Arrow Video Is Killing Q2! FOXY BROWN, SPIDER BABY, KNIGHT RIDERS, BARON BLOOD, BLACK SABBATH, MOTEL HELL, & Many More!

J Hurtado, Contributing Writer
Is there a finer genre home video label in the world than Arrow Video right now? Probably not, and they're only putting distance between themselves and the competition with every new announcement. Today's list of amazing releases is for the second quarter of 2013, from March to July, and it is INSANE. Tons of world Blu-ray premieres, as well as films previously released in other regions with amazing new bonus content, not to mention Arrow Video's usual exceptional packaging and artwork from people like poster legend Graham Humphreys and horror artist Jeff Zornow.

This quarter's releases range from classic Eurohorror to Blaxploitation Blu-ray debuts to crazy American exploitation classics to arthouse erotica; in short, everything I love. The highlights for me are the HD debuts of a pair of Jack Hill gems, Spider Baby starring Lon Chaney, Jr and Sid Haig, and Pam Grier's Foxy Brown, as well as classic oddball slasher Motel Hell (a personal favorite featuring a contribution from our very own, Shelagh Rowan-Legg!), starring Rory Calhoun as Farmer Vincent. We also see a UK Blu-ray of Brian De Palma's Blow Out to rival the Criterion edition, Mario Bava bloodbaths Black Sabbath with Boris Karloff and Baron Blood starring Joseph Cotten of Citizen Kane fame, George Romero's anachronistic motorcycle jousting flick, Knightriders, and, marking his return to Arrow Video after Caligula, a pair of Tinto Brass 70s flicks, All Ladies Do It, based on Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, and The Key.

This is the kind of line up that inspires people to find second jobs. Here are the details:

knight.jpgKnightriders [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

Made after the zombie classic Dawn of the Dead, George A. Romero's Knightriders  is both clearly the work of the same director (there are lots of familiar faces from his other films) and a marked change of tone.  There's still plenty of action, but it takes the form of jousting by people wearing full medieval armour... while riding motorbikes.

Ed Harris, soon to become a major star, is the leader of a troupe of travelling entertainers trying to live their lives according to the ideals of King Arthur - no easy feat in Reagan's America, where the outside world and its financial realities constantly encroach on their dreams.

With a memorably eccentric cast of characters (including make-up effects genius Tom Savini in a major role, and a cameo from novelist Stephen King) and a complex, nuanced script, Knightriders is Romero's warmest and most personal film to date.

Special Features:

    High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
    Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
    Audio commentary with George Romero, Tom Savini, John Amplas and Christine Romero
    The Genesis of a Legend - Star Ed Harris remembers his first leading role
    A Date with Destiny - Co-star Tom Savini reflects on Knightriders
    Medieval Maiden - An interview with actress Patricia Tallman
    Theatrical Trailer
    TV Spots
    Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nat Marsh
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and critic Brad Stevens, an archival interview with Romero and a new interview with composer Donald Rubinstein, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

baron.jpgBaron Blood [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

One of horror giant Mario Bava's biggest hits, Baron Blood returns to the all-stops-out Gothic atmosphere and the central theme of a witch's curse that fuelled his breakthrough film Black Sunday twelve years earlier.

This time, the curse was placed on Baron Otto von Kleist, Austria's legendarily murderous 'Baron Blood', whose corpse is inadvertently revived when an ancient incantation is read out as a joke by a descendant and his girlfriend.  Naturally, the Baron decides to carry on where he originally left off, with the help of an entire vault of elaborate torture devices.

Joseph Cotten (Citizen Kane, The Third Man) has a whale of a time as the deceptively charming Baron, and is given sterling support from Elke Sommer (Lisa and the Devil), who is chased through fog-shrouded alleyways in one of Bava's most memorably atmospheric set-pieces.

Special Features:

    High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of three versions of the film: Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga with Italian opening and closing titles and Baron Blood with English opening and closing titles and the European English export version audio, and for the first time on home video, the AIP version with alternate score by Les Baxter
    Three audio versions: Optional Italian, European English and AIP English re-dub and re-score
    English SDH subtitles and a new English subtitle translation of the Italian audio
    Audio Commentary with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas
    Introduction to Baron Blood by author and critic Alan Jones
    Trailers for Baron Blood
    Baron Blood Radio Spots
    Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the films by Oliver James and Pasquale Iannone, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

sabbath.jpgBlack Sabbath [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

Black Sunday was such a huge hit that a follow-up was swiftly demanded, and horror maestro Mario Bava duly devised this three-part horror anthology blending modern and period stories.

In the giallo-style 'The Telephone', a woman is terrorised by her former pimp after his escape from prison, and tries to escape him with the help of her lesbian lover, who has a dark secret of her own.  In the Victorian-era 'The Drop of Water', a nurse steals a ring from the corpse of a dead spiritualist, which naturally tries to get it back.  But it's the 19th-century Russian story 'The Wurdalak' that comes closest to Bava's earlier classic, with the great Boris Karloff as a much-loved paterfamilias who might not be entirely what he seems.

