If you love classic Italian horror then you will love our fantastic new give away.
Arrow Video have just released never-before-seen Blu-ray & DVD premieres from the godfather of Italian horror, Mario Bava –1963’s Black Sabbath, starring Boris Karloff and 1972’s Baron Blood, starring Elke Sommer and Joseph Cotton.
These dual format releases include brand new restored versions of each film, a wealth of special features and bonus material, and exclusive reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys.
You can out Pete’s full reviews of Black Sabbath (here) and Baron Blood (here).
Courtesy of Arrow Video, we have two copies of the films to give away. To be in the draw, all you need to do is answer the following question correctly by filling out the form below. And if you want to big hint, CLICK HERE.
Q: In Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath, master of ceremonies Boris Karloff also appears as a Russian vampire in one of the segments. What is it called?
Quentin Tarantino’s audacious blaxploitation Western Django Unchained is a brazen, bloodily violent revenge fantasy and it creates an instant cinematic icon out of Jamie Foxx’s whip-scarred slave turned strikingly cool avenger.
His name borrowed from the iconic Spaghetti Western character, Fox’s Django is saved from a Deep South chain gang by Christoph Waltz’s dapper bounty hunter Dr King Schultz and quickly proves his aptitude for the bounty-hunting business.
Highly impressed, Schultz agrees to help Django rescue his enslaved wife Hildi (Kerry Washington) from the Mississippi plantation owned by Leonardo DiCaprio’s sadistic Calvin Candie, but Candie’s shrewd slave butler Stephen, played by Samuel L Jackson as a grotesque, self-hating Uncle Tom, becomes suspicious of their scheme.
Tarantino’s film has its flaws. The middle section is decidedly saggy and some episodes – such as a Blazing Saddles-like sequence in which a posse of blundering Klansmen fret over the size of the eyeholes in their sacks – go on way too long. Tarantino’s own cameo as an Australian slaver is cringe-worthy. And the romance between Django and Broomhilda doesn’t live up to weight the story places upon it.
But the film’s best sequences are so dazzling that you simply have to applaud Tarantino’s panache and the brilliance of Waltz, Foxx, DiCaprio and Jackson, who pull off Tarantino’s wordiest flights of fancy with incredible brio. True, some viewers will be uncomfortable with the way Tarantino plays much of the bloodshed for laughs, but in other places his film tackles the barbarity of slavery with an unflinching honesty and deadly moral seriousness.
Released on DVD, Blu-ray & Digital Download on Monday 20th May by Lions Gate Home Entertainment.
Hitchcock’s classic suspense thriller Strangers on a Train has inspired a host of lesser movies and Canadian thriller Kill for Me clearly owes it a debt too. Katie Cassidy’s Amanda is the story’s innocent dupe, a college student who quickly bonds with new roommate Hailey (Tracy Spiridakos) over their problems with abusive men, little realising that her new friend is a scheming psychopath. As in Hitchcock, tit-for-tat murders are proposed – Amanda’s violent ex-boyfriend in return for Hailey’s drunken father, but Kill for Me throws in more additional twists than the story can stand. The film also throws in some gratuitous Sapphic titillation, including an obligatory make-out-in-the-shower scene, but despite game playing from leads Cassidy and Spiridakos, the overwrought plotting gives the distinct impression that the filmmakers are getting steamed up over nothing.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD on Monday 20th May by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
THE STORY Boris Karloff plays master of ceremonies in 1963′s Black Sabbath, an Italian trilogy of terror from director Mario Bava (Black Sunday, Lisa and the Devil). The Telephone, set in the 1960s, is a giallo-inspired story in which a prostitute gets blood on her hands when she asks a friend to help her escape from her former pimp. The Drop of Water, adapted from a tale by Ivan Chekhov, concerns a Victorian-era nurse who gets her comeuppance when she steals a ring from the corpse of a clairvoyant. While the final sequence, The Wurdalak, adapted from a Tolstoy story, stars Boris Karloff as the patriarch of a 19th-century Russian family who turns out to be a vampire that feeds on the blood of his loved ones.
Mario Bava, who kick-started the golden age of Italian horror with 1960′s Black Sunday, followed his monochrome masterpiece with this colourful horror anthology that has since become a firm favourite among horror fans.
The first two stories are atmospheric ‘sting in the tail’ thrillers featuring Bava’s unique camerawork and lighting, while the final one is a remarkable stylistic achievement that is pure Bava thanks to its comical ending. The US release was edited to make it more of a spookfest and replaced Roberto Nicolosi’s music with a score from Les Baxter (who also scored many of Roger Corman’s Poe films). But UK fans can now see both versions in Arrow Video’s deluxe release.
