‘True Romance’ on 4K Among Titles Due on Blu-ray from Arrow and MVD in June

The 1990s crime romance True Romance, the horror film The Initiation of Sarah and the 1980s slasher Edge of Sanity are being released on Blu-ray from Arrow Films and MVD Entertainment Group in June.

The Initiation of Sarah (1978) comes to Blu-ray on June 21 with a brand-new 2K restoration from the camera negative. Satanic secrets and telekinetic terror combine in this made-for-TV horror movie directed by Hammer Films alumnus Robert Day (She), from a story co-written by Tom Holland (Fright Night), featuring cinematography by Ric Waite (48 Hrs). In the film, shy misfit Sarah Goodwin (Kay Lenz, House), has a secret gift: the ability to control — and destroy — with her mind. When Sarah goes off to college with her more outgoing and popular sister, Patty (Morgan Brittany, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat), their plans to join the most prestigious sorority on campus are scuttled by snobby president Jennifer Lawrence (Morgan Fairchild, Phantom of the Mall). Separated from her sister, Sarah is taken in by a rival, less popular sorority, whose mysterious house mother, Mrs. Hunter (Shelley Winters, The Night of the Hunter), is harboring a secret of her own: a scheme to harness Sarah’s terrifying power for revenge. The release includes audio commentary from TV movie expert Amanda Reyes, a new interview with writer Tom Holland, and a new appreciation of the film that examines it through a queer feminist lens with the hosts of the Gaylords of Darkness podcast.

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Also due June 21 is Edge of Sanity, a late ’80s slasher that takes elements from Jack the Ripper and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and blends them together. The iconic Anthony Perkins stars as Dr. Henry Jekyll, a scientist experimenting on the human psyche in 1880s England. After mixing ether and cocaine, Dr. Jekyll transforms into Edward “Jack the Ripper” Hyde and begins to go on a killing spree, hunting down prostitutes on the streets of England. Edge of Sanity was directed by Gérard Kikoïne and, in addition to Perkins, stars Glynis Barber, David Lodge and Harry Landis. Arrow’s release features a new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, a new audio commentary and new interviews.

Arrow closes the month out on June 28 with 1993’s True Romance on limited-edition Blu-ray, limited-edition 4K Ultra HD, limited-edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook and limited-edition 4K Ultra HD deluxe Steelbook. Tony Scott directs this love story about a martial arts-loving Elvis fanatic (Christian Slater) that falls for a call girl (Patricia Arquette) and kills her pimp, forcing the two of them to go on the run. The Quentin Tarantino-penned script follows the two inseparable love birds as they go to great lengths to prove that love has no bounds. In addition to Slater and Arquette, the film also stars Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Rapaport and James Gandolfini. Special features include new restorations of both the theatrical and director’s cuts; audio commentary tracks with Scott, Tarantino, Slater and Arquette; a 60-page perfect-bound collectors’ booklet; and a double-sided poster.

Claude Chabrol Collection, Slasher ‘Deadly Games’ Due on Blu-ray Feb. 22 From Arrow and MVD

The 1982 horror film Deadly Games and the five-disc collection Lies & Deceit: Five Films by Claude Chabrol are heading to Blu-ray Feb. 22 from Arrow Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

Director Scott Mansfield’s oft-overlooked slasher Deadly Games is making its disc-debut. In the film, in a small American town, women fall victim to an unhinged masked maniac with a fondness for board games. Each time the dice is rolled, another victim meets a grisly end. Jo Ann Harris stars as a woman that gets caught up in the killer’s sadistic games after she returns home to mourn the murder of her sister. Sam Groom and Steve Railsback co-star. Made in 1980 but not released until 1982, Deadly Games has languished in relative obscurity for the last 40 years. The release includes a new 2K restoration from the original camera negative and new interviews with actor Jere Rae-Mansfield and special effects and stunt co-ordinator John Eggett. The first pressing includes a fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by film historian/author Amanda Reyes.
 
A staple of the French New Wave scene, Claude Chabrol established himself as one of French cinema’s most influential directors despite often being overlooked throughout a career spanning more than 50 years. The set Lies & Deceit: Five Films by Claude Chabrol highlights five of the director’s best films.
 
Entered into the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, Cop Au Vin is a crime film set in a small provincial French town. A butcher, a doctor and a lawyer agree to go into business with one another. But after obnoxious behavior leads to one of them ending up dead, the town’s police detective Inspector Lavardin (Jean Poiret) shows up to investigate. 
 
In 1986, Jean Poiret reprised his police detective role from Cop Au Vin in the sequel Inspector Lavardin. In the film, after a wealthy Roman Catholic writer is found dead on the beach of a small coastal town, Lavardin heads to the scene to solve the mystery. When Lavardin discovers that the victim’s widow is an old flame that he hasn’t seen in more than two decades, the investigation takes a turn. 
 
Based on Gustave Flaubert’s novel of the same name, Madame Bovary is the story of an attractive young woman (Isabelle Huppert) stuck in a lackluster marriage with a country doctor. To spice things up and escape the boredom of married life, she enters into multiple affairs, runs up countless debts and meets a tragic end. Madame Bovary earned a 1992 Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film and an Oscar nod for Best Costume Design.
 
Betty follows a young, attractive alcoholic (Marie Trintignant) who spends her evenings hopping from bar to bar. One night she meets Laure (Stéphane Audran), an older alcoholic that decides to take Betty in and help her get her life back on track. Betty eventually becomes jealous of her new friend’s relationship and attempts to steal her lover. 
 
