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Arrow Video US Announces September and October Genre Releases

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One of this year’s coolest things is that Arrow Video finally started putting out Blu-ray releases here in the States, and we’ve damn sure been enjoying them. This coming Halloween season is loaded with goodies courtesy of the company, and we’ve got all the info for you today. Read on!

From the Press Release:
MVD Entertainment Group furthers the distribution of Arrow Video in the US with a strong schedule of new titles for September and October.

Tenderness of the Wolves

Tenderness of the Wolves – October 20th

Fritz Haarmann, aka the Butcher of Hanover and the Vampire of Hanover, was a German serial killer responsible for the murders of two dozen boys and young men during the so-called ‘years of crisis’ between the wars. His case would partly inspire Fritz Lang’s M, and its central character portrayed by Peter Lorre, as well as this forgotten gem from 1973.

Tenderness of the Wolves treats the viewer to a few weeks in the company of a killer. Baby-faced and shaven-headed, in a manner that recalls both M and F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, Haarmann is a fascinating, repulsive figure. Using his status as a police informant to procure his victims, he dismembers their bodies after death and sells the flesh to restaurants, dumping the remainder out of sight. This isn’t an easy film to watch, but it certainly gets under the skin…

Produced by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who also supplies a shifty cameo), Tenderness of the Wolves provided two of his regular actors with a means of expanding their careers. Ulli Lommel – later responsible for the infamous video nasty The Boogeyman – made his directorial debut, while Kurt Raab wrote the screenplay as well as delivering an astonishing performance as Haarmann.

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfer prepared by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM Audio
  • New translated English subtitles
  • The Tender Wolf – a brand-new in-depth interview with director Ulli Lommel
  • Brand-new interview with director of photography Jürgen Jürges
  • Newly-filmed appreciation by film historian and expert on European horror cinema Stephen Thrower
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
  • Illustrated booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tony Rayns

Black Cats

Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cats: Two Adaptations by Sergio Martino & Lucio Fulci – October 13th

Edgar Allan Poe’s celebrated story The Black Cat has provided the inspiration for numerous films over the years. But few adaptations are as stylish as those offered up by the twin Italian titans of terror, Sergio Martino and Lucio Fulci.

In Martino’s classic giallo Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, teacher Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli, A Bay of Blood) finds himself under suspicion for murder when one of his students – and mistress – is found brutally murdered. As more bodies start to pile up, the arrival of Oliviero’s attractive niece (Edwige Fenech, Five Dolls for an August Moon, All the Colours of the Dark) brings with it complications of its own.

In The Black Cat, from that “other” Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci (Zombie), Scotland Yard Inspector Gorley (David Warbeck, The Beyond) find himself summoned to a sleepy English village to investigate the recent murder of a young couple. With no obvious signs of entry at the murder scene, Gorley is forced to start considering the possibility that his suspect may not be human…

Finally together on Blu-ray and in stunning new 2K restorations from the original camera negatives, fans can enjoy the double-dose of terror that is Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cats – Italian-style!

Limited Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 2K restorations of the films from the original camera negatives
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Newly translated subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
  • Brand new interview with director Sergio Martino
  • Dolls of Flesh and Blood: The Gialli of Sergio Martino – a visual essay by Michael Mackenzie exploring -Sergio Martino’s unique contributions to the giallo genre
  • Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror – The Films of Lucio Fulci, on The Black Cat
  • Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
  • Limited Edition 80-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing on the films, Poe’s original story and more, illustrated with archive stills and posters
  • Much more to be announced!

The Beast

The Beast – September 15th

Walerian Borowczyk’s most notorious and controversial film wildly re-works the classic Beauty and the Beast story into a very adult fairy tale, a parody of pornographic tropes and an assault on notions of ‘good taste’.

Bestial dreams interrupt the venal plans of a French aristocrat attempting to save a crumbling mansion by marrying off his deformed son, Mathurin, to a horny American heiress, Lucy. Yet Mathurin seems more interested in his horses than in his bride-to-be, and when Lucy finds out about the story of his 18th-century ancestor Romilda (Sirpa Lane) copulating with the titular beast it sparks to life one of the most outrageous dream sequences in cinema history.

A huge hit in France that was extensively censored and banned elsewhere, The Beast broke new ground in sexual explicitness and remains a truly startling experience even today.

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfer of the uncut 98-minute version
  • Uncompressed Mono 2.0 PCM Audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Introduction by film critic Peter Bradshaw
  • The Making of The Beast: camera operator Noël Véry provides a commentary on footage shot during the film’s production
  • Frenzy of Ecstasy, a visual essay on the evolution of Borowczyk’s beast and the sequel that never was, Motherhood
  • The Profligate Door, a documentary about Borowczyk’s sound sculptures featuring curator Maurice Corbet
  • Boro Brunch, a reunion meal recorded in February 2014 reuniting members of Borowczyk’s crew
  • Commercials by Borowczyk: Holy Smoke (1963), The Museum (1964) and Tom Thumb (1966)
  • Gunpoint, a documentary short by Peter Graham produced and edited by Borowczyk (11:04)
  • Behind Enemy Lines – The Making of Gunpoint (5:16)
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring Borowczyk’s own original poster design
  • Illustrated booklet featuring new writing on the film by Daniel Bird and an archive piece by David Thompson, illustrated with original stills

Immoral Tales

Immoral Tales – September 15th

Walerian Borowczyk’s first explicitly erotic feature, Immoral Tales presents a veritable cavalcade of depravity: cosmic fellatio, transcendental masturbation, blood-drenched lesbianism and papal incest.

It tells four stories, each delving back further in time, as if to suggest that the same issues recur constantly throughout human civilization, whether involving notorious historical figures like Lucrezia Borgia and Erzsébet Báthory, or present-day teenagers.

Capitalising on the relaxation of censorship laws, Immoral Tales would transform Borowczyk’s image from brilliant but obscure avant-garde artist to one of Europe’s most confrontational filmmakers when it came to trampling on sexual taboos.

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfers of two versions of the feature, the familiar four-part edition and the original five-part conception including the short film The Beast of Gévaudan (which later became the feature The Beast)
  • Uncompressed Mono 2.0 PCM Audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Introduction by Borowczyk expert Daniel Bird
  • Love Reveals Itself, a new interview programme featuring production manager Dominique Duvergé-Ségrétin and cinematographer Noël Véry
  • Obscure Pleasures: A Portrait of Walerian Borowczyk, a newly-edited archival interview in which the filmmaker discusses painting, cinema and sex
  • Blow Ups, a visual essay by Daniel Bird about Borowczyk’s works on paper
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring Borowczyk’s own original poster design
  • Illustrated booklet containing new writing on the film by by Daniel Bird and an archive piece by Philip Strick

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?

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Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler


While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
3.5

Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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