Thursday, June 22, 2017

THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU (1968 ) / THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU (1969) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Blue Underground
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 94 Minutes/94 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Mono with Optional English subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.66:1)

Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Christopher Lee, Tsai Chin, Shirley Eaton,Richard Greene, Maria Rohm, Maria Perschy,  Rosalba Neri

In the 60's producer Harry Alan Towers bought the rights to British author Sax Rohmer's series of yellow-peril novels about a maniacal Asian supervillain bent on world domination, Fu Manchu, the character had appeared in numerous TV, movie and novel incarnations, but it was nefarious producer Towers who would go into revive the character in the 60's after three decades of inactivity, in a series of five film starring horror icon Christopher Lee (The Creeping Flesh) as the titular Fu Manchu. The criminal "yellow-peril" character is patently offensive to Asians, make no mistake, and Lee's makeup appliances which give him the Asian-styled eyelids was surely poorly advised, but apparently cinema goers went for it in the 60s, and the franchise was a huge success... that is until Towers recruited decided to forgo his usual English directors like Don Sharp (Psychomania) and brought in Spanish Eurosleaze auteur Jess Franco (She Killed In Ecstasy) for what would turn out to be the last two entries in the 60's series, The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968) and The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969), the latter of which effectively killed off the character for quite some time, with only one revival I'm aware of, the send-up The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) by comedy-legend Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther), which I've never seen. Towers must have liked Franco though, these were the first of several team-up the pair collaborated on.

The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968)opens deep in the Amazon jungle, we find the nefarious Fu Manchu and his loyal daughter/assassin Lin Tang (Tsai Chin, You Only Live Twice), in their cave lair where they have rediscovered an ancient poison secreted by a particular snake, a venom that is only deadly to men, first causing blindness and then a painful death a few weeks later. He devises a evil plan for world domination, to lace ten women he has kidnapped with the venom by having the snake bite them, and since the poison only works on men, he will send them out into the world laced with his "kiss of death", under some form of mind control, to spread his poisonous kiss of death to his intended enemies and world leaders, and if his ransom demands are not met, they will all die, oh how devious! 

His first victim is his longtime arch nemesis, Scotland Yard Detective Nayland Smith (Richard Greene, Tales from the Crypt), a young woman shows up on his doorstep, forces herself on him with a deep kiss, and while at first he seems slightly amused by the intrusion he is quickly stricken by blindness, his longtime sidekick, the older Dr. Petrie (Howard Marion Crawford), the Watson to his Holmes, jumps into action and runs after the girl but she is struck down by a passing motorist. With little other choice, Petrie and the blind Smith head for the Amazon jungle in search of a cure and to apprehend the diabolical Fu Manchu, with the aid of a guide/adventurer Carl Jansen (Götz George), plus a pretty nurse named Ursula (Maria Rohm, 99 Women).

They face many perils in the jungle, including capture and torture at the hands of Fu Manchu and Lin Tang, but the mighty Manchu also enlists the aid of a Mexican bandit named Sancho (Ricardo Palacios, The People Who Own the Dark), who himself is mistaken for an agent of Nayland Smith, his group of bandits are slaughtered by Lin tang, he is then tortured by Fu Manchu on the iron maiden before aiding the Asian menace in his diabolical plans. 

It all comes to a head in Fu Manchu;s jungle lair, there's a shit ton of goofy, poorly coordinated violence, kitschy bloodshed, women in chains, women in peril, and then there's a hilarious dummy thrown over a waterfall, and a weird cameo from  Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger) apparently lifted straight from Franco's The Girl from Rio! 

The movie is a bit of a hot mess to be honest, but par for the course for one of Harry Alan Towers action-adventure movies, loaded with low-budget jungle action and the racist trappings of yellow peril exploitation, but way overstuffed with busy subplots that don't pay off. Lee is a stoic menace for sure, the role is beneath him, but ever the consummate professional he always did his best, living his mantra that “Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them”, and sure enough he soldiers on in his Asian eye makeup doing his damndest. However, it's actor Palacios who steals all the scenes, the guy is comedic and fun, and a welcome relief, giving his scenes a sort of spaghetti western comedy feel, good stuff. 

