Blu-Ray Round Up: Arrow Video!

Garon CockrellAnnoucements, Blu-Ray Review, Horror, Miscellaneous, MoviesLeave a Comment

Arrow Video has been a revered label for fans of horror and cult cinema but for years they’ve only been accessible for those with region free players to enjoy. Recently though they’ve broken through to the US market and brought their spectacular releases to the new world.

Below is just a sampling of the latest releases from this great company. There are some fantastic releases in the pipeline as well (The Hills Have Eyes being one I am particularly excited about!). Read on for a round up of some fantastic new releases from a label that you should definitely get yourself familiar with.

The following titles have something for everyone and run the gamut of genres from around the world. Each release is packed with special features and the presentations of these films are top notch. Arrow Video has yet to let me down on a single release and these are no exception. Especially with the Female Prisoner Scorpion Limited Edition set. It’s a glorious collection that the fans of that series will be nuts over. It’s masterful.

Each of these titles is available now and they’re all Region A releases so no need to worry about a region free player. Arrow Video is the latest British Invasion and I am glad to see them finally arriving in America. Go buy these titles and support physical media so we can continue to get spectacular releases like the ones below.

crimes-of-passion

Crimes of Passion

In the early eighties British enfant terrible Ken Russell travelled to America and placed his unorthodox imprint on a pair of US movies. The first was the Altered States, so out-there its screenwriter disowned it. The second was the equally crazy Crimes of Passion, starring Kathleen Turner (Body Heat, Serial Mom) at the height of her powers.

Fashion designer Joanna Crane (Turner) leads a double life. By night she is China Blue, a prostitute who’s attracted the unwanted attention of two men. One is a sexually frustrated private detective hired by her employees. The other is psychopathic priest (played by Norman Bates himself, Anthony Perkins) in possession of a murderous sex toy.

With its outré screenplay by Barry Sandler and over the top score by Rick Wakeman, Crimes of Passion may just be the most outrageous Ken Russell film ever made – and that’s quite some feat!

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the film from original film materials
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the 112-minute director’s cut and 107-minute unrated versions of the film
  • Optional subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with director Ken Russell and producer-screenwriter Barry Sandler
  • Seven deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary by Sandler
  • Brand-new interview with Sandler recorded especially for this release
  • Brand-new interview with composer Rick Wakeman recorded especially for this release
  • It’s a Lovely Life music video
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil

First pressing only: illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing from Paul Sutton, an archive interview with Ken Russell and correspondence between Russell and Kathleen Turner.

 

dediDead-End Drive-in

One of Quentin Tarantino s favourite directors, Brian Trenchard-Smith was a key figure in the Ozploitation movement, responsible for The Man from Hong Kong, Stunt Rock, Turkey Shoot, BMX Bandits… and dystopian cult classic Dead-End Drive In!

Set in a near-future where the economy has crumbled and violent gangs play havoc in the streets, the powers-that-be have decided to lure the delinquent youth into drive-in cinemas and keep them there. No longer just a place to watch trashy movies and make out, these outdoor picture shows have become concentration camps for the unruly and unwanted.

With its day-glo colour scheme, new wave soundtrack and extraordinary stunt work, Dead-End Drive-In is in the tradition of Ozploitation milestones Mad Max and The Cars That Ate Paris only very, very eighties.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
  • High Definition (1080p) Presentation
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Audio commentary by director Brian Trenchard-Smith
  • The Stuntmen, Trenchard Smith s classic television documentary on Grant Page (Mad Max, Road Games) and other Australian stunt performers
  • Hospitals Don t Burn Down, Trenchard-Smith s 1978 public information film told in pure Ozploitation fashion
  • Theatrical trailer

 

First pressing only: fully-illustrated collector s booklet containing writing on the films by Cullen Gallagher and Neil Mitchell

Butterfly

The Bloodstained Butterfly

Directed by Duccio Tessari (Death Occurred Last Night, A Pistol for Ringo), The Bloodstained Butterfly melds the lurid giallo traditions popularized by Dario Argento and Mario Bava with courtroom drama, resulting in a film that is as concerned with forensic detail and legal process as it is with grisly murders and audacious set-pieces.

When a young female student is savagely killed in a park during a thunderstorm, the culprit seems obvious: her lover, TV sports personality Alessandro Marchi (Giancarlo Sbragia, Death Rage), seen fleeing the scene of the crime by numerous eyewitnesses. The evidence against him is damning… but is it all too convenient? And when the killer strikes again while Marchi is in custody, it quickly becomes apparent that there s more to the case than meets the eye…

Starring 70s heartthrob Helmut Berger (Dorian Gray, The Godfather: Part III) alongside genre mainstays Evelyn Stewart (The Psychic, The Case of the Scorpion s Tail) and Carole André (Colt 38 Special Squad), and featuring a score by Gianni Ferrio (Death Walks at Midnight), The Bloodstained Butterfly is presented uncut and in a sumptuous new 4K restoration that allows this unique and haunting thriller to shine like never before!

