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DVD Shopping Bag: Fantastic Factory Box Set

From Across the Pond

By Robert T. Trate     May 17, 2011


Fantastic Factory DVD Box Set from Arrow Films
© Arrow Video

 

Each and every week the DVD Shopping Bag covers the weekly DVD and Blu-ray releases. I have, on occasion, covered releases in the United Kingdom. In part, for our overseas Maniacs, and to also open the door for our readers to show them what is out there. I stopped listing these releases, not too long ago, as the mention of the UK titles got little to no comments. Knowing that the region code and over sea shipping is probably a deterrent I dropped it from my weekly list. About a month ago I was listening to a pod cast called You’ve Got Geek on You. The host, Joel, reviewed Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond (1981) on Blu-ray. The depths in which he went into the review amazed me yet he rarely went into the film itself. It was the special features that blew him away. I contacted the distributor, Arrow Films, and asked for something, anything for Mania. A short time later The Fantastic Factory Presents (Beyond Re-Animator, Faust, Arachnid, Romasanta) Box Set arrived. After hearing the review I knew that I was in for something different. With a region code of zero I sat back and got ready for some late night B-Movie wonders.
 
Amazingly enough I had only seen one of the three films, Beyond Re-Animator (2003). I caught it on the SYFY Channel one evening. I had been a huge fan of the Re-Animator series and was thrilled that Jeffrey Combs took a third turn at Dr. Herbert West. The film was cut, obviously as it was on TV, but still a fun romp that likened it to the Hammer Classic: Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974). Never did I imagine that anyone would put out a special edition of Beyond Re-Animator on DVD. It is complete with all the bells and whistles that most big budget movies come with. Arrow Films out did themselves with commentary from the director, Brian Yuzna. There are also documentaries, interviews, and an in depth look on the Re-Animator series. Wait, there is more. Calum Waddell interviews Jeffery Combs in an insert booklet that documents Combs’ history with the character and his return to the role. Finishing out this booklet is also an extract of the original novel. Finishing off this DVD is a reversible cover. One side is the original poster where the other blends grind house poster art with comic book flair. That cover actually comes as a poster to unfold inside the jacket. Uh, wow.
 
That was only the first disc. There were still three other films complete with multiple special features, alternate covers, a poster for each thus giving the B-Movie horror fan a new standard for their DVDs. You won’t find anything like this on Amazon. There are probably some specialty sites that will carry this kind of set but why screw around with them? Arrow Films is the place you want to go. Though B-Movies such as this isn’t the only thing they carry. I found also Battle Royale [Limited Edition to 10,000], Brute Force, The Bicycle Thieves and The Kentucky Fried Movie to name just a few.
 
I jumped back into The Fantastic Factory Box Set (see full details here) with Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt (2004) starring Julian Sands. Surprisingly making her second appearance in the box set was one Elsa Pataky. She was a reporter in Beyond Re-Animator and was very nice on the eyes. Here she plays a woman who hunts Manuel Romasanta (Julian Sands). Romasanta killed her sister and niece and she wants justice. The twist on this story is that Romasanta believes that he is a werewolf. Based on a true story, this tale set in 19th Century Spain is a thought provoking ride into an age where scientific ideals were held higher than plain hard facts. Pataky is the key to the film and she delivers a story that could have been set in the modern day world. As the audience we have to question what is real and what is not? Is he a Werewolf or mad man? A smart blonde hottie hunting a serial killer in 19th Century Spain is not what I thought I was going to get from this box set.
 
I’ll end with Jack Sholder’s Arachnid (2001). With its giant spider on the cover I was certain that a modern day Roger Corman snore fest was in order (see Sharktopus review). What I never expected was a cast of actors that actually took these giant bugs from another world seriously. Each and everyone one of them never acted as if they were too cool for the project. This was completely refreshing as it was still chocked full of B-Movie thrills you expect from a movie called Arachnid. I switched the comic book cover to the front as it is far superior to that of the direct to video one. Toping off the film was Calum Waddell’s profile on the director. Here he pointed out several films that have now been added to the Netflix queue.
 
