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Classic giallo, cult crime and gore from Arrow in May

17 February 2017

Not only does May have two whole Bank Holidays to enjoy, it also sees the release of another fine slate of cult cinema from Arrow Video, with a healthy mix of giallo, cult crime and gore.

First up sees the Limited Edition Blu-ray release of Dario Argento’s 1985 classic, Phenomena. Starring Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth) and Donald Pleasence (Halloween), Phenomena sees a schoolgirl with an uncanny psychic link to insects stalked by a mysterious killer. Set to another pulse-pounding score by Goblin, Phenomena is released here in a brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative that has been produced exclusively for this release.

May also brings not one, but two crime classics from Italy and Japan. First comes The Climber [L'ambizioso], starring cult actor Joe Dallesandro (Flesh for Frankenstein, Blood for Dracula). The Climber is a prime example of Italian crime cinema and follows the rise and fall of Dallesandro’s smalltime drug dealer, Aldo. Filled with brawls, fistfights, shootouts and explosions, this is an excellent action-thriller. The other big crime release of May is Cops vs Thugs [Kenkei tai soshiki boryoku], Kinji Fukasaku’s masterpiece and one of the greatest films to come out of 1970s Japan. Echoing other great crime films, Cops vs Thugs is set in a world where there is no honour among thieves – or cops for that matter – and personal honour and duty among friends means everything.

For gorehounds, May also sees the arrival of two grisly Limited Edition classics. Brain Damage is Frank Henenlotter’s bad taste head trip that follows parasitic Elmer (voiced by late night TV horror host, John Zacherley) and his ability to induce euphoric hallucinations in the people he comes across. However, his trips come with a nasty side effect and leave the victims scouring the streets for Elmer’s favourite food – brains! – resulting in some of the best bad taste gags in cinematic history. Later in the month, Evil Ed gets a Dual Format Special EDition release. This ode to the splatter flicks of the 1980s unfolds gore scene after gore scene as a mild-mannered film tech loses his grip on reality after being forced to watch hours of grisly film footage. The result is a smorgasbord of flying limbs, exploding heads, busty babes and creepy creatures! A must for splatter fans everywhere.

 

Phenomena

Phenomena | Limited Edition Blu-ray | 8 May 2017

From master of horror Dario Argento (Suspiria, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) comes Phenomena – one of his most eccentric and unique thrillers, featuring telepathic insects, maggots galore, and even a razor-wielding chimp!

Jennifer Corvino (Jennifer Connelly – Labyrinth), daughter of a world-renowned movie star, arrives in the so-called “Swiss Transylvania” to attend an exclusive girls’ school. However, a vicious killer is targeting the pupils, and sleepwalker Jennifer finds herself in the assassin’s headlights when her nocturnal wanderings cause her to witness the death of a fellow pupil. Aided by paraplegic etymologist John McGregor (Donald Pleasence – Halloween) and her own uncanny ability to communicate telepathically with insects, Jennifer sets out to track down the killer before she herself becomes the latest victim…

Released in 1985, towards the end of Argento’s decade-long golden age as a director, Phenomena co-stars Dalila Di Lazarro (Flesh for Frankenstein), Patrick Bauchau (Clear and Present Danger) and Daria Nicolodi (Tenebrae), and features lush cinematography by Romano Albani (Inferno) and a pounding prog rock score by Goblin (Deep Red, Suspiria). Presented here in a sumptuous new 4K restoration of the film and a newly created “hybrid” English/Italian audio track on the full length 116-minute Italian version, this is the definitive release of Argento’s creepy classic.

Limited Edition contents:

  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all three versions of the film: the 116-minute Italian, 110-minute international and 83-minute “Creepers” cuts

  • New 5.1 surround mixes of the Italian (116-minute) and English (110-minute) soundtracks in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio, derived from the original 4-channel Dolby Stereo elements

  • New hybrid English/Italian soundtrack for the 116-minute version in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0 stereo (the 116-minute Italian cut features approximately six minutes of footage for which English audio does not exist. In these instances, the hybrid track reverts to Italian audio with English subtitles)

  • Italian soundtrack for the 116-minute version in lossless PCM 2.0 stereo

  • English soundtrack for the 110-minute version in lossless PCM 2.0 stereo

  • English soundtrack for the 83-minute version in lossless PCM 1.0 mono

  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack

  • New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films

  • The Three Sarcophagi, a new visual essay by Michael Mackenzie comparing the different cuts of Phenomena

  • New feature-length documentary including exclusive interviews with co-writer/producer/director Dario Argento, actors Fiorenza Tessari and Davide Marotta, co-writer Franco Ferrini, production manager Angelo Jacono, special optical effects artist Luigi Cozzi, makeup artist Pier Antonio Mecacci and composers Claudio Simonetti and Simon Boswell

  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers

  • Limited edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by Mikel J. Koven, Rachael Nisbet and Leonard Jacobs

  • Limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Candice Tripp

 

Brain Damage

Brain Damage | Limited Edition Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD | 8 May 2017


From Frank Henenlotter, the man behind such cult horror favourites as Basket Case and Frankenhooker, comes Brain Damage – the ultimate head-trip, now finally on Blu-ray.

Meet Elmer. He’s your local, friendly parasite with the ability to induce euphoric hallucinations in his hosts. But these LSD-like trips come with a hefty price tag. When young Brian comes under Elmer’s addictive spell, it’s not long before he finds himself scouring the city streets in search of his parasite’s preferred food source – brains!