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray (Region A) and Standard Definition (480p) DVD (Region 1) presentations
  • Original Italian and English soundtracks in DTS-HD MA mono 1.0
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
  • Murder in B-Flat Minor, a new visual essay on the film, its cast and crew by author Troy Howarth
  • New career retrospective on director Duccio Tessari
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Gallery of original promotional images
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
  • Limited edition 36-page booklet illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, containing writing by James Blackford, Howard Hughes and Leonard Jacobs

micro

Microwave Massacre stars legendary stand-up comedian and actor Jackie Vernon (the voice of Frosty The Snowman from the beloved animated Rankin / Bass classic animated holiday special) as Donald, a disgruntled construction worker whose wife s predilection for haute cuisine drives him to cannibalism.

Donald unwittingly stumbles upon a solution to his two major problems in his life his nagging wife and his lack of tasty meals when, one night, he bludgeons his better half to death with a pepper grinder in a drunken rage. Thinking on his feet, Donald dismembers the body and sets about microwaving the remains, which turn out to be rather delicious. Trouble is, now he s got a taste for human flesh that needs satisfying…

Eschewing all notions of good taste, Wayne Berwick s Microwave Massacre is a deliciously depraved exercise in political incorrectness that has gone on to gain a cult following thanks to a characteristically deadpan performance from lead Vernon, who delivers such choice lines as I m so hungry I could eat a whore . Vegetarians need not apply!

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the original camera negative
  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray (Region A) and Standard Definition (480p) DVD (Region 1) presentations
  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer-producer Craig Muckler moderated by Mike Tristano
  • Brand new making-of featurette including interviews with Muckler, director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork to be revealed

First pressing only: fully-illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower

Female-Prisoner-Scorpion-Complete-Arrow-Video

 

Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection

Starring the iconic and beautiful Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood, Stray Cat Rock) in a role that came to define her career, the four-film Female Prisoner Scorpion series charts the vengeance of Nami Matsushima, who assumes the mantle of “Scorpion,” becoming an avatar of vengeance and survival, and an unlikely symbol of female resistance in a male-dominated world.

Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion introduces Nami, a gullible young woman unjustly imprisoned, who must find a way to escape in order to exact revenge upon the man who betrayed her. The visually avant-garde Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 sees director Shunya Ito and star Meiko Kaji re-unite as Nami and six other female convicts escape prison once more. The Gothic horror-inspired Beast Stable finds Nami branded public enemy #1 and on the run. She soon finds refuge with a sympathetic prostitute, but runs afoul of a local gang. The final film in the series, #701’s Grudge Song (from director Yasuharu Hasebe, Retaliation, Massacre Gun), shows a gentler side of Nami as she falls in with Kudo, an ex-radical suffering from physical and psychological trauma caused by police torture.

Spiritual kin to Ms. 45, Coffy and The Bride Wore Black, the Female Prisoner Scorpion is the pinnacle of early 1970s exploitation cinema from Japanese grindhouse studio Toei, and one of the greatest female revenge sagas ever told.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

  • Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3000 copies)
  • Brand new 2K restorations of all four films in the series presented on High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD
  • Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays) for all films
  • Optional English subtitles for all films
  • Double-sided fold out poster of two original artworks
  • Reversible sleeves for all films featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
  • Booklet featuring an extract from Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji, an upcoming book on the star by critic and author Tom Mes, an archive interview with Meiko Kaji, and a brand new interview with Toru Shinohara, creator of the original Female Prisoner Scorpion manga

FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION

  • Newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Gareth Evans (The Raid)
  • Archive interview with director Shunya Ito
  • New interview with assistant director Yutaka Kohira
  • Theatrical Trailers for all films in the series

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41

  • Newly filmed appreciation by critic Kier-La Janisse
  • Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Shunya Ito
  • New interview with production designer Tadayuki Kuwana
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE

  • Newly filmed appreciation by critic Kat Ellinger
  • Archive interview with director Shunya Ito
  • New visual essay on the career of star and icon Meiko Kaji by critic Tom Mes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701 s GRUDGE SONG

  • Newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Kichiku: Banquet of the Beasts)
  • Archive interview with director Yasuharu Hasebe
  • Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Yasuharu Hasebe
  • Visual essay on the Scorpion series by critic Tom Mes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.
Garon CockrellBlu-Ray Round Up: Arrow Video!