All things Cult Cinema

Started by wilder, March 27, 2017, 06:00:36 PM

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They released Freeway 1 in December -- and now FREEWAY II: Confessions of a Trickbaby

QuoteWhite Girl is a twisted teenage prostitute with a bad attitude and a nasty eating disorder, who's been sent to the slammer for 25 years. Her cellmate, Cyclona, is equally deranged, being a vicious killer. And, as like minds attract, the two are quick to form a truly twisted alliance. When the opportunity arises, White Girl and Cyclona manage to escape from the pen and embark on a non-stop orgy of violence and debauchery, all while hoping to make it across the border into Mexico in order to seek refuge with Cyclona's proxy caretaker, Sister Gomez. However, there's a big hitch in their plans as the good Sister isn't as "she" seems...

Somehow weirder, sleazier, and even more jaw dropping than its predecessor, director Matthew Bright's in-name-only sequel, FREEWAY II: CONFESSIONS OF A TRICKBABY regurgitates onto the screen with an unflinching barrage of gross-out-gags and adept social satire. Starring Natasha Lyonne (But I'm A Cheerleader, TV's Poker Face and Russian Doll) in one of her first, and most controversial, starring roles alongside Vincent Gallo (Buffalo '66), María Celedonio (Dragstrip Girl), and a rare on-screen appearance from filmmaker John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), Vinegar Syndrome is delighted to present the UHD debut of this demented reimagining of Hansel & Gretel, newly restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative, jam packed with extras, and looking so perversely crystal clear you can almost taste the perversion.

directed by: Matthew Bright
starring: Natasha Lyonne, María Celedonio, Vincent Gallo, David Alan Grier, John Landis
1999 / 98 min / 1.85:1 / English 2.0 Stereo
Additional info:

4K Ultra HD / Region A Blu-ray Set
4K UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative
"Once Upon a White Girl: Remembering Confessions of a Trickbaby" (98 min) - a brand new making-of documentary with the cast and crew
"Bright on Dark" (23 min) - an interview with writer/director Matthew Bright from 2018
"Disrupt and Revolt" (29 min) - an interview with producer Chris Hanley from 2018
Archival interview with Matthew Bright (4 min)
Archival interview with executive producer Samuel Hadida (5 min)
BTS Footage (28 min)
Still Gallery (7 min)
Reversible sleeve artwork
English SDH subtitles


One of my friends gifted me Vinegar Syndrome/Saturn Core's double blu-ray of Red Spirit Lake & We Await

Video scuzzball poetry. Wes Craven and Lynch but neither and both simultaneously. AMPLIFIED mysticism. Genre and spirituality entertwined into bombastic grunge beauty. Degenerate, repulsive environments constantly edging into the divine before shattering and splitting your sidez.

QuoteSaturn's Core Audio & Video is a New Jersey based home video label devoted to releasing underground oddities and shot on video cinema on VHS, and now, blu-ray discs! In partnership with OCN Distribution, Saturn's Core will exhume forgotten or under-seen genre cinema from the 80s and 90s, with an emphasis on SOV horror features. Vinegar Syndrome's sister company, OCN Distribution, is thrilled to be representing this diverse and unique home video line!

One of the most visionary artists to arise from the pre-digital, shot on video underground, director Charles Pinion's awe-inspiring features fearlessly blurred the lines between punk rock, Cinema of Transgression, avant-garde surrealism, pornography and backyard splatter films. Saturn's Core is proud to present two of Pinion's most daring works with newly reconstructed, director approved restorations from the original analog master tapes.

Spoiler: ShowHide
Red Spirit Lake (1993): After a vengeful sorceress is tortured and killed by a corrupt industrialist looking to harnass the spectral powers of Red Spirit Lake, her niece arrives in snow covered Angel Falls to settle her aunt's estate. A meditation on The Old Dark House replete with UFO abductions, castration, frank nudity, witchcraft, fatal fistings, and slughterous saunas; Red Spirit Lake is a cacophony of subversive hyper violence, psychotic surrealism, salacious sexual choas, and picturesque winter vistas featuring acting performances by a cavalcade of legendary Cinema of Transgression era artists and filmmakers including Richard Kern, Holly Adams, Kembra Pfahler, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, and Tommy Turner as well as an insurgent soundtrack featuring music by Cop Shoot Cop, Lydia Lunch, Clint Ruin, and The Lunachicks.