The Arrow Video dual format (Blu-ray/DVD) deluxe edition features I tre volti della paura, the European version with the Nicolosi score, and Black Sabbath, the re-edited and re-dubbed US version with the Les Baxter score. Also included is a brilliant new featurette explaining the differences between the two versions, new subtitles, artwork from Graham Humphreys, collector’s booklet, plus the same extras that were included on the 2007 DVD release. Region 2/B. Cert 15.
DID YOU KNOW?
It was in 1969 that the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath adopted the film’s title (they originally called themselves Earth) and changed their music style after seeing fans queuing up to see Bava’s film at a local Birmingham cinema.
When Satanic drug leader Castaneda (Gabriel Pingarrón) escapes from a Mexico City jail, leaving a trail of bloody corpses in his wake, federal agent Magdalena (Gizeht Galatea) calls on faith healer Carlos (Carlos Gallardo) to purify the station. But as the couple immerse themselves into the world of the occult, Carlos discovers Magdalena is the link to the bloodthirsty Castaneda gaining immortality. Can the doubting Curandero find the strength to save Magdalena’s soul before its too late?
This indie horror flick was made back in 2005. Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez, based on a screenplay by Robert Rodriguez of Sin City and Machete fame (no relation BTW), it plays like CSI: Mexico drenched in buckets of blood and steeped in black magic.
While it’s a descent effort, with likeable performances from the two leads, ample amounts of action, a suitably macabre storyline and some nicely stylised Mexico City locations, it’s let down by the bleached out photography, poor sound and silly rubber suit monster. A few more pesos thrown at this might have yielded better results. Rodriguez’s next spookfest will be the forthcoming sequel to 2011’s Fright Night.
The DVD includes an audio commentary with director Eduardo Rodriguez and director of photography Jaime Reynoso.
Cert 18 | PAL Region 2 | In Spanish, with English subtitles
Released 20 May in the UK from Lions Gate Home Entertainment • Order from Amazon (here), Play (here)
The Blu-ray comes with two exclusive featurettes: “Reimagining the Spaghetti Western: The Horses & Stunts of Django Unchained,” giving viewers a look at the making of the film.
“The Costume Designs of Sharen Davis” chronicles the costume choices of designer Sharen Davis, who imagined, designed and created every article of clothing and accessory featured in the film, from Django’s first outfit as a free man in vibrant blue to Calvin Candie’s three piece suits.
Both the Blu-ray and DVD come with the featurette “Remembering J. Michael Riva: The Production Design of Django Unchained,” giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the selection of settings and style that Riva, who was the driving force behind the set design, used to visually tell Django’s story.
We have three Blu-rays to give away, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. To enter, just answer the following question correctly by filling out the form below: What is the name of Django’s wife?
Baz Luhrmann’s much-hyped adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is everything you’d expect: brash, glitzy and bursting with the director’s trademark razzle-dazzle. If Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age classic is the Great American Novel, then this frantically jazzed-up 3D film is the pop-up-book version.
That said, Luhrmann’s script (co-written with frequent collaborator Craig Pearce) is surprisingly faithful to Fitzgerald’s plot, if you discount the film’s bizarre framing device in which narrator Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire, struggles to get the story down on paper while drying out in a sanatorium, diagnosed as morbidly alcoholic.
Maguire’s Nick relates how he found himself living next door to mysterious, party-throwing millionaire Jay Gatsby amid the gaudy splendours of Long Island and became drawn into Gatsby’s obsessive quest to regain his lost love Daisy, who happens to be Nick’s cousin and lives across the bay with her boorish, blue-blooded husband Tom Buchanan.
The novel’s key scenes are all here, and so are many of its most memorable images – from the hellish valley of ashes on the road to New York, overseen by the eyes of Doctor T J Eckleburg on a oculist’s billboard, to Gatsby standing on his jetty gazing out at the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock.
What’s missing is the tone. Fitzgerald’s prose is pitch-perfect, both glittering and poised. By comparison, Luhrmann’s film is tone-deaf. For all the fizz he gives the story’s celebrated scenes of revelry, you get the feeling the champagne will taste flat.
Some viewers will undoubtedly get a kick from the sight of flappers cavorting to the swaggering, wilfully anachronistic hip-hop of Jay-Z and Kanye West, but the performances get lost amid the hysteria, which is doubly disappointing given how well the film has been cast.
Leonardo DiCaprio is the best screen Gatsby yet, playing the role previously inhabited by the likes of Alan Ladd and Robert Redford with a convincing blend of romantic yearning and steely resolve. Carey Mulligan conveys Daisy’s vulnerability and shallowness, and Joel Edgerton nails Buchanan’s brutal snobbery.
In cinemas from Thursday 16th May.
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.