The Criterion Collection announces their October slate

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
July 15th, 2011

One of the most interesting months of the year when it comes to Criterion Collection releases happens to be October.  Often times the month in which we get more genre-oriented releases, it’s a month where the slate is often the most varied. This  year is no different.

Criterion has announced their upcoming October slate, and it’s an absolute killer. As far as genre releases go, the biggest and most talked about release of the month has to be Kaneto Shindo’s KURONEKO. Translating to BLACK CAT in English, the film follows a hero who must stop a spirit who is tearing out the throats of samurai in a Japanese village. A release that’s been talked about for quite some time, especially following Janus Film’s tour of the film, and is often sighted as a release similar to their HAUSU release from last year. Special features include an interview with Shindo, interview with critic Tadao Sato and a trailer, so it is both an interesting release, and a relatively light one.

Another interesting release is Erle Kenton’s THE ISLAND OF LOST SOULS.  A piece of pre-Code horror, the film stars Charles Laughton as a scientist conducting experiments on the titular island.  Co-staring Bela Lugosi, this is one film that has also been discussed a bit, as it has been mentioned in a couple of wacky drawings the collection has released.  One of the more dense releases, the film comes with a commentary, conversation with John Landis, Rick Baker, and Bob Burns, and a cavalcade of interviews.  Hell, they’ve got an interview with DEVO members Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh.

Continuing the MAKIOKA SISTERS trend of releasing bare bones copies of certain films for a lower price, Criterion will give us Michelangelo Antonioni’s IDENTIFICATION OF A WOMAN for a price $10 lighter.  The release will only come with a trailer, but WOMAN is one of Antonioni’s best works, and features two really brilliant performances.  Rounding out the new releases is Zoltan Korda’s amazing FOUR FEATHERS.  The film is an adaptation of the A.E.W. Mason novel, and follows a young officer who is accused of cowardice.  The film will come with a commentary, an interview, and a short film featuring footage Korda on set.

But here’s the kicker.  Criterion, because they can, will be giving the world a Blu-ray upgrade of SALO: OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM.  One of the most controversial films ever put to celluloid, It’s really hard to say if this is really all that intriguing of a release, but personally, I think it’s awesome.  The film, despite being brutal in many ways, is also kind of beautiful.  Blu-grades for the month of October are rounded out by Richard Linklater's DAZED AND CONFUSED as well as the brilliant HARAKIRI.

Finally, Criterion is releasing a new Eclipse set, “Aki Kaurismaki’s Leningrad Cowboys.” As a fan of Kaurismaki, this is a massively interesting release, featuring LENINGRAD COWBOYS GO AMERICA, LENINGRAD COWBOYS MEET MOSES, and TOTAL BALALAIKA SHOW.

Which ones are you most excited for?

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