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In our new column, we share the latest Blu-ray releases from our favorite indie distributors — from cult classics to long-lost gems.

The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean your favorite labels have stopped gifting fans with upcoming releases to empty your wallet and blow your mind. Morbidly Beautiful takes a look at some interesting releases coming in February 2022!

88 Films

88 Films USA, in partnership with MVD, is releasing two high-octane Kung Fu classics from the legendary Shaw Brothers collection — The Flag of Iron and Legendary Weapons of China.

The Flag of Iron

Another cult classic from the Shaw Brothers Studio, The Flag of Iron is a quintessential Hong Kong tale of rivals, betrayal, and family feuds. When the master of the Iron Flag clan is killed by a mysterious assassin known only as Spearman, it sets off an explosive chain of events that pits two brothers against each other in an action-packed adventure of fist flying fury. Directed by Cheh Chang (The One-Armed Swordsman, Five Venoms), this kinetic and highly influential Kung Fu picture, mixes traditional storytelling with more modern presentation techniques — layering acrobatics and the use of exotic weaponry and quick as lightening fight sequences to produce a sure-fire entertaining hit, which no serious collector of martial arts movies can be without.

  • High Definition (1080p) Presentation in 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 2.0 DTS-HD MA English Soundtrack
  • 2.0 DTS-HD MA Mandarin Soundtrack with newly translated English Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
  • Includes First Run Slipcase, Booklet and Poster

Legendary Weapons of China

When the former member of a failing magical kung fu order threatens to destroy the remaining group’s reputation through his loud mouth insults and defamatory behavior, an elite band of killers is dispatched to silence him forever. Though perhaps the golden age of martial cinema had been and gone, this late entry wuxia-style film from The Shaw Brothers house of dreams was still able to pack a powerful punch. Written, directed, and starring Chia-Liang Liu (The Spiritual Boxer, Spiritual Boxer II), this gloriously fast-paced drama which entertainingly mixes swordplay with hand to hand combat in a fabulously furious rollicking adventure weaves its own special kind of magic.

  • High Definition (1080p) Presentation in 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 2.0 DTS-HD MA English Soundtrack
  • 2.0 DTS-HD MA Mandarin Soundtrack with newly translated English Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary with Asian cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
  • Audio commentary with Asian cinema experts Frank Djeng
  • Eighteen Weapons – David West on Legendary Weapons of China
  • Gordon At Shaw – Interview with Actor Gordon Lui
  • Titus At Shaw – Interview with Producer Titus Ho
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Arrow Video

Arrow Video U.S. has two new titles releasing in February. The first is a box set celebrating French New Wave icon, Lies and Deceit: Five Films by Claude Chabrol, and the second is an overlooked early 80s slasher, Deadly Games.

Lies and Deceit: Five Films by Claude Chabrol

Enjoy five freshly remastered films from the man known as the French Hitchcock. Featuring Cop Au Vin (Poulet au vinaigre), Inspector Lavardin, Madame Bovary, Betty and Torment (L’enfer), this inaugural collection of Claude Chabrol on Blu-ray brings together a wealth of passionate contributors and archival extras to shed fresh light on the films and the filmmaker

  • LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
  • High definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations of all five films
  • New 4K restorations of Madame Bovary, Betty, and Torment
  • Original lossless French PCM mono audio on Cop Au Vin, Inspector Lavardin, Madame Bovary and Betty
  • Original lossless French PCM stereo audio on Torment
  • Optional English Subtitles
  • Archive introductions to all films by film scholar Joël Magny
  • Select scene commentaries for all films by Claude Chabrol
  • Theatrical trailers and image galleries for all films
  • 80-page collector’s booklet of new writing by film critics Martyn Conterio, Kat Ellinger, Philip Kemp and Sam Wigley, and archive material
  • Limited edition packaging with newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella
  • DISC 1: COP AU VIN
  • New commentary by critic Ben Sachs
  • New interview with film historian Ian Christie
  • Claude Chabrol at the BFI, Chabrol on stage with film historian Ian Christie in 1994
  • Claude Chabrol, Jean Poiret & Stephane Audran in conversation, archive Swiss TV episode with director and cast discussing Cop Au Vin
  • DISC 2: INSPECTOR LAVARDIN
  • New commentary by critic Ben Sachs
  • Why Chabrol?, new interview with film critic Sam Wigley on why Chabrol remains essential viewing
  • DISC 3: MADAME BOVARY
  • New commentary by critic Kat Ellinger
  • Imagining Emma: Madame Bovary on screen, new visual essay by film historian Pamela Hutchinson
  • DISC 4: BETTY
  • New commentary by critic Kat Ellinger
  • Betty, from Simenon to Chabrol, new visual essay by French Cinema historian Ginette Vincendeau
  • New interview with Ros Schwartz, the English translator of the Georges Simenon novel on which the film is based
  • DISC 5: TORMENT
  • New commentary by critics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson
  • On Henri Georges Clouzot, archival interview with Chabrol about, Clouzot’s abandoned attempt to make L’enfer
  • Interview with Marin Karmitz, archive interview with Chabrol’s most frequent producer from 1985 onward

