Sam Ashurst Selects

Sam Ashurst Selects

Sam Ashurst – director, writer, podcaster – Frankenstein’s Creature, A Little More Flesh, A Little More Flesh II.

“Being asked to curate a selection of films for Arrow’s streaming service is like getting to break into your favorite video store after hours to pull from the best shelves. Limited to twenty rentals, this would be the stack coming home with me. So, brace yourself for crazy kung-fu, stoic heroes, lots of female rage, and some of the coolest movies ever made.”

"Do not drink or ingest drugs before watching this film, or you’ll find yourself going down a Toad Road you’ll never return from. But it’s well worth the trip, this is as great a piece of surreal art as anything you’ll find hanging in the Tate."

"If the title makes this one sound offensive, that’s probably because it is… if you take it at face value. But this is a live-action cartoon, an unofficial comic book, and it’s probably the most gloriously entertaining movie on this list. Very weird, very funny, I don’t know how Chang Cheh came up with this concept, but I’m so glad he did."

"Beautiful exploration of the dusty line between good and evil - with an all-timer soundtrack (starting with the stunning opening credits) that’ll rouse you right out of your saddle."

"A rare example of a comedy-action flick that’s both genuinely funny and supremely thrilling. The set-pieces equal the best of the genre - Dirty Ho’s a blast from the first kick to final punch."

"Psychologically rich character study with a final act that makes Lars von Trier feel like Peppa Pig. Disturbing, and genuinely disorientating - Torment is a true masterpiece, containing genuine evil in its dark heart."

"This Russian fairytale feels like a formative influence on Sam Raimi - it has the energy of Evil Dead II with some of the imagery of Drag Me To Hell. Which is another way of saying it’s perfect."

"Punk rock filmmaking at its finest, 100% proof positive you don’t need a budget to make an iconic action movie, just a maniac genius willing to do his own stunts."

"I know every line of this movie off by heart, I sincerely believe it to be the best Henenlotter picture, which automatically puts it in my top 10 of all time. When Graham Humphreys drew a fake VHS cover for an old horror column I used to have, I made sure he included Aylmer."

"Maybe my favorite Shaw Brothers movie (though there’s a lot of competition on that front), 8 Diagram Pole Fighter has a final set-piece that’ll make your jaw dislocate to your feet, whether it’s the first or thousandth time you’ve seen the movie. Great characters, including one of the coolest female fighters of the genre. Love, love, love this one."

"A slept-on slasher that combines the tone of Sleepaway Camp with the style of Twin(s) Peaks. Truly bizarre slice of American cheese (and turkey). Louise Lasser should have won at least five Oscars for her performance."

"Any list of recommendations is incomplete without Audition, a film that only becomes more powerful and relevant as the years pass. Vibrant, shocking, with a sly sense of humor, this was an influence on my own A Little More Flesh movies."

"Peak Argento, this is the movie that truly earns the Hitchcock comparisons - and might actually exceed them. It contains arguably the greatest example of the magic of misdirection in movie history - and that’s all I’ll say about this perfect, perfect film."

"The deceptively simple premise - a cursed VHS tape kills you after you watch it if you don’t pass it on - contains a slow-burn dread that gradually crawls towards you over the course of the narrative, thanks to Nakata’s somber delivery, and intense style. The result is a movie as terrifying on streaming as it was on VHS. Just make sure you send the link to someone when it’s done."

"High-energy exploration of the problems faced by women in poverty, Switchblade Sisters is sharp, smart, and influenced by Shakespeare. This arthouse meets grindhouse classic was an unofficial Othello remake, and it goes one better as far as I’m concerned - Othello didn’t have gang scraps, you see."

"Featuring knife fights by torchlight, soft-focus serenades, and a satirical exploration of the clear connection between colonialism and racist sexual violence, Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter is A LOT. It also includes some of the coolest club sequences committed to celluloid. All of the Stray Cat Rock movies are worth your time, but this is probably the nastiest - and the best."

"A film about the fetishization of art, the power dynamic between the artist and their muse, and how obsession can destroy, this is an underseen warning from the past about the future of artistic creation. It’s also very wild and totally unpredictable, like all the best films."

"Whether you see this film as an explosion of energy or a popped zit, you can’t deny its power. Essentially Mad Max meets Akira, filtered through punk philosophy and biker morals, Burst City is my most chaotic comfort movie. A shared love of this film is one of the many reasons I married my wife, Shea."

"Alongside The Iron Rose, Jean Rollin’s Fascination was probably the biggest influence on my film A Little More Flesh. As ambient and illogical as a dream, Fascination’s erotic fairytale contains some of the most memorable imagery of Rollin’s career - it really feels like the most comprehensive expression of his vision."

"Before it became Claude Chabrol’s Torment, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unfinished L’Enfer languished in limbo. Resurrected here in the form of found footage, costume tests, storyboard comparisons and talking heads, this documentary is as close as we’ll ever get to seeing Clouzot’s potential masterpiece completed.

