Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has two new 2K restorations ready for release as Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs on July 5.
First up is giallo king Mario Bava’s 1964 (1965 for its domestic theatrical release) breakthrough film, Blood and Black Lace, starring Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok as lovers with a deadly secret that must be guarded at all costs.
Mario Bava had labored as a cinematographer throughout the post-war period, logging something like 50 film credits during the process, when he hit upon combining his camerawork with directing and came up with a little ditty titled Black Sunday starring Barbara Steele (released in the United States in early 1961).
That was a turning point and after that quickly followed Black Sabbath (with Karloff) and The Whip and the Body (with Christopher Lee). All three were more or less traditional horror films.
Blood and Black Lace took him to a completely different level as a filmmaker. Heavily influenced by the commercial success of Hitchcock’s September of 1960 film release of Psycho, Bava ratcheted-up both the violence and the sexual aspects (fashion models as victims) of the plot and filmed in all in glorious color (Eastmancolor — his protégé Ubaldo Terzano handling the camerawork).
And, the script is solid — it’s not just a slice-and-dice horror thriller. The beginning of the third act clears the obvious killer with a solid alibi … ah, but there is a twist!
Bonus features assembled by Arrow Video for this 2K restoration from the film’s original camera negative include both the Italian-language and English-dubbed presentations, a newly-prepared commentary featuring Bava biographer Tim Lucas (author of “Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark”) and alternative US opening titles provided by Joe Dante's private print.
There are also three production featurettes and the biographical television episode titled “The Sinister Image: Cameron Mitchell.”
Also getting the 2K restoration treatment on July 5 is legendary director Jack Hill’s 1974 sexploitation dramedy, The Swinging Cheerleaders, starring Jo Johnston (her only film role) as Kate, a journalist major who goes undercover to collect salacious material for an expose she plans to write about what she believes to be the vacuous members of the college’s cheerleading squad. She not only has a change of heart, but comes up with even a bigger story.
Bonus features include a newly-prepared commentary from writer/director Jack Hill, a new video session with Hill and archived video sessions with Jack Hill, Johnny Legend and cinematographer Alfred Taylor, plus there’s 2012 video session featuring filmmaker Jack Hill and actors Colleen Camp and Rosanne Katon.