Arrow Heads Roundup — SISTER STREET FIGHTER, PHANTOM LADY, THE PRISONER, Jose Larraz, and More

A noir crime tale, sober character study, proto-found-footage horror, and lots of Euro-sleaze made up Arrow’s electric releases of March 2019

Arrow Heads — UK-based Arrow Films has quickly become one of the most exciting and dependable names in home video curation and distribution, creating gorgeous Blu-ray releases with high quality artwork and packaging, and bursting with supplemental content, often of their own creation. From the cult and genre fare of Arrow Video to the artful cinema of Arrow Academy, this column is devoted to their weird and wonderful output.

Our Arrow Heads Roundups trail the actual releases a bit, but that’s because we try to actually view and review as many of these as we can first to provide some meaningful commentary.

In March, Arrow Video’s new releases included box sets collecting the Sister Street Fighter series and a trio of Jose Larraz horror films, indie horror oddity Kolobos, and the notorious (and notoriously titled) giallo Strip Nude for Your Killer.

Arrow Academy served up a fine pairing of lesser known classics, the zippy mystery noir Phantom Lady and a stunning performance from Alex Guinness in the historically controversial The Prisoner.

Amazon links are included for titles below. If you enjoy reading Cinapse, purchasing items through our affiliate links can tip us with a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Editor’s Pick: Sister Street Fighter Collection

Directors: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, Shigehiro Ozawa

In response to the wild success of Sonny Chiba’s Street Fighter series, a spin-off was quickly put together — so quickly, in fact, that the entire Street Fighter Trilogy and the first two Sister Street Fighter films were all released in the same calendar year.

Arrow’s collected set includes four films in total — the canonical trilogy and the “in-name-only” 1976 follow-up Fifth Level Fist which features star Etsuko Shihomi, but isn’t part of the same continuity.

As our editor Ed Travis put it in his review, “The Sister Street Fighter films, more than any other series or subgenre, have taught me the truest, purist meaning of the term ‘exploitation cinema’. Mind you, I’m quite well versed in exploitation movies, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a series so blatantly and fully committed to giving audiences exactly what the studio thinks they want. And what did Japanese audiences want in the early 1970s? Apparently, they wanted karate. Non-stop karate. Endless, furious, fabulous karate.”

You can check out his full thoughts, including reviews of the individual films, here:

Additionally, we’ve posted screen comparisons of the first two films matched up against their prior Blu-ray releases.

  • Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio, Original English dubbed audio for Sister Street Fighter
  • New optional English subtitle translation for all four films; English SDH subtitles for the English dub for Sister Street Fighter
  • New video interviews with actor Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba, director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, and screenwriter Masahiro Kakefuda
  • Original Japanese theatrical trailers for all four films
  • Original U.S. theatrical trailer for Sister Street Fighter, plus original English opening titles to the film
  • Original German theatrical trailer for Sister Street Fighter, plus original German opening titles to the film
  • Stills and poster gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Kungfubob O’Brien // FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated booklet written by Patrick Macias and Chris Poggiali

Blood Hunger: The Films of Jose Larraz [Whirlpool, The Coming of Sin, Vampyres]

Spanish-born José Ramón Larraz was a consummate storyteller. Best known as a filmmaker, he was also a comic writer under the pen name “Gil”. Larraz’s lurid, hypnotic, and distinctly European horror films encompassed both the both nightmarish and erotic (frequently with lesbian themes), marrying moody cinematography with potent passion and ugly violence.

Arrow’s “Blood Hunger” box set presents an interesting cross section of his horror films: his debut Whirlpool (1970), his best known film Vampyres (1974), and 1978’s The Coming of Sin — for anyone interested in diving in Larraz’s filmography, you probably couldn’t ask for a better primer.


  • newly-restored in 2K from original film elements
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing for all features
  • Packaging: Newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx; 80-page book with writing by Jo Botting, Tim Greaves and Vanity Celis


  • Original US Theatrical Cut
  • Brand new audio commentary by Tim Lucas
  • Obsessive Recurrence: The Early Films of José Larraz — author and critic Kim Newman reflects on the recurring themes and underlying obsessions linking together the early productions of José Larraz
  • A Curious Casting — actor Larry Dann on the strange story behind his casting in Whirlpool
  • Deviations of Whirlpool — featurette comparing the differences between the US Theatrical Cut and a previously circulated, alternate cut of the film
  • Extract from an archival interview with José Larraz
  • Image Gallery
  • Original US Theatrical Trailer


  • Brand new audio commentary by Kat Ellinger
  • Brand new interviews with producer Brian Smedley-Aston, actors Marianne Morris, Anulka Dziubinska, Brian Deacon, Sally Faulkner, makeup artist Colin Arthur and composer James Kenelm Clarke
  • Reimagining Vampyres — a brand new interview with Larraz’s friend and collaborator Victor Matellano, director of the 2015 Vampyres remake
  • Extract from an archival interview with José Larraz
  • Jose Larraz and Marianne Morris Q&A at 1997 Eurofest
  • Image Gallery
  • Trailers


  • Spanish and English language versions of the feature
  • Brand new audio commentary by Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan
  • Variations of Vice: The Alternate Versions of The Coming of Sin — exploitation expert Marc Morris on the strange and scandalous release history of José Larraz’s most censored film
  • Remembering Larraz — author and filmmaker Simon Birrell shares his fond and extensive memories of his long-time friend and collaborator José Larraz
  • His Last Request (2005, 27 mins) — short film by Simon Birrell made under the guidance of José Larraz and starring Spanish horror legend Jack Taylor
  • Extract from an archival interview with José Larraz
  • Image Gallery
  • Original Spanish Trailer

The Prisoner (1955)

Director: Peter Glenville

Alex Guinness stars in this fascinating depiction of a battle of wills and oppressive tyranny. His character, a Cardinal in some pocket of post-WWII Europe where a Communist regime has taken power, is accused of delivering treasonous messages to incite rebellion among the faithful. An Interrogator (Jack Hawkins) is tasked with breaking him. Thusly is the stage set for a long-term battle of wills and mental torture as the Interrogator attempts to extract a false confession from his prisoner.

