By Dean Boor
Arrow are pleased to be establishing their first Arrow Video Cult Corner at Birmingham this November, fans of cult film can expect an array of new titles and a visual feast of the old school that has become commonplace with Arrow releases along with the opportunity to meet some of the team responsible for the UK’s leading cult label.
Arrow Films is a leading UK-based independent entertainment distribution company, established in 1991. At that time, it was focused on cult and world cinema on VHS. Early releases included Cinema Paradiso and Hellraiser, releases Arrow are proud to still distribute to this day. In the early 2000s Alex Agran became CEO and in 2009 started Arrow Video with the aim of presenting cult films in definitive editions. This started with DVDs of Italian horror classics like The House by the Cemetery and Macabre along with other cult titles like Caligula and later Dawn and Day of the Dead.
Through their key brand labels, Arrow Video and Arrow Academy, the company is also a leading restorer and theatrical distributor of classic and cult / horror films, including landmark titles such as Donnie Darko (15th anniversary) and Hellraiser (30th Anniversary).
Arrow Video is widely considered to be the global market leader in the Premium Home Entertainment market, fuelled by passionate and expert curation, aligned with state of the art in-house film restoration – resulting in highly sought after bespoke Blu-ray editions of classic, cult and horror films. Beloved by collectors, this ever-expanding brand continues to delight a growing international fan base with high-end Limited-Edition boxsets and deluxe, definitive Blu-ray editions with uncut versions, newly commissioned artwork, specially curated extras and booklets. The Arrow Video film collection now spans more than 300 releases including films from Dario Argento, Wes Craven, John Carpenter and many more.
When asked about flagship titles, or specific releases that helped launched the label, Francesco Simeoni, Director of Content and Production for Arrow describes an overall love for the smaller titles as well as the big releases that fans would already have heard of:
F.S: “We don’t just strive for really big titles as we really enjoy working on titles that see less love, for instance our release of the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis or our more obscure Gialli and yakuza titles which we shower with as much love as our flagships, certainly this comes from our creative passion as cinephiles as well as the feedback from our fans. Whilst many won’t recognise Death Walks at Midnight and Death Walks On High Heels I certainly feel that it’s like a flagship title, but there’s no denying that titles like Phantasm set more pulses racing!”
Unlike other larger film distributors Arrow have a genuine, visual passion for their film releases and the care that goes into the additional content is what makes them stand out. Catch up with any one of their team to talk film and you’ll no doubt have a friend for life, or at the very least a well-versed debate on the best worst cult horror film from way back when. If you’ve ever scrolled through the Arrow catalogue you’ll immediately note that this is a brand for collectors; leading titles include Bride of Re-Animator, Donnie Darko, Big Trouble in Little China and Battle Royale to name a few. Not content with just releasing a stand out classic horror and cult title on DVD and Blu-ray combo however, Arrow are known for incorporating an extensive range of special features on their releases along with specially commissioned artwork from renowned artists within the industry. With respected artists such as Graham Humphreys (Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead) and Gary Pullin (Night of the Comet, The Incredible Melting Man) on the Arrow roster (among many other talented artists) it is understandable why every Arrow release immediately becomes a highly sought after collector item. From cover artwork to booklets and postcards, t-shirts to vinyl the artists responsible for the look and packaging of an Arrow release are in some ways just as important as the extras that come with it, it’s not uncommon for an Arrow title to sell out within a couple of hours of release and immediately become a rarity.
Francesco Simeoni Director of Content and Production for Arrow, truly a dream job for any fan of movies; being able to sit through hours of horror and cult and work with unseen footage for special features, accompanied by choosing the artists to work with on the packaging for the release advises this is very much a labour of love, as one would expect:
F.S: “We all really enjoy the creative process, so every title gets a lot of love. I’ve been personally blown away by so many artworks and it’s such a thrill when you work with an artist that each subsequent one you say that they’ve topped themselves. We are very fortunate to work with so many talented artists, I couldn’t really pick any one or two, there are too many! Where a release is physically bigger it necessarily gets more artwork so they potentially stand out more, the artwork to the Herschell Gordon Lewis box or DONNIE DARKO for instance only hint at the wonders within.”
Forever pushing to give fans of cult film more, Arrow are also beginning to grow into the release of vinyl soundtracks under Arrow Records, mastered with as much care as the DVDs and Blu-rays, as well as Arrow Books, with new releases each month focusing on specific films, Cult filmmakers and actors and more.
It’s no wonder that the Arrow team are excited to be attending MCM Birmingham this year bringing the first Arrow Video Cult Corner to life, with a chance to showcase new titles and celebrate old ones alike this is an event that will be memorable for the team and fans alike.
New Titles to look out for at MCM Birmingham Comic-Con include The Thing Std Ed (out Nov 20), Animal Factory (out Nov 20), The Incredible Shrinking Man (out Nov 13), The Villainess (out Oct 30).
Come along to the booth and meet the team at this year’s MCM Birmingham, pick up some exclusive merchandise and pre-release deals, meet some of Arrow Video’s artists such as Paul Shipper (more to be confirmed) see previews and much, much more.