We Await (1996): A con artist is held captive by an unhinged cannibal family that ingests copious quantities of hallucinogenic, green fungal goo covertly harnessed from an otherworldly, sentient crystal housed in their third third floor apartment of horrors. Featuring a man who willfully chooses to be a dog, sexual stimulation via blowtorch, and a corpulent, nude and blood soaked Godzilla-sized Jesus; We Await is a shot on video, urban riff on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that slowly descends into a psycho sexual, drug-fueled, analog aurora borealis nightmare like no other. Starring director Pinion, adult filmmaker David Aaron Clark, visual artist Alyssa Taylor Wendt, and boasting a blistering soundtrack featuring music by Crash Worship, Neurosis, and Unsane.

So far I've only watched Red Spirit Lake and all its extras but this is a FANTASTIC package. It includes a full concert set of 'COTA', an avant garde music project of Pinion's I think (there's no description of who the band is haha) as well as two short films, commentary tracks, and 'Rare Footage' shot by Pinion of Screw Magazine's bathroom - GRODY SCRIBBLED WALL-ART as it should be.


Black Emanuelle box set! Very exciting to have all of this in one package.


May 30, 2023

Claude d'Anna's The Broken Mirror (1975) & Férid Boughedir's Unquiet Death (1970) double feature on blu-ray from Mondo Macabro

The Broken Mirror (1975)

Anne Lawrence lives in Brussels, where she works as a restorer of rare paintings. When Anne becomes pregnant, her widowed mother visits her, which brings back memories from Anne's past. Her mother asks Anne about the time she went missing and was found, lost in the city, clutching a strange painting with no knowledge of where it came from. Anne is fascinated by the painting but also scared of it. She becomes determined to discover why it now seems so important to her.
Strange incidents start to occur. Anne is pursued through empty streets by a large car with a hidden driver. She sees a man with a gloved right hand watching her from the deserted house across the street. She becomes frightened by her own reflection in mirrors.

As Anne sinks ever deeper into the mystery of her past, fantasy and reality start to merge and she finds herself entering a nightmare of fear and sudden violence from which she seems unable to escape.
Director Claude d'Anna's third feature film is a dreamlike and hallucinatory journey into altered states of consciousness; a unique film, full of images of beauty and terror.

Unquiet Death (1970)

Three sisters come from France to visit their wealthy uncle who lives on a remote island off the coast of Tunisia. The only other inhabitant of the island is the uncle's manservant. The uncle dies in mysterious circumstances and the girls are left at the mercy of the servant. Initially he seems cooperative but then, as the radio broadcasts disturbing reports of trouble and unrest on the mainland, he rebels, refusing to obey the girls' orders. Imprisoning them in the uncle's house, he sets them various bizarre tasks, challenges their sense of superiority and even tries to teach them a new form of language.

Finally their veneer of civilization cracks, and the girls resort to savagery. The servant disappears, seemingly dead. Sensing freedom, the girls celebrate. But then the servant returns. And this time he is angry...

Made in the shadow of the May 68 Paris "events", Unquiet Death is a truly revolutionary and radical film, one that throws all caution to the wind. Packed full of startling images that mix beauty and terror, there really is nothing else quite like it.

May 30, 2023

Kostas Manoussakis' The Fear (1966) on blu-ray from Mondo Macabro

Anna, a young female student living in Athens, returns to her family's large farm in the remote Greek countryside. She starts to feel the tensions that lie, repressed, under the apparently tranquil rural setting. Her father and mother are trapped in a loveless marriage and her half-brother, Anestis, seems even more of a brooding and dangerous figure than ever before. Anna's only real friend is the mute servant girl, Hrysa, who many of the local villagers see as some kind of saint due to her alleged sightings of the Virgin Mary in the lonely corn fields that surround the farm.

Hrysa disappears and is reported missing. Anna soon suspects her half-brother is responsible and has probably killed the girl. She starts to follow him, trying to trick him into a confession. Realizing that she might become his next victim, Anna starts to fear for her life. Confused and scared she accepts a marriage proposal from a local man. It's at the wedding ceremony, with the whole village watching, that the truth finally emerges and the terrifying last act of this rural psychodrama is played out.

The Fear was the third, and final, film made by director Kostas Manoussakis. It was screened at the Berlin Film Festival and was widely sold around the world. However, due to a series of problems, Manoussakis never completed another feature. Now acclaimed as a classic and one of the best Greek films of its era, The Fear has lost none of its power to grip the viewer with its striking imagery and pulsing, avant garde soundtrack.