Deadly Games

A masked maniac with a penchant for a horror-themed board game is playing his own twisted game with the women of a small American town. Each time the dice is rolled, another victim meets a grisly end. Returning home to mourn the death of her murdered sister, Keegan befriends local cop Roger and oddball cinema projectionist Billy – but soon finds herself in the killer’s sights.

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
  • Sooty’s a Sh*t – a brand new interview with actor Jere Rae-Mansfield
  • Practical Magic – a brand new interview with special effects and stunt co-ordinator John Eggett
  • Extensive image gallery featuring never-before-seen production photos and promotional material
  • Original Trailer
  • Original screenplay under the title Who Fell Asleep [BD-ROM content]
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Ralf Krause
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by film historian/author Amanda Reyes

Scream Factory

Nature will soon run amok in gory fashion with the new Scream Factory release Alligator: Collector’s Edition 4K UHD! Out 2/22, it features two cuts of the film and is loaded with extras, including a new interview with Bryan Cranston who was its Production Assistant. Preorder now.

Alligator

IT LIVES 50 FEET BENEATH THE CITY. IT’S 36 FEET LONG. IT WEIGHS 2,000 POUNDS … AND IT’S ABOUT TO BREAK OUT!

From director Lewis Teague (Cujo) and screenwriter John Sayles (The Howling) comes an unstoppable thriller with bite. A family returning from Florida decides their pet baby alligator is too much to handle and flushes him down the toilet. Meanwhile, Slade Laboratories is conducting secret experiments with animals and disposing of them in the sewer. The alligator, fending for itself, begins to feed on the dead animals, and grows. Now, twelve years later, after several mysterious murders, David Madison (Robert Forster, Jackie Brown) is on the case to find out who … or what … is killing people.

DISC ONE (4K UHD – Theatrical Version):

  • NEW 4K Scan From The Original Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary With Director Lewis Teague And Actor Robert Forster

DISC TWO (BLU-RAY – Theatrical Version):

  • NEW 4K Scan From The Original Camera Negative
  • NEW Everybody In The Pool – An Interview With Actress Robin Riker
  • NEW Wild In The Streets – An Interview With Director Lewis Teague
  • NEW It Walks Among Us – An Interview With Screenwriter John Sayles
  • NEW Luck Of The Gator – An Interview With Special Makeup Effects Artist Robert Short
  • NEW Gator Guts, The Great River, And Bob – An Interview With Production Assistant, Now Famous Actor/Director/Producer, Bryan Cranston
  • Audio Commentary With Director Lewis Teague And Actor Robert Forster
  • Alligator Author – An Interview With Screenwriter John Sayles
  • Additional Scenes From The TV Version
  • Teaser Trailer (NEW 2K Scan)
  • Theatrical Trailer (NEW 2K Scan)
  • Trailers From Hell – Filmmaker Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) On ALLIGATOR
  • TV Spots (NEW 2K Scan)
  • ALLIGATOR Game Television Commercial
  • NEW Newspaper Ad Still Gallery By Drive-In Asylum
  • Still Gallery (Movie Stills, Movie Posters, Lobby Cards, And Behind-The-Scenes Photos)

DISC THREE (BLU-RAY – Television Version)

  • The Extended TV Version In HD For The First Time (NEW 4K Scan From The Original Camera Negative With Additional Footage Scanned From An Internegative)

Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome has announced its February batch of Blu-ray releases. They are The Fear (1995), Hitcher in the Dark (1989), and Forgotten Gialli: Volume 3 Blu-ray (1972-1977). Vinegar Syndrome has also announced a new distribution deal with the indie label Utopia. (See additional information below).

