Romanzo Criminale. Coming soon from Arrow. 

  
Following the success of their most recent Italian language TV drama titles, most notably the acclaimed Naples-set crime saga Gommorah, along with the likes of Inspector De Luca and Inspector Nardone, Arrow Films will continue to house quality international crime thriller shows from various European territories and beyond, under their sub-label ‘Nordic Noir and Beyond’.
 Ahead of the arrival of the upcoming Witnesses and the highly anticipated The Bridge Season 3, both due for release later in Q4, Arrow are excited to announce the arrival of Romazo Criminale, a hard edged and violent look at the criminal underworld of Rome set between the 1970s and the 1990s. Season One will be released on DVD 14th September and focuses on the darker side of Rome during the 70s.

 Synopsis

A criminal known as ‘Lebanese’ has a dream: to conquer the underworld of Rome. To carry out this unprecedented feat he puts together a ruthless and highly organised gang. Their progress and changes in leadership take place over twenty-five years, from the 1970s into the 90’s, and are inseparably intertwined with the dark history of modern Italy: terrorism, kidnappings and corruption at the highest levels of government. Throughout these years Police Lieutenant Scialoia sticks to the gang’s trail, trying both to bring them to justice and to win the heart of Gang Member Dandi’s girlfriend Patrizia.

JM

The Fury (1978)

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Well I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The movie opens with Peter Sandza (played by Kirk Douglas who was 61 at the time) and his son Robin in the Middle East. Robin has special powers and Peter’s friend Ben wants to help Robin nurture his power. However Ben betrays Peter by trying to have him killed so he can turn Robin into a weapon, leaving it up to Peter to save his son. The story also involves a girl called Gillian who has powers similar to Robin, but is worried how dangerous they are and seeks help from an institute.

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I really enjoyed this. Everyone is on top form, with small parts for Charles Durning who is always a joy to watch. There’s even a very small cameo for Daryl Hannah. However the story did stutter along at times, almost leaping from one scenario to the next, but did nothing to hamper my enjoyment of the film.

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The transfer from Arrow Films (overseen by James White) is exquisite. The clarity is amazing and the sound is just brilliant. This copy of The Fury was graciously provided by the kind folks over at www.facebook.com/ArrowVid. The movie is due for release on October 28th and you can pre-order your copy today from www.arrowfilms.co.uk

4/5

JM

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House of Usher (1960)

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I have always had a soft spot for anything starring Vincent Price, however I entered this film with some trepidation as it is directed by Roger Corman who isn’t exactly renowned for his high class entertainment.

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The film centres on a young man by the name of Philip Winthrop (played by Mark Damon) , who travels to the House of Usher to meet his fiancé Madeline Usher and take her back to Boston. There he is welcomed by the butler Bristol, who informs him that he cannot come in as Madeline and her brother Roderick Usher (Vincent Price) have been stricken with a mysterious illness. Philip insists the butler let’s him in. Philip is then informed by Roderick that it is impossible for Madeline to leave, as there is a curse which means that when there’s more than one Usher in the bloodline, they are cursed to go insane and die. What follows is a night of insanity that all will struggle to survive.

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The film is based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe. The transfer itself is immaculate and credit must go to ArrowFilms&Video in this regard as they really have done well here. The acting from Vincent Price is always great, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Mark Damon however is not very convincing, so perhaps it’s no surprise that he now makes a living producing movies and not starring in them. Madeline played by Myrna Fahey does the best with what she’s given, but it amounts to little more than screams and shrieks.

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To be quite frank this film didn’t really to it for me. The build up was a tad tedious and I found the payoff just didn’t live up to all that went before. Still worth a watch I’d say, but not a purchase for me. The extras include a commentary with Roger Corman and Joe Dante, an interview with horror expert Jonathan Rigby and a video essay by David Cairns examining the film in relation to Poe’s story. Also included are an original trailer and an interview from 1986 with Vincent Price, which has French subtitles that can’t be removed as it was originally broadcast on French TV. The jewel case release has a fabulous reverseable sleeve with art by Graham Humphreys, however a lovely steelbook will also be available.

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This copy of ‘The Fall of The House of Usher’ was graciously provided by the kind folks over at www.facebook.com/ArrowVid. You can pre-order your copy today from www.arrowfilms.co.uk

2/5

JM

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Deranged (1974)

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I’ll be straight to the point on this one. I wasn’t sold on it at all. However Roberts Blossom who plays the main character Ezra (who some may remember as the street sweeper in Home Alone) is on top form here. He gives the part his all. The story is loosely based on Ed Gein, the killer and necrophile from the 1950’s. Ezra is very attached to his mother who soon dies from illness. His mental state slowly deteriorates over a year, to the point where he digs his mother up and takes her home.

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However Ezra’s mother’s body has decomposed to some extent. Ezra decides he needs flesh to repair his mother, so turns his hand to grave robbing, but it’s not long before he requires flesh from the living. The story is done almost like a reconstruction. From time to time a guy steps in to talk to the camera and gives details on Ezra. I found the whole process very jarring. There were some moments of dark comedy, but overall I just wasn’t taken with it.