March 8, 2023

Mexican Gothic: The Films of Carlos Enrique Taboada (1975-1984) on blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome

Bewitched children, revenge seeking spirits and murderous thieves. Revered in his country but criminally under-known outside of it, three of Mexican genre film master Carlos Enrique Taboada's most influential works are collected here for the first time on Blu-ray. Few directors other than Taboada have left such a distinct footprint on Mexico's horror genre. These three films, with ample violence, wretched depravity and supernatural evil, adeptly place their horror to Mexican society and culture at large and all have been newly restored in 4K by Vinegar Syndrome from their original 35mm camera negatives!

Poison for the Fairies
When young Flavia arrives at her new school she is quickly befriended by Veronica. What starts out as an innocent friendship turns terrifying when Veronica reveals herself to be a Witch. Unsure of the truth, Flavia enters into a manipulative relationship as Veronica's accomplice as the line between what is real and imagined blurs and leads to a spiral of magic, death, sacrifice and murder!

Darker Than Night
Ophelia has just learned of the death of her Aunt, whom she had never trusted. In a sinister twist of fate, she has now inherited her Aunt's estate, along with all of its tenants, living and dead. Inviting her three close friends along, Ophelia moves into the gothic house. But shortly after disregarding her Aunt's posthumous requests to care for Bequer, the house cat, their lives are turned upside down as horrors reveal themselves and a supernatural force starts to violently pick off the girls one by one!

Woodcutter Porfirio has always accepted his meager existence, however one day while working in a remote, forested mountain, Porfirio is the sole witness to the crash of a luxury plane. Desperate to escape his circumstances, he seizes the opportunity to loot the wreckage with his neighbor and co-worker, Evodio. But soon, best laid plans lead to treachery and murder...

March 28, 2023

Fabrice du Welz's Calvaire (2004) on blu-ray from Yellow Veil Pictures

Marc, a traveling entertainer, is on his way home for Christmas when his van breaks down in the middle of a village, where he quickly falls victim to a dangerously unhinged innkeeper determined to keep him captive. For the first time in the US, CALVAIRE will be available in high definition. The HD Remaster was created from the original print with new color grading supervised by original cinematographer Benoit Debbie and director Fabrice du Welz. This high water mark from the New French Extremity movement premiered at the Cannes Film Festival followed by TiFFF Midnight Madness.

April 25, 2023

Risto Jarva's Time of Roses (1969) on blu-ray from Deaf Crocodile

Finnish director Risto Jarva's fascinating, futuristic sci-fi mystery is set in a dystopian, Pop Art-designed world of gleaming white towers, Sony video monitors and inflatable furniture, where the beautiful inhabitants all dress as Edie Sedgwick-like pixie sprites or medieval page boys out of LOGAN'S RUN. A historian of late 20th century culture - "before class boundaries were abolished" – named Raimo (Arto Tuominen) is researching the death many years earlier of a free-spirited erotic model named Saara (Ritva Vepsä) who died under mysterious circumstances. (She caused a public scandal by asking three of her wealthy, powerful lovers to pay for an abortion). Raimo finds Saara's identical double – an earthy, uninhibited engineer named Kisse (also played by Vepsä) -- and tries to convince her to re-enact Saara's life and death for TV. Director Jarva was one of Finland's most acclaimed fiction filmmakers and documentarians before he was tragically killed in an auto accident returning from a screening in 1977. His fabulously quirky vision of Future World, with its fragmented & abstract political conversation and semi-orgies (all waving hands and sitar music!) would have delighted both Andy Warhol and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

April 24, 2023

Richard Loncraine's Full Circle aka The Haunting of Julia on 4K UHD blu-ray from BFI (UK)

Bereaved mother Julia flees her controlling husband Magnus, re-establishing herself in an old house in leafy West London. Yet she finds herself haunted by apparitions of a ghostly blonde-haired child, sending her on a strange journey of self-discovery - with dreadful consequences.

April 18, 2023

Richard Loncraine's Full Circle aka The Haunting of Julia on 4K UHD blu-ray from Shout Factory

Bereaved mother Julia flees her controlling husband Magnus, re-establishing herself in an old house in leafy West London. Yet she finds herself haunted by apparitions of a ghostly blonde-haired child, sending her on a strange journey of self-discovery - with dreadful consequences.