Bava's direction is as stylish as ever, and Black Sabbath is almost a compendium of his favourite themes.

Special Features:

    High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of two versions of the film; 'I tre volti della paura' - the European version with score by Roberto Nicolosi & 'Black Sabbath' - the re-edited and re-dubbed AIP version with Les Baxter score, on home video for the first time
    English SDH subtitles for English Audio and a new English subtitle translation of the Italian audio
    Audio Commentary with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas
    Introduction to the film by author and critic Alan Jones
    A Life In Film - An Interview with star Mark Damon
    Three Faces of Black Sabbath - A comparison of the different versions of the film
    International Trailer
    US Trailer
    Italian Trailer
    TV and Radio Spots
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic David Cairns and a substantial interview with AIP Producer Samuel Z. Arkoff on his experiences of working with Bava, conducted by Tim Lucas, illustrated with original stills and posters

motelhell.jpgMotel Hell [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

"It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent fritters!" cackle the brother-and-sister team behind the finest smoked meats in the county.  They also run the friendly Motel Hello (the 'o' in the neon sign sometimes goes on the blink), and no matter how many times you've seen Psycho or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, you can be sure that everything will be perfectly above board here as Vincent's brother Bruce is the local sheriff.

Western veteran Rory Calhoun gives a lipsmackingly demented performance as Farmer Vincent, whose twinkling bonhomie conceals a deeply depraved secret.

Directed by Kevin Connor (maker of much-loved British genre classics The Land That Time Forgot and Warlords of Atlantis) and with legendary DJ Wolfman Jack as a fire-and-brimstone TV preacher, this is a gleefully twisted horror-comedy that climaxes with a showstopping chainsaw duel.

Special Features:

    High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the film
    Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
    Audio commentary with director Kevin Connor moderated by Calum Waddell
    Another Head on the Chopping Block: Interview with star Paul Linke
    From Glamour to Gore: Interview with co-star, and former Playboy Playmate, Rosanne Katon
    Ida, Be Thy Name: A look back at Motel Hell's frightful female protagonist Ida Smith - and the secrets of creating a convincing slasher siren, with Scream Queens Elissa Dowling and Chantelle Albers, genre commentator Staci Layne Wilson and critic Shelagh Rowan-Legg
    Back to the Backwoods: Director Dave Parker (The Hills Run Red) speaks about the importance of Motel Hell
    Original Trailer
    Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jeff Zornow
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kim Newman, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

key.jpgThe Key [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

Tinto Brass's first major film since the notorious Caligula stars Frank Finlay as a man who is terrified of losing his voluptuous wife Teresa (Stefania Sandrelli) because he is unable to satisfy her sexually.  He arranges for her to have an affair, by taking erotic photographs of her and asking her would-be lover to develop them.  Meanwhile, he keeps abreast of her burgeoning relationship by reading her diary, in the full knowledge that she in turn is reading his...

One of Brass's most critically acclaimed films, The Key is also one of his most elegant, with wintry Venetian locations, a beautiful Ennio Morricone score and a strong sense of period - it's set in 1940, just before Mussolini's Italy entered World War II.

However, it also unmistakably shows the path that Brass would eventually follow, with startlingly graphic sex scenes for a supposedly 'respectable' film cast with serious actors.

Special Features:

    High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD Presentation of the film in widescreen for the first time!
    Optional English and Italian audio
    Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian audio
    Original Trailer
    Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly illustrated artwork by The Red Dress
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tinto Brass scholar Alexander Tuschinski, illustrated with rare production stills

ladies.jpgAll Ladies Do It [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

Diana (Claudia Koll) and Paolo (Paolo Lanza) are happily married despite her much greater sexual appetite: he's content to simply listen to the stories of her various adventures.  But when she has an affair that's much too close to home, he throws her out, and she moves into a Venetian flat to embark upon an erotic voyage of discovery, while at the same time trying to win him back.

Loosely inspired by the Mozart opera Così fan tutte (the title is a direct translation), the film tackles a crucial question: why shouldn't women enjoy the same sexual freedom that they've long had to tolerate in their men?  Especially when they have such shapely and inviting rears?

Once again, Tinto Brass proves his unmatched skill at balancing eroticism and humour in this lively and beautifully photographed comedy, both wittier and more sexually explicit than the average softcore romp.

Special Features:

    High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD Presentation of the film in widescreen for the first time!
    Optional English and Italian audio
    Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian audio
    Featurette on the film with director Tinto Brass
    Original Trailer
    Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly illustrated artwork by The Red Dress
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic David Flint, illustrated with rare production stills

blowout.jpgBlow Out [Blu-ray]

One of Brian De Palma's most acclaimed films, this brilliant fusion of the obsessive sleuthing of Blow-up and The Conversation with themes drawn from real-life political scandals (the JFK assassination, Chappaquiddick, Watergate) starts with sound technician Jack Terry (John Travolta) accidentally recording what might be explosive evidence of a deadly conspiracy.

