Welcome to Demented Discs, the monthly column that covers select new releases from boutique cult horror labels like Scream Factory, Arrow Video, Vinegar Syndrome, Severin Films, Blue Underground, and Synapse Films. I’m Adam Frazier and I’m bringing you a sampling of this month’s releases, which offer an alarming assortment of cheeky bachelors, switchblade sisters, Satanic monks, werewolf bikers, and man-eating sharks.

April 6

Death Has Blue Eyes (1976)

Death Has Blue Eyes (1976)

A gripping paranormal action-thriller-giallo from the director of the cult classic video nasty Island of Death (1976)!

When local gigolo Chess (Chris Nomikos) greets his vacationing friend Bob Kovalski (Peter Winter) at Athens airport, the pair embark on a string of scams and erotic dalliances that eventually lead them into contact with an elegant wealthy woman, Geraldine Steinwetz (Jessica Dublin), and her glamorous daughter Christine (Maria Aliferi). Geraldine blackmails the two cheeky bachelor boys into acting as bodyguards for Christine, whom it transpires has telepathic abilities and has had her eye on them for some time. After fleeing from a series of assassination attempts, it soon becomes clear that Geraldine herself might not be quite whom she seems, as the two young men find themselves caught up in a political conspiracy of international dimensions.” — Arrow Video

Bonus Features

  • Brand new restoration from the original camera negative approved by the director
  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
  • Two versions of the film: the widescreen 1.85:1 version and the full-frame 1.33:1 version
  • Original mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Exclusive new interview featurette with Nico Mastorakis
  • Exclusive new interview with actress Maria Aliferi
  • Dancing with Death: tracks from the Death Has Blue Eyes original soundtrack
  • Original 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 by Julian Grainger.

 

April 20

mortuary_collection_2019

Mortuary Collection, directed by Ryan Spindell

The Mortuary Collection (2019)

Set in the phantasmagorical town of Raven’s End, nothing is as it seems…

“In The Mortuary Collection, a misguided young girl (Caitlin Custer) takes refuge in a decrepit old mortuary. There she meets Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown), an eccentric undertaker with more than a few skeletons in his closet. Montgomery chronicles the strange history of the town through a series of twisted tales, each more terrifying than the last, but the young girl’s world is unhinged when she discovers that the final story… is her own.”RLJE Films

Bonus Features

  • Director’s Commentary
  • 14 Extensive Behind-the-Scenes Segments
  • Featuring the Cinematography, Costumes, Art Department, Locations, Props, Hair & Make-Up, Special Effects, Sound, Stunts, and Visual Effects of The Mortuary Collection
  • In-Depth Conversations with Director and Writer Ryan Spindell, the Actors, and Crew of The Mortuary Collection
  • Deleted Scenes

 

Switchblade Sisters (1975)

Switchblade Sisters (1975)

From Jack Hill, legendary director of Spider Baby, Coffy, Foxy Brown, and The Swinging Cheerleaders comes another iconic cult classic!

“Lace (Robbie Lee), leader of the inner-city girl gang The Dagger Debs, meets her match when new girl Maggie (Joanne Nail) moves into the neighborhood. Mistrust and conflict turn to friendship as the girls end up in Juvenile Detention together at the mercy of abusive guards. Meanwhile, The Dagger Debs’ male counterparts The Silver Daggers have to contend with the arrival of a new gang, led by the villainous Crabs (Chase Newhart). But when the girls get back on the streets, a planned retaliation strike in tandem with The Silver Daggers backfires and puts Lace in hospital. Maggie assumes control, teaming up with Muff (Marlene Clark) and her gang of African-American militants from across town to declare all-out war. But there’s a traitor in their midst…” Arrow Video

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Bonus Features

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by historians/critics Samm Deighan & Kat Ellinger
  • We Are The Jezebels, an archival documentary featuring director Jack Hill, producer John Prizer, casting director Geno Havans, production designer B.B. Neel, stunt coordinator Bob Minor, and stars Joanne Nail, Asher Brauner, and Chase Newhart
  • Gangland: The locations of Switchblade Sisters, an archival documentary in which Jack Hill and filmmaker Elijah Drenner revisit the shooting locations of Switchblade Sisters
  • Jack Hill and Joanne Nail at the Grindhouse Film Festival, a 2007 archival interview with the director and actor
  • Interview with Jack Hill, Robbie Lee, Joanne Nail, an archival 1990’s interview with the director and stars in conversation with Johnny Legend
  • Galleries of behind the scenes stills, international posters, video covers, and lobby cards
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Heather Drain

 

April 27

Donnie Darko (2001) – 4K Ultra HD

Donnie Darko (2001) – 4K Ultra HD

I want you to watch the movie screen. There’s something I want to show you.

Fifteen years before Stranger Things combined science-fiction, Spielbergian touches, and ’80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Richard Kelly set the template – and the high-water mark – with his debut feature, Donnie Darko. Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as arguably the first cult classic of the new millennium.

Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking, and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank’s maladjusted instructions, and try to maintain the space-time continuum.” — Arrow Video

 

 

Bonus Features

4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Limited Edition Contents

  • New 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives by Arrow Films, supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentations of both cuts in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
  • Original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • A 100-page hardcover book featuring writing by Nathan Rabin, Anton Bitel, and Jamie Graham, an in-depth interview with Richard Kelly, an introduction by Jake Gyllenhaal, and contemporary coverage, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials
  • Double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Luke Preece
  • Six double-sided collector’s postcards
  • Limited Edition packaging with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Luke Preece

Disc 1 – the Theatrical Cut [4k UHD Blu-Ray]

  • Audio commentary by writer-director Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Audio commentary by Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick and actors Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross, and James Duval
  • Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko, a documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures on the making of Donnie Darko, containing interviews with writer-director Richard Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick, cinematographer Steven Poster, editor Sam Bauer, composer Michael Edwards, costume designer April Ferry, production designer Alec Hammond, and actor James Duval
  • The Goodbye Place, Kelly’s 1996 short film, which anticipates some of the themes and ideas of his feature films
  • 20 deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by Kelly
  • Trailer

 

 

Disc 2 – the Director’s Cut [4k UHD Blu-Ray]

  • Audio commentary by Kelly and filmmaker Kevin Smith
  • The Donnie Darko Production Diary, an archival documentary charting the film’s production, with optional commentary by cinematographer Steven Poster
  • Archive interviews with Kelly, actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, James Duval, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Noah Wyle, and Katharine Ross, producers Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Hunt Lowry and Casey La Scala, and cinematographer Steven Poster
  • Three archive featurettes: They Made Me Do It, They Made Me Do It Too and #1 Fan: A Darkomentary
  • Storyboard comparisons
  • B-roll footage
  • Cunning Visions infomercials
  • Music video: Mad World by Gary Jules
  • Galleries
  • Director’s Cut trailer
  • TV spots

 

grave secrets-1989-1

Grave Secrets (1989)

“Iris Norwood has just suffered a horrible car accident. While recovering in her large and secluded bed and breakfast, she starts to believe that someone – or something – is watching her. As the sinister presence grows increasingly apparent, she engages the help of a famed cynical paranormal psychologist, David Shaw, who is grappling with the recent death of his wife. Initially skeptical of Iris’ claims, it’s not long before David comes face to face with a shocking evil that is more menacing than anything he has encountered.”Vinegar Syndrome

The first feature film directed by veteran genre film producer, Donald P. Borchers (Children of the Corn), Grave Secrets is a throwback to classic haunted house films and stars Paul Le Mat (American Graffiti), David Warner (In the Mouth of Madness), and Olivia Barash (Repo Man). Elevated by gothic horror visuals by cinematographer Jamie Thompson (Decline of Western Civilization Part III), Vinegar Syndrome Archive presents this direct-to-video sleeper on Blu-ray for the first fine, newly restored in 2K from its 35mm Interpositive.

Hot at the Shop:

Hot at the Shop:

Bonus Features

  • Region A Blu-ray
  • Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
  • Brand new audio interview with director Donald P. Borchers
  • Double-sided poster
  • Limited edition of 4,000
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles

 

the-cellar-2021

The Cellar (1986)

“The Cashen family has just relocated from the city to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Upon arrival at their new home, Willy, their young son, explores the area, befriending a Native American shaman who warns him of the powerful forces and apparent curse on their land. Meanwhile, at home, Willy senses that there’s something unusual about the cellar of their home; specifically that something strange might be living down there… and unfortunately for the Cashens, it’s very hungry.”Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome presents The Cellar newly restored in 2K and on Blu-ray for the first time, offered in both its commonly seen theatrical cut as well as its never before seen, and vastly superior, original director’s cut.

Bonus Features

  • Region Free Blu-ray
  • Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm original camera negative & the director’s personal 35mm lab print
  • Includes two versions of the film: the theatrical cut and the unseen director’s cut
  • Group commentary on both versions with: Kevin Tenney (director), Suzanne Savoy (actress), and Patrick Kilpatrick (actor)
  • Introduction by the director
  • “From Chicken Shit to Chicken Salad, Unearthing the Lost Cellar” – a brand new extended making-of documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles

 

beyond the dream door - vinegar syndrom

Home Grown Horrors: Volume One (1988-1992)

“Throughout the 1980s and 90s, independent and first-time filmmakers across the United States saw new opportunities to create work in the horror genre. Often integrating the flavor and color of their inner-America locales into their work, they created films that, while inspired by mainstream trends, are about as far from Hollywood as one can get. Collected here are three diverse films, all produced in the late 1980s, providing a fascinating and entertaining glimpse into the forgotten world of Home Grown Horror.”Vinegar Syndrome