June 6, 2023

Paul Bartel's Private Parts (1972) on blu-ray Shout Factory

Cheryl fled an unhappy home in Ohio for the sunny skies of California with her best friend in tow; however, after they have a falling out, Cheryl is left with no place to stay. Remembering that her Aunt Martha runs a hotel, Cheryl arrives at the King Edward, a decaying residential inn located in one of L.A.'s less desirable neighborhoods, and persuades Martha to give her a room for a few days. Cheryl soon discovers the King Edward is home to a wide variety of eccentrics -- defrocked priests with muscle-men fetishes, falling-down alcoholics, senile old women, and a voyeuristic photographer named George. Cheryl, who indulges her own voyeuristic impulses by sneaking into the rooms of her fellow boarders, is attracted to George and enjoys playing dress-up as he watches her though a peephole, despite Aunt Martha's warnings not to interact with the other guests. But when Cheryl decides to cross the line into physical action with George, she learns his obsessions are more dangerous than she imagined -- and that both he and Aunt Martha have some rather surprising secrets.

Summer 2023

Paul Nicholas' Daughter of Death aka Julie Darling (1982) on 4K UHD blu-ray from Dark Force Entertainment

A teenage girl whose inaction caused her mother's death arranges a similarly gruesome fate for her stepmother and brother.

2023 TBD

Monte Markham's Neon City (1991) on blu-ray from Kino

Post-apocalyptic story about a group of scavengers in search of refuge from the lethal atmosphere

May 16, 2023

Byron Haskin's Conquest of Space (1955) & Gene Fowler Jr.'s I Married A Monster (1958) on blu-ray from Shout Factory

Conquest of Space (1955)
An American-led team of International astronauts leave their space station on the first mission to Mars, but the captain's religious beliefs may get in the way.

I Married A Monster (1958)
Aliens arrive on Earth to possess the bodies of humans. One of their first victims is a young man, whose new wife soon realizes something is wrong with him.

April 3, 2023

Robert Sigl's Laurin (1989) on blu-ray from Second Run (UK)

Children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances in a 19th century German village. A young girl soon becomes haunted by disturbing visions of the missing kids.

May 1, 2023

Juraj Herz's Morgiana (1972) on blu-ray from Second Run (UK), also coming to blu-ray later this year from Severin

With delirious visuals conjured by cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera (Daisies, Diamonds of the Night) and often described as 'the last film of the Czechoslovak New Wave', Juraj Herz's delirious tale of terror is a surreal phantasmagoria of dark desires and splintered minds – a twisted Czech take on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Poe's 'The Black Cat'.

Based on a short story by Aleksandr Grin, (the 'Russian Poe'), Morgiana is the story of twin sisters, Klára and Viktoria who live a life of decadent opulence, somewhere in the late 19th century. Klára is charming, trusting and beautiful, whilst Viktoria is wicked, sadistic, bursting with hate and jealousy - and who hatches a terrible revenge by slowly poisoning her more popular sister. As the toxin takes hold, Klára begins to lose grip on her sanity...

Part fairy tale, part Gothic horror, Morgiana is a full-blown hallucinatory experience from the director of the chilling The Cremator, Oil Lamps and Beauty and the Beast.

2023 TBD

Jean-Gabriel Albicocco's Le Coeur Fou (1970) on blu-ray from Le Chat Qui Fume (France)

Serge Menessier has been paid to shoot a reportage on his ex-wife's depression. Now remarried, he has accepted the job to pay his debts and maybe because he is still in love with her, a famous actress whose career he contributed to launch.


Here's an essay by Curiosities and Classics and interview from Russian director Artour Aristakisian, covering two wayward films from Russia, examining extreme states of homelessness in turn of the milennium poverty.

Quote"This is not a socially conscious film. There is no society. It is nonexistent. It is not a philosophical film either. There are no authorial points of view or ideas. It has to be admitted this film is dangerous. Truly dangerous. As a matter of fact, it undermines the authority of the state. For it, too, is nonexistent."  So says Artour Aristakisian, in regards to his film A Place in this World (2001), the follow up to his documentary Palms (1994), two of the more harrowing and confrontational films I've seen in a very long time.