Torment is the story of a man who appears to have it all before obsession drives him mad. Paul (François Cluzet) owns and runs the successful Hotel Del Lac and is married to the beautiful Nelly (Emmanuelle Béart), a woman he believes to be way out of his league. After witnessing Nelly being friendly to a handsome hotel guest, Paul becomes convinced that she’s unfaithful and begins to follow his wife. His delusion and paranoia lead to tragedy. 

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The set comes loaded with archived and new bonus features, including interviews and audio commentaries, trailers, image galleries and video essays. Also included is an 80-page collector’s booklet of new writing by film critics Martyn Conterio, Kat Ellinger, Philip Kemp and Sam Wigley.

‘Hills Have Eyes’ on 4K Among Titles Due on Disc From Arrow and MVD in November

The horror classic The Hills Have Eyes on 4K Ultra HD headlines the disc titles coming from Arrow Films and MVD Entertainment Group in November.

The iconic The Hills Have Eyes makes it 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debut on Nov. 9. Horror master Wes Craven achieved critical and commercial success with the likes of Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street — but for many genre fans, the director’s seminal 1977 effort The Hills Have Eyes remains his masterpiece.

Taking an ill-advised detour en route to California, the Carter family soon run into trouble when their campervan breaks down in the middle of the desert. Stranded, the family find themselves at the mercy of a group of monstrous cannibals lurking in the surrounding hills. With their lives under threat, the Carters have no choice but to fight back by any means necessary.

The new release features a new 4K restoration of the film, viewable with both original and alternate endings. Extras include six postcards; a reversible fold-out poster; a limited edition 40-page booklet featuring writing on the film by critic Brad Stevens and a consideration of the “Hills” franchise by Arrow producer Ewan Cant, illustrated with original archive stills and posters; audio commentary with actors Michael Berryman, Janus Blythe, Susan Lanier and Martin Speer; audio commentary by academic Mikel J. Koven; audio commentary with Craven and Peter Locke; “Looking Back on The Hills Have Eyes,” a making-of documentary featuring interviews with Craven, Locke, actors Michael Berryman, Janus Blythe, Robert Houston, Susan Lanier, Dee Wallace and director of photography Eric Saarinen; “Family Business,”an interview with actor Martin Speer; “The Desert Sessions,” an interview with composer Don Peake; outtakes; an alternate ending; trailers and TV Spots; an image gallery; the original screenplay; and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper.

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Due Nov. 16 on Blu-ray is Sailor Suit and Machine Gun, in which a perky high-schooler takes on the mob in genre-bender that riffs on the yakuza film, coming-of-age drama, inventively adapted from Jiro Akagawa’s popular novel by director Shinji Somai. Hoshi Izumi is a young innocent forced to grow up quickly when her father dies and she finds herself next in line as the boss of a moribund yakuza clan. Wrenched from the security of her classroom and thrust into the heart of the criminal underworld, she must come to terms with the fact that her actions hold the key to the life or death of the men under her command as they come under fire from rival gangs. Presented in both its original theatrical and longer complete versions, and the first time one of Somai’s films has been released on home video in the West, this landmark work from his early career was responsible for launching teen talent Hiroko Yakushimaru (Legend of the Eight Samurai; Detective Story) as the iconic face of a generation, with the catchy theme song she performs indelibly etched into the zeitgeist of early-1980s Japan.

Nov. 23 comes 1989’s Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge! on Blu-ray. In the film, high school sweethearts Eric Matthews and Melody Austin are so in love, but their youthful romance is cut tragically short when Eric apparently dies in a fire that engulfs his family home. One year later and Melody is trying to move on with her life, taking up a job at the newly built Midwood Mall along with her friends. But the mall, which stands on the very site of Eric’s former home, has an uninvited guest — a shadowy, scarred figure which haunts its airducts and subterranean passageways, hellbent on exacting vengeance on the mall’s crooked developers. The film is directed by Richard Friedman (Scared Stiff, Doom Asylum) and features Pauly Shore and Morgan Fairchild.

Nov. 30 comes director Giorgio Ferroni’s period horror Italian-style 1960 shocker Mill of the Stone Women on Blu-ray, a classic tale of terror redolent with the atmosphere of vintage Hammer Horror. Young art student Hans von Arnam (Pierre Brice, Night of the Damned) arrives by barge at an old mill to write a monograph about its celebrated sculptures of women in the throes of death and torture, maintained and curated by the mill’s owner, the hermetic Professor Wahl (Herbert Böhme, Secret of the Red Orchid). But when Hans encounters the professor’s beautiful and mysterious daughter Elfi (Scilla Gabel, Modesty Blaise), his own fate becomes inexorably bound up with hers, and with the shocking secret that lies at the heart of the so-called Mill of the Stone Women. The first Italian horror film to be shot in color, Mill of the Stone Women prefigured a raft of other spaghetti nightmares, including the work of maestros Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

Spaghetti Western ‘Django’ on 4K Ultra HD and ’12 Monkeys’ in Next Batch of Blu-ray Releases From Arrow and MVD