The movie is a bit reigned in by the usual Jess Franco standards, we still get some topless women in chains being tortured, it's just toned down, but it is still a blast in a weird 60's action-adventure sort of way with some great looking exotic jungle locations and a slightly kitschy lair carved in stone, it's good stuff for Lee and Franco fans looking for some good, cheesy fun, with a swanky score from composer Daniel White (The Hot Night of Linda). 

Just a year later Jess Franco and Christopher Lee returned to Fu Manchu series with the fifth and final entry, the near universally loathed The Castle of Fu Manchu (1960). Also returning are the villainous daughter Lin Tang (Tsai Chin) and his nemesis Nayland Smith (Richard Greene) and his sidekick  Dr. Petrie (Howard Marion Crawford). As promised at the end of the last film, despite his lair having been blown sky high, he returned, with a new diabolical plan. This time he's figured out a way to transform bodies of water into ice, which he uses to threaten travel and commerce throughout the world. It begins with a demonstration of his new found toy, causing an iceberg to appear and sink a luxury cruiser in the Caribbean! The plot is not too far removed from a fiendish 007 story I guess, but the execution is hackneyed, not only does it have scenes from the previous film peppered throughout, but it also used no less that footage from two other films, including a lengthy blue-tinted scene from the Titanic opus A Night to Remember (1958)!

Again we have an overly busy series of sub plots involving an opium dealer, a professor, and his sexy assistant (Maria Perschy, Night of the Seagulls), there's also a heart transplant and of course Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie are again hot on the trail of the diabolical Fu Manchu's to put a stop to his fiendish plot for world domination. While the movie is seriously weak sauce it does have a few fun moments, particularly for fans of Franco with some attractive lensing with cool colored lighting, some okay atmosphere, and more of the generally poorly choreographed fighting including some rubbery bayonet action!

Franco himself shows up as an inspector, and there's a cool female assassin for hire played by the Rosalba Neri (The Girl in Room 2A) that help pass the time but it is not a surprise that this ramshackle effort was the last of the Towers produced Fu Manchu films. Again, Lee is an imposing figure, he does what he can with the material, he certainly elevates it to a degree, but as the saying goes, you cannot polish a turd, but apparently you can wrap in in the low-budget trappings of a yellow-peril action/adventure film... this is probably one of the worst films in  Christopher Lee's filmography, but the same cannot be said for Franco, while I love a lot of his stuff he definitely made worse movies than this throughout his storied career. Not helping is that it is absent any nudity and the sleaze is toned way down, plus the score is considerably less swanky this time around!  Again the film ends with Fu Manchu possibly dying in an explosion but again uttering the words "the world shall hear from me again", but nope, that didn't happen folks. 

Audio/Video: The Blood of Fu Manchu and The Castle of Fu Manchu arrive on a double-feature Blu-ray from Blue Underground, whom have previously issued both as stand alone DVD editions in the past. Both are presented in 1080p HD Widescreen (1.66:1) and look slightly degrained, fine detail is smeared the image is a bit soft, it's a slight step in picture quality over the previous DVD editions, but only by a hair. To my eyes The Castle of Fu Manchu has the more attractive of the transfers. The lossless mono audio is fairly flat but clean without any distortion, optional English subtitles are provided for both films. 

Onto the extras Blue Underground have ported over all the non-text based extras, this includes the 2-part The Rise of Fu Manchu featurettes with Jess Franco, Harry Alan Towers, and stars Christopher Lee, Tsai Chin, and Shirley Eaton. Franco begins by speaking of his love of the novels by Sax Rohmer, he also compliments Towers on his screenwriting prowess, believing him to be a well-read and literary man with a gift for screenwriting. The director also speaks humorously about getting the call to do the first time, believing it to be a hoax by his friends as it seemed to legit to be true!  For her part Eaton shows up to speak unfavorably of how her scenes from The Girl from Rio (1968) ended up in The Blood of Fu Manchu without any compensation, Franco disputes that fact, but Towers more or less says that if that's what she says it is probably so. Tsai Chin speaks of appearing in films that were biased and racist, the silly plot devices of the series, and how the hero is always a white man, and she recalls Lee complaining a lot about his makeup and some of the misogyny of the movies.  Lee himself shows up to speak about why he stopped playing Dracula, working with Franco and Towers, and how he was puzzled by the fact that Towers bought the right to all of Rohmer's novels but then proceeded to write his own script stories, plus his aggravation at the eye makeup, and how in hindsight they should have stopped after the first film, that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. There are also trailers for each film, plus two expanded image galleries with over 240 images of posters, lobby cards, home video releases, stills and press books from various territories.

