Arrow Video July Releases: Hot Summer Nights, Indeed

While there are only a mere three releases in July from Arrow Video through MVD Entertainment, they’re all worth nabbing thanks to being a nice set of eclectic films to watch. Amusingly enough, all are about women in trouble and/or various states of undress for plot purposes (of course). A classic sex comedy, a weird, unintentionally funny sex drama, and a killer Japanese film set that’s one of the ultimate revenge flick compilations of the era all await your eager eyeballs and shelf space.

The Swinging Cheerleaders AV058First up: on July 5th, say hello to The Swinging Cheerleaders (MSRP $34.95, Blu-ray + DVD, MVD Shop or Amazon pre-order)

They gave it all for their team…

 

Jack Hill spent the seventies specializing in tough female characters. He made movies about girl gangs (Switchblade Sisters) and women in prison (The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage), turned Pam Grier a star with Coffy and Foxy Brown, and contributed to the Cheerleaders line of drive-in favorites with The Swinging Cheerleaders.

 

Kate, an undergraduate at Mesa University, goes undercover as a cheerleader for her college newspaper in order to expose ‘female exploitation in contemporary society’. But instead of oppression she finds love, friendship and a bigger fish to fry: corruption in the football team, headed up by the coach and his pals.

 

A favorite of Quentin Tarantino, who screened it at the very first Tarantino Film Fest, The Swinging Cheerleaders features a cast of cult favorites including Colleen Camp (Wayne’s World, Game of Death), Rainbeaux Smith (Caged Heat, The Incredible Melting Man) and future Playmate of the Month Rosanne Katon.

 

BONUS MATERIALS
– Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
– High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD Presentations
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
– Audio commentary by writer-director Jack Hill, recorded exclusively for this release
– Brand new interview with Jack Hill
– Archive interview with cinematographer Alfred Taylor
– Archive interview with Hill and Johnny Legend
– Q&A with Hill, and actors Colleen Camp and Rosanne Katon recorded at the New Beverly Cinema in 2012
– TV spots
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
– Illustrated booklet containing new writing by Cullen Gallagher (first pressing only)

 

But wait, there’s more!

Next up, July 12 brings a really wild one back, folks. Hold on to your platinum wigs and heroically named multi-use adult toys, it’s:

Crimes of Passion_AV059

Crimes Of Passion (MSRP $39.95, Blu-ray + DVD, MVD Shop or Amazon pre-order)

She is watched. She is worshiped. And she must remain a mystery.

 

In the early eighties British enfant terrible Ken Russell traveled 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 outrĂ© 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!

 

BONUS MATERIALS
– Brand new 2K restoration of the film from original film materials
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the director’s cut and 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
– Home movie footage of Ken Russell visiting Florida for a retrospective screening of Crimes of Passion at the 2009 Florida Film Festival
– Theatrical trailer
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil
– Illustrated booklet containing new writing by Ken Russell’s biographer, Paul Sutton, correspondence between Russell and Kathleen Turner, and an on-set interview with Russell (first pressing only)

 

And finally, on July 26, it’s REVENGE, Japanese style (Toei Studios division):

Female Prisoner Scorpion_AV060Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection (MSRP $124.95, Blu-Ray + DVD Limited Edition, MVD Shop or Amazon preorder)

Limited Edition Blu-Ray collection (3000 copies)

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 series is the pinnacle of early 1970s exploitation cinema from Japanese grindhouse studio Toei, and one of the greatest female revenge sagas ever told.

 

SPECIAL 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 a new writing on the films, 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

Fireworks indoors are usually a VERY lousy idea. But these three film sets will heat up a summer’s evening with no harm to your friends or any pets. Um, just keep the kids far away from these flicks, of course!

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