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BluCaps: Mandy

Monday 8 April, 2019

Arrow June announcements

Monday 1 April, 2019

Arrow May announcements

Thursday 28 February, 2019

BluCaps: Suspiria (2018)

Wednesday 13 February, 2019

Arrow March announcements

Saturday 22 December, 2018

BluCaps: Revenge

Thursday 6 December, 2018

Arrow February announcement

Sunday 2 December, 2018

Diabrouhaha

Monday 5 November, 2018

Arrow January announcement

Saturday 27 October, 2018


It’s been a long time coming, but the time has finally come to unveil the blurb and cover art for Cruel Summer, my upcoming second novel and sequel to In the Silence.

Zoe Callahan is having the summer from hell… and it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

She’s stuck in a dead-end job, her relationship is going nowhere and the memory of the Kelvingrove Park Murders three years ago continues to cast a long shadow over every aspect of her life.

When a prostitute is brutally assaulted by Dominic Ryland, a rising political star with a suspiciously spotless personal reputation, Zoe leaps at the chance to embroil herself in a noble cause and sets out on a one-woman crusade to bring Ryland to justice.

But in doing so, she quickly finds herself on the wrong side of some very dangerous people - people who have reputations to protect and who would think nothing of silencing Zoe by any means necessary.

An explosive thriller set against the backdrop of a sweltering heatwave, Cruel Summer is the sequel to M.R. Mackenzie’s critically acclaimed debut In the Silence and the second instalment in the Kelvingrove Park Trilogy.

Cruel Summer (cover)

For the cover art, I knew I wanted something moody and evocative, as well as something that captured something of the city of Glasgow — arguably as much a character as Zoe, Anna or anyone else. I eventually settled on the McLennan Arch on Glasgow Green — a key location in the novel whose significance only becomes clear very late in the game. The result, I think, evokes something of the same mood as the cover art for titles by the likes of Peter James and Ian Rankin while also having a personality of its own.

Stay tuned for more information, including a concrete release date, an extract from the new book and more, very soon… and be sure to bookmark the newly launched Cruel Summer homepage!


BluCaps: Mandy

  • Label: Universal
  • Disc Locality: Sweden/Denmark/Norway/Finland
  • Region: ABC
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: ARRIRAW 2.8K (Panavision)/2K DI

Nightfall

Nightfall

During his long and varied career, Jacques Tourneur (The Comedy of Terrors, Cat People) tackled a breadth of genres on both sides of the Atlantic. With 1956’s Nightfall, he returns to the noir trappings he tackled so successfully with Out of the Past for a tale of deception, intrigue and paranoia.

Adapted from the novel by prolific crime fiction author James Goodis (Dark Passage), Nightfall is the story of Jim Vanning (Aldo Ray, The Violent Ones, The Naked and the Dead), an innocent man wrongly accused of murder. On the same night he has a chance encounter in a bar with glamorous model Marie (Anne Bancroft, The Graduate), the hoods he’s spent the past year running from catch up with him, determined to recover the money they believe he stole from them. Pursued by both the hoods and law enforcement, Vanning and Marie go on the lam, leading to a desperate chase that takes them from the streets of Los Angeles to the snowy peaks of Wyoming.

Eschewing both the big names associated with the genre and its familiar urban locales, and featuring striking monochromatic photography by Oscar-winner Burnett Guffey (From Here to Eternity), Nightfall is a gripping and inventive late-period noir which shows that, even in its twilight years, the genre still had room for innovation.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation, restored from original film elements
  • Original lossless mono soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • New audio commentary by author and critic Bryan Reesman
  • White and Black, a new video appreciation of Nightfall by film historian Philip Kemp
  • Do I Look Like a Married Man?, a new video essay on the themes of Nightfall by author and critic Kat Ellinger
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Amy Simmons


Def-Con 4

Def-Con 4

THE LAST DEFENCE. THE LAST HOPE. THE BATTLE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD HAS BEGUN.

In the 1980s, faced with the demise of the drive-in and the rise of the multiplex, New World Pictures - the independent studio established by Roger Corman - increasingly relied on smaller-scale productions, made with an eye to the cable TV and home video markets. Among these was Def-Con 4, an example of so-called “Canuxploitation” or Canadian exploitation cinema, riding on the coat-tails of the boom in post-apocalyptic disaster movies that began in the previous decade.

