Arrow Staff Picks – 2023

Mammoth boxsets, brand new restorations and weird and wild releases from all corners of the globe! 2023 was a huge year for Team Arrow, releasing a record number of new titles for you to add to your collections. As the year draws to a close, we want to take the opportunity to look back and highlight some of our favourite releases of the year.

So sit back, get comfy, and check out all the titles that topped the Arrow Video teams lists this year…

James Flower – Production Manager

2023 proved to be one of Arrow’s strongest years ever, not just in terms of sales (thank you all for your continued support) but an amazingly eclectic line-up of films, including some much demanded 4K upgrades and our first round of Paramount titles (The Warriors!). A huge thanks to everyone who helped me with bringing the Bruce Lee and Lukas Moodysson boxsets – two very different collections of films with their own unique sets of challenges – to fruition, not least kung fu guru Brandon Bentley and our authoring supremos at Engine House Media Services and Fidelity in Motion. I doubt you’ll see me producing (and editing and narrating…!) another four-hour video essay any time soon but I’m glad I was able to pull it off once with The Final Game of Death. I’ve barely had time to catch up with all the titles from this year I want to watch, but here’s a list of favourites from those I have:

The House That Screamed (La Residencia)

One of the crown jewels of Eurohorror finally gets the uncut restoration from the original camera negative it’s deserved all these years, and I was thrilled to play a small part in digging through and making sense of the various versions to ensure everything was as complete as can be. All credit for the excellent array of extras goes to Jasper Sharp, who oversaw a fantastic line-up of contextual material.

Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams

I’ve deeply loved beyond reason the output of Empire Pictures ever since the video store days of gawping at the rental VHS for Troll as an impressionable youth, so I was very excited that we could bring that youthful thrill back in this boxset. For some reason I have a co-producer credit in the booklet but ignore that, all I really did was share some info on the different cuts of The Dungeonmaster and dig out some trailers ripped from VHS I’ve had sitting on a hard drive for 15 years. (My favourite being Ragewar: The Challenges of Excalibrate!) Neil Snowdon did all the heavy lifting here, with the invaluable assistance of Heather Buckley as well as Dave Wain & Matty Budrewicz. Will you be seeing more video store-themed sets in the future? Count on it… 

The Psycho Collection – 4K UHD

Anthony Perkins himself called Norman Bates the “Hamlet of horror roles” and this 4K set was an exceptional tribute to a series that is far better and more consistent than it has any right to be. Hitchcock’s original is obviously immortal, Richard Franklin and Tom Holland’s belated follow-up is as ingenious as ever and Mick Garris’ cable TV coda has never looked better, but I’ve always been especially fond of Psycho III, the one entry in the series directed by Perkins himself. Seeing the garishly lit, almost Bavaesque grand guignol (mostly inspired by some new pretenders to Hitch’s throne named Joel & Ethan Coen, in fact!) on UHD was one of my favourite home video experiences of the year.

Neil Snowdon – Senior Disc Producer

Caveat: this list leans heavily on titles I’ve worked on this year, but this year was among the busiest I’ve ever known and with the sheer volume of great titles being released by us and our friends at Severin, Eureka, Radiance, Powerhouse, Vinegar Syndrome and so on, that ‘to watch pile’ is climbing to intimidating heights! Anyway, I’ve gone from the gut with this list. These are my immediate thoughts when looking back on the year.

The Dunwich Horror

One of the greatest pleasures of working on the movies we do is the opportunity to help re-evaluate and reappraise a film, bring fresh eyes and get the conversation flowing. Is this the greatest H.P. Lovecraft adaptation ever made? Of course not. Is it better than its reputation might lead you to believe? Absolutely. Does it deserve more love? Hell yes! It’s a film that opens up all kinds of windows on the genre and the filmmakers involved, something reflected in the lengthy conversation between comics artist and film critic Stephen Bissette and horror novelist Stephen Laws which appears among our extras and hanging out with those guys is a delight.

Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams

By the time a disc or box I worked on comes out, I’m usually eyeball deep in the next batch, so it can be hard to really take stock and appreciate things when they’re done. Sometimes it’s a few months down the line that you take a title off the shelf and think “You know what? I’m really proud of that”. But this one was different. Of everything I did this year, this was the one I wasn’t sure would land with people… I knew I liked the idea of a set that’s like a lightning rod for the electric excitement that a trip to the video store used to bring in those far off days before streaming (don’t tell me how many years, I already feel ancient!), but would anyone else? And then Laurie Greasley’s art arrived and set me beaming. And then Dave Wain, Matty Budrewicz and Heather Buckley pulled amazing new extras out the bag. And then the box arrived and… man it felt good. I’ve been so thrilled with the response to this one. And yes, you can expect further volumes over time 😊

The Lukas Moodysson Collection

Fucking Åmål (aka Show Me Love) and Together are both films I fell in love with while working at an indie cinemas (oh for the days when films like Together were selling out multiple shows!). I’ve owned them previously on VHS and DVD. They never get old, never fail to repay repeat viewings, never fail to have me shedding tears. I have to steel myself for the other films, I don’t venture into those ones lightly, but they’re equally amazing films. I was over the moon that Arrow was able to pick these movies up and do them justice.

Blood and Black Lace – 4K UHD

Because it’s Bava, and once you have 4K why wouldn’t you want to bathe in that amazing cinematography?


Too little-known outside of France, I was so pleased that Arrow could help change that. Borsalino is a cracking period gangster flick featuring two of French cinemas most iconic actors, a ridiculously catchy ragtime score, and costumes so stylish it hurts.

The Warriors – 4K UHD

Walter Hill. Do I need to say more? Okay, then… it was an honour, and the new restoration is glorious.

The Lighthouse – 4K UHD

My gods it’s a beautiful film. There aren’t many filmmakers who truly embraced and imbue texture in their images, but Eggers is one of them. Like Lynch and Svankmajer, he has a synaesthetic approach to imagery; what we see evokes not only our emotions, but our senses of touch and smell. The Lighthouse is a rare and beautiful thing. I had nothing to do with this one so got to enjoy it purely as a viewer and a fan of the film. Wonderful extras and Jeffrey Alan Love’s art was the perfect cherry on the cake.

Carlito’s Way – 4K UHD
It’s De Palma, and in a career littered with masterpieces – eccentric and otherwise – I just think this is flawless filmmaking.

Alex Agran – Chief Executive Officer

Carlito’s’ Way – 4k UHD Arrow Store Exclusive

This is one of my favourite films and what an amazing looking product this turned out to be – sumptuous artwork, a fine collection of new and archival features, postcards that want to make you want to watch those scenes immediately and the film itself never ever looked better – I just need to hold down the Al Pacino impressions for everyone’s sake!

Louise Buckler – Head of Marketing

The Beta Test

A ruthlessly brutal and deliciously thrilling attack on the perils of Hollywood success. The Beta Test from Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe flirts with giallo, erotic thrillers and cringe comedy to create an endlessly engrossing watch that is full of satisfying twists and turns.

Our limited edition release also contains a bonus disc contain hours of award-winning shorts from the direction duo as well of some must-watch extras for any budding filmmakers out there.

The Lukas Moodysson Collection

Containing some of the most heartbreakingly brutal and uplifting feel good films from Sweden side by side, The Lukas Moodysson Collection is a must-own for fans of the director and will hopefully serve as a gateway set for new fans to discover these utterly fantastic films. With hours of new extras and cool acetate packaging, this set deserves a place on your shelf. Just watch out as this is one heavy set!

The Warriors – 4K UHD

As one of my favourite films, I was so excited to see The Warriors finally receive the Arrow Video treatment. Chocked full of extras and sporting a brand new 4K restoration, the film has never looked better!

Honourable mentions: Ringu – 4K UHD, The Psycho Collection – 4K UHD, Hellraiser Quartet of Torment – 4K UHD, The Lighthouse – 4K UHD, Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams.

