‘What Have They Done to Your Daughters?,’ ‘The Gore Gore Girls,’ and ‘Tideland’ are new to Blu-ray.
Arrow Video is a fantastic label for movie lovers for numerous reasons. They show real care and affection for their releases from the restorations to the extras, and they offer a wide range of titles from various genres. Their August releases continue both trends, and we take a look at a few of them below.
What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974)
When a nude teenager is found hanging from a rafter the police immediately suspect suicide, but as the investigation moves forward an ugly truth comes to light. She was murdered, and she was only the first. As the police dig deeper into the girls’ lives they discover the teens were involved in some highly questionable behaviors, and with a leather-clad killer with a meat cleaver hacking his way through those associated with the case time is running out for everyone involved.
A loose follow-up to director Massimo Dallamano’s own What Have You Done to Solange? (1972) — similar plots and themes as opposed to returning characters — What Have They Done to Your Daughters? offers a bloody blend of giallo and poliziotteschi (Italian police procedural). The focus here is on the detectives and a female district attorney (a rarity for the genre and time) working the case, but Dallamano keeps things moving at a brisk pace punctuated with suspenseful set-pieces and violent attacks.
The story’s familiar, especially if you’ve seen its predecessor or its follow-up, the far sleazier Enigma Rosso (1978), but a ninety-minute running time helps in that regard by hitting the key beats in quick succession. The answer to the title question is as nasty as you expect although the more salacious elements are kept to dialogue only with flashbacks giving only a cursory tease of what’s transpired. It’s enough. It’s a good-looking film, and Stelvio Cipriani’s score is a propulsive when necessary even if its main themes do get reused a bit too frequently.
Arrow Video’s new Blu-ray features a sharp picture from an HD master and two language audio tracks in Italian and English (dubbed). In addition to a booklet with an essay, the release features a solid selection of supplements including a theatrical trailer, image gallery, and the following:
- *NEW* Commentary with Troy Howarth – This guy knows his stuff, and as usual offers an engaging and informative commentary track touching on the film’s production, talents, and the genres themselves.
- *NEW* Masters and Slaves [19:44] – A video essay from critic Kat Ellinger exploring the themes present in many of Massimo Dallamano’s films
- Eternal Melody [49:39] – A 2016 interview from the Camera Obscura release with composer Stelvio Cipriani
- Dallamano’s Touch [22:22] – A 2016 interview from the Camera Obscura release with editor Antonio Siciliano
- Hardcore Footage [5:05] – An audio-free collection of scenes apparently filmed by Massimo Dallamano himself yet never inserted into any versions of the film, these were clearly meant to accompany the flashback memories. They’re definitely hardcore, though, so I’d be surprised if they were ever actually intended for the film.
- English Titles [3:09]
Buy What Have They Done to Your Daughters? on Blu-ray from Amazon.
The Gore Gore Girls (1972)
When a stripper is murdered in gruesome fashion the police find themselves without a lead, but a dogged reporter knows there’s a story out there. She hires a private detective to look into the killing, and soon more strippers meet violent ends at the hands of a black-gloved psycho.
I’m disappointed in all of you for neglecting to tell me that H.G. Lewis made a giallo. (I know this isn’t “news” per se, but I didn’t know!) The mystery of the black-gloved killer is well-played, the murders are brutal, and it culminates in a satisfying third act. It’s also more than a little comedic, but the combination works with some fun dialogue, a campy performance or two, and some genuine absurdity — the killer seasoning the woman’s pulverized rear end after beating it with a meat tenderizer is just one such moment.
And not for nothing, but as someone who watches a lot of gory horror flicks and doesn’t typically get grossed out by gore scenes, some of the kills here had me giggling out of pure nervousness. Both scenes involve faces being mutilated, and as lo-fi as the effects are they’re effectively meaty and gruesome. It’s a bloody movie, and the bright paint-like look heightens the experience in unexpectedly effective ways as it both revolts and adds to the overall weird tone.
Arrow’s new Blu-ray is part of their continued doling out of individual titles they previously released all together in a giant box-set. The film is cleaned up, and while there are still some visible limitations it looks damn good. Add in some fun and informative extras and you have a must-own for genre fans (who can handle the splatter).
- *NEW* Commentary on The Gore Gore Girls with H.G. Lewis
- *NEW* Commentary on This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! with Daniel Krogh
- *NEW* Stephen Thrower on The Gore Gore Girls [16:25] – Anytime you have the opportunity to hear Thrower talk about genre films you should take it.
- *NEW* Regional Bloodshed [12:06] – An interesting featurette exploring the world of regional horror films that exploded through the 60s and 70s as filmmakers outside of Hollywood formed their own local film communities.
- *NEW* Herschell Spills His Guts [4:02] – The director talks about his decision to leave directing behind after this movie.
Buy The Gore Gore Girls on Blu-ray from Amazon.
Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland) is an imaginative little girl with two deadbeat parents (Jennifer Tilly, Jeff Bridges). They’re not the best role-models, but she makes do with a combination of creativity and positivity. Trouble rears its ugly head, though, when her guardians fail at the only job they had leaving her alone to face the world.
Terry Gilliam has made some brilliant films — Brazil, The FIsher King, 12 Monkeys — but he’s also directed some lesser experiences. It’s all subjective, of course, but hoo boy is Tideland not for me. The film is essentially through Jeliza’s perspective, and it grows tiresome well before the two hour running time ends. The mash-up of the serious with the ridiculous just doesn’t work, and what should be wonder tinged with sadness instead feels depressing, oppressive, and dull. There’s not enough of the “real” Jeliza to make her compelling, and that’s unfortunate as she’s onscreen throughout.
It’s a shame the narrative and tone flounder as other elements work quite well here starting with the cast. Ferland was a remarkable find for Gilliam as she delivers a ridiculously assured and carefree performance. Bridges, Tilly, and Janet McTeer all do good work too. There’s also something to the production design that builds atmosphere and aura through its rural setting. It feels very dream-like even as it feels like the work of a child. It’s a double-edged sword, though, as a world like this needs to be filled and populated with things and people of interest, and that’s where the film drops the ball.
Arrow Video’s new Blu-ray gives the film an HD home, and while the extras aren’t new they are fairly comprehensive.
- Commentary by Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni
- Getting Gilliam [44:46]
- The Making of Tideland [5:26]
- Filming Green Screen [3:13]
- Deleted scenes [5:59]
- Interviews with Terry Gilliam [14:30], Jeremy Thomas [9:33], Jeff Bridges, Jodelle Ferland, and Jennifer Tilly [4:59]
- B-roll footage [20:35]
Buy Tideland on Blu-ray from Amazon.