Two months after the planet is ravaged by nuclear war, astronauts Howe (Tim Choate), Jordan (Kate Lynch, The Twilight Zone) and Walker (John Walsch, Blow Out) are forced to return to earth - now an apocalyptic wasteland consumed by radiation and roamed by cannibal gangs. Forced into desperate pacts with unlikely allies, among them eccentric survivalist Vinny (Maury Chaykin, WarGames), the astronauts must draw on all their resourcefulness to survive this brave new world.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to George Miller’s Ozploitation classic Mad Max, Def-Con 4 is an inventive and action-packed low budget sci-fi romp, elevated by a pounding score by New World stalwart Christopher Young (Hellraiser) and making its UK High Definition debut with this brand new restoration from Arrow Video.

Special Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original 35mm interpositive
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brave New World, a new video interview with New World Pictures editor Michael Spence
  • Nemesis Descending, a new video interview with composer Christopher Young
  • Exploring the New World, a new video interview with author Chris Poggiali on the history and legacy of New World Pictures
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell


Double Face

Double Face

In the post-war years, the proliferation of transnational European co-productions gave rise to a cross-pollination of genres, with the same films sold in different markets as belonging to different movements. Among these, Riccardo Freda (I vampiri, The Horrible Dr. Hichock)’s Double Face was marketed in West Germany as an Edgar Wallace ‘krimi’, while in Italy it was sold as a giallo in the tradition of Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace, combining elements from both genres for a unique and unforgettable viewing experience.

When wealthy businessman John Alexander (the legendary Klaus Kinski, giving an atypically restrained performance)’s unfaithful wife Helen (Margaret Lee, Circus of Fear) dies in a car crash, it initially looks like a freak accident. However, the plot thickens when evidence arises suggesting that the car was tampered with prior to the crash. And John’s entire perception of reality is thrown into doubt when he discovers a recently-shot pornographic movie which appears to feature Helen - suggesting that she is in fact alive and playing an elaborate mind game on him…

Psychological, psychedelic, and at times just plain psychotic, Double Face stands as one of the most engaging and enjoyable films in Freda’s lengthy and diverse career - a densely-plotted, visually-stunning giallo that evokes much of the same ambience of paranoia and decadence as such classics of the genre as One on Top of the Other and A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin.

Special Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the full-length Italian version of the film from the original 35mm camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
  • Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by author and critic Tim Lucas
  • Seven Notes for a Murderer, a new video interview with composer Nora Orlandi
  • The Many Faces of Nora Orlandi, a new appreciation of the varied career of the film’s composer by musician and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon
  • The Terrifying Dr. Freda, a new video essay on Riccardo Freda’s gialli by author and critic Amy Simmons
  • Extensive image gallery from the collection of Christian Ostermeier, including the original German pressbook and lobby cards, and the complete Italian cineromanzo adaptation
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell


Yakuza Law

Yakuza Law

Director Teruo Ishii (Blind Woman’s Curse, Horrors of Malformed Men), the Godfather of J-sploitation, presents Yakuza Law (AKA Yakuza’s Law: Lynching) - a gruelling anthology of torture, spanning three district periods of Japanese history and bringing to the screen some of the most brutal methods of torment ever devised.

In this deep dive into the world of the Yakuza, meet the violent men who rule the Japanese underworld and the cruel punishments inflicted on those who transgress them. The carnage begins in the Edo Period with a violent tale of samurai vengeance starring Bunta Sugawara (Battles Without Honour and Humanity), before shifting to the Meiji Period as the exiled Ogata (Minoru Oki, Shogun Assassin) returns to face punishment for his past transgressions… and, ultimately, to take his revenge. Finally, the action is brought right up to date with a tale of gang warfare set in then-present-day 60s Japan and headlined by Teruo Yoshida (Ishii’s Orgies of Edo), as a powerful crime syndicate seeks bloody vengeance for the theft of one hundred thousand yen.

Brutal, bewildering and definitely not for the faint-hearted, Yakuza Law represents Japanese popular cinema at its most extreme… and most thrilling.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono Japanese soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles
  • New audio commentary by author and critic Jasper Sharp
  • Erotic-Grotesque and Genre Hopping: Teruo Ishii Speaks, a rare vintage interview with the elusive director on his varied career, newly edited for this release
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tom Mes


The Annihilators

The Annihilators

IN VIETNAM THEY FOUGHT FOR THEIR COUNTRY. NOW, THEY’RE FIGHTING FOR THEIR FRIENDS.

