired it with CHAMBER OF HORRORS for a DVD double feature. This would have been fine if they would have at least paired their remaining two Fu's as a second DVD double feature. But FACE OF FU MANCHU and the third film, VENGEANCE OF FU MANCHU, were allowed to gather dust for a few more years before Warner finally dumped them onto no-frills DVD-Rs as part of their Archives Collection. This film, and the fans, deserved better.
Warner has said the DVD-R/MOD format is cheaper to use, but they certainly don't pass the savings onto their customers, as these titles tend to run higher than a real DVD. If a company like VCI can use the DVD-R format and reduce the price to reflect the cost-cutting approach of MOD, there is no reason Warner (and other major studios) could not follow suit. Sadly, Warners has started taking a number of titles previously released on DVD and reissuing them as DVD-R, at the higher price but without the bonus features of the original discs. (Leaving the consumer to pay more for less.) Given how many "boutique" labels release deluxe DVD editions of obscure Euro-horror to an appreciative audience, Warner Bros. could have easily done the same here. Even their more high-profile library of classic Hammer Horror titles have been treated indifferently by the studio on DVD. Given how many times this issue with WB has been addressed in reviews, both in print and on line, you can't help but feel Warner doesn't really understand what it's got. With the recent BFI restorations done on HORROR OF DRACULA, CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and Hammer's THE MUMMY, coupled with the deluxe DVD/Blu-Ray combo packs of some of the other Hammer titles, the market for this material is out there. And while the Fu Manchu films are not Hammer productions, the presence of Christopher Lee has given that franchise its own following.