Another month, and yet another in a long, long, LONG line of Arrow fuck-up’s, and once-more, Arrow are doing their best to blame everyone else, except themselves.
David Cronenberg’s SHIVERS has just come out on Arrow Blu-Ray (and Steelbook too), and it’s a heavily-censored print. I don’t have all of the details, but it seems there are four long cuts, and a couple of smaller ones, mostly to scenes of violence and gore.
According to Arrow’s Facebook page, around late-afternoon on Monday 13th October, they posted the following here which said:
We are currently looking into this issue and hope to have an update very soon. Just to clarify, our release of Shivers contains a new restoration personally supervised and approved by Director David Cronenberg and which was produced by Tiff Cinematheque Quebec at Technicolor in 2013.
We are unsure as to the reasons why part of Shivers appears to have been shortened except that it doesn’t appear to be the results of any conscious act of censorship, as many similar scenes would have been removed as well if that were the case. It may have been Cronenberg’s decision to excise this material due to damage to the original materials used, but at this point that’s only speculation on our part.
Unlike Zombie Flesh Eaters, this isn’t the result of an authoring or encoding error, as there is nothing technically wrong with our disc. Unlike many of our releases, we weren’t in any way involved with the restoration of this film, so we’re having to direct our questions to those who oversaw it. Just to reiterate, we are making enquiries to all the parties involved and hope to have a definitive answer to this very soon.
It seems that the version of the film they used was signed-off by Cronenberg himself, and in the following video clip, he clearly states something rather shocking…
On the one hand, Cronenberg states that he “hasn’t seen the entire print“, but then later on, says “none of it would I change“. (Presumably the last comment really means he wouldn’t alter the uncut version of the film we all know and love, either for censorship, or because he wants to create an alternate, or Director’s Cut of the film.)
Michael Brooke, who helped Arrow restore their recent boxed-set release of Walerian Borowczyk films, then wrote:
But what complicates matters here is that David Cronenberg himself signed off on this restoration – and by all accounts was very actively involved with its creation, at least according to the publicity leading up to the big-screen premiere of said restoration last year. At present, we simply don’t know whether he was unaware of the changes, or whether they were made at his instigation in the first place.
What then followed, was another set of Arrow Fanboys labelling me a “troll”, defending Arrow to the hilt, and stating that Arrow is not to blame here, and two or three of us – myself included – saying that Arrow needed to actually accept some responsibility in all of this. It’s all incredibly laughable! After all, they took Cronenberg’s “signing-off” of the print, without checking the print first, and then duly sent it off to be mastered, encoded and duplicated for us, the viewing public, to purchase and view.
Look, I don’t enjoy beating-up on any company! I honestly don’t! I’m not a sadist, even if it might seem like it. I am simply a horror film fan demanding that film companies – any of them, all of them – start being a little bit more mature, in the way they deal with things. The only reason I take these shots at Arrow, is becase, as a Brit, they are one of the biggest cult film labels specialising in horror and cult horror titles. Thus, I end-up buying a fair amount of their products. I’d do exactly the same to any other label who were so cavalier, no matter who they were, or how long they had been running!
The simple fact is this: Arrow accepted the print as-is, because Cronenberg had “signed-off” on it. They wrongly assumed that because the director was cool with the print, that that meant the print was uncut, correctly remastered, and exactly how he wanted it. The problems were two-fold:
1) Cronenberg has admitted he hasn’t seen the print in full, and
2) He signed-off on it, based on his own faulty memory of what he thought the film should look like, and should be like!
Unfortunately, Arrow then just accepted his “signing-off”, without checking things out. This is a truly dumb thing to do! You should never, ever just accept things as how you think they are, simply because someone else says they are so! If you don’t check things out for yourself, then you are likely to get your fingers burned. And so it is, yet again, with Arrow, who now have another release out there, that isn’t as good as they claim; isn’t uncut; and has resulted in fans who have pre-ordered the title from online companies, now awaiting delivery, and then having to return it at their own time,effort and expense, because Arrow has dropped the ball once again!
And in typical Arrow style, they’ve now banned me from their Facebook page, because I want them to take some responsibility for their error, and it is their error, because they didn’t bother to check the print directly.
How many more titles, are Arrow going to release, in which we the customer have to pay the price for?
How much longer are Arow going to keep blaming everyone else for their problems, whilst trying to deny that there is a problem in the first place?
And, more importantly than all of that, with Arrow now trying to expand into the USA market – see this link here for all the information – you have to wonder, if their track-record has been so awful, why they think that expanding and releasing more titles, that are Region A and B compatible on Blu-Ray, or Region 1 and 2 compatible on DVD, is going to help matters! If they can’t even get releases right in their own country, how in God’s name are they going to do it right, in another?!
As we have come to expect here, Arrow has said they are going to “investigate” the problem, but I honestly think that they may as well just give-up the ghost now! It’s becoming a guessing-game as to whether one of their releases, will:
1) Get released when they claim it will, and
2) Be the version they say it is, that you’ve just paid your hard-earned money for!
No label, be that in films, clothing, or food deserves to continue operating, when it comes to this type of shoddy business practice! Bear in mind, Arrow have been in operation since 2009 – that’s over 5 years now – and they still don’t seem to have learnt the lessons from their shameful past!
All of this, just as I was starting to buy their titles once more, (the Bava stuff, for example), and starting to think that maybe the old Arrow had finally bitten the dust, the old corpse rears its ugly head once more, and takes a hulking great bite out of my patience!
Please Arrow, just give-up now! Cease trading, examine what you are trying to do, find ways of making sure errors like this can’t keep happening, time-and-time-and-time-again, and once you’ve got that sorted, then relaunch yourself! Sadly, I can’t see this happening, and as such, it is you, dear-reader, and I, and every other one of their customers who will continue to bear the brunt of their shambolic operation!
“Arrow: We don’t care, so you shouldn’t either!”
Thank You for reading this post. I will be back soon, with a lengthy topic that is wholly relevant to this blog! More on that, shortly! For now, be seeing you!
ADDENDUM: Since posting this blog-entry, Arrow’s STRAY CAT ROCK Blu-Ray Collection set has been released to some customers, even though the official release date isn’t until 3rd November, and copies of this set are also faulty. Reports have been made on Arrow’s Facebook page, with some customers citing incorrectly labelled discs, and/or the set coming wrongly-labelled with the wrong certificates on it (a 15 rather than the 18 it should have), and/or the fact that there are no booklets included, despite the fact that they should be. Arrow is “investigating”, and the set is being recalled from all suppliers, until this issue is corrected!