Quote from: wilder on May 02, 2023, 02:55:26 AMMarch 8, 2023

Mexican Gothic: The Films of Carlos Enrique Taboada (1975-1984) on blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome

Bewitched children, revenge seeking spirits and murderous thieves. Revered in his country but criminally under-known outside of it, three of Mexican genre film master Carlos Enrique Taboada's most influential works are collected here for the first time on Blu-ray. Few directors other than Taboada have left such a distinct footprint on Mexico's horror genre. These three films, with ample violence, wretched depravity and supernatural evil, adeptly place their horror to Mexican society and culture at large and all have been newly restored in 4K by Vinegar Syndrome from their original 35mm camera negatives!

Poison for the Fairies
When young Flavia arrives at her new school she is quickly befriended by Veronica. What starts out as an innocent friendship turns terrifying when Veronica reveals herself to be a Witch. Unsure of the truth, Flavia enters into a manipulative relationship as Veronica's accomplice as the line between what is real and imagined blurs and leads to a spiral of magic, death, sacrifice and murder!

I watched Poison for the Fairies last night. Brilliantly designed film. Here's an excerpt from my longer piece on Mexican Grindhouse cinema for an as-yet unpublished zine (Cinedome Issue #3)

El Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía would fund Mexico's most accomplished cult act of witchcraft in Carlos Enrique Taboada's Poison for the Fairies (1984, released in 1986). Recently re-released in a restored transfer as part of Vinegar Syndrome's Mexican Gothic: The Films of Carlos Enrique Taboada blu-ray set.

Its design is so specific that, once clued into the trick being played on us, all framing becomes claustrophobic, and enchanting. Forcing itself onto the viewer is the 'child's gaze,' let's call it. Threaded with pure over the shoulder and point of view shots, no adult is given identity or third dimension. Our dual leads, played by Ana Patricia Rojo and Elsa Maria Gutierrez, are our only eyes.

Alienated from the world of adults, we're back behind the veil of childhood. Innocence and the unknown. Beyond, its evil counterpart cackles at us. Eternal possibilities of the child's imagination warping from blissful meadow to macabre, twisted ends. What ought to be a fairy-tale becomes unreasonable horror. "


August 22, 2023

Iain Softley's Hackers (1995) on 4K UHD blu-ray from Shout Factory

A young boy is arrested by the US Secret Service for writing a computer virus and is banned from using a computer until his 18th birthday. Years later, he and his new-found friends discover a plot to unleash a dangerous computer virus, but they must use their computer skills to find the evidence while being pursued by the Secret Service and the evil computer genius behind the virus.

June 29, 2023

Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls (1995) on 4K UHD blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome

A VSU we've been working on for over a year, and the biggest film yet to grace the line, Paul Verhoeven's cult sensation, feast for the senses, and all around madness, SHOWGIRLS is at last coming to UHD in an edition worthy of its splendor. Featuring hours of archival interviews, BTS material, commentaries, and more, among them plentiful never before seen material. Plus we've added a slew of fresh interviews with cast and crew, along with critical pieces examining the production and impact of this landmark film.

Furthermore, we've performed extensive exclusive restoration using the source files from Paul Verhoeven's supervised color grade to ensure a presentation which looks exactly as intended, but without any of the digital manipulation which has notoriously plagued other releases. 

Summer 2023 TBD

Romano Scavolini's Nightmare aka Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (1981) on 4K UHD blu-ray from Severin

Mentally unbalanced patient, George Tatum, is released from a New York mental hospital, slums it up on sleazy 42nd Street, and then travels to Florida to terrorize an unsuspecting family. Brutal, uncompromising, and graphic, this is one NIGHTMARE that you'll never forget! Originally released unrated to theaters during the height of the slasher craze in the early 1980s, this slasher-splatter classic has garnered a huge cult horror fanbase in the years since.

September 18, 2023

Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace (1964) on 4K UHD blu-ray from Arrow UK

Isabella, a young model is murdered by a mysterious masked figure at a boarding house run by Max Morlacchi and his lover Countess Cristiana Como. When Isabella's boyfriend is suspected of the killing, her diary, which apparently has some incriminating evidence linking her to the killer, dissapears, the masked killer begins killing off all the models in and around the house to find the diary...

