Arrow Films is one of the UK’s leading independent distributors of world cinema, arthouse, horror and classic films. For over 15 years Arrow Films has pioneered the best directors from Europe and around the world, and has become a highly respected player in the Blu-ray collection world.
Arrow is actually not just one label, but a few. Arrow Films, Arrow Video, ArrowDrome, Arrow Academy, and Nordic Noir are all part of the same group, and each have their own flavor and style. But there is one thing that they all have in common, and that is quality and attention to detail.
Originally just based in the UK, most of their releases are Region B, meaning you need a region free player to play them if you are not in the UK. However, they have been increasingly releasing titles that are region free, and, after a successful IndieGoGo campaign, they’ve started up Arrow US that is releasing even more titles over here in the states. Ever since they started releasing region free, collectors and cult cinema fans here in the states have rejoiced and developed a thirst for more of their titles.
So why are Arrow titles so hot? As stated above, quality and attention to detail really set Arrow apart from most of their competitors. The closest comparison would be to Criterion, in that the releases themselves are visually attractive (and similar), and the curation of films themselves. Arrow also matches Criterion when it comes to supplying new and previously unreleased special features and extra content. Each and every Blu-ray from Arrow is a complete package.
The Packaging – Standard Editions
Standard edition Arrow releases typically come in a clear Blu-ray case similar to Criterions, with two sided sleeves that generally include original and new artwork. Inside you will find Blu-ray (and sometimes DVD) copies of the film with matching, high quality artwork. There will also be a several page booklet with essays, interviews, or other interesting information about the film.
The Packaging – Special and Limited Editions
Arrow has released several highly sought after and limited releases that collector’s seek out. There are a handful of steelbooks available, including Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Blood and Black Lace, and The ‘Burbs, among others. But the most exciting releases that Arrow has released has been their Limited Edition releases. Typically released in batches of 2000-5000, these sets sell out quick and then command a high price on the aftermarket. The most famous of these sets are Society, Bride of Re-Animator, and the Hellraiser Trilogy. These special editions generally come with tons of new special features, soundtracks, larger and sometimes hardcover booklets, and beautiful packaging that rivals Criterion on their best day.
Arrow is pretty obscure to the mainstream, and that stems from their choice in releases. Focusing more on cult cinema, most of their releases are lesser known, and it’s quite possible that you’ve never heard of any of them until you start looking into Arrow. However, do not mistake lesser known for lesser quality. These films may have modest beginnings, or have been lost to the sands of time, but each and every one that I’ve seen personally has struck me in one way or another as being a hidden gem that I am uncovering; and that is thanks to Arrow. Even the movies that weren’t “great” were interesting to me, on an almost academic level. I cannot recommend diving into their library enough.
Where to buy
Your best chance of finding Arrow out in the wild will be in Barnes & Noble or Best Buy, but the selection will likely be severely limited. Amazon and DiabolikDVD are the best choices I’ve found online, but Arrow has their own shop on their website. They have near monthly sales on the site, with really good pricing (some titles as low as $4.99 USD). Shipping isn’t too terrible either, with the worst part being the longer travel time from the UK. One thing to note with shopping on their site is that you accumulate rewards points for each dollar spent that can be used to shave off of your next purchase. This doesn’t cost a thing and just requires you sign up for a free account (which you do as you complete a purchase anyway).
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