Arrow Video's "American Horror Project"

Discussion in 'General' started by Katatonia, Oct 31, 2015.

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  1. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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  2. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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  3. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    Watched Malatesta's Carnival of Blood Sunday night. It comes with an introduction by Stephen Thrower (whom I absolutely adore), who almost apologetically states that the movie is better enjoyed for its atmosphere than its plot. With that in mind, I braced myself for a bumpy viewing experience. But... I actually kinda dug it. It's got an eerie vibe not unlike Messiah of Evil or Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural. Obviously, those two are more accomplished horror movies, and they rank higher among my favourites, but more than any movie I've seen to date, MCoB left me with a lingering feeling of having dreamed with my eyes open. The budget was obviously small, but the movie is aesthetically and technically creative, from the artsy underground lair of the carnie ghouls to a night-time roller-coaster ride that almost makes feel like you're right there in the car. The plot, a couple going undercover in a carnival to find their lost son, is there, but like Thrower implies, it is frequently suspended in favour of sheer visual artistry.

    For a low-budget obscurity that was considered lost for decades, the movie looks surprisingly good. Print damage is minor and by no means distracting. It's another winner by Arrow, and I can't wait to watch the other two movies in the set. Oh, and bring on volume 2!
     
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  4. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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  5. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    I just watched Malatesta last night, and it was a complete mind fuck. It was the only film out of the three in the set that I had never seen before, and it is just downright BIZARRE... yet strangely enjoyable. Mr. Blood was reminiscent of T.G. Finkbinder in The Redeemer... both overly dramatic in their thespian method, but it works so perfectly.

    The film itself reminded me of the vibe that Death Bed: The Bed That Eats has. The plot makes little to no sense yet is part of the charm, under 80 minute runtime, relies on its strange atmosphere and creative skin, utilizes amateur local actors, super low budget, etc..

    Watching the Director & Writer interviews on the disc, they both actually seemed surprisingly normal. I was almost expecting some version(s) of David Cronenberg in a beatnik outfit or something! o_O
     
  6. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    When I first watched The Redeemer, I found that particular performance rather jarring, but this is a movie that in many ways exists outside what we conventionally consider good cinema, and the overacting only adds to the utter strangeness of it.

    I can't wait to see what the next volume brings. My dream set would go a little something like this...
    American Horror.png
     
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  7. dvd-boy

    dvd-boy New Member

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    Cannot wait for my copy to turn up next week. Hopefully the first of many volumes. Between Arrow, Code Red, 88 Films, Scorpion Releasing etc we're getting some many cool horror films on blu-ray that I'd never expect to see the light of day.
     
  8. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    The Premonition was the entertainment last night. If Malatesta's Carnival of Blood was dreamlike, the Premonition is poetic. It's character-driven, artsy-weird, and with a well-written paranormal arch. I found it an enjoyable watch. Best scene: A mother is disturbed to find a strange woman cradling her daughter in her room... and the aftermath of the intruder's bizarre bounty.

    I definitely recommend watching these with Thrower's introductions. He is obviously knowledgeable and passionate about these movies. I think I have a bit of a man crush on him.
     
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  9. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    I enjoyed The Premonition a lot more seeing it again. I own the old Media Blasters DVD, and its a film that you almost have to watch more than once to really pick up on certain minor plot details in the film.

    I also really enjoyed The Witch Who Came from the Sea upon rewatching it. I had watched the old DVD years ago when it first came out and honestly wasn't too impressed then...and don't recall the transfer/colors being too great on that old DVD either. It's a really interesting film and Millie Perkins really makes it what it is by her acting performance. The flashback scenes are pretty disturbing for the content, and Cimber's interview about the MPAA offering an XXX rating originally and his subsequent "cuts" afterwards (there were none) is kind of hilarious.
     
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  10. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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  11. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    It's hilarious in the thread on Blu-ray.com about this set. Most of the comments seem to be that "these movies are Z-Grade trash" or "the A/V quality sucks" and "if it wasn't for the label or packaging nobody would care"

    When you get people buying a pricey set "simply because" and who aren't really even horror fans, of course they're going to be disappointed. :rolleyes:
     
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  12. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister The Schlock King

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    I blind bought the set because I trust you guys. This board contains some of the most dedicated real horror fans on the net.