September 12, 2023

Fatal Femmes: Neige (1981) / The Bitch (1984) on blu-ray from Fun City Editions

From the neon underworld of early '80s Paris come two stylish, atmospheric films noirs. In Juliet Berto and Jean-Henri Roger's NEIGE, Berto is a barmaid in the red light Pigalle district who attempts to score for her deceased drug dealer friend's clients. In Christine Pascal's THE BITCH, Isabelle Huppert is the woman at the heart of a Hitchcockian tale set in the world of French high couture.

May 26, 2023

Piotr Szulkin's Apocalypse Tetrology on blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome Labs

GOLEM (1979)

Pernat finds himself in a police interrogation, accused of a murder, and unable to recall any details of the crime, or even his own life. He's released back into a world of raving lunatics and deranged dentists, murderous doctors and scientists who believe the secret of human creation is inside the walls of a cast-iron oven. Pernat's odyssey to find out who he is, and what it is to be human, will force his path to cross with all of them.


The Martians have landed and they're not to be feared! Or at least that's what TV personality Iron Idem has been telling people. Soon after their arrival though, his apartment is ransacked and his wife kidnapped. He's tagged like a wild animal and his nightly scripts are being changed. What Idem's eyes are seeing no longer matches what he tells audiences night after night. Are the Martians as good-natured as he believed, or is he being used in a more sinister plot that endangers the entire planet?


The world has been ravaged by nuclear war. The planet is frozen and radiation kills anyone or anything that ventures outside of 'The Dome'. Soft is a shepherd for the last remnants of humanity who have gathered together as they await rescue from a mysterious craft known only as 'The Ark.'  He wanders among the masses, performing his regular daily tasks; keeping morale from plummeting, wooing prostitutes, squashing rebellions, and sometimes feeding the hungry. But as the true and sinister nature of 'The Dome' comes to light, Soft must ask himself if humanity is worth saving?


Scope is a prisoner on a behemoth space station and is chosen, like all his fellow prisoners, to 'volunteer' for the exploration of far-away planets. Landing on planet Australia 458, he is given a hero's welcome with all the sex, booze, and violence that any one man can stomach. But as his new caretakers push him towards even more heinous and deplorable acts, Scope finds that his freedom comes with a high price; his own violent demise, broadcast live for the viewing pleasure of Australia 458's inhabitants. Is there a way out? Or is Scope's fate sealed?

September 2023

Terminal Degeneration: The Films of Moritsugo (1989-2013) on blu-ray from American Genre Film Archive

A force of nature since 1985, underground icon Jon Moritsugu—in partnership with wife Amy Davis—creates candy-colored genre riots that feel like NC-17 sitcoms from outer space. Moritsugu's fearless, protopunk deconstructions function as a giant middle finger to everything from racism to gender expectations—while also exploring themes of Asian-American identity. TERMINAL DEGENERATION: THE FILMS OF JON MORITSUGU collects these joyous, trash-art ragers for the first time on widely released home video. From MY DEGENERATION (a DIY answer to BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS) to TERMINAL USA (an ultra-90s teen-crime berserker that was funded by PBS), AGFA is honored to present sparkling new restorations of Moritsugu's essential work.

August 29, 2023

Jiří Barta's The Pied Piper (1986) on blu-ray from Deaf Crocodile

THE PIED PIPER (KRYSAŘ), 1986, Czechoslovakia, 53 min. Director Jiří Barta's stop-motion animated masterpiece, based on The Pied Piper of Hamelin, is set in a dark and twisted medieval village of narrow streets and weird Gothic arches, half-CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and half-Jan van Eyck. The money-obsessed citizens, carved out of wood blocks and speaking in an onomatopoeic babble, are like George Grosz caricatures, literally spouting coins from their mouths instead of words. The rats are far more organic and sympathetic, made of real fur and whiskers, constantly tunneling and burrowing under the towering arches and cobblestone streets above. (In one of the film's many surreal moments, a rat emerges from a gargoyle's gaping maw.) Fans of fellow Czech animation legend Jan Švankmajer and the Brothers Quay will adore Barta's eerie, Expressionist gem, recently restored for its first-ever U.S. Blu-ray release through Krátký Film Praha, Deaf Crocodile and Comeback Company. "Barta's mastery of all aspects of filmmaking are evident: staging, production design, lighting, animation, editing, sound and music combine into dark worlds of repression and revolt with ironic conclusions." – Phil Tippett (MAD GOD).

