2.14.2019

A Message from robotGEEK...

I just wanted to take this moment to let everyone know that I will probably be putting my reviews on hiatus for a short while. Unless I just watched something that I absolutely have to tell you all about, it's looking more and more likely that I'll have to put this website on the back burner for the time being. My photography side-hustle has become a full time passion and as it grows into a legitimate business, it's taking up all of my free time because I still have a full time job. However, I can't see myself giving this up entirely because I still watch an insane amount of cult classics and still enjoy discussing them.

Thank you to all of you who have followed my journey on here, who continue to check in for new reviews. It means the world to me and it's because of you that I keep doing it. I think for the time being it just won't be very often.

I would encourage you to follow my robotGEEK Instagram page where I post mini reviews on the films I watch daily. Right now it's the best I can do when it comes to reviews. If you're interested in checking out my photography, please check out my Instagram photography page @backwindfilm. Your support and encouragement will mean the world to me, and it's honestly what keeps me going through this new path in life. I haven't gotten around to creating an official website for my photo's yet, but I will. Thank you.

1.29.2019

80's Thriller Throwback: Relentless (1989)


This 80's Thriller Was Just What the Doctor Ordered

by robotGEEK

Between Maniac Cop and Maniac Cop 2, William Lustig directed this often overlooked thriller about a serial killer who picks names out of a phone book (not randomly though), and kills his victim using different methods, and always leaving a calling card. Newly transferred (from New York to L.A.) detective Sam Dietz (Leo Rossi) is hot on his trail and together with his older and cynical partner Malloy (Robert Loggia), must stop him before he kills again.

I know I had seen this before way back upon it's first release on home video, but for the life of me couldn't remember a thing about it other than thinking Judd Nelson was such an unusual choice for the serial killer. But thanks to Amazon Prime, I was able to revisit this recently and I must say, it was great little thriller.

While it doesn't bring anything new to the table, and uses standard tropes we've seen countless times before, there's just something in the way Lustig directs that gives the film a slick, yet gritty look and feel that adds so many more layers to an otherwise bland concept. But William Lustig's surefire direction makes everything look so much bigger and better than it actually is. Yet at the same time, it's a great reminder of the kind of thriller they used to make back in the day. No fuss or frills, just a solid thriller with a great cast and strong direction.

The film is a treat to watch, has just the right amount of tension to keep you invested, and the cast is just ace. Do yourself a favor and give this one a shot. It might not redefine the genre, but it's not trying to either. Currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

1.24.2019

Blu-Ray Review: Extreme Prejudice (Japan Release)

This May Very Well Be One of the Best Movies You Never Saw

by robotGEEK

Writer/Director/Producer Walter Hill has made an insane amount of action classics in his decades long career, most notably as a director. While he hasn't done much in the last decade or so, it's in the 80's where he really flourished, knocking out classics like 48 Hours, The Warriors (though it was released in '79), Red Heat and Streets of Fire to name a few. Yet, considering how amazingly badass Extreme Prejudice (released in 1987) is, it's a largely forgotten film. Why? I have no idea. But the truth of the matter is that it's largely been dismissed, forgotten or flat-out unrecognized, which is a true shame. Whenever I encourage someone to actually see it, whether they've heard about it or not, they always leave with their mind blown, having just seen one of the toughest, grittiest and bloodiest modern day westerns ever and they can't believe they hadn't seen it until now. Most people don't even realize it's directed by Walter Hill, which says a lot about how under the radar this film really is.

Let's forget, for a moment, the fact that it sports an impressive cast that includes Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe, Clancy Brown, William Forsythe and Michael Ironside, let alone a who's who of notable character actors you'll surely recognize. What's most impressive about this flick, aside from this badass cast, is how macho it all is. It's right up there with Top Gun and Predator in terms of that pure macho adrenaline, and it's a really hard and rare thing to accomplish. I guess The Expendables franchise would be another example; I just wish they were actually better.