The Blood of Fu Manchu Special Features:

- The Rise of Fu Manchu - Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and Stars Christopher Lee, Tsai Chin, and Shirley Eaton (15 min) 
- Theatrical Trailers (2 min) HD 
- Poster and Still Gallery (127 images) HD

The Castle of Fu Manchu Special Features:
- The Fall of Fu Manchu - Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and Stars Christopher Lee and Tsai Chin (14 min) 
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) HD 
- Poster and Still Gallery (110 images) HD

Neither of these Fu Manchu films rise to the level of anywhere near the best work that star Christopher Lee or director Jess Franco did, there's good reason that Mystery Science Theater 3000 dedicated an episode to The Castle of Fu Manchu, these are bad movies! However, together this makes for a fun, trashy action-adventure double-feature for fans of sketchy 60s exploitation cinema. Thankfully this can be picked up for pretty cheap, definitely worth a purchase for cult cinema fans, lovers of bad cinema, and those looking to fill in the gaps of their Christopher Lee and Jess Franco Blu-ray collections.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DEATH LINE (AKA RAW MEAT) (1973) (Blu-ray Review)

2-Disc Limited Collector's Edition DVD/BD Combo 

Label: Blue Underground

Release Date: June 27th 2017 
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 87 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono with Optional English subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Gary Sherman
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Norman Rossington, David Ladd, Sharon Gurney, Hugh Armstrong, Christopher Lee

Beneath Modern London Lives a Tribe of Once Humans. Neither Men nor Women... They are the Raw Meat of the Human Race! 

Death Line (1972) is the British film debut from American director Gary Sherman whom would go onto to direct the macabre Dead And Buried (1981), a first class suspense horror film featuring an amazing performance from Jack Alberts (Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) (1971), he also directed the much maligned Poltergeist III (1988), but before all that there was the British horror-thriller Death Line, also known as Raw Meat in the U.S. where distributor American International Pictures chopped it up and retitled it hoping to attract a grindhouse audience. 

As the film begins there's a pervy old chap in a bowler hat looking at porn in the red light district before propositioning a hooker down in the London Underground subway, he offers cash for ass but instead gets a knee to the balls for his troubles. As the prostitute runs off the now-aching horny bastard is attacked by a snarling unseen figure, he's knocked unconscious where he is found by young American college student Alex (David Ladd, Wild Geese) and his British girlfriend (Sharon Gurney, Crucible of Horror). The young couple argue a bit about whether the old chap needs aid or is just passed out drunk, but they report it to a policeman only to discover that his body has gone missing by the time they return. It turns out that the victim is a local politician of some importance. We're then introduced to what is quite possibly my favorite performance from Donald Pleasence as the sharp tongued, tea sipping Inspector Calhoun, a lively performance that, in my opinion, outshines his portrayal of Dr. Loomis from Halloween (1978) by a country mile, a dry-witted and colorful character.

Calhoun condescendingly interrogates Alex, coming off as a sly prick who's having a great deal of fun at the expense of the long-haired American, commenting that he should get a haircut. Noticeably, Ladd cannot match the character and intensity that the veteran actor Pleasence brings to the role, he's looks like a deer caught in headlights and the scene suffers for it a bit. Later in the film Pleasence spars with a more worthy opponent, none other than Christopher Lee (Prince of Darkness), in a brief cameo as MI-5 agent Statton-Villiers, the brief but memorable appearance offers some snippy banter back and forth between the two horror icons, it great fun even if it tossed in there as a bit of marquee value for the adverts. 

As people continue to go missing on this particular stretch of the Tube we discover that murders are being committed by a diseased cannibal man that lives in an abandoned part of the subway tunnels. He's the lone surviving descendant of a group of miners that were trapped in the tunnel after it collapsed during construction back in the 1800's.  Apparently these unlucky bastards not only survived but procreated and flourished for nearly a century through a strict regiment of incest, murder and cannibalism. So, I thought to myself, while they've been able to escape the tunnels to occasionally wander out for some fresh meat from time to time, no one along the way figured out to escape to the surface and perhaps stop fucking and eating each other? Okay, so there are a few leaps of logic one must overcome to buy into this scenario, but we as horror folk have long turned a blind eye to more than our fair share of inconsistencies in the name of horror, am I right?