As the 1980s rolled on, a new, bullish attitude to war took hold in America, the weary cynicism of the previous decade giving way to an unabashed celebration of military might. Numerous filmmakers and producers sought to capitalise on the emerging mood… among them New World Pictures, the company founded by the legendary Roger Corman.

In The Annihilators, the war comes home as a group of army vets, battle-scarred from their travails in the jungles of Vietnam, are forced to dust off their combat moves once again when one of their own meets his demise at the hands a violent criminal gang. Deciding that enough is enough, the self-styled Annihilators, led by the redoubtable Bill (Christopher Stone, The Howling, Cujo), set out to equip the beleaguered citizens of downtown Atlanta with the skills they need to rid their streets of crime and vice.

Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr. (Silent Night, Deadly Night) and co-starring Gerrit Graham (Phantom of the Paradise) and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Death Wish), The Annihilators is a brash, no-holds-barred slice of vigilante justice from the golden age of B-movie action.

Special Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original 35mm interpostive, presented uncut in the UK for the first time
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • The New Heat on the Street, a new video interview with actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
  • In Search of Charles E. Sellier Jr., a new video interview with filmmaker David O’Malley on the early career of the Annihilators director
  • Comparison between the censored and uncensored UK releases of the film
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Travis Crawford


BluCaps: Suspiria (2018)

  • Label: Lionsgate
  • Disc Locality: USA
  • Region: A
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Source Format: 35mm (spherical)/4K DI

These are the last announcements of 2018, so it seems appropriate that they represent an absolute doozy of a slate of titles…and that’s just counting mine. The last three weeks have constituted the busiest I can remember in a long time, but hopefully the results are worth it.

The Ring Collection

The Ring Collection

In 1998, director Hideo Nakata (Dark Water) unleashed a chilling tale of technological terror on unsuspecting audiences, which redefined the horror genre, launched the J-horror boom in the West and introducing a generation of moviegoers to a creepy, dark-haired girl called Sadako. The film’s success spawned a slew of remakes, reimaginations and imitators, but none could quite boast the power of Nakata’s original masterpiece, which melded traditional Japanese folklore with contemporary anxieties about the spread of technology.

A group of teenage friends are found dead, their bodies grotesquely contorted, their faces twisted in terror. Reiko (Nanako Matsushima, When Marnie Was There), a journalist and the aunt of one of the victims, sets out to investigate the shocking phenomenon, and in the process uncovers a creepy urban legend about a supposedly cursed videotape, the contents of which causes anyone who views it to die within a week - unless they can persuade someone else to watch it, and, in so doing, pass on the curse…

Arrow Video is proud to present the genre-defining trilogy - Ring, the film that started it all, plus Hideo Nakata’s chilling sequel, Ring 2, and the haunting origin story, Ring 0 - as well as the ‘lost’ original sequel, George Iida’s Spiral, gathered together in glorious high definition and supplemented by a wealth of archival and newly created bonus materials.

Limited Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 4K restoration of Ring from the original camera negative, approved by director of photography Junichiro Hayashi
  • High definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations
  • Lossless Japanese DTS-HD master audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0 soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Bonus feature: Spiral, George Iida’s 1998 sequel to Ring
  • New audio commentary on Ring by film historian David Kalat
  • New audio commentary on Ring 0 by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
  • The Ring Legacy, a series of new interviews from critics and filmmakers on their memories of the Ring series and its enduring legacy
  • A Vicious Circle, a new video interview with author and critic Kat Ellinger on the career of Hideo Nakata
  • Circumnavigating Ring, a new video essay by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on the evolution of the Ring series
  • Spooks, Sighs and Videotape, a new video essay by critic Jasper Sharp on the J-horror phenomenon
  • The Psychology of Fear, a newly edited archival interview with author Koji Suzuki
  • Archival behind-the-scenes featurette on Ring 0
  • Ring 0 deleted scenes
  • Sadako’s Video
  • Multiple theatrical trailers for the Ring series
  • Limited edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by Violet Lucca, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Jasper Sharp, Kieran Fisher and Kat Ellinger
  • Limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork

NOTE: Ring is also available as a standalone Blu-ray, Blu-ray steelbook and legacy DVD.


Strip Nude for your Killer

Strip Nude for your Killer

As the 1970s wore on and audiences began to tire of the tried and tested giallo formula popularized by the thrillers of Argento, Fulci and their contemporaries, filmmakers sought to reinvigorate the ailing movement by injecting elements from other genres. Some took inspiration from the then-burgeoning crime thriller movement, with tales of organised crime and corrupt police officials… while others decided to sex things up by crossing serial killer thrills with salacious softcore antics.

