Sheba, Baby Arrow Video Blu-ray Review

Sheba, Baby (1975) Arrow Video Blu-ray (2016)

Directed by: William Girdler

Starring: Pam Grier, Austin Stoker, D’Urville Martin & Rudy Challenger

Private detective, Sheba (Pam Grier), comes back to her hometown to discover that her father’s business is being threatened by mobsters. Not one to take things lying down, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

IMG_5248Anyone who knows me knows that I love films with women who kick ass and Pam Grier happens to be one of the most kick ass women in the history of cinema. Before watching Arrow’s Blu-ray release I had never seen Mrs. Grier’s exploits in high definition so needless to say, I had high hopes for the transfer and boy IMG_5250they did not disappoint. The transfer is immaculate and is what we’ve come to expect from Arrow.

I liked this movie but it wouldn’t make it into my top five favorite Pam Grier movies. My main complaint would have to be that there isn’t quite enough action and not enough of Mrs. Grier. I don’t mean that there’s not enough screen time, it’s just that she’s not cracking enough heads or blasting suckers away with various over the top guns. There are a few great scenes, like when she wins a fight by hitting her opponent in the face with a pie and then jumping off a boat, but there just isn’t enough of it for my taste.

IMG_5249The special features for this release are not that awe inspiring either. There’s a very short featurette called Pam Grier: The AIP Years that is a look at Mrs. Grier carrier but if you’re a fan of Grier you are probably already familiar with the information presented in it. There’s also an audio commentary with producer-screenwriter David Sheldon, moderated by critic Nathaniel Thompson and a brand new interview with David Sheldon. And rounding off the special features there’s the trailer, image gallery, booklet featuring new writing on the film and a reversible sleeve with newly commissioned art by Sean Phillips.

This is the first Arrow release that I can’t fully get behind. I won’t go as far as saying that you should stay away from it but if you buy just one Pam Grier film released by Arrow I’d say go with Black Mama, White Mama.


-DeadRat

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Episode 129

Episode 129

On this episode of Exorcast, Chuck and I discuss Cult Epics new blu-ray release of Jorg Buttgereit’s Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer. We are then joined by The Newsfinder General as we talk about Arrow Video’s Bride of the Re-Animator Limited Edition blu-ray. We also get off subject and talk about other things as well and Chuck drags out the end of the show with nonsense for about 30 mins. Enjoy that.

 

***the helicoptor noise was identified from last weeks episode but not until around the 49min mark. You should not hear it again from now on***

Arrow Video US to release Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

New from Arrow Video US
Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan
Coming to DVD and Blu-ray June 28th via MVD Entertainment Group

The remarkable career of the movie industry’s most admired and influential special-effects auteur, the legendary Ray Harryhausen, is the subject of Gilles Penso’s definitive documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.
Leaving no doubt as to Harryhausen’s seminal influence on modern-day special effects, the documentary features enlightening and entertaining interviews with the man himself, Randy Cook, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Phil Tippet, Terry Gilliam, Dennis Muren, John Landis, Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and many more.
These filmmakers, who today push the boundaries of special effects movie-making, pay tribute to the father of Stop Motion animation and films such as ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’, ‘It Came from Beneath the Sea’, ‘The 7th Voyage of Sinbad’, ‘Mysterious Island’, ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ and ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’ – the films that enthralled them as children and inspired them to become filmmakers in their own right.
Bonus Materials
Interviews with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Peter Lord, Rick Baker
12 Interview outtakes with Joe Dante, John Lasseter, Nick Park and more!
A message to Ray
Deleted Scenes
On the set of Sinbad
Paris Cinematheque Q&A
London Gate Theater Q&A
Audio commentary with the filmmakers
Original Trailer
Ray Harryhausen Trailer Reel
Complete product details, hi res art, etc. can be found HERE.
Pre-order at the MVD SHOP or on Amazon
# # #

Review: Arrow Video’s Dillinger blu-ray

Dillinger (1973) Arrow Blu-ray review

By DeadRat

 

G-Man, Melvin Purvis, played by Ben Johnson (Town That Dreaded Sundown 1976), has a personal vendetta against gangsters after some of his fellow FBI agents are killed in a shootout. John Dillinger, played by Warren Oates (Race with the Devil 1975), is a ruthless gangster who 147497_frontloves robbing banks. As Dillinger and his gang go on a bank robbing spree they attract the attention of not only Purvis and the FBI but the general public. Dillinger is a fun ride full of bullets, hats, love and cigars.