The film has some very nice cinematography, including a long tracking shot within the living space of the cannibal, known only as "the man", played by Hugh Armstrong (The Beastmaster), set to the creepy sound of dripping water as the camera slowly pans 360 degree around the room revealing numerous mutilated, half-eaten corpses of victims, including our horny perv from the start of the film. The maggot ridden corpses are rotting, some of their facial features having been chewed off and eaten, it's strong, macabre stuff. It's an eerie sight as the camera reveals the man crying over the body his very recently dead companion, and I was struck by how much pathos Armstrong brought to the role, he's half sickening, and half pathetic, you actually feel some sympathy for this monster. For a film from 1972 this must have been quite startling sight to theatre goers who had yet to see The Exorcist (1973) or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), the imagery from the man's lair of the corpses is on par with anything from TCM. The image of the bearded cannibal man stalking the dark tunnels with a gas lantern in hand is a chilling sight indeed, occasionally mumbling or calling out the only words he seems to know, "Mind the doors", a refrain that he has apparently picked up from the automated PA system on each of the subway cars, it's a nice, creepy touch, one of many. 

I love this film, but that is not to say it's without flaws, it's a bit pacey in places, and Ladd's portrayal of Alex really gnawed on my nerves, not because the character was annoying, but Ladd is so damn wooden. If he had disappeared altogether from the film after the initial interrogation, or had fallen prey to the cannibal man, I wouldn't have minded at all. However, Pleasence as the piss and vinegar Calhoun, and Armstrong as the sympathetic cannibal man carry the film for me, even if the finale is a bit short and wraps up too quickly. Calhoun is also ably assisted by Detective Sergeant Rogers (Norman Rossington, Hard Day's Night) who pairs well with the sardonic detective, and Sharon Gurney is cute as a button as Alex's better half, who must fight for her life when she is later abducted by "the man" and taken to his tunnel lair, offering up some nice inner strength and blood curdling screams. 

Audio/Video: Death Line (aka Raw Meat) arrives on Blu-ray from Blue Underground fully restored in 2K from the original uncensored camera negative, exclusive to this release, framed in the original widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, looking gorgeous all the way around. Film grain is finely managed, looking filmic and natural, more so than on the problematic 2003 DVD. The movie is dark as Hell in some scenes, the scenes in the cannibal lair were always dark and unsightly, burdened by heavy grain, but the details and shadow detail are crisper and clearer here, they look great. Colors are strong, muted by design with lots of browns, but there's some nice candy-colored lensing during the opening credit sequences that pop nicely. Audio is capably handled by an English DTS-HD Master Audio Mono 2.0 track, it's not dynamic but is crisp and clean, well-balanced and the snaky burlesque main theme from composers Wil Malone and Jeremy Rose sounds great, optional English subtitles are included. 

Onto the disc extras Blue Underground do not skimp, we get a brand new commentary from co-writer/director Gary Sherman, Producer Paul Maslansky, and Assistant Director Lewis More O’Ferrall moderated by David Gregory. It goes into great detail about the origins and making of the film, beginning with original director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) dropping out of the project to work for Roger Corman. It's a great track loaded with fun facts and trivia fans of the movie will love.  There are also three NEW interview featurettes with Star David Ladd and Producer Paul Maslansky (13 min), Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman and Executive Producers Jay Kanter and Alan Ladd Jr. (19 min), and Star Hugh Armstrong (16 min), plus trailers, TV spots, radio spots and a gallery of various posters, the US press book, lobby cards,  stills, and a gallery of home video releases through the years from various territories.

This release comes housed in Criterion-style clear keepcase, which BU tend to use for their prestige release, it comes with a reversible sleeve of artwork featuring the Death Line image of "the man" walking through the tunnel, in addition to that sweet, though very misleading, Raw Meat poster art used by AIP to advertise the American cut, I prefer this option, it's a fun, vibrant painting. We also get a glossy 20-page collectible booklet featuring new writing by former Fangoria editor Michael Gingold, an appreciation of director Gary Sherman and the film, and a Donald Pleasence bio from Christopher Gullo, author of The Films of Donald Pleasence. The booklet also features images from the film and poster artwork. This is a 2-disc DVD/BD set, the DVD offering the same feature and extras is standard definition, with each disc having separate Death Line/Raw Meat artwork.

