After releasing the excellent Mario Bava double bill of Black Sunday and Lisa and the Devil Arrow Video are pleased to announce two more exciting and never-before-seen Blu-ray & DVD premieres from the one and only godfather of Italian horror, Mario Bava.
Set for release on Monday April 29th, the Bava classics BLACK SABBATH and BARON BLOOD have both been given the ‘Arrow treatment’. The forthcoming dual format Blu-ray & DVD deluxe editions include brand new versions of each film, a wealth of special features and bonus material (cast, director and expert interviews, introductions, deleted scenes, trailers, audio commentaries, photo galleries, collector’s booklets). If that wasn’t enough, both releases will also include an exclusive reversible sleeve, featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys.
This marks the VERY FIRST TIME that these two staples of Italian cult cinema will be available on Blu-ray & DVD in the UK. Ever since Arrow released “Black Sunday” and “Lisa & The Devil” in February 2013, horror fans the world over have been crying out for more Bava releases to be delivered in such high quality. Arrow Video pride themselves on going the extra mile in order to give their loyal fans something to savour. These fantastic deluxe editions of BLACK SABBATH and BARON BLOOD are certain to live up to such high expectations.
MARIO BAVA is widely credited as the man who kick-started the golden age of Italian horror. Never before had international audiences witnessed such slick, stylised production combined with brutal and supernatural imagery.
The aforementioned “Black Sunday” was such a huge hit that a follow-up was swiftly demanded. Mario Bava duly devised BLACK SABBATH – a three-part horror anthology, blending modern and period stories. In the giallo-style ‘The Telephone’, a woman is terrorised by her former pimp after his escape from prison, and tries to escape him with the help of her lesbian lover, who has a dark secret of her own. In the Victorian-era ‘The Drop of Water’, a nurse steals a ring from the corpse of a dead spiritualist, which naturally tries to get it back. But it’s the 19th-century Russian story ‘The Wurdalak’ that comes closest to Bava’s earlier classic, with the great Boris Karloff as a much-loved paterfamilias who might not be entirely what he seems.
Bava’s direction is as stylish as ever, and BLACK SABBATH is almost a compendium of his favourite themes. BLACK SABBATH, the film, has had a huge influence on popular culture, not just as a stand-out piece of Italian horror cinema, but as the name-sake of the inventors of heavy metal music. Beginning a life-long allegiance between horror fans and heavy metal enthusiasts, it is said that the 4 original members of the band BLACK SABBATH, then known as Earth, came across the name after seeing horror fans queuing outside their local picture house to see the movie. They then set about trying to create the musical equivalent of what horror fans saw and loved in scary movies.
The deluxe Blu-ray & DVD edition of BLACK SABBATH includes the following special features: – High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of two versions of the film; ‘I tre volti della paura’ – the European version with score by Roberto Nicolosi and ‘Black Sabbath’ – the re-edited and re-dubbed AIP version with Les Baxter score, on home video for the first time. – English SDH subtitles for English Audio and a new subtitle translation of the Italian audio. – Audio Commentary with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas. – Introduction to the film by author and critic Alan Jones. – “A Life In Film” – An Interview with star Mark Damon. – “Twice the Fear” – A new featurette examining the differences between the two versions of the film. – International Trailer. – US Trailer. – Italian Trailer. – TV and Radio Spots. – Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys. – Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic David Cairns, a comparison of the versions of the film by Tim Lucas, and a substantial interview with AIP Producer Samuel Z. Arkoff on his experiences of working with Bava, illustrated with original stills and posters.
One of Bava’s most successful films, BARON BLOOD returns to the all-stops-out Gothic atmosphere, and the central theme of a witch’s curse, that fuelled his breakthrough film “Black Sunday” twelve years earlier. This time, the curse was placed on Baron Otto von Kleist, Austria’s legendarily murderous ‘Baron Blood’, whose corpse is inadvertently revived when an ancient incantation is read out as a joke by a descendant and his girlfriend. Naturally, the Baron decides to carry on where he originally left off, with the help of an entire vault of elaborate torture devices.
Joseph Cotten (Citizen Kane, The Third Man) has a whale of a time as the deceptively charming Baron, and is given sterling support from Elke Sommer (Lisa and the Devil), who is chased through fog-shrouded alleyways in one of Bava’s most memorably atmospheric set-pieces.
The deluxe Blu-ray & DVD edition of BARON BLOOD includes the following special features: – High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of three versions of the film: Bava’s original version Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga with Italian audio, The European Export Version of Baron Bloodwith English audio, and, on home video for the first time, the re-edited and re-dubbed AIP Version of Baron Blood with alternate score by Les Baxter. – Three audio versions: Optional Italian, European English and AIP English re-dub and re-score. – English SDH subtitles for both English versions and a new English subtitle translation of the Italian audio. – Audio Commentary with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas. – Introduction to Baron Blood by author and critic Alan Jones. – “Delirium Italian-style” – Ruggero Deodato on Mario Bava and the golden age of Italian genre films. – “Mario Bava at work” – a photo gallery of Bava behind the scenes on his films. – Trailers and Radio Spots. – Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys. – Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.
Watch out for full review of both coming soon.