Arrow Video December: If You #TBT These, They’ll Come After You

My email is hiding stuff from me again, so this post is later than usual. As that title suggests, While today IS a Throwback Thursday, trying to do that with anything Arrow has this month will just get them mad at you and your wistful reminiscing. Just buy them and be scared or giddy or whatever you do best when you pick up a horror flick you fondly or fearfully recall.

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HELLRAISER: THE SCARLET BOX LIMITED EDITION TRILOGY (12/13, $124.95)- Pre-order/order at the MVD SHOP or on Amazon

These terrifying and original films boast brand new 2k restorations along with hours of archival content and newly produced extras including audio commentaries and interviews with Clive Barker, Doug Bradley and Sean Chapman in his first interview on the Hellraiser films in decades.

The 4-disc set will also include the newly edited version of Leviathan, the definitive documentary on Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser 2. A new documentary, Hellraiser: Evolutions, will also be included and will look at the evolution of the hit horror franchise and its enduring legacy.

These features will sit amongst a host of rarities and never-before-seen footage from the movies including the legendary ‘Surgeon’ scene from Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, the subject of fierce debate amongst fans for many years, now finally unearthed for its home video debut.

This limited edition Blu-ray comes with an exclusive illustrated 200-page hardback book featuring new writing from Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes and a 20-page booklet featuring never-before-seen original Hellraiser concept art. The limited edition packaging is adorned with incredible new artwork from Gilles Vranckx alongside a set of 5 exclusive art cards and a fold-out reversible poster.

Read on below the jump for a novella’s worth of features…

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Arrow Video November Releases: No Turkeys Here!

arrow video logoWell, November will be nice and bloody come Turkey Day and into December thanks to these three Arrow Video releases. If you’re not watching the sportsball games on that day, why not plop down on the sofa with some horror flicks to keep your eyes wide open after that high dosage of tryptophan and too much pie you’re eaten?

Here’s a look at what’s on the way:

the-initiaton_av071 THE INITIATION [Blu-ray] (11/8) SRP: $34.95

HERE’S TO BEING YOUNG… STAYING YOUNG… AND DYING YOUNG.

Marking TV star Daphne Zuniga’s debut in a leading role, The Initiation ranks among the finest of the college-based stalk-and-slash flicks – now finally restored in glorious High-Definition!

Kelly’s new sorority has a special initiation ritual in store for her – an after-hours break-in of her father’s department store. But what begins as a night of harmless college fun turns sour when, once inside the enormous mall, Kelly and her fellow pledges find themselves locked in for the night… with a deadly intruder stalking the corridors.

Arriving in 1984, The Initiation might have been late to the slasher party, but, alongside the likes of The House on Sorority Row and The Mutilator, it remains one of the stronger entries to emerge in the latter days of the slice-and-dice boom.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by The Hysteria Continues
  • Sorority Saga – a brand new interview with writer Charles Pratt, Jr.
  • Pledge Night – a brand new interview with actor Christopher Bradley
  • Dream Job – a brand new interview with actress Joy Jones
  • Extended Scene
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Original Screenplay & Production Schedule (BD -ROM Content)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn

First pressing only: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver

More below the jump… that’s where they belong, mua-ha-ha-haaaaa…

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Blu-Ray Review: RAIDERS!

Adobe Photoshop PDFAs “making of” documentaries go, RAIDERS! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is pretty darn great. However, as a friend I watched this Blu-Ray with noted, “It’s kind of missing something important…” to which I had to ask (as I was thinking the same thing) exactly what he thought that was. The answer was of course, the actual fan film itself.

Yes, you get snips, clips and blips of the film with deleted scenes here and there, plus more as bonus features (which are all excellent). But as fine as all that is, not seeing the end result of 7+ years of work ends up making for a tremendous tease more than anything else. Granted, I knew there were some good (legal) reasons why it’s not on the disc. Then some smart poking around led me to this official website where yes, you can actually buy a DVD or digital download of the film as well as some other cool merchandise that includes actual props from the seven years in the making fan flick.

Damn. There went my joke about the real reason being Steven Spielberg becoming sick and tired of hipsters saying “Oh, that’s the film Raiders! was based on!” (which, yes…*sigh*… I actually overheard coming from someone’s mouth not too long ago. Damn hipsters!).