This set includes:

Beyond Dream’s Door (1988) *pictured above

“Lately, Ben hasn’t been sleeping well. His dreams are filled with violent and terrifying visions of monsters and death. Seeking out answers, he begins to pursue the subtext and hidden meanings of his strange and terrifying nightmares, with the help of his professor and several friends. As the dreams grow increasingly lifelike, Ben fears that he’s losing his grip on sanity, especially as those around him start turning up dead; horribly mutilated just like he’s seen in his sleep…”

 

winterbeast - homegrown horror volume one 2021

Winterbeast (1992)

“Weird things are happening in and around the Wild Goose Lodge, a snowy inn located in rural Massachusetts. People are being found dead and mutilated, while others are vanishing without a trace. Realizing that the violence might have something to do with Native American black magic and the ancient secrets of the area’s historic totem poles, a trio of cops decide to investigate the goings-on, and are faced with an array of monsters, ghouls, and even a sampling of murderous locals!”

 

fatal exam - vinegar syndrome - 2021

Fatal Exam (1988)

“A group of college students has been given a very unusual assignment: spend the night inside of a supposedly haunted house, as part of their studies into the supernatural and occult. Although the ragtag team of collegiates would much rather party and get stoned than look for ghosts, it’s not long before unexplained events begin to occur. Initially suspecting that some of their classmates might be playing a practical joke, their fears are proven very real when someone – or something – dressed in robes and carrying a scythe starts bumping them off one by one.”

For a full breakdown of this set, as well as the special features included, please visit Vinegar Syndrome.

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all american murder 1991 - christopher walken

All-American Murder (1991)

“Artie Logan has a history of getting himself in trouble. He’s been kicked out of every school he’s attended and is no friend to the law, which makes matters extra complicated for his wealthy father, who happens to be a judge. Given one last chance, Artie is shipped off to Fairfield College. But when his new fling, and senator’s daughter, Tally, is burned to death by an unknown assailant, suspicion immediately falls on Artie. Adamant of his innocence, he’s granted a 24 hour period in which to unmask the actual culprit. As his hours of freedom dwindle, the killer strikes again and again…”Vinegar Syndrome

A twisted hybrid of slasher and giallo, All-American Murder co-stars Academy Award winner Christopher Walken (Sleepy Hollow), Charlie Schlatter (18 Again), and Josie Bissett (TV’s Melrose Place). Tightly paced, suspenseful, and featuring an array of unexpectedly grisly murders, Vinegar Syndrome brings this under-seen piece of early 90s horror to Blu-ray, newly restored in 2K from its 35mm interpositive.

Bonus Features

  • Region Free Blu-ray
  • Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
  • Commentary track with The Hysteria Continues!
  • “Being on a Team”- an interview with actor Charlie Schlatter
  • “A Valuable Experience” – an interview with cinematographer Geoffrey Schaaf
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles

 

Werewolves on Wheels (1971)

The Devil’s Advocates—an outlaw gang of Harley-riding hellions led by Adam (Stephen Oliver, The Naked Zoo, Motorpsycho!) and his old lady Helen (Donna Anders, Count Yorga, Vampire)—troll the dusty highways of the American Southwest in search of the next great kick, whether it be sex, drugs, or violence. After dispatching a pair of rednecks unfriendly to their lifestyle, the Advocates run roughshod over a gas station before taking to the road again, where they encounter a cloistered sect of Satanic Monks led by high priest One (Severn Darden, Battle for the Planet of the Apes). A mass-drugging, a ritual sacrifice, a topless snake-dance, and a scene-clearing fistfight ensue but it’s too late; the spell has been cast, and the two shall become… Werewolves on Wheels!” — Kino Lorber / Code Red

Bonus Features

  • Brand New HD Master
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

Deep Blood (1990)

“In a career that forever raised the bar for everything from hookers, cannibals, and necrophiles to Ator, Emanuelle, and Caligula, this long-unseen chum bucket from producer/director/EuroSleaze master Joe D’Amato may be his most bizarrely entertaining anomaly ever. Shot on location in Florida surf and Rome swimming pools, D’Amato combines ‘80s teen movie cliches and Native American mysticism with stupefying dialogue, over-the-top performances, and shark footage that Bruno Mattei would later swipe for Cruel Jaws to create what Oh, The Horror! calls “a weird, demented experience that begs to be discovered and embraced.” A cast of local unknowns – along with, inexplicably, the ‘60s comedy team of Charlie Brill & Mitzi McCall – star in this last word in Italian Sharksploitation, now scanned in 2K from the original negative for the first time ever.” — Severin Films

Bonus Features

  • Trailer

 

That’s it for this edition of Demented Discs! Join us next time for a rundown of May’s macabre releases. Be sure to let us know what releases you’re most excited for and what physical media you’re taking home this month over to TwitterReddit, or in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook, and get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.

 

demented discs