Cine Outsider header
front page    disc reviews      film reviews    articles    interviews  
news archive
Older news stories have been archived by year and month, most recent first. They can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013
2012 2011 2010
2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004
 
Giallo classics, cult hits and ghoulish horror from Arrow in February

1 December 2018

This February Arrow Video delivers a Valentine to film fanatics with its varied roster of Blu-ray and DVD releases for February.

First up is The Possessed, an atmospheric proto-giallo about a depressed novelist who sets off in search of his old flame who has disappeared under suspicious circumstances, and is plunged into a disturbing drama of familial secrets, perversion, madness and murder. Co-directed by Luigi Bazzoni (Footprints on the Moon) and Franco Rossellini, this is a uniquely dreamlike take on true crime, presented here in a stunning new restoration.

Also in February is another terrific giallo from Bazzoni, The Fifth Cord, a thriller that takes its cues from Agatha Christie, with Django legend Franco Nero as a washed-out journalist on the trail of a maniac. With supporting appearances by a raft of genre stalwarts, including Silvia Monti (A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin), Edmund Purdom (Nightmare City) and Rossella Falk (Sleepless), this is arguably the most visually stunning giallo ever made, that now shines like never before. The Blu-ray includes a collector’s booklet and brand new artwork.

Arrow also present prolific Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s genre-bending mashup, Before We Vanish, that mixes darkly comedic sci-fi and action spectacle. Three aliens on a reconnaissance mission to Earth take over the bodies of human hosts to explore the world they’re about to invade. On the way they steal individual concepts from the minds of anyone who crosses their path, from work, to free will, to love, leaving behind them a trail of soulless bodies, threatening humanity itself with extinction. 

Next up and still shocking from its UK premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest back in August, is Gasper Noé’s ClimaxVariety called it “Fame directed by the Marquis de Sade with a Steadicam” and now you can see for yourself that French cinema’s wild child still has what it takes. The film sees a young dance troupe rehearsing for an upcoming US tour when someone spikes their drinks with LSD. What follows is an escalating nightmare as the group turns on each other in an increasingly orgiastic frenzy, complete with intense emotions and shocking actions.

Lastly comes a fright fan favourite, Horror Express, as horror royalty and Hammer alumni Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee reunite for this tale of mad monks, primitive humanoids and bloodthirsty zombies set aboard a train bound for Moscow. All hell breaks loose on the Trans-Siberian Express, when a crate, containing the frozen remains of a primitive humanoid, thaws out, turning out to be not quite as dead as once thought!

If you want some cult goodness before next year, head over to Arrow Video on Amazon Prime Channels now, to watch Winona Ryder and Christian Slater in Michael Lehmann’s groundbreaking and influential Heathers, an acerbic satire of the sugar-coated high school movies of the 1980s, that pushed the genre into dark, nightmarish but utterly hilarious territory.

 

The Possessed Blu-ray cover art

The Possessed [La donna del lago] (1965) | Blu-ray | 4 February 2019 | £24.99

The Possessed is a wonderfully atmospheric proto-giallo based on one of Italy’s most notorious crimes, The Alleghe killings, and adapted from the book on that case by acclaimed literary figure Giovanni Comisso.

Peter Baldwin (The Ghost, The Weekend Murders) stars as Bernard, a depressed novelist who sets off in search of his old flame Tilde (Virna Lisi – La Reine Margot), a beautiful maid who works at a remote lakeside hotel. Bernard is warmly greeted by the hotel owner Enrico (Salvo Randone – Fellini's Satyricon) and his daughter Irma (Valentina Cortese – Thieves Highway, The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire), but Tilde has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Bernard undertakes an investigation and is soon plunged into a disturbing drama of familial secrets, perversion, madness and murder...

