The B-Movie Isle: Arrow Video’s Raising Cain
The B-Movie Isle a small written (sometimes) weekly companion piece to the B-Movie Podcast.
Every B-Movie is an Isle onto itself. The B-Movie Isle recommends a few films either being released or already released in theaters, VOD, streaming or on Blu-Ray/DVD. These are not going to be blockbusters but those movies you’ll probably find in the door buster clearance bin. Films that people told you weren’t worth your time or you may have not heard about. You and I know they’re just un-enlightened to the beauty of a killer B-Movie!!!
THE TOP SHELF TITLE AKA FEATURED TITLE OF THE WEEK
The Film: I have talked at length about my adoration of this film last year on the B-Movie Podcast. You can listen to that episode right here from our double feature; I’ve got the Sweaty De Palmas.
Raising Cain is De Palma as his most aerobic and nimble. The film is meant to be a sly amount of fun and comedy. This is De Palma flirting with horror again in the best way possible. It’s all overwrought and overtly directed. At the center of this storm is John Lithgow in full DR. EMILE LIZARDO mode. Playing multiple roles (all in the same scene often times); Lithgow and De Palma are simpatico in a way that he was with the director in the very different Blow Out.
If you have never seen Raising Cain, go in blindly as the film is a treat of a film. I would make a strong case that you watch the “Director’s Cut” that’s included in this edition. I put the term Director’s Cut in quotes because it was actually created by someone else but De Palma approved of the work done to conform the film to the structure of his script. This DC definitely works in favor of effective storytelling, something that the original theatrical release did not have on its side.
The still works effectively as both a thriller and an on the sly pitch black comedy. If you love your films heartless, thrilling and with a wit that is on the right side of delirious, this is the film for you. Plus, how can you pass up a chance to see Lithgow play multiple parts? The answer is you can’t!!!!
The Transfer: Arrow has used the same beautiful transfer that Scream Factory used late last year for their release of the same film. It’s gorgeous in an archival print way. Luckily, it was not a Universal Catalog release as they have a tendency to majorly DNR their catalog titles to death (I’ll still never get over or forgive them for what they did during their first release of Back to the Future). The grain structure is perfect. Those wanting a crystal clear picture should go elsewhere. This is just like a great archival print (as it should be) retaining exactly what makes a 35mm sourced remaster perfect.
The Extras: The film is stacked with interviews by actors John Lithgow, Steven Bauer, Greg Henry, Tom Bower, Mel Harris, editor Paul Hirsch, composer Pino Donaggio, two video essays on the various versions of the film. The best features are about the construction of the film. Hirsch’s interview is fantastic giving us a recount of how things came together on the film. The two video essays discuss the creation of the DC itself; one by the creator of the DC Peet Belder Gelderblom the other by critic Chris Dumas. The Dumas video essay is the better of the two as Dumas really gets into the thick of things from a critical standpoint. Gelderblom’s essay actually discusses the “nuts and bolts” of how everything came together and the differences between the two versions. One point of contention is that De Palma is not present in the Special Features. It would have been great to have an interview at the very least.
The Bottom Shelf: This is a great release and worthy of your time. If you’re like me and love to go with the non-US releases, this one is a great option. Go with the limited Edition that one ups the Scream Factory release by including a DVD.