Arrow Video have revealed that they are planning to add a number of exciting titles to their Blu-ray catalog in 2014: Donald Cammell's White of the Eye, Tinto Brass' Frivolous Lola and Cheeky, Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise, Teruo Ishii's Blind Woman's Curse, Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels, and more.
From Teruo Ishii "The King of Cult", Blind Woman's Curse (also known as Black Cat's Revenge) is a thrilling Yakuza film featuring eye-popping visuals, thrilling samurai fight sequences and the gorgeous Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood, Stray Cat Rock), in her first major role.
Akemi (Kaji) is a dragon tattooed leader of the Tachibana Yakuza clan. In a duel with a rival gang Akemi slashes the eyes of an opponent and a black cat appears, to lap the blood from the gushing wound. The cat along with the eye-victim go on to pursue Akemi's gang in revenge, leaving a trail of dead Yakuza girls, their dragon tattoos skinned from their bodies.
A bizarre blend of the female Yakuza film and traditional Japanese ghost story, with a strong dash of grotesque-erotica (the same movement was a sensibility of Edogawa Rampo whose works were adapted by Ishii in Horrors of Malformed Men), Blind Woman's Curse is a delirious mash-up of classic genre tropes, to which Ishii was no stranger having directed everything from Super Giant films to Biker movies.
A serial killer is on the loose in and around the small community of Globe, Arizona, and housewife Joan White (Cathy Moriarty) gradually comes to suspect that her opera-loving hi-fi engineer husband Paul (David Keith) might know more than he's letting on...
So far so familiar, but in the hands of British visionary Donald Cammell (who wrote and co-directed Performance with Nicolas Roeg), the film becomes a dazzling kaleidoscope of images and ideas, spanning everything from Apache folklore, desert landscapes and stylish murder set-pieces that recall Dario Argento to a painfully vivid dissection of the emotional fissures undermining a modern marriage. It's all set to an equally eclectic score co-written by Pink Floyd's Nick Mason.
Described by the distinguished critic David Thomson as "one of the great secret works in cinema", White of the Eye is one of the most bizarre and unforgettable thrillers ever made.
The Stuff is the new dessert taking supermarket shelves by storm. It's delicious, low in calories and – better still – doesn't stain the family carpet… What's not to like?! Well, for a start it has a life of its own, and we're not talking friendly live bacteria…
Young Jason seems to be the only one who doesn't love The Stuff – in fact he won't go anywhere near it, after having seen the pudding crawling around the fridge one night. What's more, everyone who eats The Stuff has started acting really weird... Now, teaming up with wise-cracking industrial saboteur "Mo", Jason must put a stop to The Stuff and the organisation behind it or face a gooey, gloopy demise.
Coming courtesy of horror auteur Larry Cohen (director of the It's Alive series and scribe behind the Maniac Cop trilogy), The Stuff is a titillating treat for the taste-buds which blends elements of films such as Street Trash with the straight-up B-movie flavour of The Blob. So grab a spoon and dig on into The Stuff – the taste that delivers… much more than you bargained for.
"I gotta find out what makes a man decide not to run. Why all of a sudden he'd rather die."
So muses hitman Charlie (Lee Marvin) after his high-priced victim Johnny North (John Cassavetes) gives in without a fight. Obsessed with the answer, Charlie and his hot-headed associate Lee (Clu Gulager) track down Johnny's associates, and uncover a complex web of crime and deceit involving his femme fatale girlfriend Sheila (Angie Dickinson) and ruthless mob boss Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan in his last screen role).
Loosely inspired by the Ernest Hemingway story, and directed by Don Siegel (whose many other taut, efficient thrillers include Dirty Harry and the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers), The Killers was commissioned as the very first 'TV movie', but was given a cinema release because of its violence - although a cast like that really belonged on the big screen in the first place.
Following difficulties in his career Mario Bava happened across an idea that would enable him to compete with the younger directors lighting up the Italian box office such as Dario Argento and Sergio Martino.
Rabid Dogs begins as $70,000 of wages are being transferred when the Ajaccio gang hit. With a hail of bullets in a quick raid they speed off in their waiting getaway car. Tough, violent and realistic, Bava's film ramps up the tension and doesn't stop as hostages are added and the film builds to its dizzying finale.
Unfolding in real time, a rare device seen only in earlier films such as High Noon and 12 Angry Men yet totally unheard of in Italian cinema at the time, Rabid Dogs is a singular film in Bava's filmography and one of the greatest crime films of the period.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of two versions of the film; 'Rabid Dogs' – Bava's original version posthumously completed from his notes & 'Kidnapped' – the re-edited, re-dubbed and re-scored version, supervised by Bava's son and assistant Lamberto Bava and producer Alfredo Leone
Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both versions
Audio Commentary with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas
End of the Road: The Making of Rabid Dogs – A documentary featurette including interviews with Lamberto Bava, Alfredo Leone and star Lea Lander
Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Stephen Thrower, a history of the multiple versions of the film from Semaforo Rosso to Rabid Dogs to Kidnapped by Peter Blumenstock, illustrated with original stills and posters
Director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) is one of Hollywood's hottest talents, with an uncanny gift for getting audiences rolling in the aisles. But he's dissatisfied: he wants to abandon comedy for Serious Statements, and buys the rights to celebrated social-realist novel 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'
To make his masterpiece as realistic as possible, Sullivan naturally has to understand how the book's downtrodden characters must have felt, so he takes to the road as a hobo, is taken under the wing of a failed actress (Veronica Lake), and learns several valuable home truths about the importance of not patronising his audience.