James Pearcey – Technical Assistant / Film Restoration

Well, it’s been quite the year for Arrow Films, we’ve been involved in some truly incredible projects encompassing the classic, the weird and the even the big studio pictures. Its been my second year at Arrow and I’m damned proud of the work we’ve done and the remarkable people I get to work alongside.

It’s also worth mentioning how amazing the work of other boutique labels has been, the releases this year have been off the chart from everywhere. It’s truly a great time to be working in this field.

The Vagrant

Any film starring Bill Paxton should be on this list. It’s a given, but this one featuring Marshall Bell as a crazed vagrant tormenting Bill is a true undiscovered gem.

The wildness of it and the fantastically bizarre way the plot shifts is something to behold.

This film was an immensely personal film for me, it was one I grew up up with and this was the first time I wrote an essay for any of our releases as well.

If you haven’t seen it I can’t recommend it enough.

Bruce Lee at Golden Harvest – 4K UHD

This truly is the box set to end them all, the level of detail and work that went into restoring the films and collating the extras was immense.

We all know and love the films, but the vast array of extras give them all so much more context and life. These films have deserved a release like this for a very long time and I am impossibly proud to have been a part of it.

The Warriors – 4K UHD

Another film I grew up watching and was lucky enough to have a hand in restoring. This film is a true classic and to present it in this standard with the approval of Walter Hill was a big highlight of the year.

It’s one of the great gang movies and a superb image of New York at that moment in time. There are very few films like it and none (for me) that reach its heights.

Honourable Mentions: The Day of the Locust, Barbarella – 4K UHD, Hellraiser Quartet of Torment – 4K UHD, Blood and Black Lace – 4K UHD, Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams, The Lukas Moodysson Collection 

Michael Mackenzie – Senior Producer

The Psycho Collection – 4K UHD

A lavish, nicely appointed box set containing one of horror cinema’s undisputed classics and its three eclectic sequels, The Psycho Collection limited edition is a classy product from top to tail, from the striking cover artwork to the chunky booklet to the discs themselves, packed to the gills with in-depth bonus materials and featuring new Arrow-originated restorations of Psychos II, III and IV. Whether you’re new to the sequels or already know them by heart, this set is a real must-have for the discerning horror fan.

Hellraiser: Quartet of Torment – 4K UHD

The big beast itself! The earlier Hellraiser trilogy box set was one of the first releases I contributed to in any capacity when I started working for Arrow back in the dim and distant past, and getting to contribute to this souped up, all singing all dancing new 4K UHD edition – which now also includes the fourth film in the series – felt, in a lot of respects, like coming full circle. From top to bottom, this set is absolutely loaded to the gills with new and archival content – and, needless to say, the films themselves have never looked better. Special mention must go to the team at Oink Creative who managed the impossible and came up with a fresh spin to put on a franchise that, over the years, has been released in virtually every different style of packaging under the sun.

The Lighthouse – 4K UHD

I’m cheating slightly with this last nomination, because it’s a titled I produced myself, but I was seriously thrilled by how this turned out. Some titles are more challenging than others, but this one was smooth sailing from beginning to end, in no small part thanks to the fact that director Robert Eggers was an absolute joy to work with, making himself (and several of his key collaborators) available even though they were busy location scouting in Prague at the time (on which note, who else is looking forward to Nosferatu)? From the slick new packaging by Jeffrey Allan Love to the feature-length documentary assembled by regular contributor Jonathan Zaurin to – of course – the film itself, this release is one of the shining stars of 2023, though I say it myself.

Alasdair Bayman – Marketing Co-Ordinator

Blackhat – 4K UHD

2023 has been a great year for Michael Mann fans with Heat 2 confirmed to be adapted to the big screen, a new theatrical release from the director and this wonderful edition of a definitively modern tale of espionage thrills. As a huge fan of the Chicago director, I was so delighted to see the Director’s Cut makes it home video debut on this crisp 4K release on Disc Two, which really accentuates Mann’s fascinating visual language even further – essential viewing! Dive into a great video essay on the extras alongside the behind-the-scenes featurette for some great Mann insights. Pick up Thief alongside it for the ultimate Mann double bill!