In the U.S. Extreme Prejudice has been released on Laserdisc, VHS and DVD. But shockingly, it's only available in widescreen on Laserdisc, with even the DVD being a really shitty full frame presentation and it's such a huge injustice to the material by not presenting it in it's proper aspect ratio. I mean, the visuals are flat-out stunning and there's really no other way to see this other than widescreen to fully appreciate it. Even today, we still have no news of a Blu-Ray release in sight, which brings me to this Japan release.

I had come across this on eBay a few years ago, and I would hold off on buying it because the $30-$50 asking price was a bit steep for a film with no extras. I guess I always hoped somebody would finally release this stateside on Blu, but that still hasn't happened. So one night I just pulled the fucking trigger and snagged this Japan release for $30 and I'm not sorry about it in the slightest.

While it doesn't offer anything in the way of extra's, and to be honest, I'm not that big a fan of the cover either, the film looks glorious in HD and in it's proper aspect ratio. I also realized something upon revisiting this. No matter how many times I've seen it, I never get tired of it. It's an amazingly "tough guy" film, that miraculously offers slick visuals while also looking gritty as all hell. Nearly every single frame is drenched in sweat (along with the actors), and the sunburned atmosphere and aesthetics really lend to an authentic modern western vibe that you don't see very often.


Is the film perfect? Certainly not. The plot can be a bit unnecessarily convoluted at times, especially when it all comes together at the end and you realize it didn't have to be so complicated, but that could just be due to the fact that a few subplots and storylines were edited out. I don't know. Still, it's a helluva great film with an incredible cast that still goes unmatched in it's badassery. But the film, even at the $30 price tag for the Japan Blu Ray, was one of my favorite film purchases and I don't regret it one bit.

While the film is available to stream on Amazon, there's no information on whether it's in widescreen or not. Still, it's a crime this film doesn't have a better reputation, either as an action film, or as a Walter Hill film. This film truly deserves an upgraded HD release on a physical here in the states. It's long overdue.

1.19.2019

90's Action Attack!: Drive (1998)

This Underrated Action Classic is One of The Best the 90's Had to Offer

by robotGEEK

Steve Wang's Drive is a film I've been itching to see for many, many years. While not impossible to find, it was hard enough that I didn't really try all that hard. Here in the U.S., its never gotten a DVD release, only having been released officially on VHS. I know there were some downloads to YouTube, even in widescreen, but I just always forgot about it. That is until recently, when a friend of mine, Michael Cook from Retro Rocket Entertainment Podcast Network, mentioned it was available on Amazon Prime for free this month, so I took that opportunity to finally give this a watch and boy am I glad I did.

Toby Wong (Mark Dacascos) is a human prototype capable of superhuman speed and strength. When a wealthy Chinese billionaire, the great James Shigeta (Mr. Nakatomi from Die Hard!) wants the prototype destroyed, he sends a hitman and his crew to destroy him. Wong then teams up with an innocent bystander (Kadeem Hardison) to help him escape a nearly neverending pursuit of death-defying chases, fight scenes and explosions.

Released in 1998, Drive comes to us courtesy of Special Effects master (Predator), and sometime director (The Guyver 1 & 2) Steve Wang. Yet for some reason it's never gotten a full blown solid release here, which blows my mind, because it's arguably one of the best buddy/action movies to come out of the 90's. To put it frankly, Drive is fucking awesome. A blast from start to finish, filled with some seriously impressive martial arts action and choreography, along with some killer visuals. 

If there's anything this often-forgotten action classic taught me it's that Mark Dacascos is an underrated badass, and that Steve Wang is a damn fine director. It's a crime he didn't blow up after this as an action director, because the stuff he pulls off here, even in terms of composition, is highly impressive. Frankly, I'm shocked he didn't go on to do more action films. Dacascos though, is such an undervalued martial artist. I mean, I know he's been working nonstop and has appeared in some great things, but he should be a much bigger star than he is. I'm psyched he's going to be in John Wick 3 though, so hopefully that will give him a resurgence of sorts.