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The extras are brilliant however. Callum Waddell has an interview with Scott Spiegel who recounts his memories of watching Deranged. Scott Spiegel fizzes with energy, that you just can’t help but be enthralled by his tales. There is also an interview with Laurence R Harvey (The Human Centipede 2) who talks about Ed Gein and the influence he had on cinema.

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There is also a gallery of stills from the movie, an introduction and commentary from SFX artist Tom Savini and making of featurette. The package is brilliant, but the movie itself wasn’t for me. This copy of Deranged was graciously provided by the kind folks over at www.facebook.com/ArrowVid. You can order your copy from www.arrowfilms.co.uk now.

3/5

JM

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The Car (1977)

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“What evil drives the car?” That’s the question posed by this brilliantly cult movie from 1977. Starring James Brolin (who is a dead ringer for Christian Bale) as a small town police officer having to deal with the jet black car that is cutting a swathe through his small town. That’s pretty much the plot too, to say any more would spoil it. The car’s origin is never really touched on, it just appears. Saying that there is a quote at the beginning from famous Satanist Anton LaVey, which I assumed hinted at the car’s origin. The car is a mean looking beast too. The roof is pressed down a third, no handles on the doors and the engine sounds like a thousand lions roaring. I had never heard of The Car until Arrow Films announced it’s upcoming release some months back. It really is the sort of perfect friday night popcorn shocker, and it’s not too violent should the younger folks decide to watch it.

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The picture transfer is immaculate, as is the sound. The display is crisp, given that this film is 36yrs old. The sound is amazing too, practically vibrating the TV any time the car is thundering along. The extras are quite good too. There is a commentary by director Elliot Silverstein which is moderated by Callum Waddell, an interview with SFX artist William Aldridge who recalls his time on the set and the building of the car. There’s an interview with actor John Rubenstein recalling becoming a victim of The Car, and an original trailer with commentary by John Landis. There’s also an easter egg which I wasn’t clever enough to find.

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I can say that The Car is well worth the watch. The acting is quite good for a film some may consider not James Brolin’s best work. Everyone seems to be giving it their all and there are some inventive stunts and death scenes.

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This copy of The Car was graciously provided by the fine folks over at www.facebook.com/ArrowVid. The Car is already available for purchase and you can pick up your very own copy over at www.arrowfilms.co.uk

4/5

JM

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The Initiation (1984)

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The Initiation was released in the later half of 1984. It was released when video stores were stuffed to the gills with cheap slasher movies and various knock-offs. The plot revolves around a young girl called Kelly, who keeps having a reoccurring nightmare about her father being stabbed and a mysterious burning man. She speaks to her teacher about it who tries to help her decipher it’s meaning.

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Also at this time Kelly is due to undergo an initiation ceremony to become a member of her fraternity. The ceremony involves breaking into her father’s department store and stealing a uniform. Needless to say it doesn’t go smoothly, leaving Kelly and her friends at the mercy of a mysterious killer.

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The plot concerns other titbits including the above, but to say any more would spoil it. In terms of slasher movies it actually has a better plot than most. There are some neat little twists, and not everything is as it first appears. The ending is handled a little cackhandedly, and I found the acting of some to be a tad cringeworthy, but overall it’s perfect friday night entertainment.

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The only extras on the DVD are a theatrical trailer. The copy of The Initiation was graciously provided by the kind folks over at www.facebook.com/ArrowVid. You can order your copy from www.arrowfilms.co.uk right now.

3/5

JM

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PIN (1988)

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Well what a strange film this was. This psycho-sexual thriller directed by Sandor Stern who has languished in ‘TV movie hell’ since is a mixed bag. It starts off promising enough. We have a couple Dr Linden, played by the brilliant Terry O’Quinn (Millennium, Lost) and his wife played by Brownen Mantel (Gothika). Dr Linden is a brilliant man who has a medical dummy called ‘Pin’, short for Pinocchio, which he uses to teach his young patients important facts via ventriloquism. He has two children, Leon and Ursula. Leon seems to think Pin is real, however Ursula knows better. As they get older Leon begins to talk to Pin, which has strange effects on his mental health. So much so that he’ll do anything for Pin….even kill.

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The acting is so so. One one hand you have Terry O’Quinn who plays Dr Linden, and David Hewlett who plays Leon who hold their own. Then you have bit players like John Pyper-Ferguson who plays Ursula’s boyfriend Stan Fraker, who really doesn’t know what he’s doing. The story is ok, with the odd scare, and the voice of ‘Pin’ is wonderfully creepy.

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Some things really grate however. One bit in particular when Dr Linden catches Leon talking to Pin. His reaction afterwards suggests there is something seriously wrong, which I felt is never touched on, or maybe I was just not paying attention. The extras on the DVD amount to just a theatrical trailer.

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This copy of PIN was graciously provided by the generous folks over at http://www.facebook.com/ArrowVid. You can pre-order your copy now from http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk. The movie is released on DVD on October 28th.

3/5

JM

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