The summer really hots up in August, as Arrow Video releases a white-knuckle thriller, a cult comedy making its worldwide Blu-ray debut, two splatter horror classics, a giallo masterpiece and a rare Italian sword-and-sandal epic.
First up is the long awaited worldwide Blu-ray debut of Shock Treatment, the cult musical comedy written by and starring Richard O’Brien, the legendary creator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The lead characters from that film, Brad and Janet, here become involved in a devilishly deviant gameshow, in a film that bills itself as not a sequel… not a prequel… but an equal to Rocky Horror! With a host of fantastic extras, these limited edition ‘Nation’ and ‘Cosmo’ releases come with collector cards and a poster, in superb new packaging.
This month also sees the Dual Format release of the star-studded, action-packed crime thriller Ronin, from master director John Frankenheimer (Seconds, The Manchurian Candidate), starring Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver, Heat), Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional) and Sean Bean (Stormy Monday, Game of Thrones). A fantastically entertaining heist-gone-wrong crime caper, featuring one of the greatest car chases ever committed to film, Ronin is presented in a brand new, cinematographer-approved 4K restoration, along with a host of behind the scenes featurettes, with a reversible sleeve, and a collector’s booklet with the first pressing.
Mid-August onwards sees horror fans spoiled for choice: starting with the Dual Format release of Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece giallo Don’t Torture a Duckling, starring Italian genre stalwarts Tomas Milian and Barbara Bouchet trying to find out who is responsible for a spate of mysterious murders in a sleepy village. Widely regarded as Fulci’s greatest film, the 1972 classic is presented in a High Definition Blu-ray, with a new commentary and interviews, and a collector’s booklet with the first pressing.
Then there is the Dual Format release of controversial splatter classic The Slayer,JS Cardone’s gruesome 80s chiller about a group of friends trapped on a remote island and stalked by a crazed killer. The infamous slasher film, previously only been available on home video in truncated or full screen versions, comes lovingly restored from the original negative, in a stunning transfer that will be a revelation to fans both old and new; and the first pressing includes a collector’s booklet with brand new writing on the film.
Another splatterific offering coming out on Blu-ray is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Tobe Hooper’s extraordinary 1986 sequel to his seminal horror classic, mixing horror and comedy to splendid effect and featuring the unforgettable sight of Dennis Hopper (Speed, Easy Rider) wielding twin chainsaws. A cult classic in its own right, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 serves up a heady blend of gratuitous gore, socio-political critique and jet-black humour, and is presented in High Definition Blu-ray presentation, from a digital transfer supervised by director of photography Richard Kooris.
At the end of August comes the Dual Format release Erik the Conqueror, a 1961 sword-and-sandal epic from Italian supremo Mario Bava, a rare detour from the master director away from genre thrillers like Rabid Dogs and A Bay of Blood. Inspired by the Kirk Douglas hit The Vikings, this is a tale of treachery, heroism and forbidden love starring George Ardisson (Juliet of the Spirits) in the title role, and Hollywood legend Cameron Mitchell (Blood and Black Lace). Restored in high definition for the first time, and packed with extras, as well as a collector’s booklet with the first pressing, this is a must for Bava fans and lovers of spectacular swashbucklers.
Shock Treatment – on Blu-ray on 7 August 2017
Fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show rejoice – Brad and Janet (played here by Jessica Harper and Cliff De Young) return in 1981′s Shock Treatment, Richard O’Brien’s delirious send-up on TV game shows. Starring O’Brien and Patricia Quinn as deviant doctors, and featuring appearances from comedy stars including Rik Mayall, Barry Humphries and Ruby Wax, this cult oddity makes its worldwide Blu-ray debut thanks to Arrow Video, in a magnificent collector’s editions (based around lead characters Dr Nation and Dr Quinn) featuring a host of extras as well as collector’s cards and a poster. Choose between two shocking slipcase designs – Nation McKinley / Bert Schnick or Cosmo McKinley / Janet Majors!
Ronin – on Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD on 14 August 2017
Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Sean Bean and Natascha McElhone star in John Frankenheimer’s superb full throttle thriller, a slickly-plotted gem featuring double crosses and car chases like you’ve never seen. Loaded with extras and presented in a brand new 4k restoration produced exclusively for the release, this is a the greatest presentation yet of this 90s action classic.
Don’t Torture a Duckling – on Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD on 14 August 2017
Arguably horror film legend Lucio Fulci’s greatest achievement, this giallo masterpiece ticks all the boxes for aficionados of Italian red herring murder mysteries, with bodies piling up, festering small town corruption and shocking kills, as well as lead roles for giallo favourites Tomas Milian and Barbara Bouchet. The Dual Format release boasts a new commentary and interviews, a superbly illustrated reversible sleeve, and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film with the first pressing.
The Slayer – on Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD on 21 August 2017
This infamous, influential shocker, about a brutal killer running amok on a remote island, finally gets the pristine Dual Format treatment, with a stunning new 4K restoration. The film, whose nightmares-seeping-into-reality theme predates a certain Wes Craven classic by several years, comes with a reversible sleeve featuring brand new artwork, and a collector’s booklet with the first pressing.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 – on Blu-ray on 21 August 2017
“There is nothing to fear but fear itself!” So says Dennis Hopper as ex-cop Lefty Enright in Tobe Hooper’s insanely enjoyable sequel to his 70s horror classic. This time round kick-ass heroine Caroline Williams is a radio show host being terrorised by the cannibal clan, including Leatherface, Chop-top and Grandpa, deep in the heart of Texas. The fantastic Blu-ray package includes a commentary from Hooper, documentaries, deleted scenes and a whole lot more.
Erik the Conqueror on Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD on 28 August 2017
Thriller and horror maestro Mario Bava turns his hand to historical drama in this stirring 1961 viking epic starring George Ardisson and Cameron Mitchell as brothers who become fierce rivals. Jammed with splendid performances, lavish production design, thrilling set pieces and a stunning score by Roberto Nicolosi (Black Sunday), the Dual Format release has been lovingly restored by Arrow Video in high definition for the very first time.