Co-written by Giulio Questi (Death Laid an Egg, Arcana) and co-directed by Luigi Bazzoni (The Fifth Cord, Footprints on the Moon), The Possessed masterfully combines film noir, mystery and giallo tropes, whilst also drawing on the formal innovations of 1960s art cinema (particularly the films of Michelangelo Antonioni). A uniquely dreamlike take on true crime, The Possessed is presented here in a stunning new restoration.

Blu-ray Special Edition contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera 
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Italian and English soundtracks, titles and credits
  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio
  • 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 by writer and critic Tim Lucas
  • Richard Dyer on The Possessed, a newly filmed video appreciation by the cultural critic and academic
    Cat’s Eyes, an interview with the film's makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi
  • Two Days a Week, an interview with the film's award-winning assistant art director Dante Ferretti
  • The Legacy of the Bazzoni Brothers, an interview with actor/director Francesco Barilli, a close friend of Luigi and Camillo Bazzoni
  • Original trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips 
  • First pressing only: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Andreas Ehrenreich, Roberto Curti and original reviews

 

The Fifth Cord Blu-ray cover art

The Fifth Cord [Giornata nera per l'ariete] (1971) | Blu-ray | 4 February 2019 | £24.99

The success of Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage ushered in a host of imitators, seeking to capitalise on this new, modern take on the giallo thriller. Many were highly derivative, but a number nonetheless rose above the crowd thanks to skilful execution and a willingness to experiment stylistically. Once such example is The Fifth Cord, in the hands of director Luigi Bazzoni (The Possessed, Footprints on the Moon), turns a conventional premise into a visually stunning exploration of alienation and isolation.

When a man barely survives a brutal assault en route home from a New Year’s party, washed-up, whisky-swilling journalist Andrea Bild (Franco Nero) is assigned to report on the case. Before long, the maniac strikes again, this time with fatal results. As the body count rises, Andrea falls under suspicion himself, making it even more imperative that he crack the case. His only clue lies in a series of black gloves found at the location of every attack, each with a finger cut off…

Adapted from a novel by David McDonald Devine, The Fifth Cord boasts a complex, Agatha Christie-esque plot, outstanding cinematography courtesy of future Oscar-winner Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now) and supporting appearances by a raft of genre stalwarts, including Silvia Monti, Edmund Purdom and Rossella Falk. Debuting here in high definition, arguably the most visually stunning giallo ever made now shines like never before.

Blu-ray contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by critic Travis Crawford
  • Lines and Shadows, a new video essay on the film’s use of architecture and space by critic Rachael Nisbet
  • Whisky Giallore, a new video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie
  • Black Day for Nero, a new video interview with actor Franco Nero
  • The Rhythm Section, a new video interview with film editor Eugenio Alabiso
  • Rare, previously unseen deleted sequence, restored from the original negative 
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love
  • First pressing only: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kat Ellinger and Peter Jilmstad

 

Before We Vanish Blu-ray cover art

Before We Vanish [Sanpo suru shinryakusha] | Blu-ray | 11 February 2019 | £24.99

Prolific Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse, Cure) returned to Cannes with this genre-bending mashup, both a darkly comedic sci-fi and a slow-paced action spectacle. Three aliens on a reconnaissance mission to Earth take over the bodies of human hosts to explore the world they’re about to invade. On the way they steal individual concepts from the minds of anyone who crosses their path, from work, to free will, to love, leaving behind them a trail of soulless bodies. In doing so they start to unwittingly define the essential aspects of what it means to be human. 

The film follows Narumi (Masami Nagasawa – I Wish), whose husband, Shinji (Ryuhei Matsuda), becomes one of the three hosts. As the invasion grows nearer, Narumi’s attempts to save humanity from extinction become increasingly entwined with Shinji’s decision on whether to save the humanity within himself. 

Combining the best of Kurosawa’s genre stylings with his forays into dark family dramas, Before We Vanish sees the director delivering a twist on the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers narrative by recontextualising it in a disconnected modern world. Presenting a unique vision to how invasions have been portrayed in popular culture in the past it asks the question, how much is humanity worth, if we’ve become too alienated to be able to recognise the aliens among us?