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Blu-Ray Review: The Bloodstained Butterfly

the-bloodstained-butterfly-av063Duccio Tessari’s 1971 thriller The Bloodstained Butterfly is a great entry point to the genre for those squeamish viewers curious about gialli but not willing to commit to the more violent entries known to more ardent fans. The film is part murder mystery, part courtroom drama and part revenge flick, all stylishly shot and scored to excellent effect.

It’s also a bit of a slow fuse to its conclusion, but that’s not a bad thing at all. The film’s structure where a murder is committed and witnessed, a suspect is caught, tried and jailed, but more murders take place is yes, pure TV drama stuff you’ll see on way too many episodes of whatever Law & Order series you’ve been hooked on for who knows how long. But, Tessari’s confident style comes through in every shot, making for a highly watchable viewing experience.

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Blu-Ray Review: The House of Seven Corpses

the_house_of_seven_corpses_mp“Trust me… dying’s easy! Living is hard”

And so is watching some movies, pal.

Upon finding yourself on the set of a horror film or hell, ANY film where someone starts reading from a musty old book written in an indecipherable language, Rule Number One is this: LEAVE. You want examples? Sure. Equinox, The Evil Dead, In The Mouth of Madness, The Beyond, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, The Ninth Gate, and so forth and so on.  ALL of these flicks were initially rom-coms until someone on set decided to crack open a nasty, smelly old book they found, bought, pilfered or borrowed and all hell lit-er-al-ly broke loose.

Okay, not really. But you know you’re in for a deadly day for night shoot when there’s an old tome read and not much common sense exhibited by the cast once stuff starts going south. Sadly, 1974’s The House of Seven Corpses isn’t as good or fun enough a flick to watch as the above mentioned ones, wasting its tome (ha!) with too much “exposition” from annoying characters, John Carradine phoning in a performance from a better, scarier but campier film, and some slightly to moderately creepy undead that whittle down the cast and crew of a romantic comedy cheapie horror flick one by one.

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It’s probably not a big co-inkydink that the film was produced by a company called Television Corporation of America, as save for a few moments, this looks and feels like a TV movie of the era. No, that’s not a complement.

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DVD Review: Psychomania

psychomania-1973This one’s for Mr. Bruno, who asked how this 1973 British “horror” flick was. Here’s your answer in the form of an opinion, sir. While it’s got a cult following, is fun as hell to watch, has some striking imagery, Psychomania (aka The Death Wheelers) is very much a “meh” genre flick overall that hasn’t aged well and isn’t even remotely scary. It has some fine ideas and even a solid John Cameron score holding things together. But a lack of “edginess” or even a true sense of danger doom it as a “serious” scare flick.

That said, it’s got that cult following that adores it for a few key reasons such as a brilliant opening sequence, those GREAT skull painted motorcycle helmets worn by The Living Dead cycle gang, a killer shot of a formerly deceased biker bursting from the grave on the bike he was buried on, and a bunch of hilarious demises as most of the gang kills themselves in order to return as immortal bikers… from helllllll!

(Thanks, BFI!)

The plot goes like so: Death-obsessed cycle gang leader Tom Latham (Nicky Henson) discovers he can die via suicide and come back as an un-killable death-obsessed cycle gang leader with the aid of his frog-cult worshiping mum (Beryl Reid). Once risen, he lets his gang, The Living Dead in on his secret and they follow suit, save for his girlfriend Abby (Mary Larkin) who doesn’t want to join the ranks of the undead. There’s a bunch of bloodless murders and pre-Mad Max road crimes and chases, a lot of talking and a very weird finale that may baffle you if you weren’t paying attention to the kooky story and just wanted a more brainless flick to chill out to.

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Blu-Ray Review: Blood & Black Lace

blood-and-black-lace-mvd7206brThe words “Perfect” and “Essential” don’t often get tossed around here, but both describe Arrow Video’s stunning Blu-Ray of Mario Bava’s influential horror masterpiece, 1964’s Blood and Black Lace. If you consider yourself at all a horror fan, this one’s a no brainer BUY for your library or a great gift for that horror fan in your life who’s never seen Bava’s beautiful ballet of brutality.

From the eye-popping 2K restoration to every single bonus feature on the Blu-Ray, this set’s great for anyone who wants to see a truly great pre-giallo work that inspired many directors to play with elements found here and in Bava’s earlier The Girl Who Knew Too Much, a lesser, but still important work from a year earlier.

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When models start getting killed in and around the Cristiana Haute Couture fashion house, the hunt is on for the masked killer and pretty much everyone is a suspect… that is, until the suspects start getting killed off. The film throws around its gorgeous use of color, stylized violence, rich soundtrack and a bottle full of vintage bubbly paranoia quite well, cooking up implausibilities as a good giallo should.

