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The "Chucky Lou" AV club takes its name from an extra accessible right off the disc's main menu page, a short educational subject about the life of a Woodchuck named Lou. The trailers themselves are individually accessible by name on four subsequent menus. They're arranged in a somewhat random order and broken up with frequent theatrical announcements, for the concession stand, etc.
Some of the prints are faded but all are intact. A quick look at the list below shows quite a few rarities mixed in with familiar titles. All This & WWII is as lame as I remember it being when new and Blacula is a dull entry, but the other material ranges from Sonny Chiba kung-fu to oddball musical rarities like Abba: The Movie and Musical Mutiny (featuring The Iron Butterfly). I was surprised to finally see footage from the rarely-shown Kiss the Girls and Make them Die and Albert Zugsmith's elusive Movie Star American Style or LSD I Hate You. This is the perfect way to get a taste of nonsense like The Wild World of Batwoman without having to actually be seen renting the title. There's plenty of R and probably X-rated material here, so it's no kid's show. Some really nasty moments in The Molesters and The Sin Syndicate are rather sobering. Then again, the silliest title is Bruka, Queen of Evil, a Phillipino horror picture with irresistably terrible hand-lettered title cards.
Beyond the trash are 'special shoot' trailers for Real Life (3-D!) and Stanley Kramer's unwatchable Bless the Beasts and Children, no-scenes graphics-only teasers for The Telephone Book and Hieronymous Merkin, and the truly sleazy Bakshi animation for the indefensible Coonskin. Rounding the collection off are the zonked-out coming attractions for Zabriskie Point ("How you get there ... Depends on Where You're At!") and Jonathan Living Seagull, a film in a badness category of its own. I remember this turkey playing to empty houses in Westwood with Neil Diamond's gloppy songs echoing over endless shots of dumb-cluck seagulls .... yeesh. Barbara Hershey is a great actress, but she really must have been over the rainbow to have her named changed on account of this.2
The trailers are followed by a couple of humorous & obscene unidentified fragments. There's so much great stuff here, my only complaint is that the collection as a whole isn't suitable for non-porn audiences.
As the disc isn't available through regular channels, I include this URL for the Trailer Trash Promo website.
Ban One Productions has another trailer collection that in this first instalment concentrates on the Horror genre, although some sex & sadism titles end up in quasi-porn territory anyway. The overall quality of transfer and encoding is even better than on the competing DVD. The list below isn't in disc order but the trailers are this time individually accessible, and there are other extras in the form of galleries of lobby cards, etc.
Starting with a late 60s reissue trailer for Freaks, the 42nd Street collection stays mostly with the kind of film that would be grindhouse fodder, with a few interesting digressions. Jack Cardiff's silly The Mutations is here, along with Bob Clark's influential Black Christmas and the splatterfest Mark of the Devil 2. Unrelated to horror but very welcome is a trailer for Otto Preminger's Skiddoo (with Carol Channing's demented title song). You couldn't get me near Chatterbox and the trailer here helps banish any residual curiosity. There are a couple of cannibalism titles, hillbilly sleaze epics, blaxploitation crudities and marginal trash pictures with titles remembered from low-rent marquees, like The Aroused and Virgin Witch. One special title is Michael Reeves' Revenge of the Blood Beast, a rare Barbara Steele film that I've only seen in unwatchable flat VHS copies. This widescreen trailer has perfect color and makes one hope the title will be restored some day soon.
The collection ends with a real coup, an original German theatrical trailer for Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom in excellent condition. This is surely the classiest, most disturbingly valid film ever made.1 The trailer barely has to show anything to give us the impression of a peek into the heart of true depravity - and it's put together with a classy art-film sell. Brrrr.
The 42nd Street Forever! Volume 1 Trailer collection DVD can be found at the Ban 1 Productions website.
On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
Trailer Trash rates:
On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
1. Salo is a real problem, a movie
that has important and truthful things to say about political torture and sexual perversion, yet is so extreme that it
can't be recommended to any but hardened viewers of sadistic films. It's valid in the sense that it's legitimately
honest and artistically sound, but sitting through it is a nightmarish ordeal - there are levels of perversity in the
voyeuristic conclusion that make one want to destroy the human race and let nature try again from scratch. Seeing
it in 1977 was basically an accidental occurrence. The audience sat in shocked silence punctuated by disbelieving
gasps. I wouldn't like to see it in a theater now, as a crowd of gorehounds reacting would make me feel like the
filmic atrocities were alive in the audience. Anyone tempted to check this one out, I recommend reading
as much as one can about it first.
2. Note From J. Byers, 7/26/04: The story going around Hollywood back in the day was
that she changed her last name because she either accidentally killed a seagull on the set
of Last Summer or a bird died on the set during filming. Either way, she supposedly
claimed that the bird's soul entered her body. As silly as this sounds, I remember reading
interviews with her where she told some version of this story in either 1969 or 1970. Note: This sounds
more authentic than the story I heard about her being inspired by the Jonathan Livingston Seagull book.
Barbara Hershey (Seagull) was an authentic flower child, in the good sense. GE