We settle down with Arrow Video’s hefty brand new book…
Not content with merely being the best damned cult video rerelease outlet on the planet, Arrow Video have now decided to branch out into the words and pictures etched into dead trees format with their new book, Arrow Video: The Book.
Consciously designed to look even awesomer on your coffee table than an Arrow Blu-Ray would, the book, which collects some of the best essays included on previous Arrow releases, will be a must for all cult fiends, horror junkies, and connoisseurs of weirdness. Good-looking, good-smelling and, as a natural result of its format, satisfying to flick through, it’s a book that its purchasers will have no problem finishing within days or even hours of purchase.
The essays are arranged, slightly disingenuously, in sections focusing on: specific films; specific directors; specific actors; specific genres; and specific modes of distribution. It’s disingenuous as almost all of the essays actually are on specific films, having previously appeared as accompanying materials to various Arrow releases, which also means that the truly dedicated will be paying all over again for material they already own.
Nonetheless, for those unable or unwilling to pay £20 a go for a catalogue consisting of hundreds of films, the book will be a valuable resource, with some of its particular highlights including an essay on Withnail & I which traces the humour traditions it draws from, from Werner Herzog to Norman Wisdom, Shakespeare to Laurel and Hardy. Similarly exhaustive in its drawing together of various films and ideas is Kim Newman’s essay on Christmas horror, while Caelum Vatnsdal contributes an exhilaratingly brilliant essay on Cronenberg, and elsewhere we discover how De Palma’s attempt to make Cruising led to Dressed To Kill. Some essays are, of course, better than others, and we may cringe upon being informed that Battle Royale “stares unflinchingly at what the acts of these decision makers could very realistically lead to”. Nevertheless the book, taken as a whole, offers a good jumping-off point for newcomers to cult cinema and an enjoyable read for veterans, with Ben Wheatley’s introductory essay only a cherry on the top.
Cult Cinema: An Arrow Video Companion was released on the 28th March, will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!