Every rescued reel is gorgeous, every anecdote a testament to Clouzot’s (unhealthy) genius. As essential as the Orson Welles doc They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead - watch (the already incredible) Torment first, then weep for what could have been."

"Roger Ebert once said that cinema is an empathy machine. Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion takes that machine and turns it into a torture device, before unplugging it to unleash enough catharsis to convince you strap back in for the rest of the (excellent) series. Super stylish, impossibly cool. Very harsh."

*not all titles are available in all territories

Sam Ashurst Selects
  • Sam Ashurst Selects Intro

    Sam Ashurst, writer, director and co-host of the Arrow Video podcast, introduces his personally picked ARROW Selects.

  • The Boxer's Omen (Cantonese version)

    1983 • Hong Kong • Directed by Kuei Chih-Hung

    After suffering an injury in the ring, embattled boxer Zhen Wei enlists the aid of his brother, Zhen Xiong, to avenge him and find the key to an omen which may release their family from an ancient curse. Black wizards, Taoist monks, rampaging monster...

  • Crippled Avengers (English version)

    1978 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    After achieving instant icon status as the stars of The Five Venoms, the Venom Mob collaborated with director Chang Cheh once again in their most unhinged and spectacular effort yet, Crippled Avengers, which also saw the return to Shaw Brothers of kung f...

  • Dirty Ho

    1979 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chia-Liang Liu

    After the international success of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, star Gordon Liu and his director brother Lau Kar-leung drew upon the Chinese legend of the imperial prince travelling in secret amongst the common people for what many argue to be their ...

  • Torment

    1994 • France • Directed by Claude Chabrol

    In Torment (L'enfer) Chabrol picks up a project abandoned by Henri Georges Clouzot, in which a husband's jealousy and suspicion of his wife drive him to appalling extremes. Francois Cluzet and Emmanuelle Beart give career-best performances as the husban...

  • Deadbeat At Dawn

    Written by, directed by and starring Van Bebber, Deadbeat follows the story of Goose - a gang leader whose girlfriend is brutally slaughtered when he attempts to leave the thug life behind. Pulled back into the gang, who've now formed an uneasy alliance with the thugs that butchered his girl, Goo...

  • Brain Damage

    Meet Elmer. He’s your local, friendly parasite with the ability to induce euphoric hallucinations in his hosts. But these LSD-like trips come with a hefty price tag. When young Brian comes under Elmer’s addictive spell, it’s not long before he finds himself scouring the city streets in search of ...

  • The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (English version)

    1984 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chia-Liang Liu

    After one of its lead actors (cherub-faced action icon Alexander Fu Sheng) unexpectedly died midway through production, master director Lau Kar-leung (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) retooled his latest martial arts epic, The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, as ...

  • Audition

    2001 · Japan · Directed by Takashi Miike

    One of the most notorious J-horror films ever made, Takashi Miike’s Audition exploded onto the festival circuit at the turn of the century to a chorus of awards and praise. The film would catapult Miike to the international scene and pave the way for such...

  • Deep Red

    From Dario Argento, maestro of the macabre and the man behind some the greatest excursions in Italian horror (Suspiria, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), comes Deep Red - arguably the ultimate giallo movie. One night, musician Marcus Daly (David Hemmings, Blow Up), looking up from the street be...

  • Ringu

    1998 • Japan • Directed by Hideo Nakata

    In 1998, director Hideo Nakata (Dark Water) unleashed a chilling tale of technological terror on unsuspecting audiences, which redefined the horror genre, launched the J-horror boom in the West and introduced a generation of moviegoers to a creepy, dark-ha...

  • Switchblade Sisters

    1977 · United States · Directed by Jack Hill


    From Jack Hill, legendary director of Spider Baby, Coffy, Foxy Brown, and The Swinging Cheerleaders comes another iconic cult classic, Switchblade Sisters!

    Lace (Robbie Lee), the leader of inner c...

  • Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter

    1970 • Japan • Directed by Yasuharu Hasebe

    The Stray Cat Rock series stars Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood, Blind Woman’s Curse) who with these five films began her reign as the badass action queen of the era. In these five tales of rebellious youth she stars alongside the gorgeous Bunjaku Han (Love ...

  • Blind Beast

    1969 • Japan • Directed by Yasuzô Masumura

    Blind Beast is a grotesque portrait of the bizarre relationship between a blind sculptor and his captive muse, adapted from a short story from Japan’s foremost master of the macabre, Edogawa Rampo (Horrors of Malformed Men, The Black Lizard, Caterpilla...

  • Burst City

    Burst City is an explosive Molotov cocktail of dystopian sci-fi, Mad Max-style biker wars against yakuza gangsters and the police, and riotous performances from members of the real-life Japanese punk bands The Stalin, The Roosters, The Rockers and INU. In a derelict industrial wasteland somewhere...

  • Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion

    1972 • Japan • Directed by Shun'ya Itô

    After being used and betrayed by the detective she had fallen in love with, young Matsu is sent to a female prison full of sadistic guards and disobedient prisoners.