Don’t they know MMC! has been retired! Why do they keep pulling me back in! And especially without spinenumbered contribution to their releases!?! Nevertheless, it’s the end of the month and that means new Arrow Video announcements and another case of spine number wish fufillment. This time it’s Toru Murakawa’s Game Trilogy, a trio of films MMC! stumped for way back on October 5, 2015. This looks like a great package and June 2023 can’t arrive fast enough! As always, you’re welcome!
(Also, when did WordPress start installing so many ads? Yikes.)
Before Japan’s direct-to-video film industry exploded into the V-Cinema phenomenon that defined much of the 1990s, filmmakers during the 1980s were testing the limits of gore and taste with a wave of horror videos that were short on runtime but long on trauma. This collection celebrates this “V-Splatter” era with six hard-to-find classics, many of which are presented here for the first time on Blu-ray and DVD in the West.
Taking inspiration from the mini-monsters that became popular in American horror films of the 1980s, Masayoshi Sukita’s Gakidama features a reporter who is possessed by a forest spirit and spawns a gruesome little humanoid monster that torments him and his wife. Next, Akihiro Kashima’s Biotherapy combines 1950s science fiction with Italian giallo killers as a group of scientist are stalked by a murderous alien monster who hides its identity beneath a black hat and trench coat. Shigeru Izumiya’s seminal cyberpunk film Death Powder features an android hunter who finds his consciousness radically altered when he breathes in a replicant’s powdery remains. Kazuo “Gaira” Komizu’s Guzoo: The Thing Forsaken by God – Part 1 merges The Thing with the “young women in peril” slasher film to create the prototypical Japanese tentacle-horror film. In Takuro Fukuda’s Conton, a young man is harassed by gangsters and plagued by dreams of a creature hunted by monstrous knights until his dream and his reality combine. Finally, Jôji Iida’s Cyclops takes place in a world where mutants hide amongst us and where The Terminator is spiked with a violent dose of body horror.
Running just 30 to 60 minutes each, these mind-blowing, stomach-turning Japanese nasties pack a fleshy punch for horror fans and Japanophiles alike.
Special Edition Contents:
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations of all six films
Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio for all six films
Optional English subtitles on all six films
New interviews with director Masayoshi Sukita and visual effects artist Shin’ichi Wakasa, actors Hirohisa Nakata and Jun’ichi Haruta, director Shigeru Izumiya, and director Kazuo “Gaira” Komizu
Interview with director Jôji Iida
Newly filmed appreciations by critic Kat Ellinger and special effects artist Dan Martin
Extensive image galleries
Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writings by Japanese cinema experts Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp
October is always a fun month so let’s celebrate it with a long overdue “Trailer Tuesday.” The Criterion Collection has a 2022 October slate that is more horror-centric than it has been in years with releases of Kasi Lemmons’ Eve’s Bayou (1997), Jayro Bustamante’s La Llorona(2019), Frank Capra’s Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), and a 4K UHD edition of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). MMC! loves its Japanese cinema and so it’s only natural that we pay particular attention to the chilling Janus Films trailer for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure (1997) which brilliantly captures the frightening banality and emptiness of the film’s insidious psychopathy. Criterion’s hard media library welcomes Cure on October 18.
Literally nothing on this blog makes me happier than posting about MMC! titles getting actual spine numbers and Arrow Video has made that happen once again with the announcement that Tomu Uchida’s A Fugitive from the Past will be released in September! A massive film that nicely bookends with his Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji(another film also promoted by MMC! and later released by Arrow Video), Fugitive is a masterpiece of Japanese guilt, treating the demand for atonement as a near metaphysical inevitability. Gritty in texture yet profound in its look and sensibility, Fugitive will likely catch many Arrowheads off guard and find the declaring a newly discovered masterpiece. Once again, you’re welcome!
Three stories. Three eras. Three men. One is an orderly in a remote outpost during World War II consumed by lust but who passes the boredom by spying on the women around him and discovering his ability to ejaculate fire. The next is his son, a corpulent speed-eater competing for the glory of the Communist state and the attention of a hefty female colleague. The last is their son, a master taxidermist in the post-socialist era who turns his trade onto himself with gruesome effect. This is Taxidermia, a grotesquely surreal offering from director György Pálfi that inscribes the history of his native Hungary into the unusual bodies of three generations of men who are all damned from birth. Based in part on the stories of Lajos Parti Nagy, Pálfi creates a queasy masterpiece of historical body horror not recommended for the squeamish.
Special Edition Contents:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio
Optional newly translated English subtitles
Feature-length audio commentary with director György Pálfi
Making of Taxidermia behind-the-scenes featurette
Horrific Histories and Bachelor Machines, a brand new featurette with Steven Shaviro on the film’s political and philosophical underpinnings
Deleted scenes with optional director’s commentary
Visual design and concept gallery
Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen, Pálfi’s feature-length extravaganza of movie love and adventure pieced together from found-footage taken from Hollywood and abroad
During this latest episode, Sam and Dan extol the virtues of Phil Tippett’s amazing stop motion opus Mad God and inadvertently discover our post imagining an Arrow Video edition of the title. Their words were exceedingly kind and MMC! is naturally grateful for the shout-out. If only we had known at the time of their abiding love for the brilliant Dinner in America, MMC! would have made some space for them as well on our imagined Arrow Video edition of that film as well. Thanks gents, and keep up the good work!