Arrow Video Adds A Little More Giallo & Red To Your Movie Library This Month

Arrow Wake Up And Kill Arrow What Have You Done To Solange


Arrow Video continues to deliver the goods to stateside video collectors with its latest set of American releases through MVD Entertainment Group. Coming soon to Blu-Ray/DVD (as in November 24, 2015) is Wake Up And Kill (Special Edition), director Carlo Lizzani’s (Requiescant) 1966 true crime drama based on the infamous armed robber Luciano Lutring’s exploits. As usual, Arrow is not only getting this one out in a nice new transfer, they’re packing in a bunch of extras:


* Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
* High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentations of two versions of the film: the original full-length Italian release, and the shortened English-language cut
* Italian and English soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono sound on the respective versions of the film
* Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version
* Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English cut
* Theatrical trailer
* Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
* Illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film by Robert Curti, author of Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980

I’ve not yet seen this film, but it certainly sounds interesting and should be quite a treat as it’s seen as an early example of what would later be known as “poliziotteschi”, which isn’t a real word, but a blending of a few. Basically, Italian crime dramas, cop movie, detective story, you know the drill. Wake Up And Kill has a $29.95 MSRP.

Next up, it’s another gritty trip to Italy, this time with a more murdery flavor. Massimo Dallamano’s 1975 giallo, What Have They Done to Solange? gets the Arrow treatment big time with this Blu-Ray/DVD combo. I’ve seen this a few times in raggedy prints with fuzzy sound (which isn’t good for that Ennio Morricone soundtrack!), so Arrow’s version will be replacing my memories with the reality of a superb restoration job and yep, loads of extras:


Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
Newly translated subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
Brand new audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
Newly filmed cast interviews
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by MALLEUS (to be revealed)
Booklet featuring brand new writing on the film, illustrated with original stills

Solange comes out of hiding and into your favorite online video emporium or physical media paradise hat stocks Arrow stuff on December 15, 2015 for $39.95. Reviews of these two are in the pipeline once those screeners arrive.

Gallery: Thea: The Awakening


cover_art_thea (Custom)Described as “a strategic survival game steeped in Slavic myth and monstrosity”, developer MuHa Games’ formerly Early Access turn-based strategy game, Thea: The Awakening is nor available for purchase on Steam. As this is the first I’m hearing of it, I’ll just say that the nice visual style and music caught my eye and ear respectively and that’s why you’re reading about the game here.

The game also features procedural map generation as well as a non-linear story, which means no two players should experience exactly the same game twice. Check out the art and screens below and if you like what you like what you see, you know what to do, right? You’re welcome.


Baba Yaga Leshy (Custom) Orc Matriarch (Custom)


Thea_Screenshot1 Thea_Screenshot2 Thea_Screenshot3 Thea_Screenshot4 Thea_Screenshot5 Thea_Screenshot6 Thea_Screenshot7 Thea_Screenshot8 Thea_Screenshot9


Earth Defense Force 2 and EDF 4.1 Get Dated: Prepare The Time-Sink Ray!

EDF 2 Vita EDF 4.1 PS4 

Excellent. Between the new trailers above and below, the brand spankin’ new official site and the fact that both games come out on the same day as retail (YES!) and digital product, it’s a fine and dandy day for fans of Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space (PS Vita, $29.99) and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PS4, $49.99). That lovely release date of December 8, 2015 means that plenty of fans of both titles are getting exactly what they’ve wanted from Santa, Krampus or whomever else buys their gifts. Buy someone a copy of this game and you won’t see them for weeks because all they’ll be doing in their spare time is blasting big space bugs and bigger spaceships, robots and other space beasties all day and night. Yes, your inner eight-year old kaiju fan will be wholly pleased, but don’t expect this to be an easy ride at all.

Getting these as physical copies (thanks Xseed!) is going to make a lot of EDF fans happier because it’s something they’ve desired with every game in the series and Xseed kept its ear to the ground and made it happen. As for the EDF 4.1 blooper reel below… er, well… I’ll give Xseed a pass on that one because the game is so much fun that a little comic relief won’t hurt it one bit.

Anyway, go get some finger exercises in and ask the boss for some time off in December. Once these games land in stores and on PSN, you’re not going anywhere for a while.

Blu-Ray Review: The Happiness of the Katakuris

The Happiness of the Katakuris MVD7367BRI’ve never seen The Quiet Family, Jee-woon Kim’s 1998 horror/comedy film that inspired Takashi Miike’s oddball 2001 “remake” The Happiness of the Katakuris. But I’m going to track the original down one of these days just to see how that film inspired Miike to make one of the more out there genre films of the previous decade.

While its not anywhere close to perfect, a bit too long and not even a tiny bit frightening, it’s certainly somewhat gleefully disturbing thanks to the cheery performances by the main cast and the black comedy revolving around the mostly accidental deaths that occur in and around the family’s small, out of the way mountain inn. The Katakuris bizarre mix of live action, wild stop motion animation, mild gore and full-on musical numbers make it a knockout flick worth repeat viewings provided you like what’s here. Miike, known for more his prolific output in multiple genres as well as some truly memorable extreme films (Audition, Ichi The Killer, Gozu) infuses The Katakuris with his trademarks and adds a decidedly Japanese sense of “no matter what!” spirit that gets the family through its assorted misadventures. Continue reading

Review: Sound of Drop – fall into poison –

SOD title screenPlatform: PC
Developer: aeuio Kompany
Publisher: Sekai Project

MSRP: $12.99
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: A- 90% 

While it starts out somewhat slowly, Sound of Drop: – fall into poison – ends up a strong cup of horror thanks to some unsettling imagery and about 30 endings to uncover, most of them bad. When junior high schoolgirls Mayu and Himeno decide to find out if Manten Aquarium is indeed hiding a ghastly urban legend, they get more that they bargained for when they decide to investigate something fishy during a full moon. In true visual novel fashion, the plot is a few wordy hours of text packed to the gills with exposition and splashes of humor. Once it dives into horror, things take a successful turn for the weird and creepy, working quite well enough to keep you hooked in for the long haul.