Writer-director Preston Sturges had an inspired run in the 1940s, turning out some of the funniest American comedies ever made (The Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek). Sullivan's Travels is one of his best: not just hilarious but also truly wise.
The most dangerous game ever devised, to pit man against man, flesh against steel – the figure-8 race! Jack Hill (Coffy, Foxy Brown) follows up Spider Baby, once again teaming up with Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses) in one of his greatest roles for this action-spectacular crash-o-rama!
Richard Davalos (East of Eden) stars as Rick Bowman, a street punk who winds up in jail after a street race goes wrong. Bailed out by race promoter Grant Willard, Davalos is put in the deadly track where he comes up against Haig's maniacal winner Hawk Sidney. Featuring an outstanding supporting cast including Brian Donlevy (The Quatermass Xperiment) in his last film appearance, Ellen Burstyn, billed as Ellen McRae (The Exorcist) and Beverly Washburn (Spider Baby) Pit Stop is one of Hill's lesser known films but arguably his greatest.
Filmed on a real figure-8 track, Hill and his crew were able to capture gripping real-life car wreck scenes lending the film a brilliant sense of realism. You've never seen a motion picture like this before – can you take it?
Legends abound of 'The Hellgate Hitchhiker'. So the story goes, a beautiful young woman was once brutally defiled and murdered by a biker gang. Now, returned from the dead, she wanders the roadside luring unsuspecting motorists to their doom…
Refusing to heed the warnings of locals, a group of college friends set out on a cross-country road trip looking for fun and frolics. But they get much more than they bargained for when they wind up in the abandoned mining town of Hellgate and hemmed in by hordes of the undead!
Providing gore and gags in equal measure, Hellgate recalls the good old days of early 90s fright flicks and challenges other gleefully twisted flicks such as Re-animator and Return of the Living Dead for sheer grisly delirium!
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the main feature
Road to Perdition, B-Movie Style: An extensive interview with Hellgate director William A. Levey
Alien Invasion, Blaxploitation and Ghost-Busting Mayhem: Scholar, Filmmaker and fan Howard S. Berger reflects on the intriguing film career of William A. Levey
Video Nasty: Kenneth Hall, writer of the Puppet Master series, speaks about the direct-to-video horror boom that allowed Hellgate to become a classic of the cassette rental era
Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
Collector's booklet featuring writing on the film by Lee Gambin, illustrated with original artwork and stills
Brian De Palma's inspired rock'n'roll fusion of Faust, The Phantom of the Opera and The Picture of Dorian Gray boasts an Oscar-nominated score by Paul Williams, who also stars as an evil record producer who not only steals the work of composer/performer Winslow Leach (William Finley) but gets him locked up in Sing Sing - and that's not the worst that happens to him along the way.
Few revenge scenarios have ever been so amply justified, but the film is also constantly aware of the satirical possibilities offered by the 1970s music industry, exemplified by Gerrit Graham's hilariously camp glam-rock star. Jessica Harper (Suspiria) appears in her first major role as the naïve but ambitious singer, on whom Winslow secretly dotes.
Prodigiously inventive both musically and visually, this is one of De Palma's most entertaining romps, not least because it was so clearly a labour of love.
One of the sunniest of Tinto Brass's erotic comedies, this sets its breezy tone from the opening scene in which Lola (Anna Ammirati) cycles around a small Po Valley town in a flapping skirt that leaves nothing to the imagination.
But it's the 1950s, and her baker fiancée Masetto (Max Parodi) is determined that Lola remains a virgin until their wedding night. However, she is equally set on establishing whether or not he's a good lover before they tie the knot. His dough-kneading technique seems promising, but how can she be sure without an expert to compare him with? In short, can Masetto live up to the erotic ideals professed by Lola's mother's lover (Patrick Mower)?
Fortunately, the outwardly innocent town turns out to be a hotbed of licentiousness, with opportunities for voyeurism and maybe more around every corner - all in the interests of self-improving research, of course.
Coming to Blu-ray on February 10.
When free-spirited beauty Carla (Yuliya Mayarchuk) moves to London, her search for a flat leads to a lesbian seduction by estate agent Moira (Francesca Nunzi), much to the horror of Carla's boyfriend Matteo (Jarno Berardi) still stuck in their native Venice. And then he discovers a cache of letters from an ex-boyfriend, accompanied by a highly revealing and very public photograph of her...