Brilliantly shot by the then recent Oscar-winner Vilmos Zsigmond, this terrifically stylish thriller co-stars Nancy Allen as the eyewitness who becomes the unwitting target of John Lithgow's serial killer as he ruthlessly attempts to bury all the evidence.

It's also a film about the filmmaking process: Terry is originally hired to work on the low-budget slasher film Coed Frenzy, and later turns his technical skills to much more serious use as he tries to reconstruct a political assassination on film in a way that will stand up in court.

Special Features:

    New, restored digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Brian De Palma
    Original Dolby 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
    Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
    Black and White in Colour: An Interview with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond
    Rag Doll Memories: Nancy Allen on Blow Out
    Return to Philadelphia: An interview with Producer George Litto
    A gallery of on-set photos by photographer Louis Goldman
    Original Theatrical Trailer
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Michael Atkinson, a conversation between Quentin Tarantino and Brian De Palma and more to be confirmed!

Available in Limited Edition SteelBook and Standard Edition Amaray with reversible sleeve artwork featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Joe Wilson.

spider.jpgSpider Baby [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

The credits dub this "the maddest story ever told", a promise that's well on the way to being fulfilled in the opening scene alone, when Virginia traps and kills a hapless deliveryman in her makeshift web.  She's one of three siblings who suffer from a unique genetic disorder that causes them to regress back to childhood, while retaining the physical strength and sexual maturity of adults.

Lon Chaney Jr gave one of his most memorable late performances as Bruno, their guardian and protector, who has managed to cover up their crimes until two distant relatives lay claim to their house.  When they insist on moving in, Bruno has to cross his fingers and hope that the 'children' behave towards their new guests...

This was the first solo feature by Jack Hill, whom Quentin Tarantino dubbed "the Howard Hawks of exploitation filmmaking", and it remains one of his wildest and weirdest.

Special Features:

    High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the main feature, available in the UK for the first time
    High Definition transfer of the feature approved by director Jack Hill
    Isolated Music and Effects track
    English SDH subtitles for deaf and hearing impaired
    Audio commentary featuring Jack Hill and star Sid Haig
    The Hatching of Spider Baby - Interviews with Jack Hill, Sid Haig, star Mary Mitchel, fan Joe Dante and more on the making of the film
    Spider Stravinsky: The Cinema Sounds of Ronald Stein - The composer of 'The Terror' and 'Attack of the 50 Foot Woman' among others is remembered by Harlene Stein, Jack Hill, American Cinematheque's Chris D. and others
    The Merrye House Revisited - Jack Hill revisits the original house that was used as the main location in the film
    Alternate opening title sequence
    Extended scene
    Gallery of behind-the-scenes images
    The Host (1960) - Jack Hill's early short film featuring Sid Haig in his first starring role [30 mins]
    Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humpreys
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by artist and writer Stephen R. Bissette, and more to be confirmed!

foxysteel.jpgFoxy Brown [Blu-ray]

When Foxy Brown's undercover-agent boyfriend is gunned down on the orders of evil drug kingpins, she stops at nothing to exact a thrillingly brutal revenge.  This is one of the all-time great blaxploitation films, pulling out all the stops at a time long before anyone thought of inventing political correctness.

Pam Grier was given the role of a lifetime as the street-smart yet intensely sexy Foxy, modelling a stupendously varied range of Seventies threads while righteously kicking villainous white butt at every opportunity.  She's also given sterling support from Antonio 'Huggy Bear' Fargas as her no-good younger brother and a memorably funky soundtrack.

It's clear that Quentin Tarantino is a huge fan: he cast Grier in the title role of his direct homage Jackie Brown, while the one-woman revenge scenario that fuelled the Kill Bill films didn't just come from the Far East.

Special Features:

    Restored High Definition Blu-ray presentation (1080p)
    Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
    Audio commentary with director Jack Hill
    From Black and White to Blaxploitation - Actor Sid Haig speaks about his long and influential friendship with Jack Hill
    A Not So Minor Influence - An Interview with Bob Minor, the first African-American member of the Stuntman's Association, and co-star of Foxy Brown­
    Back to Black - Legendary actors Fred "The Hammer" Williamson (Black Caesar) and Austin Stoker (Sheba Baby, Assault on Precinct 13), alongside Rosanne Katon (Ebony, Ivory, and Jade) and film scholar Howard S. Berger speak about the enduring popularity of the Blaxploitation film
    Photo gallery of behind-the-scenes and publicity images
    Original Theatrical Trailer
    Trailer Reel - Trailers for all the major works by Jack Hill including Foxy Brown, Coffy and Switchblade Sisters
    Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Josiah Howard, author of Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide, a new interview with Pam Grier by Jack Hill biographer Calum Waddell, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

Available in Limited Edition SteelBook and Standard Edition Amaray with reversible sleeve artwork featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Red Dress.
Around the Internet:
  • Eric Trylinski

    Strange to do a Blow Out with such a recent Criterion Collection Blu being released. Knight Riders, Black Sabbath, and Motel Hell on Blu Ray is something I am very excited about however!

  • hutch

    Throw in 'Coffy' and I can call it a day.

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