Hands down one of the biggest surprises I've come across in the action genre this past year, Drive deserves a much bigger audience. I can't believe it hasn't gotten a bigger and wider release here in the states on any format. Even a DVD would suffice, but as of now, nothing. Here's to hoping it gets a snazzy Blu-Ray release soon from a cult film distributor. Drive is an adrenaline-fueled action cult classic that will blow your mind with it's sheer volume of insane action, stunts and martial arts, with none of the annoying shaky-cam/quick-edit crap that seemed to permeate the market after Taken and The Transporter. Despite it's limited budget, you would never know it. Wang handles the production, visuals and action like a pro, and Drive easily rivals any big-budget action flick that hit our local cinema's at the time. In fact, it's easily better than most of them and Drive is an underrated and underappreciated action masterpiece.

How to see it:
Currently it's streaming on Amazon Prime for free this month (January), and in widescreen to boot. The only physical release we have in the U.S. is VHS. If you have a region-free player, it's been released on DVD in other parts of the planet, though I haven't heard of a blu-ray release yet. But I could be wrong.

UPDATE
Well apparently there was a U.S. DVD release but it's so rare that it's almost impossible to find. I don't know what the quality was on that, the aspect ratio, or what cut it was but it looks like we did in fact get one once upon a time. 

1.03.2019

80's Thriller Throwback: Brainstorm (1983)

It's Time One of the Best Techno Thriller's Ever Made Finally Finds it's Audience

by robotGEEK

This is a film I'd always been aware of, but never thought twice about. That is until I came across a fascinating article about the films tumultuous and troubled production, which always fascinates me about films. Sadly, most people will always automatically associate this film with co-star Natalie Wood's untimely death, which happened during this film's production before she was finished shooting all of her scenes, but really that's just only one of the things that doomed this film from the start if you look into the films history. But guess what? For a film that nearly didn't even get released at all because the studio instead wanted to cash in on the insurance money and claim it a loss, Brainstorm is actually amazing. In fact, it's easily one of the best Techno Thriller's ever made, and one of the best thrillers I've seen in the last couple of years. Brainstorm deserves so much more recognition.

Released in 1983, Brainstorm follows the story of Michael (Christopher Walken), a scientist, who along with Lillian (Louise Fletcher) and a small team, have invented the first ever virtual reality experience where they can not only see what someone else can see, but they can taste, smell and feel those experiences. Naturally, the U.S. government wants to get their hands on this technology, much to the dismay of the team, and a race against time will determine the outcome. 

This insanely riveting film experience comes to us courtesy of special effects legend Douglas Trumbull, who has worked on classics ranging from 2001 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Blade Runner. Here he wrote and directed the film (his second directing effort after Silent Running 11 years earlier) and wanted to give the audience an experience unlike anything we'd experienced before by creating something called Showscan, a 60 frame per second process that ultimately was too costly for the studio to try. Basically, Trumbull had these really great ideas for this very special film but nobody to support it. He wanted to do something that gave the audience the same feeling the characters were experiencing while in the virtual reality world. In the end, he was told by the studio that the normal scenes would be shot in 35mm, and the virtual reality scenes in 70mm, which is why the widescreen format keeps changing back and forth throughout the film. In any case, it was a way for the audience to differentiate between the real world and the VR world.

For a guy who had only directed one single film before this, and 11 years prior for that matter, Brainstorm is such a delicately polished looking film. It's the kind of film that looks like someone who's been directing big budget films for years had done, and that's a testament to Trumbull's clear unique vision and talents behind the camera. The film is awash in beautiful modern architecture, splendid visuals, strong performances and some insanely impressive effects work and compositions. Not to mention it's both compelling and riveting, as much as it is entertaining and suspenseful. The fact that I hadn't seen it until now, or that it rarely ever gets mentioned at all just blows my mind. Immediately after watching it I got online to snatch up the Blu-Ray, only to discover it hasn't yet made that leap to HD, which both saddens me but also doesn't surprise me.

This was a time when Christopher Walken was really breaking out into leading man territory. While that didn't really last too long, he surely gives a great performance here, even with his odd mannerisms and all. The scene-stealer in this film though has to be the one and only Louise Fletcher, who plays Michael's lab partner Lillian. She carried such a ferocious spunk that it's impossible not to love her in this and I'm not surprised to learn it was the most fun she had making a film.