Ravishingly shot in two of the world's great cities, bouncily scored by Pino Donaggio, and crammed with wall-to-wall nudity and casual sexual flings, Cheeky is as lighthearted as its title suggests, but it's subtler and more philosophical than the average sex romp.
In particular, it's a genuinely moving look at problems arising when a desire to remain scrupulously faithful collides with the lure of baser instincts. Carla genuinely loves Matteo, but how can she reassure him when he spots temptation around every corner?
With the 20th Century drawing to a close, nuclear war has wiped out civilization as we know it. The embattled human race's last remaining hope lies with one man and his loaded weapon.
Sam Hell may be an ex-con, but he also happens to be one of the last surviving fertile men on the planet. Now, under the custody of a group of feisty female fighters, Sam finds himself enlisted on a mission to impregnate a harem of beauties. Sounds cushy enough, but the ladies in question are prisoners of Frogtown – home to a gang of mutant (and ill-mannered) amphibians
Starring wrestler-turned-actor Rowdy Roddy Piper, known to John Carpenter enthusiasts for his body-slamming and bubblegum-chewing antics in They Live, Hell Comes to Frogtown is unashamedly a B-movie through and through with more guns and girls than you can shake a frog's leg at.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
Grappling with Green Gargantuans: Wrestling icon "Rowdy" Roddy Piper speaks about his leading man turn in Hell Comes to Frogtown
Amphibian Armageddon: Actor Brian Frank remembers his role as Commander Toty
Creature Feature Creator: Effects wizard Steve Wang reveals the secrets behind Hell Comes to Frogtown's mutant manifestations
Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Jeff Zornow
Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and critic Calum Waddell
As much as I love Scream Factory, Arrow has and continues to beat the shit out of them. Chocolate Chip Charlie in HD will be some kind of revelation. Also, The Killers is welcomed as there is nothing here in the States the bests the Criterion DVD.
Arrow is quickly becoming my new favorite label. Now that they've been putting more effort towards the transfers, making Criterion-like booklets and original/new cover designs without the flimsy white boxes, I'm fully on board!
All look really good, import them all eventually. I really hope Arrow gets access to, or creates, better transfers for the Tinto Brass films as Im looking foward to those for sure. The last batch are great to have in HD but All Ladies Do It deserved a better presentation.
So many good looking titles announced at once is kind of mind blowing. Will have to get most of these, maybe all. Been longing for The Stuff for some time, too bad I won't be able to lend region Bs to any of my (2) friends with bluray players here.
Arrow should definitely try to get the 1998 documentary "Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance" as an extra for WHITE OF THE EYE. A 1080p presentation of his short film, "The Argument" (shot in 2.35:1 35mm) would also be great.
"Phantom of the Paradise" and "White of the Eye" do stand out for me, but the rest is also impressive!
Arrow has managed to become a top-label, when it comes to BDs nowadays.
They started their BD-age with some really good titles years ago, but within the last year (I think starting with Lucio Fulci's "Zombie Flesh Eaters") they really raised the bar for themselves:
Great selection of titles (they really hit my taste), top-notch in the technical department (preserving a very filmic look, going as far as creating new HD-Scans if necessary) and the bonus-section is always outstanding, often times they add all new special features to already existing materials. They always seem to make the right decisions.
To mention just a few: Brian De Palma's "The Fury" (beats Twilight Times release in all departments, even the price), Tobe Hooper's "Lifeforce" (better picture-quality and extras than all releases worldwide)... I could go on, but I think it is enough.
What more can you ask for? Well I guess for more titles you like to see from them:
Arrow seems to be quite into De Palma (just like me) and they would really kill me, if they would release Brian De Palmas "Body Double" on BD (maybe punching Twilight Time in the face, again).
The only thing that might be controversial when it comes to their releases is the "newly commissioned artwork". This part is hit and miss, more often a miss. But it seems to be a unique selling point of some kind.
@Sir Henry Rawkinson
I am so excited that Arrow will release Donald Cammell's "White of the Eye" on BD.
Watching this film really made my body... well explode. The images created by Cammell really touched me on a profound level, at the very center of me.
The BBC Documentary "Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance" would indeed be a fantastic extra. Same goes for "The Argument" in FullHD. Just know this one from Tartan's UK-DVD of "Wild Side", improvements are definitely possible.
As a Donald Cammell "aficionado" I call out to Warner for a BD-release of "Performance" and "Demon Seed". But please don't "teal n' orange", black-crush or degrain these movies, take Arrow as an example on the technical front (but that is just wishful thinking, also know as daydreaming)!!
I did the mix on 'Hellgate' and it was shot in South Africa by Distant Horizon, it's quite a gutsy movie spoilt by and because of its low budget by cheap sound alike rock n roll tracks. It really is worth a look. It would be excellent if Arrow followed up this Distant Horizon picture with their terrific anti war move 'The Stick' about a group of soldiers in Angola, a very strong movie indeed.