Sam, Dan, and a (fake) MAD GOD!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddWe can imagine few better ways to ring in the new year than listening to two of your favourite podcast men stumble onto one of your posts during an episode and geek out at the prospect of an imagined Arrow Video edition, and MMC! headquarters is full of cheers at having listened to just that happen during the second half of Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin’s Top Ten Films of 2021 countdown!

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!

Office Royale (Kazuaki Seki, 2021) – Fantasia International Film Festival 2021

THE OL BATTLE ROYALE BEGINS!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddNaoko Tanaka (Mei Nagano) is a 26 year-old office lady – a secretarial and clerical worker in a large Japanese company. Her job at Mitsufuji is reliable, the atmosphere is laid-back, and she has some friendly colleagues, but the fires of war burn brightly beneath the veneer of the office’s calm banality. Cliques of office ladies fight for departmental supremacy like sneering gangsters and posturing delinquents. These warring clans battle daily until a new employee arrives, Ran Hojo (Alice Hirose), armed with the strength and charisma of a manga hero to become the company’s top office lady and unite its competing factions. An unlikely friendship between Naoko and Ran is found, but what will happen to them and their company when powerful OL gangs from other companies arrive to test their honor and resolve? Can Ran, Naoko, and the office ladies of Mitsufuji survive the onslaught?

Director Kazuaki Seki’s debut feature is a hilarious, uproarious, action-packed send-up of workplace pettiness and office territorialism, pitting mild-mannered, pink-collar workers in vicious duels over coffee breaks and alongside photocopiers, all under the oblivious noses of their male superiors. Comedian Bakarhythm’s screenplay riffs on the conventions of Japanese comics with a witty meta-commentary and a furiously paced series of fights. Setting superhero grandeur in an unremarkable context, Office Royale is a hysterically energetic satire and a grandiloquent action spectacle.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio
  • Optional newly translated English subtitles on both films
  • Introduction by historian and critic Kim Newman
  • Yankees, Yakuza, and Making Copies, interview with director Kazuaki Seki
  • Heroic OL Diary, interview with screenwriter Bakarhythm
  • One-Punch Lady, interview with actress Mei Nagano
  • Ran’s House, interview with actress Alice Hirose
  • Press conference interviews with the cast
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian McEwan

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Mad God (Phil Tippett, 2021) – Fantasia International Film Festival 2021

READY YOUR EYES. READY YOUR SOULS. PREPARE TO MEET YOUR MAKER.

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddFollow the Assassin, Mad God’s silent soldier, on his mysterious mission through Miltonesque worlds filled with grotesque monsters, mad scientists, and savage war pigs. This darkly surreal realm where nightmares roam free is forged from the subconscious mind of legendary visual effects and stop-motion craftsman Phill Tippett (contributor to the original Star Wars trilogy, RobocopJurassic Park, and Battleship Troppers). Commenced over thirty years ago and later resurrected at the behest of animators at Tippett’s Berkeley studio, this ambitious personal project employed hundreds of puppets, dozens of environments, and a crew of more than 60 artists who painstakingly animated every set, creature, and effigy in this macabre masterpiece.

Each element of Mad God is independently created and hand-crafted from its creator’s heart. At times, that heart bursts with love for its craft, while at other times it is morbidly gruesome, punctured and left bleeding. Altogether, Mad God is a testament to the power of creative grit and an homage to the timeless art of stop motion animation.

Limited Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio
  • Introduction by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro
  • Audio commentary by filmmaker Phil Tippett and special effects artist Dan Martin
  • Fantasia International Film Festival 2020 live-streamed tribute, masterclass, and Lifetime Achievement Award with Phil Tippett, hosted by Rupert Bottenberg
  • Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters, Alexandre Poncet and Gilles Penso’s 2019 documentary on the life and work of Phil Tippett
  • Worse Than the Demon, a short film by Phil Tippett’s daughter, Maya Tippett, on the making of Mad God
  • Dammit Phil, You Had One Job!, Phil Tippett on his infamous meme
  • Nightmare Music, new interview with composer Dan Wool on the music of Mad God
  • Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank
  • Double-sided fold-out poster
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Sam Ashurst and a gallery of exclusive production writing and artwork by filmmaker Phil Tippett

