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27 February 2023

Arrow Video's LADY WHIRLWIND strikes with HAPKIDO (review)

Golden Harvest's first female action star Angela Mao is showcased in two of her first features.  In LADY WHIRLWIND, Mao is seeking revenge for her seduced and abandoned sister from the very man who needs her help to bring down a drug smuggling empire.  In HAPKIDO, Mao and her siblings Sammo Hung and Carter Wong start a kung fu school in China and get into a deadly war with a Japanese karate school. 

REVIEW LINK: Arrow Video (US) Region A Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

LADY WHIRLWIND AND HAPKIDO Blu-ray specs:

  • Disc One - Lady Whirlwind: 
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen 
    • Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 
    • Optional English Subtitles (for Mandarin) and English SDH (for English)
    • Audio Commentary by Asian film experts Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival) & Michael Worth
    • Audio Commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng & martial artist/actor Robert “Bobby” Samuels
    • Audio Commentary by film journalist and author Samm Deighan 
    • "Lady Whirlwind Speaks" interview with actress Angela Mao 
    • "Kung Fu Cooking" interview with Angela Mao's son Thomas King 
    • Alternate English Opening Credits 
    • Trailer Gallery: 
      • Hong Kong Theatrical Trailer 
      • U.S. Theatrical Trailer U.S. 
      • Radio Spot 
    • Image Gallery
  • Disc Two - Hapkido: 
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen 
    • Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Fortune Star dub) 
    • English ("Hapkido" dub) DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 
    • English ("Lady Kung Fu" dub) DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 
    • Optional English Subtitles (for Mandarin) and English SDH (fro English) 
    • Audio Commentary by Asian film experts Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival) & Michael Worth 
    • Audio Commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng & martial artist/actor Robert “Bobby” Samuels 
    • "Lady Kung Fu Speaks" interview with actress Angela Mao Archival 
    • Archival Interviews: 
      • actress Angela Mao actor Carter Wong 
      • actors Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao 
    • 1972 Vintage Hapkido Demonstration Promo 
    • Alternate Opening Credits: 
      • Textless English 
      • "Hapkido" Credits 
      • English "Lady Kung Fu" Credits 
    • Trailer Gallery: 
      • Mandarin Hong Kong Theatrical Trailer 
      • English Hong Kong Theatrical Trailer 
      • U.S. Theatrical Trailer 
      • U.S. TV Spot 
    • Image Gallery
  • Includes a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady.
  • First pressing also includes an illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing on the films by critic James Oliver.

    26 February 2023

    Severin Films stalks VIOLENT STREETS: THE UMBERTO LENZI/TOMAS MILIAN COLLECTION (Review)

    Tomas Milian plays hero, villain, antihero, and utter psychopaths in VIOLENT STREETS: THE UMBERTO LENZI/TOMAS MILIAN COLLECTION.  In ALMOST HUMAN, Milian leads a trio of street thugs who decide to make it big with a ransom that turns into an orgy of murder.  In SYNDICATE SADISTS, Milian is Rambo (no, really) who takes the law into his own hands when his best friend is murdered by gangsters.  In FREE HAND FOR A TOUGH COP, Milian is a thief sprung out of jail to help a cop track down a kidnapped girl who will die if she does not get a kidney transplant.  In THE CYNIC, THE RAT AND THE FIST, Maurizio Merli is a cop who fakes his death to track down his old enemy (Milian, enemies both on and off camera).  In BROTHERS TILL WE DIE, Milian plays a mechanic and his hunchback twin brother whose loyalties are tested when they decide to move into crime.

