Spirits of the Dead (as AIP re-titled it) is quite an unusual anthology horror movie from the later 60s, featuring three, almost experimental, adaptations of Poe stories from three well known European directors (Vadim, Malle, Fellini respectively). They're not particularly horrifying but there is an air of mystery about them, and they're particularly artistic explorations of Poe's tales of the weird and supernatural. Vadim's story is sexy (featuring Jane Fonda in an array of rather amazing costumes) but somewhat wayward, disjointed and long; Malle's segment is an intriguing look at a sadistic man with an apparent doppelganger that appears whenever his cruel nature reaches excessive heights; Fellini's final piece is a tale about a man who loses his head to the devil (famously showcasing Terence Stamp's convincingly deranged performance as a lost, cynical drunk).
An important film such as this is embellished with a superb transfer for the Arrow Blu-ray Disc - periodically grainy, often exhibiting fantastic clarity. There are a couple of audio language options for each segment and you may wish to flip between these depending on the tale (the first and third tales I believe work better in English due to the fact that the main characters are portrayed by English speaking actors who dubbed their own voices). The fact that Arrow has provided such an array of options is incredibly thoughtful and as a result this release blows the previous video/DVD/laserdisc editions away. The entire French language version is available as a separate entity (can be chosen from the brilliantly designed main menu) but the picture quality is not up the standard of the main presentation (though still probably better than DVD quality), plus the colours are very different. The AIP commissioned Vincent Price voiceover is available as a short extra too.
The main bonus is a 60 page booklet containing reprints of the three Poe stories that make up the film, plus two essays, one of which is the excellent Tim Lucas study of the film (originally from Video Watchdog in the late 90s). The presentation of this book is very professional and grants a great backdrop with which to understand the film. The Blu-ray Disc is encased in a thin Blu-ray case adorned with poster artwork on every side, and the book plus case are housed in a sturdy cardboard outer case making the whole package supremely attractive. Something I'd give 4.5 stars (though the film does take more effort than your average horror), this is an essential buy for fans of historical horror and foreign cinema and Arrow are to be congratulated - hopefully this, along with their other releases this year, is a sign of things to come.