I’ve yet to check out Brian Yunza’s other film in the box set, Faust: Love of the Damned (2000). With the devil on the cover looking like a cross between Batman and Wolverine (complete with claws) I am sure the ride will be one hell of one. With a region code of zero and tons of extras Arrow Films delvers what we Yanks have been missing from our B-Movie DVDs, a distributor with a true love for these movies.
 
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. The Twilight Zone: Season 4 [Blu-ray]
2. Diabolique: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]
3. Thor: Tales of Asgard (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (see review)
4. The 39 Steps
5. The Five Deadly Venoms [Blu-ray]
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
 
The 39 Steps Starring Kenneth More, Taina Elg, Brenda De Banzie and Barry Jones
 
After Image Starring John Mellencamp, Terrylene, Michael Zelniker
 
Ballistica Starring Martin Kove, Robert Davi and Paul Logan
 
The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares) Starring Rémy Girard, Dorothée Berryman, Stéphane Rousseau
 
Brotherhood Starring Trevor Morgan, Lou Taylor Pucci and Jon Foster
 
Brotherhood [Blu-ray]
 
Circles of Deceit Starring Dennis Waterman
 
The Comancheros (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] Starring John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Nehemiah Persoff and Lee Marvin
 
Deadly Shooter Starring Michael Dudikoff, Randy Travis and Valerie Wildman
 
Elephant White Starring Kevin Bacon and Djimon Hounsou
 
Elephant White [Blu-ray]
 
The Five Deadly Venoms [Blu-ray] Starring Philip Kwok
 
Four Days in September Starring Alan Arkin, Pedro Cardoso, Fernanda Torres
 
Hurry Sundown Starring Michael Caine, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway and John Philip Law
 
I'm Not Scared Starring Giuseppe Cristiano and Fabio Tetta
 
In the Bedroom Starring Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl and Marisa Tomei
 
Jagged Edge [Blu-ray] Starring Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close, Peter Coyote and Robert Loggia
 
The Mechanic [Blu-ray] Starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster
 
The Mechanic
 
Mob Rules Starring Lennie James, Treva Etienne, Gary McDonald
 
Money Train [Blu-ray] Starring Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lopez
 
Red White & Blue Starring Noah Taylor, Marc Senter and Amanda Fuller
 
The Roommate Starring Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester
 
The Roommate [Blu-ray]
 
Shaolin Soccer Starring Stephen Chow, Wei Zhao, Yut Fei Wong and Man Tat Ng
 
Switchblade Sisters Starring Robbie Lee, Joanne Nail, Monica Gayle and Asher Brauner
 
We Dive At Dawn Starring Sir John Mills, Louis Bradfield, Ronald Millar
 
ANIME
 
Allison & Lillia Generation 1
 
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit Part 2 [Blu-ray] Starring Mabuki Andou, Naoto Adachi, Kouji Tsujitani and Ako Mayama
 
Naughty Young Nurses
 
Project A-Ko Starring Eastern Star
 
Vampire Knight Guilty 2
 
CARTOONS
 
Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos
 
Thor: Tales of Asgard Starring Jay Brazeau, Chris Britton, Clancy Brown and Grey DeLisle
 
Thor: Tales of Asgard (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
 
CLASSICS
 
Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd Starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Charles Laughton and Bill Shirley
 
Dont Make Waves Starring Tony Curtis, Robert Webber and David Draper
 
Impossible Years Starring David Niven, Chad Everett and Ozzie Nelson
 
Marriage Italian Style (Sophia Loren Award Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni
 
Rio Rita Starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, John Carroll and Tom Conway
 
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Sophia Loren Award Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Clint Eastwood
 
COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
 
RiffTrax: LIVE! House on Haunted Hill Starring Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett
 
Criterion Collection
 
Chasing Amy: The Criterion Collection Starring Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Ethan Suplee
 
Diabolique: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, Paul Meurisse
 
Diabolique (Criterion Collection)
 
Pale Flower: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Ryo Ikebe, Mariko Kaga, Takashi Fujiki and Chisako Hara
 
Pale Flower (Criterion Collection)
 
