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  #5511  
Old 15th April 2015, 02:22 PM
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I don't think it's healthy for the home video market when one company dominates completely, but Arrow has far more resources both in terms of people and money than 88, so it isn't (sadly) a level playing field and if both companies want a title, 88 will probably lose out. Also, Calum Waddell has been instrumental in the Slasher Classics range (he also landed, or tried to land, loads of titles for Arrow) and he is emigrating, so won't be available to offer his (freelance) services to 88.

Arrow do seem to be trying to be 'all things to all men' with the slashers and Academy releases, and everything in between (from Fangoria to Sight & Sound, if you will), so I wonder whether they will spread themselves too thin. When I looked at the extra features on Massacre Gun, it was really weird to see Tony Rayns present one of his visual essays on a non-Eureka/Masters of Cinema release!
The home video market is a veritable smorgasboard of unknown at the moment, so being as diverse as possible where cult releases are concerned is key, as not only are you then appealing to a much broader audience, but you are not setting yourself up for potential repercussions by ploughing all your money and resources into one area - this is especially true where niche cult film is concerned. You may recall such failed companies like BCI and NoShame who went down the uber-cult route and ended up out of business due to the high costs associated with mastering/releasing the product vs. the low returns thanks to a small group of end consumers.

This is why many companies are resorting to deluxe packages and limited editions which attract potential customers in and entice them to buy in to a title they'd either maybe not bother with or not priotise as highly and wait for a price drop.

I didn't know about Calum, but hopefully 88 will continue going strong without his input.
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  #5512  
Old 15th April 2015, 02:35 PM
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Much like myself, he's a freelancer who's happy to contribute to any label that will make him an attractive enough offer - as demonstrated by the fact that he's regularly featured on Criterion and BFI releases as well, and doubtless elsewhere.

And he was the obvious go-to guy for Massacre Gun and Retaliation, because how many other people are out there with that kind of encyclopaedic knowledge of Japanese cinema and extensive presenting experience, who speak English as a native language and who also live conveniently close enough to one of Arrow's producers? Jasper Sharp is the only other person I can think of, and he was already on booklet-essay duties.

Tony's one of those people like Kim Newman and Philip Kemp who get hired a lot by multiple labels for one very very obvious reason: they're bloody good at what they do. And having worked with all three in recent months (full disclosure: I produced, shot and edited both the Tony Rayns pieces on Massacre Gun and Retaliation), I'm more than a little envious of their single-take fluency, which is all the more impressive when you're actually in the room with them!
There's no need to be so defensive I just thought it was odd to see him on and Arrow Video release when I'm used to seeing him provide extra features on Masters of Cinema releases like Alone Across the Pacific, Kokoro, Profound Desires of the Gods, Bedevilled, The Burmese Harp etc. and he always comes across as extremely knowledgeable and consummately professional.

A visual essay from him is very different to an interview with filmmakers like Lamberto Bava, Tom Savini, Caroline Munro or Jack Hill!
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  #5513  
Old 15th April 2015, 02:58 PM
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There's no need to be so defensive I just thought it was odd to see him on and Arrow Video release when I'm used to seeing him provide extra features on Masters of Cinema releases like Alone Across the Pacific, Kokoro, Profound Desires of the Gods, Bedevilled, The Burmese Harp etc. and he always comes across as extremely knowledgeable and consummately professional.
I'm not being remotely defensive - just pointing out that it really isn't unusual at all to see him featured on an English-friendly disc of a Japanese film, regardless of the label releasing it. For instance, he's all over the BFI's Ozu and Kurosawa discs as well, and is currently the main reason for favouring the Criterion In the Realm of the Senses over the StudioCanal one.

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A visual essay from him is very different to an interview with filmmakers like Lamberto Bava, Tom Savini, Caroline Munro or Jack Hill!
I wouldn't really call this straight-to-camera piece "a visual essay" as such - I tend to reserve that term for things that are more obviously visually pre-planned and elaborate, such as Michael Mackenzie's Gender and Giallo piece on Blood and Black Lace.