The spaghetti Western Django on 4K Ultra HD and the sci-fi title 12 Monkeys are in the next batch of titles coming to Blu-ray Disc from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Due June 1 is the 1966 spaghetti Western Django — the inspiration for the Oscar-winning Quentin Tarantino movie — on 4K Ultra HD for the first time with Dolby Vision. Franco Nero stars as Django, a mysterious loner who arrives at a mud-drenched ghost town on the Mexico-U.S. border, ominously dragging a coffin behind him. After saving imperilled prostitute Maria, Django becomes embroiled in a brutal feud between a racist gang and a band of Mexican revolutionaries. With Django, director Sergio Corbucci upped the ante for sadism and sensationalism in Westerns, depicting machine-gun massacres, mud-fighting prostitutes and savage mutilations. Django’s brand of bleak nihilism would be repeatedly emulated in a raft of unofficial sequels. Also included in the set is Texas, Adios on Blu-ray, which also stars Nero, and was released as a sequel to Django in some countries. Extras include six double-sided collector’s postcards, a double-sided fold-out poster, a 60-page bound book featuring writing by Howard Hughes and Roberto Curti and original reviews, and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips. Special features on the Django disc include audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince; “Django Never Dies,” an interview with Nero; “Cannibal of the Wild West,” an interview with assistant director Ruggero Deodato; “Sergio, My Husband,” an interview with Corbucci’s wife Nori Corbucci; “That’s My Life: Part 1,” an archival interview with co-writer Franco Rossetti; “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Scriptwriter,” an archival interview with co-writer Piero Vivarelli; “A Punch in the Face,” an archival interview with stuntman and actor Gilberto Galimberti; “Discovering Django,” an appreciation by spaghetti westerns scholar Austin Fisher; an Introduction to Django by Alex Cox, an archival featurette with the acclaimed director; a gallery of original promotional images from the Mike Siegel archive; and original trailers. The Texas, Adios Blu-ray also has several special features.

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Available May 25 is 12 Monkeys in a Blu-ray Steelbook limited edition. Following the commercial and critical success of The Fisher King, director Terry Gilliam’s 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 the film, 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) is chosen to go back in time and help scientists in their search for a cure. The film features an Oscar-nominated turn by Brad Pitt (Fight Club) as mental patient Jeffrey Goines. Special features include audio commentary by Gilliam and producer Charles Roven; “The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys,” a feature-length making-of documentary by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe (Lost in La Mancha); “The Film Exchange with Terry Gilliam,” a 1996 interview with Gilliam and film critic Jonathan Romney, recorded at the London Film Festival; an appreciation by Ian Christie, author of Gilliam on Gilliam; “The Twelve Monkeys Archives”; the theatrical trailer; limited-edition steelbook packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin; and a limited edition booklet featuring writing on the film by Rabin and an excerpt of Gilliam on Gilliam by Christie.

Bringing together six films, all new to Blu-ray and in brand new restorations, on four discs, Weird Wisconsin: The Bill Rebane Collection is due June 1. It packs in a mutant astronaut bothering blissful sunbathers (Monster a Go-Go), a contagion apocalypse as seen from the vantage point of a remote mountain cabin (Invasion from Inner Earth), deadly alien spores from the rocks of Mars (The Alpha Incident), rural gothic and outright horror (The Demons of Ludlow), an eccentric “body count” movie (The Game) and a comedy smash-’em-up that pits three hillbilly stooges against a talking Monster Truck with artificial intelligence (Twister’s Revenge). The set includes numerous special features.

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The 1958 Japanese comedy Giants and Toys debuts on Blu-ray May 11. The corporate satire revolves around the ruthless machinations of a group of admen working in the confectionary industry. Its absurdist and acidly cynical take on the excesses of the media and advertising worlds presents a garish vision of a bold new postwar Japan where traditional company values come head-to-head with American-style consumer capitalism. As a new recruit to the marketing department of World Caramel, fresh-faced graduate Nishi is eager to impress his ambitious and hard-nosed boss Goda, even if it strains his relationships with his college friend Yokoyama and new love interest Masami, who work at the rival companies of Giant and Apollo. With World’s lead over its competitors slipping badly, the two spot a chance to get back in the race in the shape of the pretty but unsophisticated 18-year-old, Kyoko. The two get to work polishing this rough diamond as their new campaign girl, but as the three rival confectionary companies pitch themselves into an all-out advertising war that spills out onto the streets of Tokyo as it escalates to ludicrous extremes, Kyoko’s newfound fame starts going to her head. With the pressure mounting within the hothouse environment of World’s boardroom, it soon becomes clear to Nishi that the Goda has sold out more than just his family in the name of corporate advancement. Making its worldwide Blu-ray debut, this adaptation of the award-winning 1957 novel by Ken Kaiko is considered a landmark in Japanese film history and a key work by Yasuzô Masumura (Blind Beast, Red Angel), one of the country’s most acclaimed directors of his generation. Special features include a new audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar Irene González-López; a newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns; “In the Realm of the Publicists,” a new visual essay by Asian cinema scholar Earl Jackson; an original trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella; and, for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Michael Raine.

Available now on Blu-ray is the comic horror film A Ghost Waits (2020), winner of Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor at Frightfest & Screamfest 2020, from first-time writer/director Adam Stovall and producer/star MacLeod Andrews. Tasked with renovating a neglected rental home, handyman Jack (Andrews) quickly finds out why the tenants keep leaving in droves — this house is haunted. The ghost in question is Muriel (Natalie Walker), herself employed from beyond the veil to keep the home vacant. Against the odds, Jack and Muriel find they have a lot in common. Having found a kindred spirit in an otherwise lonely existence, they must fight for their newfound affection as pressure mounts for them each to fulfill their “cross-purposes.” Special features include audio commentary by writer/director Stovall; audio commentary by Stovall and Andrews; audio commentary by the cast and crew; “Humanity and the Afterlife in A Ghost Waits,” a new video essay by Isabel Custodio exploring the film’s themes and cinematic forebears; eight interviews with cast and crew; an interview and post-film Q&A with Stovall moderated by Alan Jones at Frightfest Glasgow 2020; outtakes; Easter eggs; the theatrical trailer; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sister Hyde; and, for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Craig Ian Mann.