I am a big fan of the classic gangster pictures like Scarface (1932) and Little Caesar (1931) and Dillinger certainly does a great job capturing the feel of those films. One main difference is the blood involved in this movie and boy is there a lot. There are a lot of amazing shoot out scenes and this film in particular has one of the best I’ve ever seen. The nearly 7 minute shootout ranks up there with Heat (1995) and Hard Boiled (1989). But Dillinger isn’t just about the shooting, it’s a great anti-hero story Dillinger Clipthat is backed up by truly great acting, especially from Warren Oates. The writing, done by the great John Milius (Apocalypse Now 1979), is on point and really elevates the picture to something special. This is also Milius’s feature directorial debut. He went on to direct Conan the Barbadian (1982) and Red Dawn (1984) but this film has much more heart than they do. 

As for the Blu-ray, it has an amazing 2K restoration that looks absolutely beautiful. Special features include an audio commentary by film author, Stephen Prince, a bunch of new interviews, revisable cover art and a collector’s booklet. I’m not too familiar with Arrow’s non horror releases but after watching this I most certainly will be seeking out some of the other non-horror releases they’ve done. So far I haven’t seen a US Arrow release that I wouldn’t recommend picking up and this release is no exception.

DEEP RED 3 Disc Set from Arrow Video UK

DEEP RED (1975) 3-Disc Set Limited to 5000 from Arrow Video UK

Directed by: Dario Argento

Starring: David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi

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DEEP RED is my absolute favorite horror film ever made. If you listen to Exorcast then you already know this. I wasn’t overly impressed with Arrow’s packaging with this release but I will get into that a little later.

With every DEEP RED release I always hope they get better and better in every aspect. Arrow’s previous blu-ray release wasn’t the greatest. It had the awesome window box slipcase and artwork, but the sound and transfer wasn’t spectacular, which was the case with most of the early Arrow releases. Never the less I still bought them all! Aside from the HELLRAISER and VIDEODROME sets this was the first Arrow UK release I have picked up in a very long time. The Arrow US stuff has all looked amazing which gave me some hope.deepred2

So to start off Arrow gave both the international and the directors cuts of the film new 4K transfers and they do look amazing. Normally on older films I don’t care as much about the transfer because sometimes I prefer the grime, but I must say this film has never, ever looked better in my eyes. I have fallen in love with DEEP RED all over again. The picture looks perfect. It was like seeing it for the first time. The black gloves, the overly red blood, everything was perfect. The sound has also been improved over their previous release. I just couldn’t resist not to crank GOBLIN’s amazing score while watching the film. It even woke my son up in the middle of the night, bad parenting…maybe, but it was totally worth it. I have only watched the director’s cut but I can only imagine that the international cut looks and sounds just as good.

This already may be my favorite release of the year and it will be hard to top in my eyes. As I said before though I was not impressed with the packaging. Arrow has done some great packaging recently with those hard, sturdy slip cases. I feel like if any film deserves something like that, it’s DEEP RED. That is my opinion though. Most of those releases have been double features, but VIDEODROME got that release from Arrow, damnit.

This release went out of print before its street date. It sold out on preorders alone. That’s pretty intense, but you can still snag it for a decent price on eBay for around $75.00.

A full break down of the special features on the set are;

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of two versions of the film
  • Original Italian soundtrack in DTS-HD MA mono 1.0 and lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, and original English soundtrack in DTS-HD MA mono 1.0*
  • English subtitles for the Italian Soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the English Soundtrack
  • Limited Edition Soundtrack CD
  • 6 x postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
  • Reversible fold-out poster featuring two original artworks
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
  • Limited Edition booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film and an archive piece by critic Alan Jones, illustrated with original archive stills

For collectors this is a must have! I would absolutely pay $100.00 for this in a heartbeat if I had too. For me it’s a great release and a must own.

Arrow Video’s American Horror Project Vol. 1 Review

American Horror Project vol. 1 Review

By DeadRat

 

This is the first of what will hopefully be a long run of Blu-ray sets that Arrow Video is releasing. The idea behind American Horror Project is to highlight overlooked American horror films. As Arrow puts it “American Horror Project proudly presents an alternative history of American horror and film heritage.”

This box set includes three films; Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood, The Witch Who Came from the Sea and The Premonition. The set also includes a 60 page booklet featuring articles about the three films. All three Blu-rays and the booklet are housed in a side loader box with great artwork by Twins of Evil. Each Blu-ray also has newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil with reversible original cover. Each film has a brand new 2K restoration which looks great. There is scratching and blemishes throughout but considering the source material, this is very acceptable. Each film has a short introduction by musician and author, Stephen Thrower. I highly recommend watching these because Mr. Thrower is incredibly knowledgeable and offers a great perspective on the film.

 

Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood (1973)

The Norris family takes a job at a shady dilapidated carnival. Their real reasoning for taking said job is to find their missing son who they believe is somewhere on the carnival grounds. The carnival is staffed by an increasingly weird group of ghoulish carneys and the farther the Norris’s penetrate the creepy carnival the more horrifying it becomes. With lots of hallucinatory cannibalism and a very loose plot, this movie really captures the experimental 70s film vibe.

