Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BLU-RAY BATTLE! The Exterminator vs. The Exterminator

What an age we live in that exploitation cinema nuts have not just one region FREE Blu-ray of director James Glickenhaus's gritty revenge classic THE EXTERMINATOR (1980) to enjoy, but two options! In September US film distributor Synapse Films released an unrated director's cut of the film with an exclusive audio commentary and a gorgeous 1080p presentation. The second release arrives on November 7th from UK distributor Arrow Video with an array of content including exclusive features and commentary, two featurettes and collectible packaging.

THE EXTERMINATOR is not the first title that Synapse and Arrow have competing editions of either, nor will it be the last. Both distributors have unique edition of William Lustig's MANIAC COP and Frank Henenlotter's FRANKENHOOER on the way. Synapse have the jump with the earlier release dates but to keep our readers informed I'll be presenting a series of special features comparisons for each title beginning with THE EXTERMINATOR...


DIRECTOR: James Glickenhaus
CAST: Christopher George, Robert Ginty, Corky O'Hara, Samantha Edgar
TAGLINE: If You're Lying I'll be Back

SYNOPSIS: John Eastland has been to ‘Nam and he’s seen things... Things you wouldn’t believe. Surviving torture and witnessing the brutal deaths of his friends, John returns home to a tough neighbourhood in New York and his loving family. But when some local thugs take a crippling dislike to his best friend Mike, leaving him paralysed, something snaps in John. Did he fight the Vietcong for this?

Taking the law into his own hands, Eastland sets out to clean the streets of every low life, good for nothing gang banger, mobster and ghetto ghoul across the city in director James Glickenhaus’ (McBain) brutally violent vigilante classic.

Blu-ray/DVD Combo
RATING: Unrated
DURATION: 102 mins
VIDEO: 1080p 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
AUDIO: DTS-HD MA English 2.0, DTS-HS MA English Mono

- The Original Director's Cut Featuring More Gore and Violence
- Newly restored original Stereo Soundtrack Mix
- Audio Commentary with Director James Glickenhaus
- Theatrical Trailer (1:24) 16:9 1080p
- Television Spots (3:12) 16:9 1080p
- DVD Version of the Film with Features

Read my review of the Synapse Films Blu-ray/DVD combo right HERE!

RATING: 18 Certificate
DURATION: 102 mins 
VIDEO: 1080p 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
AUDIO: Original Uncompressed LPCM Mono Audio

- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Tom 'The Dude Designs' Hodges
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by critic David Hayles
- Introduction to the film by director James Glickenhaus (1080p)
- Fire and Slice: Making The Exterminator - An interview with James Glickenhaus (1080p)
- 42nd Street Then and Now: A tour of New York's former sleaze circuit from director Frank Henenlotter (1080p)
- Audio commentary with Mark Buntzman, producer of The Exterminator and writer/director of The Exterminator II, moderated by Calum Waddell.

ARROW VIDEO: Arrow have the ephemeral edge with some collectible reversible artwork and booklet plus an intro from James Glickenhaus, two featurettes and an audio commentary with producer Mark Buntzman.

SYNAPSE FILMS: Synapse disc is mostly bereft of featurettes outside of a very cool commentary, trailers and TV spots it does offer a standard edition DVD of the film that replicates the special features in their entirety. Not yet having seen the Arrow edition all I can say is that it looks quite good in print but I've reviewed Synapse's BD and it's a fantastic presentation of the director's cut with a great director's commentary.

VERDICT: Both releases offer exclusive audio commentaries and the unrated director's cut if the film. Originally this BLU-RAY BATTLE was awarded Synapse when I was of the mind that Arrow's edition was the 97 min R-rated theatrical version but Arrow have since confirmed through an inquiry on their Facebook page that their disc is the 102 min unrated director's cut, same as the Synapse disc which I think really puts the ball in Arrow's court now. Don't discount the James Glickenhaus commentary though, that's really got me pushing for the Synapse Blu-ray but I have to award this one to Arrow Video whom include a producer's commentary, an interview with Gickenhaus and what really pushed it over the edge for me was the tour of 42nd Street by none other than Frank Henenlotter, director of BASKET CASE and FRANKENHOOKER.

In a perfect world where every cinephile is flush with cash you definitely want both editions but in today's cash-strapped reality it may not be an option for everyone. With that in mind read my review of Synapse's BD and look forward to a review of Arrow's BD sometime in the near future. I hope these comparison's of competing titles in some small way help influence your decision one way or the other, if so please ket me know.

Which Blu-ray of THE EXTERMINATOR sounds like the one for you and why?