October 3, 2023

Fran Rubel Kuzui's Tokyo Pop (1988) on blu-ray from Kino

Bleach-blonde wannabe rocker Wendy (Carrie Hamilton) is disillusioned with her life in New York City. After receiving a postcard from Japan saying "wish you were here," she spontaneously hops on a plane to Tokyo with dreams of making it big as a singer. Quickly finding herself broke and a fish out of water, she moves into a youth hostel for gaijin (foreigners) and takes up work as a hostess at a karaoke bar. Just when she's at her breaking point, she meets Hiro (Diamond Yukai), a rock 'n' roller whose band is looking for their big break. They form a romantic and musical connection and Hiro convinces Wendy to become their lead singer. Through a combination of hustle and luck, they stumble into their 15 minutes of fame, but Wendy soon comes to realize that being a gaijin rocker may be nothing more than a passing fad. An underseen gem of '80s American independent cinema by Fran Rubel Kuzui (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Tokyo Pop takes us on a breezy tour through bubble era Tokyo, replete with knowing nods to the city's vibrant pop culture.

August 15, 2023

Marleen Gorris' Broken Mirrors (1984) on blu-ray from Cult Epics

In an Amsterdam brothel, two prostitutes begin questioning the misery of their existence and become unorthodox rebels. Meanwhile, one of their customers, a serial killer, kidnaps a housewife. This portrait of sexual power is the second film by the controversial director of A Question of Silence, presented in a new 4K transfer and with new bonus features.

August 8, 2023

Wendell B. Harris Jr.'s Chameleon Street (1989) on blu-ray from Arbelos

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival—yet criminally underseen for over three decades—Chameleon Street recounts the improbable but true story of Michigan con man Douglas Street, the titular "chameleon" who successfully impersonated his way up the socioeconomic ladder by posing as a magazine reporter, an Ivy League student, a respected surgeon, and a corporate lawyer. Elevated by a dexterous performance and daring direction from multi-hyphenate actor-writer-director Wendell B. Harris Jr., the film pins a lens on race, class and performance in American identity, which has lost none of its relevance. At once piercingly funny and aesthetically mischievous, Chameleon Street is a "lost masterpiece of Black American cinema" (BFI) long overdue to take its rightful place in the independent film canon.

August 22, 2023

Ralph Bakshi's American Pop (1980) on blu-ray from Sony

From a turn-of-the-century immigrant vaudevillian to a rock superstar, AMERICAN POP is the story of four generations whose lives revolve around the beat of American popular music.

August 5, 2023

Neil Douglas' Sinner's Blood (1969) and Krishna Shah's Rivals (1972) on blu-ray from Dark Force Entertainment

Sinner's Blood (1969)

A small town is corrupted when two orphan girls, Penny and Pat arrive to live with their uncle. They soon meet up with a lesbian cousin, her moronic large cousin Aubrey, and their uncle who is as horny as a hardware store man. They scandalize everyone for having affairs with everyone like the motorbike gang, their uncle, their cousin, and the son of a religious preacher. When a gang member ends up being killed by a dose of LSD given by Penny, his homosexual lover revenges on her in a way you will not forget.

Rivals (1972)

A boy with an unhealthy and pathological attachment to his mother becomes increasingly jealous of the new man in her life. After his mother remarries, his rage and misery overwhelm him and he plots to kill his stepfather

December 13, 2023

Roger Corman's The Terror (1963) on blu-ray from Film Masters

Napoleonic cavalry soldier Lt. Andre Duvalier comes upon a mysterious woman named Helene. Although the lieutenant is immediately taken with Helene, she seems to be leading him into deadly traps. When Duvalier seeks refuge at a baron's nearby castle, Helene unexpectedly appears there. The baron is convinced that Helene is the ghost of his long-departed wife Ilsa, but the lieutenant believes Helene is under a hypnotic spell.

September 25, 2023

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's The Guard from Underground (1992) on blu-ray from Third Window Films (UK)

Before becoming one of Japan's most well-known horror directors through films like Cure, Pulse and Creepy, Kiyoshi Kurosawa started off his career in horror with 1992's The Guard from Underground, the final film of the 'Director's Company'. Kiyoshi Kurosawa here fashions a dark tale that is both a sharp satire of corporate life and a B-movie thriller. A former sumo wrestler now working as a security guard goes on a murderous rampage in the company that's employed him.