    REVIEW LINK: Severin Films (US) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

    VIOLENT STREETS: THE UMBERTO LENZI/TOMAS MILIAN COLLECTION Blu-ray specs:

    • Disc One - ALMOST HUMAN:
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
      • English and Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono 
      • Optional English SDH Subtitles (for English) and English Subtitles (for Italian) 
      • Audio Commentary by screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, moderated by Federico Caddeo 
      • Audio Commentary by Mondo Digital's Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth, author of "Make Them Die Slowly: The Kinetic Cinema of Umberto Lenzi" 
      • "Violent Milan" interview with director Umberto Lenzi 
      • "Milian Unleashed" interview with actor Tomas Milian 
      • "A History of Violence" interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi 
      • "Italian-American Gangster" interview with actor Henry Silva 
      • English Export Trailer
    • Disc Two - ALMOST HUMAN CD Soundtrack:
      • Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone (12 tracks)
    • Disc Three - SYNDICATE SADISTS:
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen 
      • English and Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono 
      • Optional English SDH Subtitles (for English) and English Subtitles (for Italian) 
      • "First Blood" interview with director Umberto Lenzi 
      • "Family Affair" interview with actress Ida Galli 
      • "Kidnapped" interview with actor Alessandro Cocco 
      • "Interview with the Fascist" interview with actor Bruno Di Luia 
      • English Export Trailer
    • Disc Four - SYNDICATE SADISTS/BROTHERS TILL WE DIE CD Soundtrack:
      • Soundtracks by Franco Micalizzi (34 tracks)
    • Disc Five - FREE HAND FOR A TOUGH COP:
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen 
      • English and Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono 
      • Optional English SDH Subtitles (for English) and English Subtitles (for Italian)
      • "In the Asphalt Jungle" interview with director Umberto Lenzi 
      • "Tough Guy Corrado: A Look at the Career of Corrado Solari" interview with actor Corrado Solari 
      • "The Father of Monnezza" interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti 
      • "Hand-Held Camera for a Tough Cinematographer" interview with cinematographer Nino Celeste 
      • "Making Movies" interview with producer Ugo Tucci 
      • Extended Bank Robbery Scene Sourced from the Original Negative 
      • English Export Trailer
    • Disc Six - THE CYNIC, THE RAT AND THE FIST:
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen 
      • English and Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono 
      • Optional English SDH Subtitles (for English) and English Subtitles (for Italian) 
      • "Merli vs. Milian" interview with director Umberto Lenzi 
      • "A Man of Action" interview with director Umberto Lenzi 
      • "Me, Milian and Merli" interview with Umberto Lenzi on His Iconic Characters 
      • "The Writer, the Director and the Actor" interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti 
      • "Here Comes the Fist" interview with actor John Saxon English Export Trailer
    • Disc Seven - THE CYNIC, THE RAT AND THE FIST CD Soundtrack:
      • Soundtrack by Franco Micalizzi (18 tracks)
    • Disc Eight - BROTHERS TILL WE DIE:
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen 
      • English and Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono 
      • Optional English SDH Subtitles (for English) and English Subtitles (for Italian) 
      • "Tomas and Tomas" interview with director Umberto Lenzi 
      • "He Called Me 'The Tamer'" interview with editor Eugenio Alabiso 
      • "Music and Bullets" interview with composer Franco Micalizzi 
      • "Heart of Rome" interview with composer Antonello Venditti 
      • English Export Trailer

    25 February 2023

    Blue Underground probes PHILOSOPHY IN THE BOUDOIR with Eugenie (review)

    Innocent and beautiful Eugenie finds herself caught in a web of perversion and brutality when she accepts an invitation to an island weekend in Jess Franco's modern-day adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's PHILOSOPHY IN THE BOUDOIR starring Christopher Lee and that "Inga" girl Marie Liljedahl, as well as "Venus in Furs" herself Maria Rohm, and Jack Taylor.

    REVIEW LINK: Blue Underground (US) Region ALL 4K UHD/Blu-ray Combo (DVDCompare)

    PHILOSOPHY IN THE BOUDOIR (EUGENIE) 4K UHD/Blu-ray Combo specs:

    • Disc One (4K UHD):
      • 2160p24 HEVC 2.40:1 Widescreen
      • English and French DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono
      • Optional English SDH, French, and Spanish Subtitles
      • Audio Commentary by film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth
      • Theatrical Trailer
    • Disc Two (Blu-ray):
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.40:1 Widescreen
      • English and French DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono
      • Optional English SDH, French, and Spanish Subtitles
      • Audio Commentary by film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth
      • "Perversion Stories" documentary with director Jess Franco, producer Harry Alan Towers, and actors Marie Liljedahl and Christopher Lee
      • "Stephen Thrower on Eugenie" interview with the author of "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco"
      • "Jack Taylor in the Francoverse" interview with actor Jack Taylor
      • Theatrical Trailer
      • Poster and Still Gallery
    • Slipcover

    24 February 2023

    Arrow Video gets in a KNOCKABOUT (review)

    Jackie Chan's and Sammo Hung's "little brother" Yuen Biao steps into the lead in KNOCKABOUT in which a pair of brothers who make their living by theiving and con jobs find a martial arts teacher who turns out to be a villain. Sammo Hung directs.

    REVIEW LINK: Arrow Video (US) Region A Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

    KNOCKABOUT Blu-ray specs:

    • Hong Kong Version:
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
      • Cantonese, Mandarin, and English (Classic Dub) DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Tracks
      • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (DVD-era dub)
      • Optional English Subtitles
      • Audio Commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng, NY Asian Film Festival and martial artist/filmmaker Michael Worth
    • Export Version:
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
      • English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono
      • Optional English SDH Subtitles
      • Audio Commentary on the export version by action cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
    • "Heavy Hitter" interview with actor/director Sammo Hung
    • "Above the Law" interview with actor Bryan “Beardy” Leung Kar-yan
    • "Monkey Magic" interview with Grandmaster Chan Sau Chang
    • Deleted Scene Used as a Teaser for the Japanese Release
    • Hong Kong Theatrical Trailer
    • Image Gallery
    • Comes with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady. 
    • The first pressing only includes an illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing by Simon Abrams and original press materials. 
    • A limited edition available directly from Arrow Video USA includes an exclusive slipcover.

    20 February 2023

    Acorn Media investigates THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES: SERIES 8 (review)

    Having quit the city for peaceful Brokenwood, detective inspector Mike Sheppard discovers plenty of murder and intrigue among the eccentric locals in the eight season of the New Zealand detective series including a fresh corpse that winds up in an Egyptian sarcophagus, a rocker killed by sound, a family feud over a legendary gold nugget, and more.

    REVIEW LINK: Acorn Media (UK) Region 2 PAL (DVDCompare)

    THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES - SERIES 8 DVD specs:

    • Six feature-length episodes on three dual-layer DVDs
    • 16:9 anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen
    • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
    • Optional English HoH Subtitles
    • Behind the Scenes
    • Photo Gallery

    Mediumrare combats evil with EIGHT FOR SILVER (review)

    A French village is beset by brutal murders by something not quite human.

    REVIEW LINK: Mediumrare Entertainment (UK) Region B Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

    EIGHT FOR SILVER Blu-ray specs:

    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • Optional English HoH and French Subtitles
    • Behind the Scenes
    • Theatrical Trailer

    A WOMAN KILLS for Radiance Films (review)

    A sadistic female murderess is executed, yet crimes in her style continue to terrify the French public in this unclassifiable "thriller" from political filmmaker Jean-Denis Bonan.

    REVIEW LINK: Radiance Films (US/UK) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

    A WOMAN KILLS Blu-ray specs:

    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
    • French LPCM 2.0 Mono
    • Optional English Subtitles
    • Audio Commentary by critics Kat Ellinger and Virginie Sélavy 
    • Introduction by critic Virginie Sélavy 
    • "On the Margin: The Cursed Films of Jean-Denis Bonan" 2015 documentary, updated in 2022 
    • Short films by Jean-Denis Bonan: 
      • "The Short Life of Monsieur Meucieu" (1962) 
      • Rushes from the unfinished "A Crime of Love" (1965) narrated by Jean-Denis Bonin 
      • "The Sadness of the Anthropophagi" (1966) 
      • "Crazy Matthew" (1967) 
      • "A Season with Mankind" (1967) 
    • Theatrical Trailer 
    • Includes a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm. 
    • Limited edition 52-page booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and scholar Catherine Wheatley, writer and musician Richard Thomas on the short films, Cerise Howard on gender identity tropes in A Woman Kills and the horror film, an interview with Francis Lecomte, the French distributor who rescued the film, and newly translated archival reviews and film credits. 
    • Limited to 2,000 copies.