IMG_4857Overall Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood is trippy, experimental, weirdo nonsense and I mean that in the best possible way. From the bizarre soundtrack to the hallucinatory scenes of cannibals, this movie is a lot of fun. Trying to pin down a solid picture of what this movie is would be quite difficult. It’s almost a stream of conscience of a lunatic on LSD. The director, Christopher Speeth didn’t do any other films which I feel is a great tragedy because there was definitely a possibility for him to create a catalog of horror madness. The crazy eyed groundskeeper is a particular highlight of the movie for me. He’s genuinely creepy and oozes insanity. I’m also particularly fond of the great abandoned carnival footage throughout the movie.

Special features are audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith, various interviews, outtakes, draft script and a stills gallery. The outtakes are definitely worth a watch and add to the bizarre feeling of the movie. The interview with the director is great as well because it kind of puts into perspective what was going on when he was trying to make this film.

 

The Witch Who Came From the Sea

A very disturbed but loved woman, Molly, played by Millie Perkins, is haunted by childhood memories of rape by her own father. She fantasizes about mutilating and killing strong men and soon her fantasies seem to be coming true. From football players to a macho TV actor, no one is safe from her wrath.

Unlike the previous film in this set, this movie is not fun. It’s an uncomfortable, tragic and dirty movie. It is also my favorite film out of the three and is also the most well made. What starts out as campy ridiculousness, with muscly men in speedos causing our leading lady to go into a quiet manic frenzy, quickly turns into a grimy incest filled fever dream. This film was included on the notorious “Video Nasties” list and of all the “Video Nasties” I’ve seen, this is the least gory yet most disturbing I’ve seen. Interspersed throughout the film are flashbacks to her IMG_4859childhood abuse at the hands of her father, which are truly upsetting and spectacular. The audio for these scenes is of a storm at sea and each time Molly is hit or abused the horrifying sound of violent waves replace the sounds you’d expect. Her screams are howling winds. The effect of this really messed with my head.

I’ve only watched this movie the one time but there will most definitely be repeat viewings of it and I’m particularly excited to watch it with the director commentary. Special features include an audio commentary with cast and crew, a brand new making-of documentary, an archive featurette and a featurette that is the director reflecting on the movie.

 

The Premonition

Sheri Bennet (Sharon Farrell, Night of the Comet), her husband and her daughter are the typical happy American family. This all changes when one night she discovers a deranged woman trying to kidnap her child. After this traumatic event, she begins experiencing nightmarish visions. Now the question of whether these are just hallucinations or something more must be answered.

Of the three films in this set this is my least favorite. In general I am not a fan of parapsychological movies and this is no different. The movie is well acted and filmed and the score is great so I understand peoples affection for this movie but it’s just not for me. There are some really great and genuinely creepy hallucination scenes and Richard Lynch (Invasion USA) is slimy and creepy as hell. Like Malatesta’s Blood Carnival there is also some great carnival footage which I’m always a sucker for. In short, I don’t regret watching this but I don’t see any future viewing of it happening.

Special features include: an isolated score, audio commentary with the director, a brand new making-of documentary, archive interviews with cast and crew, three short films by Robert Allen Schnitzler, 4 Peace spots, and trailers and TV spots. The short films, which are early work of the director, are the most intriguing special feature in my opinion but I’m saving those for another day.

FullSizeRenderOverall, I highly recommend this set, you really won’t be disappointed. Arrow may be making these titles available individually later on but it is definitely worth it to get this limited box set edition. The 60 page, full color, booklet that comes with the set is a real treat. It’s full color and printed on beautiful glossy pages. It includes four short pieces, one about American Horror Project and then one for each movie. There is also some full color stills and credits for each movie. As of the writing of this article, Diabolikdvd.com has this set available for $62.99, so at about $20 a movie you really don’t have much of an excuse to not pick up this set.

Episode 128

Episode 128

Back from the dead! Happy to be back and telling Chuck to shut up once more. In our first episode back we take a look at Arrow Video’s blu-ray release of The Mutilator and their box set Death Walks Twice (Death Walks On High Heels & Death Walks At Midnight). We talk about all sorts of things including the state of Exorcast and what we have been up too and also whats going on in the world of horror.

We also talk about our good friend James “Doc Terror” Harris and his diagnosis of cancer. We mention his Go Fund Me page that his friend started for him and here is the link. Please, if you can help out our friend and one of the best fucking horror reviewers on the web!

https://www.gofundme.com/xtwy9qb8
****there is a strange noise throughout this episode and I have no idea what it is. Sounds like a goddamn helicopter. Will try and get it fixed for the next episode. Sorry. Blame Chuck. #ShutUpChuck ***