Politically controversial on its release and necessarily drab and bleak in its subject matter, the film is nonetheless intriguing in its portrayal of the mental fatigue that develops in both of its primary characters. At times a sort of kinship even develops between the two combatants as they engage in the endless grueling debate, day after day, toward some inevitably terrible end. Both actors are incredible in the roles, and it’s a powerful film — though perhaps not one I’d be quick to rewatch.

  • Original lossless mono audio, Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Interrogating Guinness, a new video appreciation of the film by author and academic Neil Sinyard
  • Select scene commentary by author and critic Philip Kemp
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain // FIRST PRESSING ONLY: booklet with writing by Mark Cunliffe

Phantom Lady (1944)

Director: Robert Siodmak

After a spat with his wife, an upset Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) heads out for a drink and laments having two tickets for a show that will go to waste — their planned date for the evening. On a whim, he asks the equally forlorn woman seated next to him if she’d like to join him. The pair agree on an unusual condition — this isn’t an opportunity for intimacy, so they keep things impersonal. No names, even.

On returning home, Scott is greeted by a house full of detectives and a sobering discovery: his wife is dead, and he’s the prime suspect. He has an alibi, but it’s absurd — the only person who can vouch for his whereabouts for the entire evening is a nameless mystery woman whom he doesn’t know and can’t even properly describe. A phantom lady.

What’s great about the film is that after this first act, it switches protagonists. With the mystery set in place, our attention turns to Scott’s secretary Carol (Ella Raines), a clever and determined woman who sets out to solve the mystery and save her boss, for whom she harbors an unspoken love. The premise is perhaps a bit of male fantasy, but Carol’s shrewd investigation is engaging and rewarding.

  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio, Optional English subtitles
  • Dark and Deadly: 50 Years of Film Noir, an insightful archival documentary featuring contributions from Robert Wise, Edward Dmytryk, Dennis Hopper and more
  • Rare, hour-long 1944 radio dramatization of Phantom Lady by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring Alan Curtis and Ella Raines
  • Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options // FIRST PRESSING ONLY: booklet by author Alan K. Rode

Get it at Amazon:

Kolobos (1999)

A group of young people are gathered into a house for a “Big Brother” style scenario for an experimental film, taking a deal for free lodging and meals in addition to a paycheck — all in all, seemingly a pretty sweet gig. With cameras and CCTV set up all over the house the social experiment is begun, but soon spirals out of control when the controller is murdered. Is this all a setup, part of the experiment? That’s quickly answered as the inhabitants start getting offed one by one.

Kolobos isn’t great, but it’s certainly a unique indie slasher, both very much a late 90’s film but also ahead of its time, taking cues from reality television and implementing a setup that would soon be common in found footage films (though to be clear, it is not one itself). Pretty amazing to think that the film came out only a couple months after The Blair Witch Project, which single-handedly launched a new subgenre. Had the timing around these releases been a little different, it’s possible that Kolobos might occupy a much more prominent place of recognition in horror history.

  • New 2K restoration from original negative, Stereo and 5.1 audio options
  • Audio commentary with co-writers/co-directors Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk
  • Real World Massacre: The Making of Kolobos — brand new featurette on the making-of Kolobos including interviews with Daniel Liatowitsch, David Todd Ocvirk and co-writer/producer Nne Ebong
  • Face to Faceless — a brand new Interview with “Faceless” actor Ilia Volok
  • Slice & Dice: The Music of Kolobos — a brand new interview with composer William Kidd
  • Behind-the-Scenes Image Gallery
  • Super 8 short film by Daniel Liatowitsch with commentary
  • Original Trailer
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: booklet with new writing by Phillip Escott

Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)

A fast-paced giallo set in a world of high fashion, gorgeous models, sleazy men, and, of course, black-gloved killers. The highlight is leading lady Edwige Fenech, on whom the tale centers as characters around her are being killed off — in this sense, she’s a final girl in a proto-slasher. As the outrageous title implies, Strip Nude is a lurid affair and frankly kind of icky, though still very much in line with genre expectations.

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
     • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
     • English subtitles for both the Italian and English soundtracks
     • New audio commentary by’s Adrian J. Smith and David Flint
     • Sex and Death with a Smile, a new video essay by author and critic Kat Ellinger on giallo and sex comedy icon Edwige Fenech
     • A Good Man for the Murders, a newly edited video interview with actor Nino Castelnuovo
     • The Blonde Salamander, a new video interview with actress Erna Schurer
     • The Art of Helping, a new video interview with assistant director Daniele Sangiorgi
     • Jack of All Trades, a new video interview with actor and production manager Tino Polenghi
     • Two versions of the opening scene: tinted and untinted viewing options
     • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
     • Image gallery
     • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys // FIRST PRESSING ONLY: booklet by critic Rachael Nisbet

A/V Out.

Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.

Previous post TOY STORY 4 Shows Even Toys Have to Grow Up
Next post Cinepocalypse 2019: BELZEBUTH is a Can’t Miss Mexican Supernatural Thriller