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Shock and Gore – how we'll be reviewing this comprehensive box set
We're seriously late with one of Arrow's biggest releases of 2016, but are going ahead with it anyway, though not in our usual, single-review manner. Slarek outlines how we'll be covering this release and the reasons for its delay | 10 November 2016

One of the packages that arrived through our letterbox in a few weeks ago was so thick it barely made it through the letterbox at all. It contained all the review discs (Blu-ray and DVD) from what has to be one of Arrow's most comprehensive box set to date. Exploitation horror fans will doubtless know all about it. I'm talking, of course, about The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast and its even more luxuriously featured companion, the Limited Edition Shock and Gore box set, which wealthier genre devotees will doubtless have pre-ordered as soon as they got wind of it.

Shock and Gore

Given our penchant for long and detailed reviews and the limits on our free time, we knew covering a set of this size would present us with a challenge. The set contains 14 feature films and an absolute wealth of special features (check out the contents here) and I knew from the moment I laid eyes on it that this would take an age to complete. Then fate intervened. I'd been waiting for a surgical procedure for several months when my appointment suddenly arrived, and I was whipped into hospital just a few days after I had started watching the films. What I wasn't ready for was how incapacitated I would be in the weeks that followed, how much pain I'd be dealing with and how zonked out the pain killers I was prescribed would make me. And we had other, albeit less time-consuming review discs to cover as well. As a result, Shock and Gore got a little sidelined. By the time my slate of single disc releases was clear and the pain had eased enough for me not to be reliant on the happy pills any more, the set had been on sale for a couple of weeks. Wouldn't a review posted this late be just a little redundant? Maybe, but given that even the regular edition is currently going to cost you a hefty £92, I'm guessing that a fair few of its potential buyers are still uncertain whether to splash out and get it, or maybe are even hanging on until Christmas. And though I've only watched a small number of the films and their related special features, I can assure you that this a release worth covering.

Fortunately for me, our intermittently vanishing horror specialist Gort has since stepped up to the plate and will be helping with the review and quite possibly doing the whole thing himself (we're working on him). But here's the problem. There are 14 feature films to cover, two on every disc, and each of those discs also contains a collection of special features worthy of a decent stand-alone release. If we cover the set in our usual fashion, the review will take a good two or three weeks to complete and may well push other reviews aside in the process. We've thus decided to do what we did with our coverage of Arrow's Six Gothic Tales box set and post individual reviews of each of the discs, which will result not in a single review of epic scale, but an ongoing and episodic one in which the films are covered as a series of double-bills, complete with the special features specific to that disc. We'll end on a round-up of the box set in general and the special features unique to the Limited Edition.

With Gort already buried in the first disc in the set, you can expect this process to start in the next couple of days, while I swallow another pain killer and dash off a (probably) shorter than usual review of another disc that we all completely forgot about until we got a friendly prod from Arrow's PR people. This does mean that there will be quite a few reviews relating to the same release being posted on the site over the next couple of weeks. But who knows? Maybe (and we've currently had no indication at all that this will happen) Arrow will follow the example set by Six Gothic Tales and release the films contained within as stand-alone discs at a later date, for which this review format will be ideal. It will also result in seven reviews of more manageable length rather than a single, multi-paged epic that's take you a whole afternoon to digest.