Natalie Wood is excellent as well, and so darn cute. It's a shame this would be her last film. Reports state that she hadn't finished shooting all of her scenes so Trumbull had to rework the ending and use stand-in's for certain shots. It is also said that her death was one of the main reasons MGM, going through financial difficulties at the time, was ready to throw in the towel and recoup their loses through their insurance, but Trumbull insisted on re-cutting it. He knew he could save the film despite MGM's insistence that they just scrap it. So seeing as I just loved the film to death as it is, I'm curious how different it would have turned out had they been able to shoot it the way Trumbull initially wrote it without having to change things due to Wood's premature death.

It's a shame and travesty this doesn't get more love, or that most people have never even heard of it. Douglas Trumbull's experience was so heartbreaking and frustrating that he vowed never to direct a Hollywood film again, and he's kept his word. This film experience ruined any dreams he might have had to direct feature films again. Yet, 36 years later, it remains a technical marvel and easily one of the best surprises for me in the last few years. It's a film that invented the Virtual Reality concept before it was ever something that could become a reality, which would still take a few more decades. It reminded me a lot of Michael Chrichton's excellent Looker, as well as John Carpenter's Starman, 2 films I love to death, and I'm incredibly happy to find another film that compares to those gems. If you're looking for something different, smart, classy, clever and downright excellent, give this one a watch. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Here's to hoping for a Blu-Ray release in the near future.

1.02.2019

Hidden Gems: A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)


It's Time More People Discover This Gem

by robotGEEK

When Liam Neeson got a huge resurgence following Taken and it's sequels, it seemed like he was in so many copycats of the very film he made famous. And to be honest, some of them just aren't very good, which is probably why I avoided this one in particular. I don't remember the trailer, but I do know that the poster art gave me another Taken vibe.

But I remember a few years ago a fellow friend on Instagram had really talked this one up and I had never forgotten that. When I realized my dad actually owned this, I snatched it for a lazy day watch, and let me tell you, when that day finally came, I was pleasantly surprised at how strong and great this little film is.

For starters, it's not an action film.....at all. So the image of him holding a gun on the cover is a bit misleading and unnecessary. Yes he fires a gun in the film, but rarely. The reality is that this film is actually a detective thriller, more in line with the old private eye films that were so popular once upon a time. And that's one of the films many surprises.

One of the best things about this film is it's surprisingly strong cast. I won't get into the all of them and spoil it for you, but there were a lot of surprising faces in here, with Stranger Things and the Hellboy reboot's David Harbour being at the top of that list. But of course, none of that works unless you have somebody strong enough to carry the film and Liam Neeson is up to the challenge. In fact, it's effortless for him. You can say he's pretty much playing his character from Taken, just without the close combat fighting and gun battles, and it would be true. But he's just so damn good at it!

From it's very first frame, to it's last, AWAtT is a visual feast. Writer/director Frank Scott (Logan, Minority Report, Get Shorty) give the film a slick noir-ish, yet contemporary vibe that almost acts as a character on it's own. Either Scott did his homework, or he had this film planned out in his head from the beginning because it's one of those films that is just as visually stunning as it is gritty within the private eye genre. It's rare (these days anyway), where a filmmaker spends just as much time on the visual tone of the film as they do on the story. In that respect, AWAtT is a rare treat indeed.

Easily dismissed and all but forgotten, this one might surprise you if you're looking for something with style, substance and entertainment value. A sleek detective noir flick that gives Neeson plenty of opportunity to shine, and boy does he ever.

11.29.2018

80's Thriller Throwback: Tightrope

A Class-A Suspense/Thriller That Needs to be Recognized For it's Brilliance

by robotGEEK

Here's another in a long line of Eastwood flicks I never got around to until now. No real reason really, I guess I just never heard anything about it and when I rely on word of mouth rather than critical response, films like this can slip through the cracks. And it's a shame, since this is easily one of my new favorite Eastwood flicks.

Based in part on the Golden Gate Killer case (which at the time this was made wasn't solved), Tightrope tells the story of a New Orleans cop on the trail of a serial killer and rapist. When the killer starts targeting and taunting Wes Block (Eastwood) and his family, things start getting increasingly dangerous. 



