Andrew takes an early peek at Arrow Video's Cult Cinema Video Companion!
U.K. based blu-ray distribution company Arrow Video is quickly shaping up to be the European equivalent (and potential successor) to the U.S. based Shout! Factory in the home video marketplace. From their meticulous video remasters of cult and clandestine releases, extensive extras, reversible sleeve art and dedication to preserving a nostalgic experience for the home video collector, Arrow Video has made their mark as a major force in the cult cinema preservation market. Recently expanding to releasing titles simultaneously in the U.S. and the U.K. (though some titles are U.K. only still due to rights issues), Arrow Video is proving to be a formidable rival to the likes of distribution companies like Shout! Factory, Blue Underground, Synapse Films, Twilight Time and even Severin Films. Initially beginning as a theatrical distributor for art house films including the Academy Award winning Japanese film Departures, Arrow expanded their focus from video nasties to Asian Category III to Italian zombie flicks, Canuxploitation, Nunsploitation and prison movies, making the company one of the top go to places for cult cinema in the world! To commemorate their 25th Anniversary since establishing the label in 1991, Arrow Video has put together a hardbound book functioning as a collection of previously published essays as well as exclusive new extras focusing on particular films, shining examples of subgenres, editorials on top stars of cult cinema and a brief history of the varying releasing and censorship methods facing many of the most celebrated titles in Arrow's library!
Arrow Video is noted for their fabulous cover art which includes newly rendered Mondo-inspired posters as well as reversible jackets containing the original theatrical poster art. Others include as many as four reversible covers such as their release of Forbidden Zone. What sets this book apart is the inclusion of both previously released posters in high quality paper prints as well as artwork exclusive to this edition. Another highlight includes British A Field in England director Ben Wheatley's introduction to cult cinema as well as an endorsement of the book and what awaits the lucky reader. The book also possesses the power of suggestion in that reading many of the essays will in turn persuade you to purchase more of their fantastic home video releases and maybe even invest in an all-region blu-ray player for those Region B locked offerings of theirs.
While being a compendium not unlike Criterion's book of their exquisite jacket design for their own brand of blu-ray releases, Cult Cinema manages to provide introductory chapters to a litany of subgenres I myself wasn't previously aware of as well as prime examples of each one. Fans of cult cinema will be overjoyed by this book which gives you a taste of everything while still sporting lovely jacket design all it's own coffee table book collectors will want to display with pride. Being a newcomer to Arrow Video myself and having recently obtained their 3,000 units release of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, purchase of this book is kind of a no-brainer for cinephiles and Arrow collectors!
- Andrew Kotwicki