‘Donnie Darko’ 4K Ultra HD, ‘Elvira’ Blu-ray Among Titles Available From MVD and Arrow in April

Donnie Darko on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark on Steelbook Blu-ray, and two 1970s cult films on Blu-ray, Switchblade Sisters and Death Has Blue Eyes, are available in April from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Richard Kelly’s debut feature Donnie Darko (2001) is coming to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray April 27 in a two-disc set that includes both the theatrical and director’s cut. Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as a cult classic. Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time, he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank’s maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum. Described by its director as “The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick,” Donnie Darko stars Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore, Mary McDonnell, Katharine Ross and Noah Wyle and features a soundtrack of 1980s classics by Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran. The new 4K restorations of both the theatrical cut and the director’s cut from the original camera negatives by Arrow Films were supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster and feature Dolby Vision. The release includes a 100-page hardcover book featuring writing by Nathan Rabin, Anton Bitel and Jamie Graham; an in-depth interview with Richard Kelly; an introduction by Jake Gyllenhaal; and contemporary coverage, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials. It also includes a double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Luke Preece; six double-sided collector’s postcards; and limited edition packaging with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Luke Preece. Both discs include numerous extras, including commentaries and featurettes.

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Horror icon Elvira’s big screen debut Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) is coming to Blu-ray in a Steelbook special edition April 27. In the film, having just quit her job as a Los Angeles TV horror hostess, Elvira receives the unexpected news that she’s set to inherit part of her great aunt Morgana’s estate. Arriving in the small town of Fallwell, Mass., to claim her inheritance, Elvira receives a less than enthusiastic reception from the conservative locals — among them, her sinister uncle Vincent, who, unbeknownst to Elvira, is in fact an evil warlock secretly scheming to steal the old family spell book for his own nefarious ends. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark helped solidify the horror hostess (played by Cassandra Peterson) as a major pop culture icon. Featuring a 2018 restoration from a 4K scan of original film elements, the release includes an introduction by director James Signorelli; 2017 audio commentary with Signorelli, hosted by Fangoria editor emeritus Tony Timpone; 2017 audio commentary with Patterson Lundquist, www.elviramistressofthedark.com webmaster and judge of U.S. TV show “The Search for the Next Elvira”; “Too Macabre – The Making of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark,” a 2018 version of this feature-length documentary on the making of the film, including interviews with various cast and crew and rare never-before-seen archival material; “Recipe for Terror: The Creation of the Pot Monster,” a 2018 version of this featurette on the concept and design of the pot monster, as well as the film’s other SFX; original storyboards; extensive image galleries; original U.S. theatrical and teaser trailers; a limited edition Steelbook featuring newly produced artwork; and a limited edition booklet featuring a foreword by writer and director Sam Irvin and writing on the film by Kat Ellinger and Patterson Lundquist.

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From Jack Hill, director of Spider Baby, Coffy, Foxy Brown and The Swinging Cheerleaders, comes the 1975 grindhouse classic Switchblade Sisters, due on Blu-ray April 27. In the film, Lace (Robbie Lee), the leader of inner-city girl gang the Dagger Debs, meets her match when new girl Maggie (Joanne Nail) moves into the neighborhood. Mistrust and conflict turn to friendship as the girls end up in Juvenile Detention together at the mercy of abusive guards. Meanwhile, the Dagger Debs’ male counterparts the Silver Daggers have to contend with the arrival of a new gang, led by the villainous Crabs (Chase Newhart). But when the girls get back on the streets, a planned retaliation strike in tandem with the Silver Daggers backfires and puts Lace in hospital. Maggie assumes control, teaming up with Muff (Marlene Clark) and her gang of African-American militants from across town to declare all-out war, but there’s a traitor in their midst. Extras include a new audio commentary by historians/critics Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger; “We Are the Jezebels,” an archival documentary featuring director Jack Hill, producer John Prizer, casting director Geno Havans, production designer B.B. Neel, stunt coordinator Bob Minor, and stars Joanne Nail, Asher Brauner, and Chase Newhart; “Gangland: The locations of Switchblade Sisters,” an archival documentary in which Jack Hill and filmmaker Elijah Drenner revisit the shooting locations; Jack Hill and Joanne Nail at the Grindhouse Film Festival, a 2007 archival interview with the director and actor; an interview with Jack Hill, Robbie Lee and Joanne Nail, an archival 1990s interview with the director and stars in conversation with Johnny Legend; galleries of behind the scenes stills, international posters, video covers and lobby cards; theatrical trailers; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil; and, for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Heather Drain.

Available now is Death Has Blue Eyes (1976) on Blu-ray, a paranormal action thriller from the director of the cult classic Island of Death (1976). In the film, when local gigolo Chess (Chris Nomikos) greets his vacationing friend Bob Kovalski (Peter Winter) at Athens airport, the pair embark on a string of scams and erotic dalliances that eventually lead them into contact with an elegant wealthy woman Geraldine Steinwetz (Jessica Dublin) and her glamorous daughter Christine (Maria Aliferi). Geraldine blackmails the two bachelors into acting as bodyguards for Christine, whom it transpires has telepathic abilities and has had her eye on them for some time. After fleeing from a series of assassination attempts, it soon becomes clear that Geraldine herself might not be quite who she seems, as the two young men find themselves caught up in a political conspiracy of international dimensions. In his debut feature, filmmaker Nico Mastorakis presents viewers non-stop car, bike and helicopter chases, a bevy of beautiful girls with guns, softcore sex scenes, psychic thrills, and Cold War political intrigue set against the picturesque landscapes of 1970s Greece. The release features a new restoration from the original camera negative approved by the director; two versions of the film, the widescreen 1.85:1 version and the full-frame 1.33:1 version; an exclusive new interview featurette with Nico Mastorakis; an exclusive new interview with actress Maria Aliferi; “Dancing with Death,” tracks from the Death Has Blue Eyes original soundtrack; original theatrical trailers; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys; and, for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Julian Grainger.