I really and thoroughly enjoyed this one a lot. I'm always weary of thrillers because if they're not handled properly, they can really fall flat, even if the story is strong. In the wrong hands a tight thriller can easily turn into a doldrum drama. But thankfully, writer/director Richard Tuggle (screenwriter of Escape from Alcatraz and director of the underrated 80's thriller Out of Bounds) is up to the challenge and not only does he deliver the goods competently his first time out as a director, but even manages to surpass my expectations at nearly every turn.

At times feeling like a standard cop procedural, and at others like an 80's horror slasher, it's in the craftsmanship that sets this one apart. Eastwood does a fine job as per usual, where he doesn't really seem to have to try anymore at this point. He just always seems like he's naturally playing Harry Callahan no matter what other film he's in. But the film keeps a pace that never gets tedious or dull, and Tuggle's slick visuals often surprised me. The constant jazz score, in keeping with the New Orleans vibe, only adds to the films sleazy undertones and subject matter, making it feel all the more real and uncomfortable.



Rumors are that Eastwood would often take over directing duties when Tuggle took too long, which sounds pretty accurate when knowing Eastwood's fast method of filmmaking. He was pretty hands on with Michael Cimino on Thunderbolt & Lightfoot I hear, oftentimes making him only do a few takes and not the many, many that Cimino has been known for. And to be honest, I can feel Eastwood's hand all over this. So much of it "looks" like it was shot by him, because his previous directing effort was the excellent Sudden Impact, and this film looks and feels a lot like that one, which is a good thing.

On a final note, as I mentioned earlier, this story was inspired by the Golden State Killer case, which was still happening at the time this film was made and was known as The Bay Area Rapist at the time. Considering that the case wasn't solved or cracked (that would take a few more decades) at the time, the similarities are strikingly incredible. Even more so when you find out the specifics of the case today and who the Bay Area Rapist/Golden State Killer was. It's crazy and fascinating.

Tightrope is a slight departure for Eastwood, where I can only imagine the subject matter being a bit risque and controversial at the time, and the film is all the better for it. It's easily one of Eastwood's best films and now one of my personal favorite from his filmography. Here he plays a deeply flawed person, who struggles with his own demons and impulses, walking the Tightrope as they say.

Richard Tuggle would only direct one other film after this, the highly underrated and sadly forgotten Out of Bounds in 1986.

11.10.2018

Blu-Ray Review: Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)




Jim Van Bebber's notorious, blood-drenched cult classic Deadbeat at Dawn rises again on the advent of it's 30th anniversary, newly restored for the first time on Blu-Ray. Fully locked and loaded with a raft of new extra's, see Deadbeat as you've never seen it before - in all it's head-busting bone-crushing glory!

The very definition of DIY, independent filmmaking (VanBebber quit film school and used the remainder of his student load to fund the production), Deadbeat at Dawn surpasses it's low-budget origins to create revenge movie that delivers more thrills and bloody spills than all of Chuck Norris' films combined.

Deadbeat at Dawn is one of those films that you never stop hearing about. Released in 1988, it immediately became a cult classic and has remained one of the most sought after tapes ever since. If you ever stumble upon one of these rare and hard to find VHS tapes out in the wild, you pretty much struck gold. Since it's initial VHS release, it's gotten a few DVD releases which also don't come very cheap, and it's cult status continues to grow.



Now the fine folks over at Arrow Video have released the definitive version we all need to have. The new transfer brings out all the vivid colors on the shot on film classic. We also get a healthy dose of extras to dig into, so let's get started.

Goose (Jim VanBebber) has a girlfriend who wants him to quit the gang life. When he does, the gang leader of The Spiders doesn't like it, and orders his girlfriend murdered. When Goose discovers who was responsible, he's hellbent on revenge and formulates his revenge during the gang's big bank heist.