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Arrow Made Mine! The Mill of the Stone Women Edition

AV Mill of the Stone WomenWith a new print of Giorgio Ferroni’s Mill of the Stone Women appearing at the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival compliments of Arrow Video, it was easy to expect a Blu-ray edition to be forthcoming from the label. Then again, an AV release of Mill might have been expected back in 2017 when MMC! imagined an Arrow Video edition of this minor Italian Gothic masterpiece. The forthcoming Arrow Video release newly announced for November 2021 is a stacked limited edition boasting four versions of the film and a plethora of special features. MMC! managed to predict the inclusion of all four versions, anticipate Wolfgang Preiss’s archival interview being included on this latest version, and correctly invented an audio commentary by Tim Lucas. As always, film fans, you’re welcome!

November looks like a winning month from Arrow Video with a 4K UHD standard edition of Battle Royale for the UK, a 4K UHD release of The Hills Have Eyes, an impressive limited edition release of The Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge, and Shinji Somai’s Sailor Suit and Machine Gun. Could we see an Arrow set of Somai’s more dramatic works sometime in the future, providing much needed editions of Moving or Typhoon Club and saving us from solid but region-locked releases of Third Window Films? MMC! can only hope.

13 Steps of Maki: The Young Aristocrats (Makoto Naito, 1975)

KARATE LADY RETURNS!

Amid the success of The Street Fighter and Sister Street Fighter series, Toei Company had found a new star in Etsuko Shihomi and had created its first female martial arts hero, one that was tough, virtuous, and courageous. In 1975, Shihomi found herself in possibly her sleaziest film: 13 Steps of Maki: The Young Aristocrats, a pinky violence genre mash-up that mixed girl gangs, women in prison, yakuza, and martial arts action into a single sensational movie. As Maki Hyuga, Shihomi is the leader of the Stray Cats girl gang, fighting for justice against evil gangsters and stuck up rich girls. Though her karate skills are unsurpassed, Maki is framed and thrown into a sadistic women’s prison. Will she escape and take her revenge?

Making its worldwide Blu-ray debut, 13 Steps of Maki: The Young Aristocrats is paired here with Norifumi Suzuki’s The Great Chase, an oddball action flick released the same year and starring Etsuko Shihomi as a race car driver moonlighting as a secret agent. Filled with unceasing action, outlandish situations, and plenty of female resistance to male domination, 13 Steps to Maki and The Great Chase reveal new shades to Etsuko Shihomi’s stardom and stand as spectacular examples of Japanese exploitation in the 1970s.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of 13 Steps of Maki: The Young Aristocrats and The Great Chase
  • Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio on both films
  • Optional newly translated English subtitles on both films
  • New video interviews with actor Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba and director Makoto Naito
  • Theatrical trailers for both films
  • Stills and poster galleries for both films
  • Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Kungfubob O’Brien

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Arrow Made Mine! The Dinner in America Edition

Dinner in America Arrow VideoArrow Video absolutely crushed its August announcements today with a stunning array of titles. The crown jewel for many will be 4k UHD, Steelbook, and Blu-ray releases of David Lynch’s Dune (1984). Added to that are releases of The Brotherhood of Satan (Bernard McEveety, 1971), Blind Beast (Yasuzo Masumura, 1969), and a UK-only edition of A Tale of Two Sisters (Kim Jee-woon, 2003), plus their 4k UHD release of The Cat o’ Nine Tails (Dario Argento, 1971), a collection of past Sergio Martino releases, and some restocks. Of course, MMC! is happiest to see Adam Carter Rehmeier’s lovable, irascible, and oh-so catchy Dinner in America (2020) get the Arrow Video treatment. MMC! imagined an AV edition of the film following last year’s Fantasia International Film Festival and we’re pleased to see that FIFF Q&A session make it onto the disc. As always, you’re welcome. Now if only that Arrow Video release wasn’t UK only….