Arrow Academy /Video December Slate, Is ‘Action Epic’

Summer has ended, Halloween is only weeks away, and Christmas countdown has started too. Arrow Video and Arrow Academy deliver a sackful of cineaste stocking fillers this Christmas, with a beautiful collection of three films from a Japanese auteur, an extraordinary action horror that redefined the genre, and the definitive edition of a beloved horror comedy on Blu-ray and UHD.

In December, Arrow Academy presents Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura, a leading figure of the Japanese New Wave era of the 1960s, who cemented his international reputation as one of the most important directors of his generation with a series of films that all competed at Cannes to great critical acclaim. This exclusive box set from Arrow Academy presents restored versions of three late career classics from the legendary filmmaker – The Ballad of Narayama (1983) Zegen (1987), making its HD debut; and Black Rain (1989). These three works epitomise the director’s almost documentary style of filmmaking, exposing the vulgar yet vibrant and instinctive underbelly of Japanese society through a sympathetic focus on peasants, prostitutes, criminal lowlife and other marginalised figures.

At the start of December, Arrow Video releases Versus, a relentless one-of-a-kind sensory assault chock-full of hyper-kinetic fight scenes, gangster shootouts, sword-slashing violence and gory zombie horror. Versus was a key title amongst the barrage of innovative horror and action movies that appeared as if from nowhere from Japan at the turn of the millennium, leading to a new wave of appreciation for Asian extreme cinema. Versus caused a sensation both in Japan and internationally upon its release, and Arrow Video is presenting this mythic cult title in both its original 2000 and expanded 2004 Ultimate Versus iterations, in a brand new, director-approved restoration, packed with extras.

Also in December from Arrow Video comes Tremors, a pulse-pounding love letter to 1950s creature features that delivers horror and humour in equal measure. A bonafide cult classic that has grabbed audiences’ affections ever since its release and spawned a successful franchise that continues to this day, the film, starring Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon, is bursting with indelible characters, quotable dialogue and jaw-dropping special effects.

Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura
On Limited Edition Blu-ray, 7th December

Based on an ancient folktale, The Ballad of Narayama (1983) was the first of two works from the director to win the prestigious Cannes Palme d’Or. Imamura’s magnum opus depicts the members of an extended farming family eking out their existence in the mountainous north of Japan against the backdrop of the changing seasons before village lore decrees they make the sacrifice of abandoning their aged mother on the top of a nearby mountain when she reaches her seventieth year. Making its HD debut, Zegen (1987) takes a satirical look at Japan’s prewar colonial expansion through the unscrupulous eyes of its flesh-peddler antihero as he establishes a prostitution enterprise across Southeast Asia. Finally, the harrowing Black Rain (1989) details the precarious existence of a household of atomic bomb survivors as, five years after being caught in the blast of Hiroshima, they struggle to find a husband for their 25-year-old niece.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

• Restored High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all three films
• Original lossless Japanese PCM 1.0 mono soundtracks
• Optional English subtitles
• Brand new audio commentaries on all three films by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp
• Brand new, in-depth appreciations of all three films by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns
• Alternate colour ending to Black Rain, shot by Imamura but removed from the film shortly before its release
• Archival interviews on Black Rain with actress Yoshiko Tanaka and assistant director Takashi Miike
• Multiple trailers and image galleries
• Original Japanese press kits for The Ballad of Narayama and Black Rain (BD-ROM content)
• Limited edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by Tom Mes
• Limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

BLU-RAY | 1983/1987/1989 | ITALY | 130 / 125 / 123 MINUTES | DRAMA/ THRILLER| COLOUR | 1.85:1 |JAPANESE|ENGLISH SDH

Versus
On Blu-ray, 7th December

A mysterious face-off in a wooded clearing between two escaped convicts and a carload of sharply dressed yakuza holding a beautiful woman captive ends in hails of bullets and showers of blood. The location for this violent encounter is the mythic Forest of Resurrection, the site of the 444th portal of the 666 hidden gates that link this earthly domain to the netherworld – and it didn’t get this name for nothing. As one of the surviving prisoners escapes with the girl into the darkness of the forest, disgruntled gangsters soon become the least of their worries as an earlier battle between a lone warrior against hordes of zombie samurai is carried over from a millennium ago into the present day…

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

• Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements by Arrow Films, approved by director Ryûhei Kitamura
• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ presentations of both versions of the film: the original 2000 cut and 2004’s Ultimate Versus, featuring over 10 minutes of new and revised footage
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon

DISC 1: VERSUS
• Original lossless Japanese 5.1 and 2.0 stereo audio and English 2.0 stereo audio
• Optional English subtitles
• Audio commentary by Kitamura and producer Keishiro Shin
• Audio commentary by Kitamura and the cast and crew
• New visual essay on the career of Kitamura by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp
• Behind Versus, a two-part behind-the-scenes documentaries exploring the film’s production
• First Contact: Versus Evolution, a featurette exploring the film’s origins
• Tak Sakaguchi’s One-Man Journey, an archival featurette on the actor’s visit to the 2001 Japan Film Festival in Hamburg
• Film festival screening footage
• Team Versus, a brief look inside the Napalm Films office
• Deep in the Woods, an archival featurette featuring interviews with Kitamura, cast and crew
• The Encounter, an archival interview with editor Shûichi Kakesu
• Deleted scenes with audio commentary by Kitamura, cast and crew
• Nervous and Nervous 2, two “side story” mini-movies featuring characters from the main feature
• Featurette on the making of Nervous 2
• Versus FF Version, a condensed, 20-minute recut of the film
• Multiple trailers
• Image gallery

DISC 2: ULTIMATE VERSUS
• Original lossless Japanese 6.1 and 2.0 stereo audio and English 6.1 and 2.0 stereo audio
• Optional English subtitles
• Audio commentary by Kitamura, cast and crew
• Sakigake! Otoko versus Juku, a featurette on the newly shot material for Ultimate Versus

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film and a
reprinted interview with Kitamura by Tom Mes, and notes on the making of the film by Kitamura.

BLU-RAY | 2000 | JAPAN | 120/131 MINUTES | ACTION/HORROR | COLOUR | 1.85:1 |JAPANESE/ENGLISH|ENGLISH SDH

Tremors
On Limited Edition UHD and Limited Edition Blu-ray, 14th December

Good-ol’-boy handymen Val and Earl are sick of their dead-end jobs in one-horse desert town Perfection, Nevada (population: 14). Just as they’re about to escape Perfection forever, however, things start to get really weird: half-eaten corpses litter the road out of town; the phone lines stop working; and a plucky young scientist shows evidence of unusually strong seismic activity in the area. Something is coming for the citizens of Perfection… and it’s under the goddamn ground!

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
• New 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Ron Underwood and director of photography Alexander Gruszynski
• 60-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing by Kim Newman and Jonathan Melville and selected archive materials
• Large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank
• Small fold-out double-sided poster featuring new Graboid X-ray art by Matt Frank
• Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards
• Limited Edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank

DISC 1FEATURE & EXTRAS (4K UHD BLU-RAY)
• 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
• Restored DTS-HD MA original theatrical 2.0 stereo, 4.0 surround, and remixed 5.1 surround audio options
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• New audio commentary by director Ron Underwood and writers/producers Brent Maddock & S.S.Wilson
• New audio commentary by Jonathan Melville, author of Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors
• Making Perfection, a brand new documentary by Universal Pictures interviewing key cast and crew from the franchise (including Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross, Ariana Richards, Ron Underwood, Brent Maddock & S.S. Wilson, among many others) and revisiting the original locations
• The Truth About Tremors, a newly filmed interview with co-producer Nancy Roberts on the film’s rocky road to the screen
• Bad Vibrations, a newly filmed interview with director of photography Alexander Gruszynski
• Aftershocks and Other Rumblings, newly filmed on-set stories from associate producer Ellen Collett
• Digging in the Dirt, a new featurette interviewing the crews behind the film’s extensive visual effects
• Music for Graboids, a new featurette on the film’s music with composers Ernest Troost and Robert Folk
• Pardon My French!, a newly assembled compilation of overdubs from the edited-for television version
• The Making of Tremors, an archive documentary from 1995 by Laurent Bouzereau, interviewing the filmmakers and special effects teams
• Creature Featurette, an archive compilation of on-set camcorder footage showing the making of the Graboids
• Electronic press kit featurette and interviews with Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross and Reba McEntire
• Deleted scenes, including the original opening scene
• Theatrical trailers, TV and radio spots for the original film as well as trailers for the entire Tremors franchise
• Comprehensive image galleries, including rare behind-the-scenes stills, storyboards and two different drafts of the screenplay

DISC 2INTERVIEWS & SHORT FILMS (BLU-RAY – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE)
• Extended hour-long interviews from Making Perfection with Ron Underwood, Brent Maddock, S.S.Wilson, Nancy Roberts and creature designer Alec Gillis
• Outtakes with optional introduction and commentary by S.S. Wilson
• Three early short films by the makers of Tremors, remastered in high definition, including S.S.Wilson’s stop-motion horror/comedy classic Recorded Live (1975)

BLU-RAY, 4K UHD  | 1990 | USA | 96 MINUTES |COMEDY/HORROR| COLOUR | 1.85:1 |ENGLISH|ENGLISH SDH