    14 February 2023

    Vinegar Syndrome is violated by the INFERNAL RAPIST (review)

    An executed sex murderer is brought back by the devil HERSELF to rape and kill as offerings to her in return for earthly pleasures in this sleazy Mexican export from the eighties.

    REVIEW LINK: Vinegar Syndrome (US) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

    INFERNAL RAPIST Blu-ray specs:

    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 Widescreen
    • Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
    • Optional English Subtitles
    • Interviews:
      • actor Juan Moro
      • actor Fidel Abrego
      • actor Arturo Mason
    • Audio Essay by film historian Alexandra Heller Nicholas
    • Reversible Cover
    • The first 5,000 copies ordered directly from Vinegar Syndrome come with a special limited edition spot gloss slipcover designed by Robert Sammelin.

    Unearthed Films' parties by INVITATION ONLY (review)

    A chauffeur crashes a high society party in hopes of networking but discovers that he is the guest of honor in a bizarre rite of initiation in the Taiwanese gore flick INVITATION ONLY.

    REVIEW LINK: Unearthed Films (US) Region A Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

    INVITATION ONLY Blu-ray specs:

    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.78:1 Widescreen
    • Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    • Optional English Subtitles
    • Behind the Scenes
    • Photo Gallery
    • Mandarin and Spanish Theatrical Trailers
    • Bonus Trailers

    08 February 2023

    Masters of Cinema catches up with RUN, MAN, RUN (review)

    Tomas Milian is a hapless thief who gets caught up in greed and intrigue during the Mexican Revolution in RUN MAN RUN from the director of THE BIG GUNDOWN.

    REVIEW LINK: Eureka Video (UK) Region B Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

    RUN, MAN, RUN Blu-ray specs: 

    • Disc One:
      • Italian Version of the Film (120 minutes)
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen 
      • English and Italian LPCM 2.0 Mono 
      • Optional English Subtitles 
      • Audio Commentary by writers Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman 
      • "Stephen Thrower on Run, Man, Run!" interview 
      • English Opening Credits 
      • English Export Trailer
    • Disc Two (Limited Edition):
      • English Export Cut of the Film (84 minutes) 
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen 
      • English LPCM 2.0 Mono 
      • Audio Commentary by author Howard Hughes and filmmaker Richard Knew
    • Comes with a reversible cover and a collector’s booklet featuring two new essays by Howard Hughes, covering both the film and the “Zapata Western” sub-genre.
    • The second disc is exclusive to this limited edition as are the slipcase featuring new artwork by Tony Stella and reversible poster.

    04 February 2023

    Breaking Glass Pictures is possessed by BLOOD-RED OX (review)

    Boyfriends Amat and Amir travel to Bolivia at the invitation of Amir's friend Amancaya to do a story on the convervation efforts of her and her brother.  Amat starts to become unnerved by the local superstitions involving an ox-headed god that starts to haunt his nightmares and has him questioning his sanity.

    REVIEW LINK: Breaking Glass Pictures (US) Region 1 NTSC DVD (DVDCompare)

    BLOOD-RED OX DVD specs:

    • 16:9 anamorphic 1.90:1 widescreen
    • English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
    • Burnt-in English subtitles
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Bonus Trailers

    Breaking Glass transgresses flesh with APOSTLES (review)

    Facing death, a philosopher claiming to be an apostle of Socrates and Plato invites twelve young men to be his own apostles as they explore the possibility of the afterlife up to and including a sacrifice.  From Scud, director of ADONIS and UTOPIANS.

    REVIEW LINK: Breaking Glass Pictures (US) Region 1 NTSC DVD (DVDCompare)

    APOSTLES DVD specs:

    • 16:9 anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen
    • Cantonese/English/Japanese/Putonghua Dolby Digital 5.1
    • Burnt-in English Subtitles
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Bonus Trailers