Thankfully, the game shies away from some of the common trappings of many mature visual novels such as “romance” angles and gratuitous underwear shots. The game’s dive into horror comes off much better without those fan service distractions and with close to 30 bad endings and four “good” ones to discover, the replay value is off the scales. Even if you manage to get every possible ending, the experience of playing the story out and seeing all the horrific fates that befall poor Mayu and some of the people she meets will cling to your brain like an ancient barnacle. Continue reading

Random Film of the Week: High and Low

High and Low 24_BD_box_348x490_originalBased on the 1959 crime novel King’s Ransom: An 87th Precinct Mystery by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter), Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 film Tengoku to jigoku (Heaven and Hell or High and Low to western audiences) is one of those great police procedural films that’s a must for crime drama fans. With perfect casting, a gripping story of a kidnapping gone wrong thanks to a case of mistaken identity and the rush to find the kidnapper before things go further south, Kurosawa’s film is a multi-layered masterpiece worth seeing multiple times.

When “wealthy” businessman Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune) and the company he works for decide to snap up the National Shoe Company, there’s a divide between executives on how to close the deal. Gondo prefers the company stick to making well-made and reliable stompers for the masses but other big shots want shoes for all that are cheaply made and thus, more profitable because they’ll need to be replaced more often. With all the back and forth debating going on, Gondo has a master plan he’s hiding from his peers. He’s mortgaged everything he owns and plans to pull off a leverage buyout of National Shoes that would put him in charge for good and keep National doing what they do best.

Little does he know he’s being watched by a few pairs of far more evil eyes looking up at his “castle” from the lower depths… Continue reading

Gone Fishing, Thanks to Sekai Project

Sound of Drop TicketWell, lookit! I got a FREE ticket to the Manten Aquarium from Sekai Project. Nice, and THANKS, guys! I haven’t been to the aquarium for quite a while so I hope I have a REALLY good time.

Hey, as long as those little and big fishies stay in their tanks and there’s no shenanigans going on involving a bunch of visiting Japanese high school kids going missing and having horrific things happening to them, I bet I’ll have a blast.

“La, la, la,laaaaaa…” Oops:

SOD_bad end

*Sigh…* Once again, this is why we can’t have nice things. Officer, I didn’t see a thing, sir.


Sound of Drop — fall into poison — is out on Friday, October 30 for PC via Steam. You’ll find out about my trip around then. Er, if I make it back in one piece…

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water- “Free to Start” Is The Frightful Part

Fatal Frame banner 

So, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water has been out for a little while and I’ve yet to play it. Not because I don’t want to, mind you. It’s just that Nintendo of America with Tecmo/Koei have made getting the actual game a bit of a chore unless you have a zippy fast broadband connection and about 10GB of hard drive space on your Wii U or a USB drive attached to the console. The game has a “Free to Start” demo that consists of the prologue and first two chapters and if you like what you’ve played, you then pony up $49.99 to download the rest of the game. That’s fine and dandy for those who can access that, but once again, gamers who want a legal physical release have to settle for nothing unless they can speak Japanese, own an import Wii U and buy a physical copy from one of the many import shops online.

Boo to that, I say. Continue reading

Corpse Party: Blood Drive – What’s A Little Death Between “Friends”?

Corpse Party BD Vita


And you thought your school days were insane. The survivors of the certifiably unbalanced and/or genuinely terrified for their lives students of Kisaragi Academy’s class 2-9 are baaaaaack. While you can fully enjoy their new exploits in Corpse Party: Blood Drive on the Vita (out NOW!), if you want the full gory story, you’ll need to snap up the two previous games (Corpse Party and Corpse Party: Book of Shadows) on the PSP (and yep, they DO run fine on the Vita) so you can play catch up before this new game freezes your blood and spine solid.

Corpse Party EverAfter Edition Vita

All three games are guaranteed to scratch that horror/mystery itch you’ve got going under the skin, but expect things to get bloody before you know it. That EverAfter edition of Blood Drive is the perfect way to dive into the third chapter if the first two float your boat, so feel free to grab one while they last.

Earth Defense Force 4.1: Xseed Reminds You Your Holiday Season Will Be A Total Blast


Sandlot, I just LOVE what you’ve done with the PS4 hardware. The Japanese developer’s first game for the console, Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair isn’t just a simple “port” of their last game at all. New enemies, missions and gear are here for EDF veterans to play around with and the MUCH smoother frame rate (okay, 60fps dipping to 30 at chaotic times is a great thing for the series) and all new lighting effects make the game finally up to snuff with modern action games. Granted, the gameplay is still the beautiful old-school tough it needs to be on the higher difficulty levels. But now we old-timers won’t have to listen to newbies gargling out complaints about the major slowdown and choppiness or other issues the series was known for in previous installments.


My sole complaint with the game is the ESRB rating. Some parents won’t buy “M” rated games for the brood because they just don’t (cue remembrances of them falling for little Johnny sneaking Grand Theft Auto game on the holiday gift list that one time, oops!). But what’s here is a crazy amount of fun whether played solo or online with friends and yep, family. Anyway, don’t let a bit of bug blood and an occasional PG-13 swear keep you from this one. That well over 80 hours of giant bug/lizard/robot/spaceship blasting you’ll be doing will help get the family in shape for any space alien invasion. And if they happen to be friendly aliens… well, we can at least hope they like videogames about fantastic impossibilities such as this game shows off sowell.