‘The El Duce Tapes,’ ‘Shogun’s Joy of Torture’ Due on Blu-ray in February From MVD and Arrow

The El Duce Tapes and Shogun’s Joy of Torture are coming to Blu-ray Disc in February from MVD Entertainment Group and Arrow Films.

The El Duce Tapes comes out Feb. 9. In the early 1990s aspiring filmmaker and part-time actor Ryan Sexton grabbed a camcorder and followed shock rockers The Mentors into the sleaziest and grimy clubs in the Hollywood area. The band, known for wearing black executioner masks over their heads, caused controversy wherever they went with their vulgar lyrics and decidedly non-PC approach. Sexton kept the cameras rolling at all times while putting a special focus on the band’s infamous singer-drummer, El Duce. Now 30 years later, filmmakers Rodney Ascher and David Lawrence have taken the footage and edited it together as The El Duce Tapes, a documentary that John Carpenter has praised as “dark and irresistible.” The Blu-ray Disc comes with special features including unused VHS footage, brand-new audio commentary, and an interview with Steve Broy, aka Dr. Heathen Scum of The Mentor.

On Feb. 23 comes Teruo Ishii’s euro-guro Japanese drama Shogun’s Joy of Torture. This 1968 anthology includes three different tales of crime and punishment, all based on true-life cases. This precursor to Toei’s “pinky violent” films of the 1970s isn’t for the easily squeamish. The opening credits feature a decapitation and a burning at the stake. The film is presented in high-definition and includes a new audio commentary, an interview on the work of Ishii, and a feature that explores the history of Japanese exploitation.

‘Cinema Paradiso’ and ‘Tremors’ on 4K Among Arrow Titles Available on Disc From MVD

Cinema Paradiso, Tremors, Versus and the Shohei Imamura three-film collection Survivor Ballads are available this month on disc from MVD and Arrow Films.

A winner of awards across the world including the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, five BAFTA Awards, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more, Cinema Paradiso (1988) — available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD — is Giuseppe Tornatore’s loving homage to the cinema. It tells the story of Salvatore, a successful film director, returning home for the funeral of Alfredo, his old friend who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. Soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the highs and lows that shaped his life come flooding back, as Salvatore reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier. The original award-winning theatrical version of Tornatore’s classic is presented here for the first time on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with DolbyVision. This edition also includes the expanded director’s cut on Blu-ray, which delves deeper into Salvatore’s backstory. Special features include audio commentary with Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus; “A Dream of Sicily,” a 52-minute documentary profile of Tornatore with interviews with the director and extracts from his early home movies and interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by Ennio Morricone; “A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise,” a 27-minute documentary on the making of Cinema Paradiso and the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, as well as Tornatore; “The Kissing Sequence,” in which Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with clips identifying each scene; and the original director’s cut theatrical trailer and 25th anniversary re-release trailer.

A 1950s-style humorous creature feature, Tremors (1990), available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray, is a cult classic that has spawned a successful franchise that continues to this day. In the film, good-ol’-boy handymen Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are sick of their dead-end jobs in one-horse desert town Perfection, Nev. (population: 14). Just as they’re about to escape Perfection forever, however, things start to get really weird: half-eaten corpses litter the road out of town; the phone lines stop working; and a plucky young scientist shows evidence of unusually strong seismic activity in the area. Something is coming for the citizens of Perfection and it’s underground. The release features a new 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Ron Underwood and director of photography Alexander Gruszynski. Included in the release are a 60-page book featuring new writing by Kim Newman and Jonathan Melville and selected archive materials; a large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank; a small fold-out double-sided poster featuring new Graboid X-ray art by Frank; six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions; and limited edition packaging with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Frank. Special features include new audio commentary by director Ron Underwood and writers/producers Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson; new audio commentary by Jonathan Melville, author of Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors; “Making Perfection,” a new documentary by Universal Studios interviewing key cast and crew from the franchise (including Bacon, Gross, Ariana Richards and Underwood, among many others) and revisiting the original locations; “The Truth About Tremors,” a newly filmed interview with co-producer Nancy Roberts on the film’s rocky road to the screen; “Bad Vibrations,” a newly filmed interview with director of photography Alexander Gruszynski; “Aftershocks and Other Rumblings,” newly filmed on-set stories from associate producer Ellen Collett; “Digging in the Dirt,” a new featurette interviewing the crews behind the film’s extensive visual effects; “Music for Graboids,” a new featurette on the film’s music with composers Ernest Troost and Robert Folk; “Pardon My French!,” a newly assembled compilation of overdubs from the edited-for television version; and numerous archive and other extras.