Blood and Black Lace – 4K UHD

Forza Bava! This bellissimo restoration brings to life my favourite Bava and it’s so easy to see why Argento essentially pulled colours, framing and lighting straight from his fellow countryman with this brand new version available. The prototype slasher does not outstay its welcome at a tight 88-minute running time. If you are like me and prefer original Italian versions of gialli, as opposed to dubs, then the English subtitles are included! A true gem of the release is Blood and Bava, featuring none other than Argento himself waxing lyrically in Italian on Bava’s definitive giallo. Che bello!

Also, how did a red telephone ever look THAT good?

Game Trilogy

Last and by no means least, is Toru Murakawa’s Game Trilogy. The cool hitman style suits the 70’s setting all so well with Yusaku Matsuda a true star adorned in brown leather, killer shades and insane weaponry. A Neo-noir series built for an iconic era. Each film has an outstanding frenetic enegry with running, shooting, more running and more shooting constantly unfolding through handheld camera work – what is not to love! Matsuda is the ultimate stone-cold killer and gives Sonny Chiba’s Tsurugi in The Street Fighter a run for his money as the most amoral Japanese character of the period. Get ready for jazz scores unlike any other that will truly leave its mark on you.

James White – Head of Technical & Restoration

Bruce Lee at Golden Harvest – 4K UHD

Without question one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever worked on, this was 2+ years in the making and it’s fair to say that we’re all still a wee bit exhausted from the experience. That said the results of our combined efforts speak for themselves. With our new 4K feature restorations sourced from the best existing elements (and yes, we all wish the original negs for Way of the Dragon hadn’t been lost many years ago!) including all historic versions and variations possible, an amazing slate of extras (including what must surely be the final word on Game of Death), and a beautifully packaged booklet and box, whether you prefer Tony Stella red or Tom Ralston yellow,  this collection should stand the test of time as the definitive document of Bruce’s Lee cinematic legacy.  I’d like to make special mention of the restoration teams at L’Immagine Ritrovata (Bologna) and Silver Salt (London) for their herculean efforts on this project and for putting up with us throughout what turned out to be something of an epic journey.

The Desperate Hours

It’s not often these days that we get to work on a classic studio-era film directed by William “The Best Years of Our Lives” Wyler, starring none other than Humphrey Bogart (not to mention Frederic March, also perfect in this movie), so we wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity.  To all those wondering, hey, why did they scan the film in 6K? Well sir, it comes down to the geometry of the Vistavision film frame and how it’s arranged on a strip of 35mm negative, meaning mathematically that it was either that or 3K, and frankly, 3K just wouldn’t do for Wyler and Bogie. And while we weren’t able to justify going full-bore with a UHD release, I think that our efforts in going the extra mile with this restoration were certainly worth it for the fantastic monochrome visuals and the first-generation film details we were able to achieve. An underrated gem by Wyler and Bogart in their August years, The Desperate Hours now feels like something of a masterpiece of postwar suburban malaise, and a profound influence on such far-reaching titles as Dog Day Afternoon and exploitation shocker Fight For your Life.

Barbarella – 4K UHD

Roger-Vadim and Dino De Laurentis’ notorious sci-fi camp cult classic masterpiece, finally restored and resurrected from the doldrums of its faded greyish video incarnations. The film was made hot on the heels of 2001, back when it seemed like anything was possible, and yet, similar to its only slightly squarer spirit-cousin Flash GordonBarbarella feels like it was tailor made for the lurid glories of 4K and Dolby Vision. The film was a joy to work on, but our release was made all the more special by the contributions of Tim Lucas, Stephen Bissette and Glenn Kenny. A fever dream of a release by all involved, I just hope Jane approves.

Louise Buckler

Louise Buckler

Writer and expert