October 30, 2023

Banmei Takahashi's Door (1988) & Door II (1991) on blu-ray from Third Window Films (UK)

DOOR (1988)

The first Japanese 'Giallo' slasher film! Yasuko lives in a high-rise apartment in the city with her husband and her son. Being nervous about prank calls and salesmen's solicitations, she slams the door on a salesman's finger when he tried to forcibly insert a pamphlet through her door chain. This leads him to start harassing her, starting off with obscene letters written on her door then steadily escalating to full on stalking, building up to an unbelievable last 20 minutes of chaos!

DOOR 2 (1991)

Ai is a call girl whose job involved a lot of risk. Every time she goes through a door, she has no idea what type of man is on the other side. Some are sweet, some are violent and some are just full-on crazy! One day she meets Mr.Mamiya, a strange and captivating artist who gradually will initiate her into SM pleasures.

November 27, 2023

Shinji Sômai's Typhoon Club (1985) on blu-ray from Third Window Films (UK), also coming from Cinema Guild in the US

Shinji Somai's beloved cult film Typhoon Club is widely heralded as the director's seminal feature and considered to be one of the greatest Japanese films ever made. Offering a caustic immersion into the lives of disaffected junior high students on the cusp of adulthood, Typhoon Club features a lively cast of young talent including idol Youki Kudoh (The Crazy Family, Mystery Train) facing existential intrigues, budding sexuality, and rising social tensions in the days leading up to a typhoon's arrival. Stranded in their schoolhouse as the storm settles in, the group undergoes an awakening as they dispel all insecurities, fear and desire under the swell of the tempest.

September 19, 2023

Juanma Bajo Ulloa's La madre muerta aka The Dead Mother (1993) on blu-ray from Radiance (UK)

Ismael (Karra Elejalde, Timecrimes) breaks into the house of a fine art restorer and shoots the homeowner dead, leaving her daughter orphaned and traumatized for life. Years later Ismael is working in a bar where he sees the daughter again. Paranoid that she has recognised him and will report him, he kidnaps her and holds her hostage, demanding that her hospital pay a ransom for her release. As he spends more time with her, a strange bond develops that causes him to delay the ransom request or fulfil his threats of throwing her in front of a train. But he can't delay forever... A gothic thriller with pitch-black humour that recalls the Coen brothers, Juanma Bajo Ulloa's sophomore feature won a host of prestigious international awards and was a precursor to the Spanish genre explosion.

October 24, 2023

Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz's Messiah of Evil (1973) on blu-ray from Radiance (UK)

A woman arrives in a sleepy seaside town after receiving unsettling letters from her father, only to discover the town is under the influence of a strange cult that weeps tears of blood and hunger for human flesh. From Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, the writers of American Grafitti, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Howard the Duck, this dreamy and atmospheric film transposes the post-Night of the Living Dead zombie movie to a surreal small-town American setting, presented through gorgeous Techniscope visuals that echo the stylish European horror of Mario Bava and Hammer. A true cult film, Messiah of Evil, which was also released as Dead People, has overcome distribution challenges to enjoy growing awareness and high acclaim after decades of word-of-mouth enthusiasm among horror cinema fans and critics around the world.

September 18, 2023

Ryszard Bugajski's Przesłuchanie aka Interrogation (1982) on blu-ray from Second Run (UK)

Based on true events, and reflecting the Stalinist terror of the early 1950s, Ryszard Bugajski's harrowing film was banned under martial law in Poland, but survived and thrived on underground VHS through a copy smuggled out by the director at great personal risk. Interrogation was finally officially released in 1990 to great international acclaim.

Tonia (Krystyna Janda - Man of Marble, Mephisto), a cabaret singer, is imprisoned without explanation. Days become months, varied only by the persuasion, intimidation and torture of relentless interrogations. Janda's outstanding depiction of a woman who finds strength and heroism in the face of torture and internment, takes you to places few films are willing to explore.


Isao Fujisawa's 1974 Bye Bye Love

QuoteFollowing two youngsters on a doomed summer road trip through Japan in the wake of the era of free love, Bye Bye Love (1974) takes its viewers on a journey through both politics and surreal poetry, the affliction of loneliness, the magic of partnership, and the lure of leaving society behind. Carried by sparkling performances from its two young stars, Bye Bye Love is a breathless farewell to the spirit of an era as it disappears over the horizon.         

Long considered lost, the film was rediscovered in a warehouse in 2018. This will be its first screening with English subtitles, translated by Colin Smith & edited by Akihiro Suzuki.