But yes, obviously a critic is going to have a different approach to someone who actually worked on the film, especially in a historical-overview piece like this. (The one on Retaliation focuses more on Jo Shishido and director Yusuharu Hasebe, and there are more video clips - there wasn't much scope for them in the Nikkatsu piece given the rapid-fire delivery of facts and figures.)

Another reason that we're consciously laying the historical ground at this stage is that there will hopefully be quite a bit more where Massacre Gun and Retaliation came from, especially since the former seems to be going down so well ("delighted surprise" seems to be the consensus so far in the reviews that I've read).
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  #5514  
Old 15th April 2015, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Brooke View Post
I'm not being remotely defensive - just pointing out that it really isn't unusual at all to see him featured on an English-friendly disc of a Japanese film, regardless of the label releasing it. For instance, he's all over the BFI's Ozu and Kurosawa discs as well, and is currently the main reason for favouring the Criterion In the Realm of the Senses over the StudioCanal one.



I wouldn't really call this straight-to-camera piece "a visual essay" as such - I tend to reserve that term for things that are more obviously visually pre-planned and elaborate, such as Michael Mackenzie's Gender and Giallo piece on Blood and Black Lace.

But yes, obviously a critic is going to have a different approach to someone who actually worked on the film, especially in a historical-overview piece like this. (The one on Retaliation focuses more on Jo Shishido and director Yusuharu Hasebe, and there are more video clips - there wasn't much scope for them in the Nikkatsu piece given the rapid-fire delivery of facts and figures.)

Another reason that we're consciously laying the historical ground at this stage is that there will hopefully be quite a bit more where Massacre Gun and Retaliation came from, especially since the former seems to be going down so well ("delighted surprise" seems to be the consensus so far in the reviews that I've read).
Sorry if you weren't being defensive, just read that way to me.

I also didn't mean it was unusual for Mr Rayns to be featured on an English release, just one put out by Arrow Video!
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  #5515  
Old 15th April 2015, 05:43 PM
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Arrow still keeps its grubby finger in the horror pie , i dont care who releases a film as long as care has been put into final product.
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  #5516  
Old 15th April 2015, 06:01 PM
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Arrow were offered at least one slasher a couple of years ago, and they had zero interest in releasing it. Fast forward a few years and they now have a couple of slashers lined up (including the one mentioned above). Hmmmmmmm.
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  #5517  
Old 15th April 2015, 11:30 PM
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Just watched Blood & Black Lace, kudos all round to the good folks at Arrow, won't see a better looking version in my lifetime, it was if I was sitting in Italian cinema in 1964, truly great restoration, no wonder a certain U.S. label threw it's toys out of the pram in a strop
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  #5518  
Old 16th April 2015, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by platostotal View Post
Just watched Blood & Black Lace, kudos all round to the good folks at Arrow, won't see a better looking version in my lifetime, it was if I was sitting in Italian cinema in 1964, truly great restoration, no wonder a certain U.S. label threw it's toys out of the pram in a strop
I had it in my hand in HMV in Bradford earlier, but couldn't justify the 15 price when I was paying 8.99 for Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers!
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  #5519  
Old 16th April 2015, 04:40 PM
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I had it in my hand in HMV in Bradford earlier, but couldn't justify the 15 price when I was paying 8.99 for Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers!
Cough!!
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  #5520  
Old 23rd April 2015, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Stephen@Cult Labs View Post
Arrow were offered at least one slasher a couple of years ago, and they had zero interest in releasing it. Fast forward a few years and they now have a couple of slashers lined up (including the one mentioned above). Hmmmmmmm.
They also had zero interest in a couple of projects that I pitched to them circa 2011/12.

Three years later, they changed their minds, and I'm developing both right now.

Why? Because state-of-the-art 4K restorations had become available in the meantime.

Every recent conspiracy theory about Arrow needs to be assessed in the light of (a) their dramatic raising of technical standards post-2012, and the resulting increase in the number of masters being rejected (with certain types of film being disproportionally affected), and (b) their move into the US market post-2014, which has made it more feasible to go back to 35mm basics more of the time, thus allowing a reassessment of titles that had previously been rejected on technical grounds.

Ignore these factors and any over-arching theory about Arrow's post-2012 acquisition and release strategy is highly likely to be barking up the wrong tree.
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