Hitcher in the Dark

Description: Young and handsome Mark Glazer roams around the southeastern United States in his decked-out camper, picking up single female hitchhikers. Once he has the unsuspecting travelers trapped inside his RV, Mark savagely assaults and then murders them by slashing their throats, taking photos of the grisly aftermath to add into his macabre collection. But everything changes when he happens to meet Daniela, a spitting image for his deceased mother, who soon becomes the victim of his most savage torments…

Directed by one of the true godfathers of Italian horror and exploitation cinema, Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox), HITCHER IN THE DARK is an ultra-violent mix of suspense thriller and action which stars Josie Bissett (Melrose Place), Jason Saucier (Sister Sister), and Joe Balogh (Moonstalker) as Mark. One of several films produced in the United States by Joe D’Amato (Emanuelle in America) that attempted to tie itself in with a popular American film, this was marketed in Italy as ‘Hitcher 2,’ and makes its worldwide Blu-ray debut from Vinegar Syndrome in a brand new 4K restoration of its original 35mm negative!

  • NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • Audio Commentary track with critics and authors Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger
  • Archival video interview with writer/director Umberto Lenzi
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles
  • REGION-FREE

The Fear

Discretion: Richard is a college student who has decided to focus his attention on the study of fear and has invited a group of friends up to his family’s secluded mountain cabin for the weekend, during which they’ve agreed to participate in his project and share what terrifies them. While the experiment seems harmless at first, when it comes time for Richard to reveal what he’s afraid of, the answer comes in the form of a strange, lifelike, wooden carving of a man which has been in the cabin for generations and is named Morty. As the friends attempt to enjoy their wilderness seclusion, Morty comes to life and begins stalking and killing the youngsters in ways that go far beyond their most horrific nightmares.

One of the quintessential mid 90s indie horror films, Vincent Robert’s THE FEAR features Heather Medway (TV’s Viper), Ann Turkel (Humanoids From the Deep), Vince Edwards (The Killing), plus a rare acting role from legendary horror filmmaker, Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street). Taking full advantage of its scenic locales, THE FEAR ramps up its body count, leading to a tense and bloody climax and is headed to Blu-ray, fully uncut and uncensored in a new, 4K restoration of its 35mm camera negative.

  • NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • Brand new commentary track with director Vincent Robert
  • Brand new commentary track with executive producer Greg H. Sims
  • “Face to Face with The Fear” – a 50-minute making-of documentary, featuring interviews with the crew and cast
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles
  • REGION-FREE

Forgotten Gialli: Volume 3

Description: In this third installment in our celebration of Gialli which we feel have been overlooked during the home video age, we’re proud to offer this trio of diverse and bloody offerings, all of which are making their worldwide Blu-ray debuts! All three films are presented in brand new and exclusive restorations of their original, uncensored, 35mm camera negatives. Vinegar Syndrome is proud to present the third entry in their ‘Forgotten Gialli’ series.

1. Autopsy

A wave of sudden, violent suicides have gripped Rome and are being blamed on sunspots. Simona, a young pathologist with an unhealthy obsession with death, has become increasingly interested in this strange phenomenon. But with the discovery of the body of a young woman, an apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot, Simona finds herself thrust into a terrifying mystery and conspiracy to cloak actual murders as suicides. And the nearer she comes to unraveling the truth, the more in danger she is to enter the sights of a deranged killer, who might be a lot closer to home than she realizes.

An expertly directed and at times staggeringly brutal thriller from Armando Crispino (The Dead Are Alive), AUTOPSY (which was made under the title ‘Sun Spots’ and released internationally as ‘The Victim’) stars Mimsy Farmer (Four Flies on Grey Velvet), Barry Primus (New York, New York), and Ray Lovelock (Let Sleeping Corpses Lie). Featuring stunning photography from veteran Italian DP Carlo Carlini (The Bloodstained Butterfly) and an acclaimed score from Ennio Morricone (A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin), Vinegar Syndrome is proud to bring AUTOPSY to Blu-ray, fully uncensored and featuring its complete English and Italian language audio tracks fully intact.

  • NEW 2K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • Includes both the English and Italian language soundtracks
  • Archival theatrical introduction with director Armando Crispino
  • “Editing & Rhythm” – an interview with editor Daniele Alabiso
  • “The Autopsy Papers” – an interview with Francesco Crispino, film historian & son of director Armando Crispino
  • “Black Hole Sun” – a featurette on the career of director Armando Crispino
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Alternate Italian titles & credits
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • Newly translated English SDH subtitles
  • REGION-FREE
2. Murder Mansion

On a dark and foggy night in the countryside, a group of apparent strangers all find themselves stranded at an old gothic mansion. Deciding to spend the night and look for help the following morning, the group paired off for bed. As the night wears on, increasingly strange events begin to occur, culminating in a murder. Tensions and suspicions arise, and fear mounts that the ghosts of the mansion have risen from the grave, especially when more bodies turn up…but is the explanation behind these ghastly events truly supernatural?