Survivor Ballads is an exclusive Blu-ray box set from Arrow Academy that presents restored versions of three late career classics from legendary filmmaker Shohei Imamura, a leading figure of the Japanese New Wave era of the 1960s. Based on an ancient folktale, The Ballad of Narayama (1983) was the first of two works from the director to win the prestigious Cannes Palme d’Or. Imamura’s magnum opus depicts the members of an extended farming family eking out their existence in the mountains north of Japan against the backdrop of the changing seasons before village lore decrees they make the sacrifice of abandoning their aged mother on the top of a nearby mountain when she reaches her 70th year. Making its HD debut, Zegen (1987) takes a satirical look at Japan’s prewar colonial expansion through the unscrupulous eyes of its flesh-peddler antihero as he establishes a prostitution enterprise across Southeast Asia. Finally, the harrowing Black Rain (1989) details the precarious existence of a household of atomic bomb survivors as, five years after being caught in the blast of Hiroshima, they struggle to find a husband for their 25-year-old niece. The three works epitomize the director’s almost documentary style of filmmaking, exposing the vulgar yet vibrant and instinctive underbelly of Japanese society through a sympathetic focus on peasants, prostitutes, criminal lowlife and other marginalized figures to explore the schism between the country’s timeless premodern traditions and the modern face it projects to the world. Special features include new audio commentaries on all three films by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp; new, in-depth appreciations of all three films by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns; an alternate color ending to Black Rain, shot by Imamura but removed from the film shortly before its release; archival interviews on Black Rain with actress Yoshiko Tanaka and assistant director Takashi Miike; multiple trailers and image galleries; original Japanese press kits for The Ballad of Narayama and Black Rain (BD-ROM content); a limited edition, 60-page booklet containing new writing by Tom Mes; and limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella.

Versus (2000), available on Blu-ray, is chock-full of fight scenes, gangster shootouts, sword-slashing violence and gory zombie horror. In the film, a mysterious face-off in a wooded clearing between two escaped convicts and a carload of sharply dressed yakuza holding a beautiful woman captive ends in hails of bullets and showers of blood. The location for this violent encounter is the mythic Forest of Resurrection, the site of the 444th portal of the 666 hidden gates that link this earthly domain to the netherworld. As one of the surviving prisoners escapes with the girl into the darkness of the forest, disgruntled gangsters soon become the least of their worries as an earlier battle between a lone warrior against hordes of zombie samurai is carried over from a millennium ago into the present day. The film launched the careers of director Ryûhei Kitamura (Godzilla Final Wars, Midnight Meat Train) and action star and fight choreographer Tak Sakaguchi (Battlefield Baseball, Yakuza Weapon). Arrow Video is presenting the title in both its original 2000 and expanded 2004 Ultimate Versus iterations, in a new, director-approved restoration. Numerous extras include a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon; audio commentary by Kitamura and producer Keishiro Shin; and audio commentary by Kitamura and the cast and crew.

MVD Releasing ‘Flash Gordon’ and ‘Pitch Black’ as Arrow’s First 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays

Arrow Video is set to release its first-ever 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles — the sci-fi cult movies Pitch Black, starring Vin Diesel, and Flash Gordon, featuring an iconic soundtrack by the rock band Queen.

Restored in 4K with Dolby Vision, the releases include numerous extras. The titles, distributed by MVD Entertainment Group, will also be available on as standalone Blu-rays.

“At Arrow we have always sought to have the best standards in home video presentation so it seemed a logical step that we would embrace this new format, to present you with the best versions of the finest cult and classic films,” said Francesco Simeoni, Arrow Video’s director of acquisitions and business development, in a statement.

Arrow is producing a slate of 4K releases, many completed in-house, but also in partnership with world leading labels.

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“Whilst we are focused on new releases, we do have select releases we are planning to release from our catalog in 4K with Dolby Vision,” said Simeoni in a statement. “For this year this will be releasing all upcoming UHD titles in separate UHD and new Blu-ray editions. This development will not change our processes at Arrow, and you can continue to expect the same variety of special and limited editions for our UHD releases as you have our Blu-rays. Whilst we would love to release certain titles on UHD, rights restrictions and materials will not make all releases possible. Any releases currently planned for Blu-ray will not have plans for subsequent UHD releases.”

Arriving Aug. 18 is Flash Gordon, produced by Dino De Laurentiis (Dune, Barbarella), which brings Alex Raymond’s classic cartoon strip and the long running movie serial to the big screen with director Mike Hodges at the helm. With camp style and the sonic stylings of rock band Queen, the film stars include Max von Sydow, Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Ornella Muti, Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed.

The director-approved limited edition 4K Ultra HD release includes:

  • A new 4K restoration by Studiocanal from the original camera negative approved by director Hodges;
  • a booklet featuring new writing on the film by critics and film historians including Neil Snowdon, Dennis Cozzalio, John-Paul Checkett, A.K. Benedict, and Kat Ellinger illustrated with original stills;
  • a fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork;
  • six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions, alternative posters and promotional images; and
  • limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais.

 

Disc one (4K Ultra Blu-ray) has Flash Gordon (1980) and special features, including:

  • archival audio commentary with Hodges;
  • archival audio commentary with Blessed;
  • interviews with actors Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Blessed, Queen icon Brian May, composer Howard Blake, and poster designer Renato Casaro;
  • “Behind the Scenes of Flash Gordon,” an archival documentary on the making of the film;
  • archival interviews with Hodges, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. and comic book artist Alex Ross;
  • “Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon,” a new documentary program exploring the version Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth) had originally planned to make with producer Dino De Laurentiis;
  • “Gremlin’s Finest Hour,” an episode from the animated “Flash Gordon” TV show written by J. Michael Reaves from November 1982;
  • deleted scenes and original endings with prop collector Bob Lindenmayer discussing dropped sequences and sequel ideas;
  • a 35th anniversary greenroom featurette, in which Hodges meets the cast for the first time since filming at the 35th anniversary reunion;
  • a 35th anniversary reunion featurette, in which the cast and crew discuss Flash Gordon;
  • Entertainment Earth on Flash Gordon merchandise;
  • a storyboards gallery;
  • a stills gallery;
  • the original trailer; and
  • Easter eggs.