Featuring late TV horror host John Zacherley as the voice of Elmer, Brain Damage boasts some of the most astonishing bad taste gore-gags ever realized, including the notorious “brain-pulling sequence” and a blow-job that ends with a distinctly unconventional climax.

Special Edition contents:

  • Digital transfer from original film elements

  • 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 by writer-director Frank Henenlotter

  • Brand new interviews with cast and crew

  • Q&A with Henenlotter recorded at the 2016 Offscreen Film Festival

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck

  • More to be announced!

First pressing only:

  • Limited edition O-card with exclusive artwork

  • Collector’s Booklet with new writing on the film by Michael Gingold

 

Climber

The Climber | Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD | 15 May 2017

After shooting cult favourites Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula in Europe, Joe Dallesandro spent much of the seventies making movies on the continent. In France he worked with auteurs like Louis Malle and Walerian Borowczyk, and in Italy he starred in all manner of genre fare from poliziotteschi (Savage Three, Season for Assassins) to nunsploitation (Killer Nun).

The Climber follows in the tradition of gangster classics such as The Public Enemy and Scarface as it charts the rise and inevitable fall of small-time smuggler Aldo (Dallesandro). Beaten and abandoned by the local gang boss after he tries to skim off some profits for himself, Aldo forms his own group of misfits in order to exact revenge…

Written and directed by Pasquale Squitieri (Gang War in Naples, I Am the Law), The Climber is a prime example of Italian crime cinema – a high-octane action-thriller full of brawls, fistfights, shootouts and explosions!

Special Edition contents:

  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original negative

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

  • Original Italian soundtrack in uncompressed PCM mono with optional newly-translated English subtitles

  • Alternative English-language soundtrack with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

  • Little Joe’s Adventures in Europe, a brand-new interview with Joe Dallesandro on his numerous European film appearances during the 1970s and early 1980s

  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon

  • First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Roberto Curti, author of Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980

 

Cops vs Thugs

Cops vs Thugs | Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD | 22 May 2017

Considered by many to be director Kinji Fukasaku's greatest single-film achievement in the yakuza genre, Cops vs Thugs was made at the height of popularity of Toei Studios' jitsuroku boom: realistic, modern crime movies based on true stories taken from contemporary headlines. Returning to the screen after completing their Battles Without Honor and Humanity series together, Fukasaku joined forces once again with screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara, composer Toshiaki Tsushima and star Bunta Sugawara to create one of the crowning achievements of his career, and a hard-boiled classic which is still ranked as one of the best Japanese films of the 1970's.

It's 1963 in the southern Japanese city of Kurashima, and tough-as-nails detective Kuno (Sugawara) oversees a detente between the warring Kawade and Ohara gangs. Best friends with Ohara lieutenant Hirotani (Hiroki Matsukata), he understands that there are no clear lines in the underworld, and that everything is colored a different shade of gray. But when random violence interrupts the peace and an ambitious, by-the-books lieutenant (Tatsuo Umemiya) comes to town, Kuno's fragile alliance begins to crumble. Greedy bosses and politicians alike seize the opportunity to wipe out their enemies, and Kuno faces the painful choice of pledging allegiance to his badge and keeping a promise to his brother.

Echoing the great crime films of Sidney Lumet and Jean-Pierre Melville, in Fukasaku's world, there's no honor among thieves or lawmen alike, and the only thing that matters is personal honor and duty among friends. Kasahara's shattering screenplay and Fukasaku's dynamic direction support an all-star, ensemble cast to create one of the most exciting, and deeply moving films about cops and criminals ever made.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition digital transfer

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

  • Original uncompressed mono audio

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Audio commentary by film scholar Tom Mes

  • New video interview with film scholar & Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane

  • Sympathy for the Underdog, a new visual essay on Fukasaku's career by Marc Walkow

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan

  • First pressing only: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film

 

Evil Ed

Evil Ed | Limited Edition Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD | 29 May 2017

A blood-soaked love letter to the splatter films of the ’80s, video rental favourite Evil Ed returns in a brand-new Special EDition featuring an extended cut of the feature and hours of stomach-churning bonus features!

Mild-mannered film technician Edward enjoys his job. That is, until he finds himself transferred from his regular post to the “Splatter and Gore department”, where he’s forced to edit hours upon hours of grisly video nasty footage. Traumatized by the onscreen violence, Ed starts to lose his grip on reality – with ghastly (and bloody) consequences…

Owing a debt to films such as The Evil Dead, Re-animator and the early splatter classics of Peter Jackson, Evil Ed is a veritable smorgasbord of flying limbs, exploding heads, busty babes and creepy creatures!

3-disc, Limited Edition contents:

  • Two versions of the film!

  • Original Stereo and 5.1 Audio Options

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

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

  • Collector’s booklet with new writing on the film

Discs 1 & 2 (Blu-ray & DVD) – The Special ED-ition Cut

  • World premiere of the newly-extended version of the feature [95 min]

  • Keep ’Em Heads Rollin’ – making-of documentary

  • Reconstructing Edward – featurette on the creation of the Special EDition cut

  • Deleted scenes

  • Bloopers

  • Teasers and trailers

  • Still Gallery

Disc 3 (Blu-ray) – The Original Cut [Limited Edition Exclusive]

  • Original Cut [93 mins]

  • Lost in Brainland – never-before-seen extended 3 hour version of the making-of documentary

  • Plus other surprises!