What can I say? Deadbeat is fucking awesome. After finally having seen it, I certainly understand the love for it. And I can tell you, had I seen this when I was a teenager, it would have supercharged my love and desire to become a director. You see, in my early teens through my early 20's my friends and I made an insane amount of home movies in the horror and action genre's. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a director. It was my biggest passion, next to comics. Of course that desire fizzled the older I got, but man, had I seen this film back then, I'm pretty sure I would have done anything to get there.

You see, Jim VanBebber not only made this film, but he literally did almost everything in it. Credited as writer, director, star, editor, makeup effects artist and stunts, VanBebber's blood sweat and tears are all over every inch of this celluloid. He may not be the most natural actor, but he's really trying. You can tell. And besides, it's not his acting chops that you're interested in. No sir, because once the film hits the halfway mark, it turns into a balls to the walls action flick that will blow your mind with just how the hell he was able to pull it all off considering it's pretty much a DIY flick. I mean, it's incredible, and I can kick myself for not having seen it sooner.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
• Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, supervised and approved by writer-director Jim VanBebber
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Brand new free-wheeling audio commentary with Jim VanBebber (’Goose’, The Ravens’ Gang Leader), actor Paul Harper (’Danny Carmodi’, The Spyders’ Gang Leader) and guest Cody Lee Hardin, moderated by filmmaker Victor Bonacore (Diary of a Deadbeat: The Story of Jim VanBebber)
• Jim VanBebber, Deadbeat Forever! – a brand new retrospective documentary on VanBebber and the Deadbeat legacy by Filmmaker Victor Bonacore, featuring first-time interviews, super-rare footage, VanBebber’s college films and much, much more!
• Archival 1986 behind-the-scenes documentary – Nate Pennington’s VHS documentary on a failed Deadbeat shoot
• Outtakes, newly transferred in HD
• Four newly-restored VanBebber short films – Into the Black (1983, 34 mins), My Sweet Satan (1993, 19 mins), Roadkill: The Last Days of John Martin (1994, 14 mins) and Gator Green (2013, 16 mins)
• Jim VanBebber Music Video Collection, featuring never-before-seen Director’s Cuts
• Chunkblower – promotional trailer for an unfinished Gary Blair Smith-produced gore-soaked feature film
• Extensive Image Gallery – Never-Before-Seen Stills!
• Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing by Scott Gabbey and Graham Rae

For a film shot on video in full frame 30 years ago, the fine folks over at Arrow did a bangup job with the transfer. The stark grittiness contrasted with the strong vivid colors are a sight to behold, with the almost pink hued blood-drenched chaos only adding to it's magnificent color scheme. The extra's are where the real magic is though. On top of a slew of his short films, the full length feature documentary Diary of a Deadbeat is worth the price alone, but you also get a healthy dose of other extra's to dig into so really, it's a no-brainer. If you're into cult films, this is a must buy.

10.27.2018

Blu-Ray Roundup - October Edition: Schlock, Torso, Twelve Monkeys and Distant Voices, Still Lives

SCHLOCK (1973)

John Landis' 
First Film Comes 
to Blu-Ray

A LOVE STRANGER THAN KING KONG!
From writer/director John Landis, the mind behind The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London, comes a love story that transcends the boundaries of nature and good taste – the one and only Schlock!
Carnage! Terror! Banana skins! The mighty prehistoric ape Schlocktropus has emerged from hiding to embark on a full-scale rampage across a quiet Southern Californian suburb. The police are baffled. The army is powerless. The body count is rising. But when Schlocktropus encounters a kindly blind woman (Eliza Garrett, National Lampoon’s Animal House) who sees beyond his grotesque visage, the homicidal simian is presented with a chance at redemption...
Shot over twelve days on a micro-budget, Schlock launched the careers of both Landis and legendary effects makeup artist Rick Baker (Videodrome). An uproarious pastiche of monster movies, packed to the gills with irreverent humour and biting satire, Schlock serves as the outrageous missing link between the creature features of yesteryear and its creators’ subsequent varied and celebrated careers.

