Obviously, the films are Arrow Video's main draw, but as I've mentioned in the previous articles, they aren't the only things worth checking out. Arrow Video has created a very specific brand and interactive collaborative structure.
One of the main factors that differentiates Arrow Video releases from the rest is the specially commissioned artwork from some of the top horror/fantasy/sleaze artists working today. Arrow Video's releases are immediately recognizable on a shelf or in a collection from the template their packaging follows. A white frame surrounding original art from one of three artists currently under their patronage
One of the artists currently featured in their collection is The Dude, from Dude Designs, who has contributed artwork to Jaguar Lives!
and Deadly Outlaw: Rekka
so far, both very solid art designs. The Dude works primarily as a graphic artist, and films are his main focus as far as I can tell. His blog showcases some of his original and adapted artworks for movie posters and other movie and music related paraphernalia. Another really great thing is that you can check out his comments on the pieces he's done, explaining some of his choices and how he works the elements he is given into piece that is representative of the film. I hope they can find more projects for him, because based upon the work he's done, I think he's got a lot more potential to create some more really great stuff.
The second artist currently featured on Arrow Video's covers is Rick Melton. Rick is responsible for all of the Argento covers, as well as each of the other releases in Arrow Video's collection not done by The Dude so far. There are some great covers, and more to come. His covers for Argento's Tenebre
and Deep Red
have already been unveiled, as well as some tire kickers for Arrow Video's Island of Death
and others. All of these artworks can be checked out at his Stunningly Savage homepage, where he very honestly picks them apart and talks about the ones he likes and doesn't like, as well some alternate takes that didn't make the cut. Rick is perhaps best known for his covers of genre magazine The Dark Side, and he takes that aesthetic to new heights with Arrow Video, providing some of the sleaziest covers to grace a non-porn DVD since the Video Nasty age in the 80's.
A third artist, commissioned to make his Arrow Video debut in the first quarter of 2011, is Cinema Sewer's Robin Bougie. Bougie takes sleaze to a whole new level, and his concoction for Women in Prison classic Bare Behind Bars
should be a doozy, as it is right up his alley. We don't have a look at that one yet, but, rest assured that the good folks over at Cult Labs will be the first to have a crack at it.
The Cult Labs forum is one other really awesome thing about Arrow Video and their obvious commitment to providing their customers with the best possible product. The Cult Labs are a publicity machine for Arrow Video and Shameless Screen Entertainment (who I hope to profile in the future), two of the UK's better video labels for bringing these films back onto store shelves. I don't know of another label that works so collaboratively with its fans as these two do. At the Cult Labs forum, readers are given the first view of potential covers for Arrow Video releases, and are encouraged to vote one which existing covers make it into the 4 panel artwork for the Blu-ray editions. Readers are also polled regarding which titles Arrow Video should buy and invest their energy and resources in, a truly radical step in marketing. Cult Labs is all about getting viewers input, and they actually listen, as I mentioned elsewhere, it was on the Cult Labs forum that an initial artwork for Mario Bava's Bay of Blood
was rejected and recommissioned. Pretty amazing, if you ask me. Cult Labs readers also get the scoop on release dates, special features, and everything else Arrow Video related! I'll continue posting news here, but about 90% of the time, you can get the news first on the Cult Labs forum. The forum is easy to join and super friendly, unlike a lot of other cinema forums that are filled with know-it-alls and people looking to prove that they are the most underground. The readers on Cult Labs know their stuff and want to share their knowledge, a very rare thing these days.
That wraps it up for Arrow Video. A great label with a great eye for what customers want. They are one of the very few labels in the world that inspire confidence. I feel confident that when I purchase an Arrow Video release, that I'm going to have a great time watching the film, checking out the extra features, and even digging through the packaging. Keep an eye on them, 2011 is going to be a great year, they've got a number of Argento's coming to Blu-ray, as well as Fulci's The Beyond and more!
Next up on Video Home Invasion is Severin Films, I've got some great stuff to share with you about this relatively new label who has taken some of the great talent in the "extra features" industry and put it to good use creating complete DVD packages and even some theatrical releases. Look for that coming this next week, along with more giveaways and cool inside info!