ARROW BLU RAY RELEASE: Mill of the Stone Women (1960)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally featured this movie on September 15, 2021, but now that Arrow has released an astounding blu ray of this movie, it’s time that we go back and add some content so that this disk gets the recognition that it demands.

Director Giorgio Ferroni’s career ended when he went deaf in 1972. Before that, he worked in many of the genres of the Italian exploitation film world, from peplum like Hercules vs. Moloch to westerns like Fort Yuma Gold and Eurospy like Secret Agent Super Dragon. His last major directing efforts would be The Night of the Devils, which is an adaption of Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy’s The Family of the Vourdalak (which also inspired Viy and Black Sabbath) and a 1975 comedy Who Breaks…Pays.

The first Italian film shot in color, this movie takes us to an island in Holland that houses a sculpture of several women created by art professor and sculptor Professor Gregorious Wahl. Hans van Arnhim has traveled here to learn what the statues mean, but he’s also found love in the form of Wahl’s sickly daughter Elfie.

Now go with me on the plot. It turns out that the sculptor has hired a doctor to keep his daughter alive. Together, they run a secret lab where Elfie receives blood transfusions from kidnapped female victims who posthumously become part of the stone art of the professor. So — House of WaxEyes Without a FaceMill of the Stone Women.

Still, 60’s Eurohorror is, as they say, where it’s at. There’s so much to love in this movie and I love the doomed heroine and the just as damned hero who cannot help but to remain in love with her. This also has the interesting formula of gothic horror + science fiction + the magic of Technicolor.

The Arrow limited edition release of this movie is exactly the type of blu ray package that you expect from this powerhouse company. On its two disks, it includes more special features than you’d think can fit as well as limited edition packaging witha reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais; an illustrated collectors book with writing by Roberto Curti, an in-depth comparison of the different versions by Brad Stevens and a selection of contemporary reviews; a fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais and six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards

Beyond the new 2K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, there are four different versions of the film: the original 96-minute Italian and English export versions, the 90-minute French version and the 95-minute US version. Plus, the Tim Lucas commentary — the author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark — is great. I learned so much information just in the first five minutes.

You also get features and interviews with the actors, the UK Drops of Blood title, the German title, U.S. and German trailers and a visual essay by Kat Ellinger.

Obviously, this release is a must-buy. You can get it from MVD and Diabolik DVD.

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