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman, Producer Paul Maslansky, and Assistant Director Lewis More O’Ferrall
- Tales From The Tube – Interview with Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman and Executive Producers Jay Kanter and Alan Ladd Jr. (19 min) HD 
- From The Depths – Interview with Star David Ladd and Producer Paul Maslansky (13 min) HD 
- Mind The Doors – Interview with Star Hugh Armstrong (16 min) HD 
- DEATH LINE Trailer (2 min) 
- RAW MEAT Trailer (2 min) 
- 3 RAW MEAT TV Spots (2 min) 
- 2 RAW MEAT Radio Spots (2 min) 
- Poster and Still Gallery
- BONUS 20-pg.Collectible Booklet featuring new writing by authors Michael Gingold and Christopher Gullo

Death Line (1972) is terrific and terrifying film from Gary Sherman (Dead and Buried), the brand new (and long overdue) 2K restoration from Blue Underground is phenomenal and loaded with great new extras. This 70's carnage classic has never looked better on home video and I hope it gets some renewed notice for the fantastic fright film that it is, highly recommended. 

Arrow Video US - July 2017 Release Schedule

New from Arrow Video US


via MVD Entertainment Group
The summer fun continues for film fans in July, as Arrow deliver a bulging picnic basket packed with splatter flicks, J-Horror, crime classics, superior sequels and unmissable documentaries.  
Firstly, J-Horror fans are in for a big treat with a Dual Format release of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's haunting Pulse, which sees people in Tokyo compelled to commit suicide after visiting a mysterious website. The special edition features a High Definition transfer and brand new interviews with the filmmakers.
July sees two fantastic releases for connoisseurs of crime cinema. Firstly, the arrival on Dual Format of Mike Figgis' acclaimed 1988 'UK Geordie noir', Stormy Monday, starring Sean Bean, Melanie Griffith, Tommy Lee Jones and Sting. Set in Newcastle, the film sees Bean as a nightclub janitor caught in a dangerous love triangle with Griffith and Jones.
Then there is the Dual Format release of New Battles Without Honour and Humanity - The Complete Trilogy, the 1970s Japanese crime classic series making its UK English-language home video debut. From legendary Battle Royale director Kinji Fukasaku, starring Bunta Sugawara in three separate yakuza stories set in various parts of Japan, the films are hard-boiled and action packed, and the limited edition set features new subtitle translations, a host of extras and a collectible book.
 And finally, Re-Animator... One of the most wildly popular horror movies of all-time! Stuart Gordon's enduring splatter-comedy classic returns to Blu-ray in a stunning restoration packed with tons of special features including an array of interviews, audio commentaries, a brand new featurette entitled "A Guide to Lovecraftian Cinema," plus the original 1991 comic book adaptation, reprinted in its entirety.
Award-winning filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa delivered one of the finest entries in the "J-Horror" cycle of films with this moody and spiritually terrifying film that delivers existential dread along with its frights. Setting his story in the burgeoning internet and social media scene in Japan, Kurosawa's dark and apocalyptic film foretells how technology will only serve to isolate us as it grows more important to our lives. 

A group of young people in Tokyo begin to experience strange phenomena involving missing co-workers and friends, technological breakdown, and a mysterious website which asks the compelling question, "Do you want to meet a ghost?" After the unexpected suicides of several friends, three strangers set out to explore a city which is growing more empty by the day, and to solve the mystery of what lies within a forbidden room in an abandoned construction site, mysteriously sealed shut with red packing tape. 

Featuring haunting cinematography by Junichiro Hayashi (Ring, Dark Water), a dark and unsettling tone which lingers long after the movie is over, and an ahead-of-its-time story which anticipates 21st century disconnection and social media malaise, Pulse is one of the greatest and most terrifying achievements in modern Japanese horror, and a dark mirror for our contemporary digital world.