A spate of highly sexualized murders is rocking a prestigious Milanese fashion house. Ambitious photographer Magda (Edwige Fenech, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) and her on-off boyfriend, love rat Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo, The English Patient), team up to crack the case. But, with the motorcycle helmet-wearing killer clearing bearing a grudge against the agency’s employees, it’s surely only a matter of time before they too end up feeling the force of his wrath…

So roll up for a Euro cult experience like no other, with kitschy fashion shoots, back alley abortions, blow-up sex dolls and some very indelicate humor, as one of the most notoriously sleazy gialli ever produced gets the red carpet treatment from Arrow Video!

Special Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by HORRORPEDIA.com’s Adrian J. Smith and David Flint
  • Sex and Death with a Smile, a new video essay by author and critic Kat Ellinger on giallo and sex comedy icon Edwige Fenech
  • A Good Man for the Murders, a newly edited video interview with actor Nino Castelnuovo
  • The Blonde Salamander, a new video interview with actress Erna Schurer
  • The Art of Helping, a new video interview with assistant director Daniele Sangiorgi
  • Jack of All Trades, a new video interview with actor and production manager Tino Polenghi
  • Two versions of the opening scene: tinted and untinted viewing options
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Rachael Nisbet


The Prisoner

The Prisoner

Banned from the Cannes and Venice Films Festivals for being anti-Communist and excoriated elsewhere as pro-Soviet propaganda, Peter Glenville’s The Prisoner stoked controversy at the time of its original release and remains a complex, challenging and multifaceted exploration of faith and power.

In an unnamed Eastern European capital, an iron-willed Cardinal (Academy Award®-winner Alec Guinness, The Ladykillers) is arrested by state police on charges of treason. Tasked with securing a confession from him by any means necessary is a former comrade-in-arms from the anti-Nazi resistance (Jack Hawkins, The Bridge on the River Kwai). Knowing the Cardinal will never fold under physical torture, the Interrogator instead sets out to destroy him mentally, breaking his spirit rather than his body.

Adapted by acclaimed playwright Bridget Boland (Gaslight) from her own stage-play and showcasing powerhouse performances by two actors at the height of their game, The Prisoner is a tense, thought-provoking and disturbing drama about the endurance of the human spirit.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Interrogating Guinness, a new video appreciation of the film by author and academic Neil Sinyard
  • Select scene commentary by author and critic Philip Kemp
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Mark Cunliffe


BluCaps: Revenge

  • Label: Universal
  • Disc Locality: USA
  • Region: A
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: Digital (unknown format)

Another giallo release overseen by my good self, and it’s one I’ve been dying to see get the 1080p treatment for years now. I’m going to go out on a limb and call THE FIFTH CORD the best-looking giallo ever shot, with absolutely mesmerising cinematography that actively serves the film’s themes as opposed to merely being stylistic window dressing. After making my cinematic debut on the PYJAMA GIRL CASE BD, I’ve once again braved going in front of the camera. This release also features the video essay debut of the always knowledgeable Rachael Nisbet, whose examination of the film’s use of architecture and space you won’t want to miss…along with a whole host of other excellent bonus features, for full details of which see below.

The Fifth Cord

The Fifth Cord

The success of Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage ushered in a host of imitators, seeking to capitalise on this new, modern take on the giallo thriller. Many were highly derivative, but a number nonetheless rose above the crowd thanks to skilful execution and a willingness to experiment stylistically. Once such example is The Fifth Cord — which, in the hands of director Luigi Bazzoni (The Possessed, Footprints on the Moon), turns a conventional premise into a visually stunning exploration of alienation and isolation.

When a man barely survives a brutal assault en route home from a New Year’s party, washed-up, whisky-swilling journalist Andrea Bild (Franco Nero, Django) is assigned to report on the case. Before long, the maniac strikes again, this time with fatal results. As the body count rises, Andrea falls under suspicion himself, making it even more imperative that he crack the case. His only clue lies in a series of black gloves found at the location of every attack, each with a finger cut off…

Adapted from a novel by David McDonald Devine, The Fifth Cord boasts a complex, Agatha Christie-esque plot, outstanding cinematography courtesy of future Oscar-winner Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now) and supporting appearances by a raft of genre stalwarts, including Silvia Monti (A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin), Edmund Purdom (Nightmare City) and Rossella Falk (Sleepless). Debuting here in high definition, arguably the most visually stunning giallo ever made now shines like never before.