HORROR
 
Beyond the Game Starring Grubby, Sky, Moon and ToD
 
Blood Shed Starring Terry West, Joshua Nelson Alan Rowe-Kelly
 
Corporate Cut Throat Massacre, The Starring Charlie Vaughn, Chandler Maness, Robbyn Leigh
 
Deep Red [Blu-ray] Starring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia
 
Deep Red (Uncensored English Version) Starring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia
 
Gargoyles Starring Cornel Wilde, Grayson Hall and Jennifer Salt
 
IWC Films Double Feature: Die and Let Live & Raising the Stakes Starring Joshua Lively, Zane Crosby, Lloyd Kaufman and Trent Haaga
 
Ju-On White Ghost / Black Ghost [Blu-ray] Starring Al Kago, Akina Minami and Hiroki Suzuki
 
Ju-On White Ghost / Black Ghost
 
The Rite Starring Anthony Hopkins and Colin O'Donoghue
 
Terror Circus/Schoolgirls In Chains
 
The Rite (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
 
Vanishing on 7th Street + Digital Copy Starring Hayden Christensen, John Leguizamo and Thandie Newton
Vanishing on 7th Street + DC [Blu-ray]
 
MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY
 
Beverly Hills Cop [Blu-ray] Starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton and Ronny Cox
 
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
 
Destination Inner Space Starring Sheree North, Gary Merrill, Wende Wagner Scott Brady
 
Emerging Past Starring Tony Moran, Steve Dash, Stephen Geoffreys Brooke McCarter
 
I Heart Doomsday Starring Joe Cobden, Vanessa Matsui, Trevor Hayes
 
Mimic Starring Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Alexander Goodwin
 
Mimic 2 Starring Alix Koromzay, Bruno Campos, Will Estes and Gaven E. Lucas
 
Shutterbug
 
TV LAND
 
All in the Family - The Complete Ninth Season Starring Carroll O'Connor, Rob Reiner and Maureen Stapleton
 
The Bionic Woman: Season Two Starring Richard Anderson, Martin Brooks and Lindsay Wagner
 
Covert Affairs: Season One Starring Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham and Anne Dudek
 
Degrassi: Season 10 Part 1 Starring Jordan Todosey, Charlotte Arnold, Aislinn Paul
 
Feathered Serpent: The Complete Series Starring Patrick Troughton
 
Flashpoint: Third Season Starring Hugh Dillon, Enrico Colantoni, Michael Cram and Mark Taylor
 
Midnight Is A Place: Complete Series Starring Simon Gipps-Kent, Maxine Gordon, William Squire
 
Royal Pains: Season Two Starring Mark Feuerstein and Paulo Costanzo
 
South Riding Starring Anna Maxwell Martin, Peter Rylands, Penelope Wilton
 
Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job: Season 5 Starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim
 
The Twilight Zone: Season 4 [Blu-ray] Starring Rod Serling, Ann Jillian, Anne Francis and Bill Bixby
 
The Virginian - The Complete Fourth Season - 30 Full Color Episodes - 10 DVD In a Special Embossed Tin! Starring James Drury, Lee J. Cobb, Doug McClure and LQ Jones
 
Wagon Train: The Complete Third Season - 37 Episodes - 10 DVD in an Embossed Collectible Metallic Tin! Starring Ward Bond, Robert Horton, Frank McGrath and Terry Wilson
 
BOX SETS
 
Sophia Loren: Award Collection (Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow / Marriage Italian Style / Sunflower / Vittorio D) Starring Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Clint Eastwood
 
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. He currently is watching A Clockwork Orange on Blu-ray. Look for that review/ column on May 31st, 2011.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 3 of 3
1 
Funstin 5/17/2011 6:12:22 AM

Sorry to be pedantic, but All In the Family starred JEAN Stapleton, not Maureen!

raa2001 5/17/2011 2:30:05 PM

Five Deadly Venoms is one of my all time favorite kung fu flicks

SinisterPryde 5/19/2011 7:33:25 PM

Faust: Love of the Damned was the only film in that box set I have seen.  I remember reading several of thwe comic books and wondered how they were going to turn a very adult comic book into an R-rated film.  Not very well.

1 

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