 

 

Somehow, the killer is in more than one place! Explained! How did that one person know so much about the SECRET diary? Explained! What’s up with the fuss over one girl having a shady boyfriend into drugs? EX-PLAINED! Well, sort of. Anyway, the film hits you with a lot of information at a mostly rapid-fire pace and Bava’s assured direction gets his vision onscreen at full tilt guaranteed to keep you glued to your seat until the bitter end.

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On Der Backlog: More Movies Than You Can Stick A Shake At

mo_movies_mo_reviewsGah. More stuff to review, but not review in a few cases where that homework was already done. I did a few of these already based off of TCM showing them during the wee hours, so I’ll only need to do five of eight. Five of these are from Severin Films’ big sale last month after their publishing rights expired for Horror Express, The Baby, Bloody Birthday, The House of Seven Corpses, and Psychomania. I actually thought I’d reviewed HotSC already, but can’t locate the review, so I guess it’s one I dreamed I wrote or something. No big deal, as I’ve seen this enough to tap out impressions in my sleep.

Vamp is yet another Arrow Video screener I need to get to, Just Desserts I’ve seen already and need to write up (it’s brilliant), and MVD Visual sent over this lovely Unearthed Francesca set that includes a Blu-Ray/DVD and soundtrack from this recent retro giallo that, based on the trailer I just watched, REALLY looks as it was made in the 70’s.  Anyway back in a bit with a review of something NOT here I think you’ll like.

-GW

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(Not So) Random Film of the Week: GOG

gogWhile the three films in Ivan Tors Productions’ “Office of Scientific Investigation” (OSI) trilogy haven’t gotten the name recognition or massive fan bases of certain other more well-known franchises, each stands out as a fine example of Tors’ commitment to bringing a more scientific and human touch to the genre. While not going for camp or cheap thrills, the films make for a look into Tors’ heavy interest in pure science fiction with independent films he got made on his own terms.

Beginning with 1953’s The Magnetic Monster, 1954’s Riders to the Stars, and GOG, also released in 1954, the three films trade in the era’s familiar “B” movie antics for drier, more “realistic” hard science mixed with speculative elements. While some action scenes take place in all three films, outside these sequences things are done with a more sedate, almost documentary-like presentation of their assorted plots.

Additionally, all three films can be watched and enjoyed fully in any order, as they tell stories that are connected by a few threads, but don’t contain the same characters. Chief among these threads is men (and women) of science trying to make advances in the field for the future with dramatic (and sometimes unfortunate) results. Or: you can’t make a science-flavored omelette without breaking a few scientist-shaped eggs…
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October’s Arrows Draw PLENTY of Blood

Only three releases next month, but one is a SUPER biggie. That said, getting that that particular Arrow Video October release will be tough as hell for some budget-minded collectors unless they score a great online deal. Anyway, here’s what’s coming up soon:

vamp_av067Vamp [Blu-ray] (October 4th, $29.95 MSRP)

THE FIRST KISS COULD BE YOUR LAST!

Two fraternity pledges head to a seedy part of town to find some entertainment for their college friends but are faced with bloodthirsty vampires! Keith (Chris Makepeace, Meatballs) and AJ (Robert Rusler, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) want to make the right impression at college and so they devise a plan to get them into the best frathouse on campus. They head to the After Dark Club where they want to find a stripper for a party their friends won’t forget, instead they find themselves among vampires led by Kinky Katrina (Grace Jones, A View to a Kill)!

Almost certainly an influence on From Dusk til Dawn, Vamp is superbly designed by many of Grace Jones’ own award-winning collaborators and features stunning effects by four-time Oscar winner Greg Cannom (The Lost Boys, Bram Stoker’s Dracula). Delivering laughs and scares in equal measure, with the added bonus of vampy sex appeal, Vamp is a comedy horror romp with real bite!

Bonus Materials
– High Definition digital transfer
– Original mono audio
– Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– One of those Nights: The Making of Vamp – a brand new documentary featuring interviews with director Richard Wenk, stars Robert Rusler, Dedee Pfeiffer, Gedde Watanabe
– Behind-the-scenes rehearsals
– Blooper Reel
– Image gallery
– Dracula Bites the Big Apple (1979) – Richard Wenk’s celebrated short film
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
– First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Cullen Gallagher

More below the jump (MUCH more!)… Continue reading