 

Disc 2 (Blu-ray) has Life After Flash and special features, including:

  • 2017 feature length documentary by filmmaker Lisa Downs on the rollercoaster life of Sam J. Jones since his role in Flash Gordon, featuring the main cast and crew as well as a host of fans. including Stan Lee, Robert Rodriguez, Mark Millar and more;
  • “Sam J. Jones,” a variety of interviews and featurettes including coverage of a script read from the Chattanooga Film Festival, Sam discussing his career in Mexico, his “prayer walk,” and more;
  • “Melody Paintings Extended,” in which actress Melody Anderson talks about her love of painting and talks about various pieces displayed in her home;
  • “Topol,” a variety of interviews with the actor on his collections, awards and charity work;
  • “Brian Blessed,” in which the actor recounts amusing stories about Flash Gordon;
  • “Late, Great Wyngarde,” in which actor Peter Wyngarde discusses his experiences filming Flash Gordon and his relationship with Hodges;
  • “Deep Roy,” in which the actor raps about ambition and recounts an amusing story about “Eastbound & Down”;
  • “Alex Ross Talks Early Art,” in which the artist talks about Flash Gordon and the many pieces of art he created for it from childhood to modern day;
  • “Tell Me More About the This Man Houdini,” in which actor Rich Fuller and Jason Lenzi, founder of toy brand Bif Bang Pow, discuss a scene from Flash Gordon;
  • a Comic-Con early draft, a featurette looking at the phenomenon that is Comic-Con, featuring interviews with attendees and a host of regular talent including Sam J. Jones, Rich Fulton, Jason Mewes, Michael Rooker, Claudia Wells and more;
  • an interview with Lisa Downs, the director of Life After Flash, exploring her motivation to make the film and experiences during the production;
  • “Life After Flash on the Road,” a variety of featurettes on the film travelling to various festivals and production including Q&A excerpts with the Flash Gordon cast, behind-the-scenes footage and the Kickstarter funding video;
  • a trailer.

 

The director-approved special edition 4K Ultra HD release includes:

  • new 4K restoration by Studiocanal from the original camera negative approved by director Hodges;
  • archival audio commentary with Hodges;
  • archival audio commentary with Blessed;
  • interviews with actors Jones, Anderson, Blessed, Queen icon Brian May, composer Howard Blake, and poster designer Renato Casaro;
  • “Behind the Scenes of Flash Gordon,” an archival documentary on the making of the film;
  • archival interviews with Hodges, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. and comic book artist Alex Ross;
  • “Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon,” a new documentary program exploring the version Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth) had originally planned to make with producer Dino De Laurentiis;
  • “Gremlin’s Finest Hour,” an episode from the animated “Flash Gordon” TV show written by J. Michael Reaves from November 1982;
  • deleted scenes and original endings, in which prop collector Bob Lindenmayer discusses dropped sequences and sequel ideas;
  • a 35th anniversary greenroom featurette, in which Hodges meets the cast for the first time since filming at the 35th anniversary reunion;
  • a 35th anniversary reunion featurette, in which the cast and crew discuss Flash Gordon;
  • Entertainment Earth on Flash Gordon merchandise;
  • a storyboards gallery;
  • a stills gallery;
  • the original trailer;
  • Easter eggs; and
  • a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais.

 

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Arriving Sept. 1, pushed back from its original Aug. 18 street date, is the 2000 film Pitch Black. The standalone Blu-ray version is still slated for Aug. 18.

Starring Vin Diesel, the film is about the crew of a crashed spaceship fighting for survival, is a creature-feature in which the monsters outside finally meet their match against a monster within. The release includes director’s cuts of the film and a host of behind-the-scenes featurettes. They include:

  • A new 4K restoration by Arrow Films of the theatrical and director’s cuts of the film, approved by director David Twohy;
  • archive commentary with Twohy and stars Diesel and Cole Hauser;
  • archive commentary with Twohy, producer Tom Engelman and visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang;
  • “Nightfall: The Making of Pitch Black,” a newly filmed interview with director/co-writer Twohy;
  • “Black Box: Jackie’s Journey,” a newly filmed interview with actor Rhiana Griffith
  • “Black Box: Shazza’s Last Stand,” a newly filmed interview with actor Claudia Black;
  • “Black Box: Bleach Bypassed,” a newly filmed interview with cinematographer David Eggby;
  • “Black Box: Cryo-Locked,” a newly filmed interview with visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang;
  • “Black Box: Primal Sounds,” a newly filmed interview with composer Graeme Revell;
  • “The Making of Pitch Black,” a short behind-the-scenes featurette;
  • “Pitch Black Raw,” a comparison between early CG tests and the final footage
  • additional behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film;
  • 2004 archive bonus features, including an introduction by Twohy, “A View Into The Dark,” and “Chronicles of Riddick Visual Encyclopedia”;
  • “Johns’ Chase Log,” a short prequel narrated by Cole Hauser detailing the character’s hunt for Riddick;
  • “The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury,” an animated short film directed by Peter Chung that acts as a bridgepoint between Pitch Blackand The Chronicles of Riddick, featuring vocal performances by Diesel, Keith David and Griffith reprising their roles;
  • “Dark Fury” bonus features, including “Bridging the Gap,” “Peter Chung: The Mind of an Animator,” “A View Into The Light” and a “pre-animation” version of the film;
  • “Slam City,” a motion comic from the film’s official website;
  • “Into Pitch Black,”a TV special offering an alternative non-canon glimpse into what happened before and after the events of the film;
  • “Raveworld: Pitch Black Event,” footage of a dance music event held to promote the film;
  • theatrical trailers, plus trailers for the two sequels and video game
  • image galleries; and
  • a reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned ‘night’ and ‘day’ artwork by Luke Preece.