- High Definition digital transfer
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original 5.1 audio (DTS-HD on the Blu-ray)
- New optional English subtitle translation
- New interview with writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa
- New interview with cinematographer Junichiro Hayashi
The Horror of Isolation: a new video appreciation featuring Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett (Blair Witch, You're Next)
- Archive 'Making of' documentary, plus four archive behind-the-scenes featurettes
- Premiere footage from the Cannes Film Festival
- Cast and crew introductions from opening day screenings in Tokyo
- Trailers and TV Spots
- 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 critic Chuck Stephens

Street Date: 07/11/17
Label: Arrow Video
Genre: Cult
Run Time: 119 mins
Number of Discs: 2
Year of Production: 2001
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Actors: Haruhiko Katô, Kunmiko Asô, Kuyuki
Territory: US
Language: English
SRP: $39.95
In 1988, Mike Figgis (Internal AffairsLeaving Las Vegas) made his feature directorial debut with
Stormy Monday, a taut, noir-influenced gangster movie that drew on his key formative influences, including his youth in the Newcastle of the late '50s and early '60s, and the city's vibrant jazz scene. 

Sean Bean (Ronin) plays Brendan, a young loafer taken under the wing of jazz club owner Finney (Sting, Quadrophenia), who's under pressure from American mobster Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones,
The Fugitive) to sell up in exchange for a cut of a local land development deal. Brendan just wants to earn an honest crust, but his burgeoning relationship with Cosmo's ex-lover Kate (Melanie Griffith, Body Double) threatens to drag him into the middle of the impending showdown... 

A romantic crime thriller with genuine heart, Stormy Monday features striking, rain-drenched cinematography by Roger Deakins (The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men) and a seductive jazz score provided by the director himself. Presented here for the first time in high definition in the US, there has never been a better time to discover one of this iconic filmmaker's most assured and uniquely haunting efforts.
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original stereo audio (uncompressed on the Blu-ray Disc)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary with Mike Figgis, moderated by critic Damon Wise
- New video appreciation by critic Neil Young, and a "then and now" tour of the film's Newcastle locations
- Theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacey

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring new writing by critic Mark Cunliffe

Street Date: 07/11/17
Label: Arrow Video 
Genre: Cult
Run Time: 93 mins
Number of Discs: 2
Year of Production: 1988
Director: Mike Figgis
Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Sting, Sean Bean, Melanie Griffith
Territory: US
Language: English
SRP: $29.95
In the early 1970s, Kinji Fukasaku's five-film Battles Without Honor and Humanity series was a massive hit in Japan, and kicked off a boom in realistic, modern yakuza films based on true stories. Although Fukasaku had intended to end the series, Toei Studio convinced him to return to the director's chair for this unconnected, follow-up trilogy of films, each starring Battles leading man Bunta Sugawara and telling separate, but fictional stories about the yakuza in different locations in Japan. 

In the first film, Bunta Sugawara is Miyoshi, a low-level assassin of the Yamamori gang who is sent to jail after a bungled hit. While in stir, family member Aoki (Lone Wolf and Cub's Tomisaburo Wakayama) attempts to seize power from the boss, and Miyoshi finds himself stuck between the two factions with no honorable way out. 

In the second entry, The Boss's Head, Sugawara is Kuroda, an itinerant gambler who steps in when a hit by drug-addicted assassin Kusunoki (Tampopo's Tsutomu Yamazaki) goes wrong, and takes the fall on behalf of the Owada family, but when the gang fails to make good on financial promises to him, Kuroda targets the family bosses with a ruthless vengeance. 

And in Last Days of the Boss, Sugawara plays Nozaki, a laborer who swears allegiance to a sympathetic crime boss, only to find himself elected his successor after the boss is murdered. Restrained by a gang alliance that forbids retributions against high-level members, Nozaki forms a plot to exact revenge on his rivals, but a suspicious relationship with his own sister (Chieko Matsubara from Outlaw: Gangster VIP) taints his relationship with his fellow gang members.