BONUS MATERIALS:

• 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative 
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation 
• Original lossless mono soundtrack 
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing 
• Audio commentary by writer/director John Landis and makeup artist Rick Baker 
• New video interview with author and critic Kim Newman 
• Birth of a Schlock, a 2017 video interview with John Landis 
• Archival video interview with cinematographer Bob Collins 
• 1972, 1979 and 1982 US theatrical trailers 
• US radio spots 
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
 FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joe Bob Briggs

Schlock hits on October 15 from any number of your favorite online retailers. 

TORSO (1973)

Sergio Martino's Bloody Classic Comes to Blu-Ray With 2 Cuts!

TORSO is hailed by both Tarantino and Eli Roth as director Sergio Martino’s masterpiece. And its electrifying denouement, elevated to the level of Hitchcock, is their avowed inspiration!
 
Made after his uber stylish Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh & All The Colours of the Dark, here Martino goes deeper into sexually-charged giallo thereby becoming one of the genre’s most iconic exponent! 
 
Luscious students, whom we can only assume are studying for a PhD in stripping, head off for a vacation. Luckily for fans of psycho sexual thrillers, a black-gloved saw-wielding killer has followed them to their sapphic retreat and starts effective slayer multi-tasking by mutilating his way through a cast of hot beauties.. 
This new HD restored version is presented in its most complete form ever, anywhere, with unique new English rebuilds, finally doing justice to this Giallo masterpiece.

• Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of both versions of the film: the 94-minute Italian and 90-minute English cuts
• Original lossless Italian and English mono soundtracks*
• English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
• New audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, author of All the Colours of Sergio Martino
• New video interview with co-writer/director Sergio Martino
• New video interview with actor Luc Merenda
• New video interview with co-writer Ernesto Gastaldi
• New video interview with filmmaker Federica Martino, daughter of Sergio Martino 
• New video interview with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
• 2017 Abertoir International Horror Festival Q&A with Sergio Martino
• Italian and English theatrical trailers
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Smith and Howard Hughes

Torso releases on October 30th

DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES (1988)

Winner of the International Critics’ Prize at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, Terence Davies’ feature debut heralded one of Britain’s finest filmmaking talents.

Loosely based on the director’s own family and upbringing, Distant Voices, Still Lives presents an evocative account of working-class life in Liverpool, England during the 1940s and 50s. Births, marriages and deaths – and an expressive use of music – provide the underpinning for a film that is beautiful, heartbreaking, resonant but never sentimental.
Now regarded as a masterpiece of British cinema, and boasting a startling performance from Pete Postlethwaite (Romeo + Juliet, Inception) as the head of the family, Distant Voices, Still Lives has been treated to a glorious 4K restoration by the British Film Institute.

• Brand new 4K restoration, carried out by the British Film Institute
• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
• Original stereo audio (uncompressed LPCM)
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Commentary by writer-director Terence Davies
• Interview with Davies
• Interview with art director Miki van Zwanenberg
• Theatrical trailer
• More to be announced!
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Christina Newland plus archive essays

Distant Voices, Still Lives was released on October 23rd

TWELVE MONKEYS (1995)

"The Future is History"

Following the commercial and critical success of The Fisher King, Terry Gilliam next feature would turn to science fiction and a screenplay by Janet and David Peoples (Blade Runner, Unforgiven) inspired by Chris Marker’s classic short film La Jetée.

In 1996, a deadly virus is unleashed by a group calling themselves the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, destroying much of the world’s population and forcing survivors underground. In 2035, prisoner James Cole (Bruce Willis, Die Hard) is chosen to go back in time and help scientists in their search for a cure.
Featuring an Oscar-nominated turn by Brad Pitt (Fight Club) as mental patient Jeffrey Goines, Twelve Monkeys would become Gilliam’s most successful film and is now widely regarded as a sci-fi classic. Arrow Films are proud to present the film in a stunning new restoration.

• Brand new restoration from a 4k scan of the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Terry Gilliam
• DTS 5.1 Master Audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Audio commentary by Terry Gilliam and producer Charles Roven
• The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys, feature-length making-of documentary by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe (Lost in La Mancha)
• Extensive image galley
• Theatrical trailer
• More to be announced!
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nathan Rabin and archive materials

Twelve Monkeys was released on October 18th