 

For the first pressing only, editions include a collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Simon Ward on the film’s creature designs (including a new interview with creature designer Patrick Tatopolous), original production notes and information from the film’s official website, and an archive interview with Vin Diesel from Starlog magazine.

Arrow announced that due to a printing error, its UHD versions of Pitch Black in all territories will no longer include a slipcase.

Dramas ‘Passion of Darkly Noon’ and Altman’s ‘Kansas City’ Due on Blu-ray From MVD and Arrow in March

Two dramas, The Passion of Darkly Noon and Kansas City, are arriving on Blu-ray in March from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Kansas City (1996), directed by Robert Altman and streeting March 3 from Arrow Academy, is a star-studded gangster flick set in 1930s Kansas City. Blondie O’Hara (Jennifer Jason Leigh) resorts to desperate measures when her low-level hood husband Johnny (Dermot Mulroney) gets caught trying to steal from Seldom Seen (Harry Belafonte), a local crime boss operating out of jazz haunt The Hey-Hey Club. Out on a limb, Blondie kidnaps laudanum-addled socialite Carolyn (Miranda Richardson), hoping her influential politician husband can pull the right strings and get Johnny out of Seldom Seen’s clutches. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and featuring a soundtrack performed live by some of the best players in contemporary jazz, this Altman classic is making its Blu-ray debut. Special features include audio commentary by Altman; a newly filmed appreciation by critic Geoff Andrew; a 2007 visual essay by French critic Luc Lagier, plus a short introduction to the film narrated by Lagier; two 1996 promotional featurettes including interviews with cast and crew; electronic press kit interviews with Altman, Leigh, Richardson, Belafonte and musician Joshua Redman, plus behind-the-scenes footage; four theatrical trailers; TV spots; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Dr Nicolas Pillai, original press kit notes and an excerpt from Altman on Altman.

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The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995), due March 24, is a drama set in America from British director Philip Ridley. Darkly Noon (Brendan Fraser) is the sole survivor of a military-style attack on an isolated religious community. Stumbling through a forest, he is rescued by Callie (Ashley Judd). Darkly finds himself feeling strange new desires for Callie as she nurses him back to health only to watch her jump into the arms of her returning mute lover Clay (Viggo Mortensen). Lost in the woods with only his fundamentalist upbringing to make sense of his unrequited passions, Darkly soon descends into an explosive and lethal rage. Special features include new audio commentary by writer/director Ridley; an isolated score track in lossless stereo, including never-before-heard extended and unused cues, and the two songs from the film; “Sharp Cuts,” a newly filmed interview with editor Leslie Healey; “Forest Songs,” a newly filmed interview with composer Nick Bicat; “Dreaming Darkly,” an archive featurette from 2015 featuring interviews with Ridley, Bicat and Mortensen; previously unreleased demos of the music score, written and performed by Bicat before filming started; the theatrical trailer; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring new and original artwork; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring a new Ridley career retrospective written by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas.

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‘RoboCop,’ ‘Flowers in the Attic’ on November 2019 Disc Slate From Arrow and MVD

The 1980s sci-fi actioner RoboCop, Flowers in the Attic and a 1950s James Stewart classic western are among the five titles on the November Blu-ray slate from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Due Nov. 5 is the horror flick Apprentice to Murder. Chad Lowe, younger brother to Rob, stars as Billy, a young man who falls under the spell of folk magic healer Dr. Reese (Donald Sutherland). As the two begin to investigate a strange sickness infesting their community, the lines between good and evil start to blur. Bonus features include a video interview on religious horror with Kat Ellinger, author and editor-in-chief of Diabolique Magazine; new audio commentary by author and critic Bryan Reesman; a new video interview with cinematographer Kelvin Pike; a new video interview with makeup supervisor Robin Grantham; the theatrical trailer; and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love.

Nov. 12 comes Flowers in the Attic, based on VC Andrews’ novel, a Gothic tale about four siblings locked away in the attic by their evil grandmother (Louise Fletcher). Originally panned by critics, director Jeffrey Bloom’s adaptation has developed a cult following over the years. The new Arrow release comes loaded with special features including new interviews and the original, studio-vetoed ending.

Also due Nov. 12 is Anthony Mann’s Technicolor western The Far Country, in which James Stewart stars as an adventurer that bumps heads with a corrupt judge (John McIntire). Despite being filmed in Canada, The Far Country is one of the rare westerns to be set in Alaska. The two-disc limited edition release features the film in two aspect ratios with a new 4K restoration.

Irvin Berwick’s Hitchhike to Hell hits Blu-ray for the first time on Nov. 19. Inspired by the brutal crimes of the “Co-ed Killer” Edmund Kemper, Hitchhike to Hell is a classic slice of American exploitation. Extras include a newly filmed appreciation by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower; “Road to Nowhere: Hitchhiking Culture Goes to Hell,” a new video essay by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas exploring the dark side of hitchhiking in the real world and on the screen; a reversable sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Heather Drain.

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Finally, Nov. 26 comes Paul Verhoeven’s action classic RoboCop. Set in the not-too-distant future, RoboCop is the story of officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) who is gunned down in the line of duty before being brought back to life as a half-man/half-machine crime-fighter. This new limited-edition release features the director’s cut and the original theatrical release, both presented with a 4K restoration approved by Verhoeven himself. Among the numerous extras are a limited edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Omar Ahmed, Christopher Griffiths and Henry Blyth, as well as a 1987 Fangoria interview with Rob Bottin and archive publicity materials (some contents exclusive to the limited edition); archive commentary by Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier (originally recorded for the theatrical cut and re-edited in 2014 for the director’s cut); and new commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon. RoboCop will be available in standard and steelbook editions.