Blu-ray Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • The Making Of Before We Vanish, an 53-minute featurette including on-set footage and interviews with cast and crew
  • Inside The Story and Inside The Characters, two featurettes with cast and crew interviews
  • Looking Back, members of the cast reunite to discuss memories of the production
  • Red carpet interviews from the Cannes Film Festival premiere
  • Cast and crew Q&As from four screenings including the Japanese premiere
  • Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tommy Pocket
  • First pressing only: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell

 

Climax Blu-ray cover art

Climax | Blu-ray and DVD | 11 February 2019 | £24.99 / £15.99

Gaspar Noé, director of the hugely controversial Irreversible, Enter the Void and Love, makes a triumphant return with Climax – a visually dazzling feast of music and mayhem, and perhaps his most critically acclaimed work to date.

Following a successful rehearsal, a dance troupe set about celebrating with a party. But when it becomes apparent that someone has spiked the sangria, the joyous atmosphere soon transforms into a nightmarish hellscape of violence and twisted carnality as the dancers begin to turn on each other in an orgiastic frenzy.

Inspired equally by the worlds of modern dance and esoteric arthouse-horror (chief among them, Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession), Climax – which pulses towards its astonishing conclusion with a thumping score by the likes of Daft Punk, Aphex Twin and Gary Numan – illustrates a director at the height of his hallucinatory filmmaking powers.

Blu-ray Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • 5.1 DTS-HD MA Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with writer-director Gaspar Noé
  • An Antidote to the Void – a brand new interview with Gaspar Noé
  • Performing Climax – newly-produced featurette comprising interviews with actors Kiddy Smile, Romain Guillermic and Souhelia Yacoub
  • Disco Infernal: The Sounds of Climax – Alan Jones, author of Saturday Night Forever: The Story of Disco and Discomania, offers up a track-by-track appreciation of the Climax soundtrack
  • Shaman of the Screen: The Films of Gaspar Noé – a brand new video essay by writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas looking as Gaspar Noé's evolution as a filmmaker
  • Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anton Bitel alongside the original press kit

DVD Special Edition contents:

  • Standard Definition DVD presentation 
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with writer-director Gaspar Noé
  • An Antidote to the Void – a brand new interview with Gaspar Noé
  • Performing Climax – newly-produced featurette comprising interviews with actors Kiddy Smile, Romain Guillermic and Souhelia Yacoub
  • Disco Infernal: The Sounds of Climax – Alan Jones, author of Saturday Night Forever: The Story of Disco and Discomania, offers up a track-by-track appreciation of the Climax soundtrack
  • Shaman of the Screen: The Films of Gaspar Noé – a brand new video essay by writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas looking as Gaspar Noé's evolution as a filmmaker
  • Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork option

 

Horror Express Blu-ray review

Horror Express [Pánico en el Transiberiano] | Blu-ray | 11 February | £24.99

Horror royalty and Hammer alumni Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee reunite for this tale of mad monks, primitive humanoids and bloodthirsty zombies set aboard a train bound for Moscow – all aboard the Horror Express!

Renowned anthropologist Saxton (Lee) boards the Trans-Siberian Express with a crate containing the frozen remains of a primitive humanoid which, he believes, may prove to be the missing link in human evolution. But all hell breaks loose when the creature thaws out, turning out to be not quite as dead as once thought!

Directed by Spanish filmmaker Eugenio Martin, Horror Express remains one for the most thrilling (and, quite literally!) chilling horror efforts of the early 1970s.

Blu-ray Special Edition contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Uncompressed mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary with Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
  • Introduction to the film by film journalist and Horror Express super-fan Chris Alexander
  • Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express – an interview with director Eugenio Martin
  • Notes from the BlacklistHorror Express producer Bernard Gordon on working in Hollywood during the McCarthy Era
  • Telly and Me – an interview with composer John Cacavas
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • First pressing only: Illustrated collector’s booklet with new writing by Adam Scovell