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Hirokazu Kore-eda's Our Little Sister on Blu-ray and DVD in June
The latest, award-winning and deeply moving film from the acclaimed director of I Wish and Like Father, Like Son comes to UK Blu-ray and DVD in June from Curzon Artificial Eye.
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Arrow Video announce its August Blu-ray and DVD titles

7 May 2016

In case you missed it, yesterday Arrow Video announced via its Twitter feed its August Blu-ray and DVD release slate, and it's an absolute doozy, a ravishing collection of cult cinema titles from Canada, America, Japan and Italy. So let's get down to business.

 

David Cronenberg's Early Works cover

David Cronenberg’s Early Works | 1st August 2016 | Blu-ray £17.99 | DVD £14.99

One of the most singular auteurs of the horror and science fiction genres, David Cronenberg has wowed audiences with his depictions of body transformations and explorations of society, this collection of his early short and feature films shows a master learning his craft and exploring many of the themes that would dominate his most celebrated work.

Transfer (1966), Cronenberg’s first short film, is a surreal sketch of a doctor and his patient. From the Drain (1967) finds two men in a bathtub, which may be part of a centre for veterans of a future war. Stereo (1969), Cronenberg’s first official feature film, stunningly shot in monochrome, concerns telepaths at the Institute for Erotic Enquiry where patients undergo tests by Dr. Luther Stringfellow. In Crimes of the Future (1970) Cronenberg worked in colour and with a larger budget, where we find the House of Skin clinic director (Ronald Mlodzik, returning from Stereo) searching for his mentor, Antoine Rouge, who has disappeared following a catastrophic plague.

Cronenberg’s early amateur feature films, shot in and around his university campus, prefigure his later films’ concerns with strange institutions, male/female separation and ESP, echoing the likes of Videodrome, Dead Ringers and Scanners.

Special Edition contents:

  • Brand new restorations of four Cronenberg films

  • Original mono audio for all films

  • Optional english subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  • Transfer the Future – Author and critic Kim Newman discusses Cronenberg’s early works

  • Sleeve featuring newly illustrated artwork by Gilles Vranckx

 

The Count Yorga Collection | 8th August 2016 | Blu-ray £19.99 | DVD £17.99

Updating the vampire mythos to early 1970s Los Angeles, these much-loved cult classics star Robert Quarry (Dr Phibes Rises Again) as the svelte Count Yorga, living in a mansion in the southern California hills with his equally mysterious “brides”. Introducing himself as a mystic from Bulgaria who’s an expert on séances, his true nature is given away by the title of his first film, Count Yorga, Vampire, long before the hapless Donna (Donna Anders – Werewolves on Wheels) and her friends discover the truth.

The sequel, The Return of Count Yorga, sees him relocate to San Francisco, where he has designs on an orphanage as a source of potential victims, but gets distracted by the prospect of the beautiful but innocent Cynthia (Mariette Hartley – Marooned) becoming the latest addition to his harem.

Firm drive-in favourites from the moment they were first unleashed, the Count Yorga films were directed by Bob Kelljan (Scream Blacula Scream) with just the right mix of atmosphere, suspense and tongue-in-cheek humour, with Quarry’s delivery of the Count’s witty one-liners being a particular joy.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition digital transfers of both Yorga films, from original film elements by MGM

  • Original mono audio

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  • Audio commentary on Count Yorga, Vampire by David Del Valle

  • Audio commentary on The Return of Count Yorga by David Del Valle

  • Interview with critic and author Kim Newman

  • Theatrical trailers

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

  • First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the films by Frank Collins

 

Battles Without Honor and Humanity cover

The Yakuza Papers: Battles Without Honour And Humanity | 8th August 2016 | Blu-ray & DVD £17.99

When Battles Without Honour and Humanity first hit Japanese screens in January 1973, partially inspired by the success of The Godfather, it blasted out a new Ground Zero for crime cinema not only in Japan, but in the rest of the world, and spawned a legendary series that would lead to additional episodes, spin-offs, and countless imitations.

1947. Ex-soldier Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara), after proving his ability with a gun, emerges from the teeming black markets of postwar Kure City into the professional world of the yakuza. Shozo makes his way from prison to boss in the newly-formed Yamamori family via gang feuds, assassinations and the shifting allegiances of his fellow mobsters, despite his own growing disillusionment with the men he is supposed to respect.

Based on the true account of a Hiroshima mob boss and supplemented by meticulous research by screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara, this ferocious, violent saga was directed in a dynamic, newsreel-like style by Kinji Fukasaku, and stunned cinemagoers in Japan upon its release. Like a head-spinning mixture of Martin Scorsese and Paul Greengrass, the film’s frenetic cinematography, colourful characters, and iconic score by Toshiaki Tsushima will leave you thrilled and exhausted, as you embark on one of the world’s greatest gangster film series.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation

  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Brand new audio commentary by critic and author Stuart Galbraith IV

  • Yakuza Graveyard – a new interview with Takashi Miike about Kinji Fukasaku and the yakuza film genre

  • Original trailers for all five films

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist

 

Hiroshima Death Match dual format cover

The Yakuza Papers: Hiroshima Death Match | 8 Augst 2016 | Blu-ray & DVD £17.99

The celebrated Battles Without Honour and Humanity series continues with its second episode, Hiroshima Death Match, setting aside part one protagonist Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara) to follow a side story showcasing genre icons Sonny Chiba (The Street Fighter) and Meiko Kaji (Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion).