One of the best and most effective combinations of mid 60s style gothic Euro-horror and early 70s flavored Giallo intrigue, Francisco Lara Polpo’s Spanish-Italian co-production, MURDER MANSION (originally titled ‘The Mansion in the Fog’) became a drive-in and late-nite TV hit in the US, during the mid-1970s. Never legally released in the United States on disc, Vinegar Syndrome proudly presents the Blu-ray premiere of MURDER MANSION, newly restored in 4K from its original negative and includes its original Spanish soundtrack along with its English and nearly impossible to find Italian dubs.

  • NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • Includes the original Spanish language soundtrack with new English translations, as well as the English and Italian language dubs (Italian dub is not translated)
  • “Lady of the Mansion” – an interview with actress Ida Galli aka Evelyn Stewart
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • Newly translated English SDH subtitles for the original Spanish soundtrack
  • REGION-FREE
3. Crazy Desires of a Murderer

Countess Ileana has just returned to her family’s grand old castle, where her paralyzed father, an apparent clairvoyant, and strange younger brother, with an unhealthy interest in taxidermy, reside. Almost immediately after arriving, one of Ileana’s friends, who’s visiting the castle, is shockingly murdered and has her eyes plucked out of their sockets. While suspicion falls on Ileana’s brother, a curious police inspector (Sicilian character actor Corrado Gaipa of THE GODFATHER and MY DEAR KILLER) begins to investigate, believing there to be more to the killing than meets the eye. However, his sleuthing proves no match for this maniac, as the body count steadily rises…

A delirious mix of gothic horror, sex drama, murder mystery, plus a whole lot of extracted eyeballs, Filippo Walter Ratti’s CRAZY DESIRES OF A MURDERER (though known in Italy as the much more lurid ‘The Morbid Vices of a Housekeeper’) remains one of the forgotten treats of late 70s Giallo cinema. Never released theatrically in the English-speaking world and virtually unavailable on home video, Vinegar Syndrome is delighted to bring this trashy rarity to Blu-ray, newly restored in 4K from its 35mm original negative!

  • NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • “Crazy Memories of an Actor” – an interview with actor Giuseppe Colombo
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • Newly translated English SDH subtitles
  • REGION-FREE

Utopia/Vinegar Syndrome

Also coming in February via the Utopia label but distributed by Vinegar Syndrome: Minor Premise (2020)*.

Minor Premise

Synopsis: Attempting to surpass his father’s legacy and pressured by an old colleague (Dana Ashbrook of “Twin Peaks”), neuroscientist Ethan Kochar (Sathya Sridharan) turns his experiment on himself and unwittingly fractures his consciousness into ten competing sections. Ethan is now trapped in his home with his ex-girlfriend Alli (Paton Ashbrook) and the two must navigate trauma, ambition, and missteps of the past. Diving headfirst into the uncharted equations of the brain, they realize there is more at stake than just their relationship or Ethan’s reputation. With time quickly running out, he is forced to face off against the darker sides of himself.

Eric Schultz’s striking feature directorial debut, co-written with Thomas Torrey and neuroscientist Justin Moretto, is a brilliantly constructed science-fiction thriller, which also serves as a poignant reflection on our mind’s fragility and what constructs our sense of Self. Vibrant and trippy, with a focus on scientific authenticity, it dives through the inner workings of our anti-hero in a way that is insightful, suspenseful, and exhilarating. Sathya Sridharan’s performance as Ethan is a force to be reckoned with, bringing a unique twist to the sci-fi leading man, while Paton Ashbrook as Alli provides the film’s beating heart.

  • Director’s Commentary
  • “Minor Premise” Short Film
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Meet the Sections (1 – 9)
  • Dance Party
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Full Length Trailer
  • Reversible cover
  • English SDH subtitles
  • REGION-A “LOCKED”

*Utopia is a film acquisition, sales, and technology company with a ‘filmmaker first’ approach. Utopia focuses on creating new revenue and monetization opportunities, improving the direct-to-consumer experience, and helping filmmakers maintain a global presence. Vinegar Syndrome’s sister company, OCN Distribution, is thrilled to be representing Utopia’s brand new line of home video releases!

Troma

Finally, Troma has restored the shocking cult classic, Surf Nazis Must Die for a remastered Blu-ray release in February!

Surf Nazis Must Die