- High Definition digital transfers of all three films
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original uncompressed mono audio
- New optional English subtitle translation for all three films
Beyond the Films: New Battles Without Honor and Humanity, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane
New Stories, New Battles and Closing Stories, two new interviews with screenwriter Koji Takada, about his work on the second and third films in the trilogy
- Original theatrical trailers for all three films
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
- Illustrated collector's book featuring new writing on the films, the yakuza genre and Fukasaku's career, by Stephen Sarrazin, Tom Mes, Hayley Scanlon, Chris D. and Marc Walkow 

Street Date: 07/18/17
Label: Arrow Video 
Genre: Action/Adventure
Run Time: 98 mins
Number of Discs: 6
Year of Production: 1974
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Actors: Bunta Sugawara
Territory: US
Language: Japanese
SRP: $99.95

One of the most wildly popular horror movies of all-time, Stuart Gordon's enduring splatter-comedy classic Re-Animator returns to Blu-ray in a stunning restoration packed with special features!
When medical student Dean Cain advertises for a roommate, he soon finds one in the form of Dr. Herbert West. Initially a little eccentric, it some becomes clear that West entertains some seriously outlandish theories - specifically, the possibility of re-animating the dead. It's not long before Dean finds himself under West's influence, and embroiled in a serious of ghoulish experiments which threaten to go wildly out of control...
Based on H.P. Lovecraft's classic terror tale Herbert West - Reanimator and featuring a standout performance from Jeffrey Combs as the deliciously deranged West, Re-Animator remains the ground-zero of '80s splatter mayhem and one of the genre's finest hours.
- 4K restorations of the Unrated and Integral versions of the film
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Original Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 Audio
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Digipak packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Justin Erickson
- Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer Michael Gingold
Re-Animator - the original 1991 comic book adaptation, reprinted in its entirety
Disc 1 - Unrated Version
- Unrated version [86 mins]
- Audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon
- Audio commentary with producer Brian Yuzna, actors Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, and Robert Sampson
Re-Animator Resurrectus - documentary on the making of the film, featuring extensive interviews with cast and crew
- Interview with director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna
- Interview with writer Dennis Paoli
- Interview with composer Richard Band
- Music Discussion with composer Richard Band
- Interview with former Fangoria editor Tony Timpone
Barbara Crampton In Conversation -the Re-Animator star sits down with journalist Alan Jones for this career-spanning discussion
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Trailer & TV Spots

Disc 2 - Integral Version - Limited Edition Exclusive
- Integral version [105 mins]
A Guide to Lovecraftian Cinema - brand new featurette looking at the many various cinematic incarnations of writer H.P. Lovecraft's work

Street Date: 07/25/17
Label: Arrow Video
Genre: Cult
Run Time: 86 mins
Number of Discs: 2
Year of Production: 1985
Director: Stuart Gordon
Actors: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton
Territory: US
Language: English
SRP: $39.95

Cult Favorite 'SLITHER' Makes Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Debut August 1st, 2017 from Scream Factory

SLITHER (2006) 

From James Gunn, co-writer and director of Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, comes Slither, the deliciously demented story of an unnamed evil wreaking havoc on a small town.

Making its Blu-ray debut as a deluxe Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on  August 1st, 2017 from Scream Factory, this delightfully disgusting creature feature comes jam-packed with bonus features, including a new audio commentary with director James Gunn, actor Nathan Fillion and actor Michael Rooker, a new interview “The Genesis of Slither” with writer and director James Gunn, a new interview with actor Gregg Henry, audio commentary with James Gunn and Nathan Fillion, deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary by James Gunn, Slithery Set Tour with actor Nathan Fillion, and much, much more! Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting

The sleepy town of Wheelsy could be any small town in America -- somewhat quaint and gentle, peopled with friendly folks who mind their own business. But just beneath the surface charm, something unnamed and evil has arrived...and is growing. Intent on devouring all life on Earth, this dark and slimy entity is infecting anyone in its path. Now it's up to the local sheriff, Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion, Firefly, Castle), and his team to stop the spread of rampant devastation – and shocking mutilation – before it's too late. This outrageously funny horror film also stars Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Walking Dead), Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect) and Gregg Henry (Body Double, Jason Bourne).

Special Features:
- NEW Audio Commentary with writer/director James Gunn and actors Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker
- NEW The Genesis of SLITHER – an interview with writer/director James Gunn
- NEW The Other MacReady – an interview with actor Gregg Henry
- Audio commentary with James Gunn and Nathan Fillion
- Deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary by James Gunn
- Visual Effects: Step by Step
- Slithery Set Tour with actor Nathan Fillion
- The Sick Minds and Slimy Days of SLITHER
- Brewing the Blood – How to Make Blood
- Bringing SLITHER’s Creatures to Life
- Lloyd Kaufman’s Video Diary
- Gag Reel
- Who is Bill Pardy? featurette
- Theatrical Trailer