Arrow Video Channel has just announced it’s spectacular July lineup featuring the acclaimed undead comedy Zombie For Sale and the 12-Film Gamera collection, but there were already plenty of reasons to check out the service, namely the additions of three underground horror classics: the beach horror drama Blood Tide, the action-packed adventure White Fire, and the dream-fuelled feminist nightmare Dream Demon. Below, you’ll find some quick capsule reviews of all three of these unearthed eighties gems which should peak your interest enough to give them a shot. Subscribe to Arrow Video Channel on Apple TV (UK/US) and check out their growing collection of genre films that are becoming a little more irresistible as the summer months continue.
Directed by Richard Jeffries
Written by Richard Jeffries, Nico Mastorakis
Starring James Earl Jones, Martin Kove, Lila Kedrova, Mary Louise Weller
Originally set to star Jeff Bridges, this Jaws inspired beach horror adventure set on a remote Greek island has a lot more going for it than Leonard Maltin realized when he panned the film way back in 1982. While searching for buried treasure, an ancient sea monster is awakened endangering the lives of every man, woman and child on the island.
Martin Kove steps in for Bridges (who left the project because he reportedly hated the script) and plays the athletic hero with a surprising amount of charm. Kove really could have been a great Han Solo in some other parallel universe and he has a strong presence in Blood Tide, especially in scenes where he’s pitted against the great James Earl Jones. Jones, who was probably close to recording the ADR for Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi around the time this came out, channels a character more in line with Quint from Jaws.
Blood Tide has a surprising amount of sex appeal, too, mostly thanks to the two gorgeous female leads, Lila Kedrova and Mary Louise Weller. When a vacation turns deadly, Blood Tide definitely puts the terror into tourism. Truly a better film because of the performances, Blood Tide really could have been remembered in a greater light if the creature itself wasn’t so poorly constructed and conceived. Wait for the finale to really enjoy a great callback to the ending of Jaws.
Directed by Jean-Marie Pallardy
Written by Jean-Marie Pallardy
Starring Robert Ginty, Fred Williamson, Belinda Mayne
Considering White Fire was helmed by a French porn director, features an unhealthy amount of incest between the two leads, and co-stars Fred Williamson who is now in hot water after his alleged behavior on the set of VFW, this is probably the most controversial film of the bunch. Starring Robert Ginty from Exterminator fame, the story sends a really weird brother and equally strange sister (Mayne) on a diamond heist to find a gem known as White Fire because of the immense heat that was needed to create it. Filming somewhere in Turkey, they eventually run into Fred Williamson and his gang and they all do their best to avoid the military who is also in search for the rarest diamond in the world.
Featuring an incredibly memorable chainsaw fight and enough explosions to make you think the filmmakers were engaging in psychological warfare, there are also some surprising gore effects that come completely out of nowhere. This is exactly the type of film that would’ve been forgotten if it wasn’t for Arrow Video resurrecting it. It’s up to you to decide whether it was worth it or not.
Directed by Harley Cokeliss
Written by Christopher Wicking, Harley Cokeliss
Starring Jemma Redgrave, Kathleen Wilhoite, Timothy Spall
Featuring the same kind of unsettling ethereal atmosphere found in The Company of Wolves or even Hellraiser, Dream Demon is the true standout among Arrow Video’s recent film restorations. Using nightmarish dream logic and demonic imagery, the anxiety of marriage and the fear of losing oneself manifests in some truly terrifying ways. As Diana (Redgrave) inches closer and closer to marrying a war hero at a massive house outside of London, she begins to have horrific dreams that start to tear her wedding fantasy into shreds. Diane also begins to be haunted in the waking world and the dream world by a strange American woman played by Kathleen Wilhoite (Witchboard, Road House).
Within the confines of a love story gone wrong, images of torment and scenes of abuse rear their ugly head in a few shocking sequences, so it’s not surprising that Dream Demon seems to stick in the minds of horror fans, even if they haven’t seen it since they were kids. The Director’s Cut features even more unedited demonic stalking and gore and the transfer takes the dream imagery to a new level.
Check out Blood Tide, White Fire, and Dream Demon on the Arrow Video Channel and feel free to comment below or agree to disagree with me on Twitter at DrewSTinnin.