Hiroshima, 1950. Demobilized kamikaze pilot Shoji Yamanaka (Kinya Kitaoji) is released from prison and finds himself hungry and broke. Following a bust up with a local gang, he earns the psychotic wrath of local underboss Otomo (Chiba), but Yamanaka’s suicidal impulses are soon put to good use as a hitman for another gang, befriending series hero Shozo Hirono in the process. Despite a budding but forbidden romance with the boss’s niece (Kaji), Yamanaka’s instability and recklessness soon begin to make him a dangerous liability.

Taking an even more fatalistic turn than the series’ original entry, Hiroshima Death Match tells the story of the ultimate loser, based on a true story uncovered by screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara while interviewing real-life Hiroshima yakuza for part one. A prosperous era may be dawning for the protagonists, but one with new characters and new grudges to draw them more deeply into its world of blood and betrayal.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation

  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Brand new audio commentary by critic and author Stuart Galbraith IV

  • Yakuza Graveyard – a new interview with Takashi Miike about Kinji Fukasaku and the yakuza film genre

  • Original trailers for all five films

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist

 

The Yakuza Papers: Proxy War | 8th August 2016 | Blu-ray & DVD £17.99

Moving beyond the true stories dramatized in the first two episodes of the Battles Without Honour and Humanity series, director Kinji Fukasaku and screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara embark on their most complex narrative yet in Proxy War, a multi-character web of alliances and betrayals set against the economic growth of Japan as it prepares to host the 1964 Olympic games.

1960. A power vacuum is formed within the Muraoka family when underboss Uchimoto (Takeshi Kato) refuses to avenge the assassination of a superior. With the help of series hero Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara), Uchimoto pledges loyalty to the powerful Akashi gang, but is soon expelled from the Muraoka for the act. Meanwhile, Akashi rivals the Shinwa Group form their own pact with Muraoka, and the enmity between the two gangs threatens to erupt into bloody violence across all of western Japan.

The labyrinthine plotline of Proxy War – which continues in episode four, Police Tactics — approaches pure Jacobean drama as power players, kingmakers, and petty soldiers clash weapons and words in a stylized ritual of alliances and betrayals. Considered by many critics to be the best episode of the series,Proxy War is complex crime drama of the highest order.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation

  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Secrets of the Piranha Army – a new documentary about the troupe of supporting actors who appeared throughout the series, featuring interviews with original Piranha members Masaru Shiga and Takashi Noguchi, plus second-generation Piranha, Takashi Nishina and Akira Murota

  • Tales of a Bit Player – a new interview with supporting actor and stuntman Seizo Fukumoto

  • Original trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist

 

The Yakuza Papers: Police Tactics | 8th August 2016 | Blu-ray & DVD £19.99

Continuing the storyline begun in episode three of the Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, Police Tactics sees director Kinji Fukasaku and screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara further depicting the life-and-death struggle of the gangsters of Hiroshima and Kure, even as the rest of Japan is beginning to tire of their old-fashioned codes.

1963. Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara), expelled from the Yamamori gang, has allied himself with the cowardly Uchimoto (Takeshi Kato) and the Akashi family, who are engaged in a power struggle with the Shinwa Group, allied with the Yamamori. But mainstream society, enjoying unprecedented economic prosperity, will no longer tolerate their violent criminal activities. The police begin a major crackdown, putting the gangs on the defensive. But rogue soldiers on both sides still refuse to keep the peace, earning the wrath of both their bosses and the forces of law and order.

The last film of the series written by Kasahara, Police Tactics was intended to be the final episode, until its phenomenal success led to one additional entry. A fîn de siècle mood permeates throughout, with characters fully aware of their impending obsolescence, yet striving for a return to the less prosperous, but simpler post-war glory days.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation

  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Remembering Kinji – a new featurette about director Kinji Fukasaku and his work, featuring interviews with Kenta Fukasaku and film critic and Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane

  • Fukasaku Family – a new interview with Proxy War and Police Tactics assistant director Toru Dobashi

  • Original trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist

 

Final Episode cover

The Yakuza Papers: Final Episode | 8th August 2016 | Blu-ray & DVD £17.99

The Final Episode of the Battles Without Honor and Humanity series brought a new, more contemporary mood to the film and its characters. The yakuza may be starting to resemble a legitimate business, but director Kinji Fukasaku, working with new screenwriter Koji Takada, never lets the audience forget their violent origins, and their tried-and-true methods of accomplishing their business.

1966. After a police crackdown, the gangs of Hiroshima and Kure have formed a massive, multi-family political and economic coalition called the Tensei Group, seeking a way forward into the 1970’s as part of Japan’s economic bubble. Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara) finds himself increasingly alienated from this semi-legitimate form of corruption, particularly as acting Tensei Group chairman Matsumura (Kinya Kitaoji) tries to put the gangs on a new, more business-like path. But old habits die hard, and when rivalries surface once again, they bring with them the promise of more bloodshed.

The long-awaited conclusion to the epic series is an elegy for the bad guy, with the harsh realization that Japan’s economic growth came about only through the sacrifice of the blood of its young men, victims of twenty long years of Battles Without Honor and Humanity.

Specil Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation

  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Last Days of the Boss – a new interview with Final Episode screenwriter Koji Takada

  • Original poster gallery for the series

  • Original trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist

 

Microwave Massacre | 15th August 2016 | Blu-ray & DVD £19.99

Microwave Massacre stars legendary stand-up comedian and actor Jackie Vernon 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 Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD 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

 

The Bloodstained Butterfly | 22nd August 2016 | Blu-ray & DVD £24.99

Directed by Duccio Tessari (Death Occurred Last Night, A Pistol for Ringo), The Bloodstained Butterfly melds the lurid giallo traditions popularised 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 Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD 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

 

Full details of each title will be posted closer to the release date.