Special Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by critic Travis Crawford
  • Lines and Shadows, a new video essay on the film’s use of architecture and space by critic Rachael Nisbet
  • Whisky Giallore, a new video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie
  • Black Day for Nero, a new video interview with actor Franco Nero
  • The Rhythm Section, a new video interview with film editor Eugenio Alabiso
  • Rare, previously unseen deleted sequence, restored from the original negative
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kat Ellinger and Peter Jilmstad


Diabrouhaha

Monday 5 November, 2018 13:20

I don’t post a huge amount about games on this site any more, mainly because the site’s focus has shifted over the years to being almost entirely a Blu-ray-centric one, but also because I don’t play or spend anything like as much money on games as I used to. I’ll make an exception for a select few developers, though, and when Blizzard Entertainment announces a new game, you can bet I’ll sit up and pay attention. I’ve never had much time for their cash cow, WORLD OF WARCRAFT, and I tried and gave up pretty quickly on their online card game HEARTHSTONE, but the WARCRAFT and STARCRAFT strategy games and especially the DIABLO action RPGs are near and dear to my heart, and so, naturally, I tuned into the live feed for their annual BlizzCon convention on Friday evening to see what they were going to announce.

The internet was rife with rumours about something DIABLO-related being on the cards, with speculation ranging from a new content patch or character pack for DIABLO III to a remaster of DIABLO II (we’re getting a remastered WARCRAFT III instead, which I’m super-excited about) to a full-blown DIABLO IV — which Blizzard sought to temper, putting out an announcement a couple of weeks ago which basically said, “We know you want DIABLO IV and we ARE working on it, but we’re not ready to talk about it just yet.” Unfortunately, what we ended up getting was a concept that had long been an extended joke among the DIABLO community, in a “What’s the most ridiculous thing they could announce?” sense: a DIABLO mobile game.

Le sigh.

Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immortal

DIABLO IMMORTAL is described by Blizzard as “a mobile Massively Multiplayer Online Action RPG (MMOARPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment in partnership with NetEase, coming exclusively to Android, iPhone and iPad.” Set between the events of DIABLO II and DIABLO III, it’s less a sequel than a “sidequel”, in the vein of some of those ghastly Disney direct-to-video knock-offs that used to be all the rage a decade or so ago, or the “A Star Wars Story” line of STAR WARS movies. In other words, as the flagship announcement to an audience consisting almost entirely of hardcore PC fans — all of whom had paid in the region of $200 US for tickets, and many of whom would have travelled thousands of miles to be there — they announced a casual game for phones partially farmed out to a Chinese development studio famed for churning out pay-to-win mobile ARPGs which already look suspiciously like knock-offs of DIABLO…and whose interfaces are a virtual dead ringer for that of DIABLO IMMORTAL.

The response from the show floor wasn’t good, transitioning from stunned silence to snarky questions about off-season April Fools’ jokes to angry boos at the confirmation that the new game was being developed for mobiles only and would not be coming to PC. Bear in mind that this is the Blizzard faithful we’re talking about — the “true believers” who normally cheer every time Mike Morhaime pauses to take a breath. If THEY were willing to jeer and boo the game and its developers, you could bet the response from the wider community of Diablo fans — many of whom were already seriously irked at Blizzard for the perceived failings of DIABLO III and the lack of recent updates to the game — would be several orders of magnitude worse.

And so it proved to be. Reddit channels and below-the-line comments on fansites are currently no-go zones for those of a nervous disposition, and fans have taken to downvoting the cinematic and gameplay trailers on YouTube en masse, with Blizzard fighting a losing battle to delete negative comments as quickly as they appear (they even removed and re-uploaded the trailers, which only led to them being mass-downvoted again). Back on the convention floor, meanwhile, photos of deserted demo stations only serve to reinforce the notion that Blizzard misjudged the mood badly. Clearly, the Diablo faithful are not the target audience for this game — by Blizzard’s own admission, they’re attempting to branch out, trying to chase a more casual crowd, particularly from countries like China, where mobile gaming of this sort is massive. Which, of course, begs the question as to why this was announced at BlizzCon, and as the star attraction. Had they announced it at E3 or some other convention, I doubt there would have been anything like as much of a brouhaha about it. People would have shrugged their shoulders and treated this as the side project it so obviously is. As it stands, though, Blizzard have managed to severely tarnish their image as a developer in touch with what their core fans want, and have somehow done the impossible of uniting both DIABLO I/II and DIABLO III fans in angry condemnation.

Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immortal

Myself, I’m fairly sanguine about the whole affair. Ten years ago, I’d probably have been raging about this and posting all sorts of angry rants on web forums, blowing things completely out of proportion and acting like this was the worst thing that had ever happened to anyone, ever. On Friday, though, when I saw the announcement, my immediate response was, “Oh well, there’s always next year.” I don’t see myself playing the game. It looks to me to be more or less a greatly simplified version of DIABLO III (itself already considerably simplified compared to its predecessors), with (most of) the same character classes and monsters, and a whole lot of re-used art assets. Why play a dumbed-down imitation when I can play the real thing on a proper computer with a proper control system? Besides, I never use my phone for gaming. Longstanding shoulder/neck problems mean that even using my phone for basic tasks like texting and web browsing becomes extremely uncomfortable very quickly, to say nothing of the sort of button-mashing (or screen-mashing) a fast-paced, slot machine-style action game like DIABLO calls for. So I doubt I’d be picking this up, even if it DID appeal to me — which it really doesn’t, beyond some mild curiosity about how they’re going to fill in the twenty-year timeline gap between DIABLO II and DIABLO III.

Of course, some of the invective that’s been hurled at Blizzard, and particular the developers they put up on the stage as effective human meat shields, has been completely over the top. Death threats or comments in the vein of “I hope they all get fired” are not cool…but, having said that, nor are attempts to cast a legitimately upset community of loyal players as entitled crybabies, not being “true” fans, or misogynists (if you’re trying to work out how they arrived at that one, it’s apparently because mobile games are primarily played by women, so if you don’t like mobile games, ergo you hate women), as so many in the gaming “press” have done. (I’m not going to link to any of these articles, as most of them are pure clickbait, but you can find them yourself if you’re curious.) I suspect, in time, Blizzard will come to accept that the manner in which they unveiled this project was a mistake. Possibly, they already had some inkling, given their belated efforts to calm fans’ inflated expectations in the run-up to the convention. But the fact they either didn’t see this almighty shitstorm coming — or, worse, DID see it and went ahead with this ill-advised announcement anyway — does make me seriously question their ability to read their own audience.

Still, WARCRAFT III REFORGED, huh?


After an MM-free December in terms of Arrow releases, I’m starting 2019 as I mean to go on with an underappreciated gem — THE FORBIDDEN PHOTOS OF A LADY ABOVE SUSPICION, the first of director Luciano Ercoli’s loose trilogy of gialli starring his wife Nieves Navarro, aka Susan Scott, and the only one of the three never to have been released on Blu-ray before. This one comes with a host of extras for you to sink your teeth into, including (for the initial pressings) a booklet essay penned by yours truly.

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion

Before the influence of Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage permeated every corner of the giallo genre, another strain of these distinctive Italian thrillers enjoyed considerable success. These “melodrama gialli”, heavily inspired by Clouzot’s Les diaboliques, relied less on graphic violence and high body counts and more on psychological tension.

Minou (Dagmar Lassander, Lucio Fulci’s The Black Cat) leads a pampered but dull life with her frequently absent husband, Peter (Pier Paolo Capponi, The Cat O’ Nine Tails). One night, while out walking on the beachfront, Minou is accosted by a mysterious blackmailer (Simón Andreu, Death Carries a Cane) who informs her that Peter is a murderer. Driven by misplaced loyalty to her husband, Minou gives in to the blackmailer’s every perverted whim in exchange for his silence. But as the blackmailer ups the ante, demanding that she submit to his increasingly obscene demands, can Minou hold on to what little remains of her sanity?

Written by the prolific Ernesto Gastaldi (Torso), infused with a seductive score by the great Ennio Morricone (The Cat O’ Nine Tails) and featuring a memorable turn by Nieves Navarro a.k.a. Susan Scott (Death Walks at Midnight) in the role of Minou’s best friend, The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion is a trippy giallo delight that brings together the talents of many of the genre’s leading lights on both sides of the camera.

Special Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, author and editor-in-chief of Diabolique Magazine
  • Private Pictures, a newly-edited documentary featuring archival interviews with actress Nieves Navarro and director Luciano Ercoli, and new interview material with writer Ernesto Gastaldi
  • The Forbidden Soundtrack of the Big Three, a new appreciation of the music of Forbidden Photos and 70s Italian cult cinema by musician and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon
  • The Forbidden Lady, a Q&A with actress Dagmar Lassander at the 2016 Festival of Fantastic Films
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and critic Michael Mackenzie