    Can't wait to watch these flicks.
     
  13. hellraiser40

    hellraiser40 Well-Known Member

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    damn it, i had planned to not buying stuff for a time but... i caved in when i found this at 54€ (free shipping) on zavvi.nl

    am always in for films that dare to stray from the well-throdden path
     
  14. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    This claim is preposterous. Yes, it's a beautiful package, and yes, Arrow has built a reputation for quality releases. But, as someone who loves this set, would I buy everything Arrow puts out in a spiffy package? No. I buy the titles that interest me and the ones I expect to get enjoyment from. Heck, I didn't even buy the Hellraiser set (gasp!) - not that I don't like the first Hellraiser films, but they're not absolute favourites, and I've seen them enough times that an upgrade isn't a priority.

    Another comment I find a bit too easy is that "these films are so bad they're good." Uhm, I've seen plenty of films that are technically one par with, say, Malatesta's Carnival of Blood, but that doesn't mean that I get the same experience from those. Now, guilty pleasures are one thing, but like I said before, Malatesta was a dreamlike experience for me. I can see how some would be put off by the low-budget aesthetics and not take in the film, which is fair enough, but this film's true strength is in its unique atmosphere (whether intentional or not) rather than in any hilarity one finds in its home-grown quality.

    Obviously, the films in this set aren't for everyone. But what film is?
     
  15. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    Yeah, that's crazy talk. As a horror fan I support the unearthing and restoration of these films. Packaging and label are only relevant insofar as the care they put into the release. Context is everything in reviewing releases.
     
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  16. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    I haven't had a chance to crack into mine yet, and I've never seen any of the three movies before, but the whole idea of turning Stephen Thrower's book into a blu-ray collection is so brilliant and exciting that there is no way I won't be buying all of these sets, regardless of the films included. People are probably disappointed because they were expecting movies that are more along the lines of The Mutilator or Blood Rage (both of which technically qualify, but it's about more than slasher movies). Anyone familiar with Nightmare USA and the type of movies it covers should have a better idea of what to expect.

    Excited to see what future sets will have in store. Supposedly Arrow recently acquired Microwave Massacre, possibly for a future set. Scream Bloody Murder (1973) is another title being thrown around. They've also been teasing The Driller Killer and Blood Feast, but not sure if those are for an American Horror Project set. I can think of quite a few I'd love to see turn up.
     
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  17. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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    Does anyone here have the Nightmare USA book? I've been contemplating a purchase of it, but was surprised that the lowest price I could find was $52.00 on Amazon. The book is like 9 years old. I expected a lower selling price. 1970's and 1980's is definitely my favorite era for horror films and I do have interest in lower budgeted regional made productions.

    Just wondering for anyone that may have the book, is it worth it? Would really like to hear thoughts from people who might have this book in their collection.
     
  18. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    Have it and totally worth it. Lots of the rarer horror books do tend to go up in price, just look at Thrower's Fulci book. But yeah, tons of films I didn't know that I kind of searched for so I could watch as I read along but even more so it is a history of this particular area of cinema history and it's fascinating. Not just the movies, but the players, distributors, changing landscape, etc.
     
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  19. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    I have it and have been reading it for over a year now. Still haven't finished. Every time I reach a chapter about a movie(s) I haven't seen, I have to stop and track it down, and my OCD won't allow me to continue reading until I do so.

    If you're interested in the behind-the-scenes stories of these little homegrown American exploitation films of the '70s and early '80s, then the book is essential. Each chapter covers either a specific film or filmmaker. To give you an idea of some of the chapters, there's stuff like The Deadly Spawn, The Strangeness, The Black Room, Screams Of A Winter Night, Frederick R. Friedel (Axe / Kidnapped Coed), James Bryan (Don't Go In The Woods), Don Jones (Schoolgirls In Chains, The Forest, Molly And The Ghost), Friday The 13th: The Orphan, Messiah Of Evil, Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, etc. I think there's even one on The Premonition, but I'd have to grab the book to check.

    As for the price, I think I paid low $40s for mine, so $52 sounds right in line. Could go a little lower, but I don't see it dipping under $40. It's a huge book.
     
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  20. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

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    I paid over $80.00 for mine when the book was first released. It's number 47 of 212 signed. Very well done book and certainly worth the money.
     
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