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DVD SAVANT
Two separate disc releases:

Trailer Trash
&
Horror on 42nd Street

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

A mail order company called Sinister Cinema used to have sixty or seventy volumes of compilations of theatrical coming attractions, usually based on genre. Before many of the full films were available on home video, these trailers were often one's first opportunity to get a glimpse at obscure horror and science fiction titles.

There have been trailer compilation DVDs of varying quality and now two micro-label DVD outfits have new collections to offer. Both concentrate roughly on sleazy pulp from the 1960s and 1970s, with bizarre cultural oddities mixed in. Unlike the old Sinister Cinema tapes the quality here is consistently good and all of the trailers are mastered from 35mm prints. At the present time, both DVDs are available only online.


Trailer Trash
The Chucky Lou AV Club
2004
Color
1:37 flat full frame
19.99
Trailer Trash Promos

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.

Contents:

A Personal Greeting from Mr. Dom DeLuise, All This & WWII, Blacula, Lola, Sister Street Fighter, Mad Machine, The Wonderful Land of Oz, Big Dog Lost, Bless the Beasts and Children, Prelude to Happiness, The Diary of Knockers McCalla, The Street Fighter's Last Revenge, The Amazing Dr. Chicken, Abba: The Movie, Bummer, The Touchables, Teenage Gang Debs, The Girl, the Body and the Pill, The Switcheroo, The Bodyguard, Real Life, Stunt Rock, Can Hieronymous Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?, Use the Back Door, The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die, The Molesters, The Candy Snatchers, The Telephone Book, Voodoo Heartbeat, Exorcist II: The Heretic, Devil Woman, Bruka, Queen of Evil, The Sin Syndicate, Olga's Dance Hall Girls, The Wild World of Batwoman, Sweet Sugar, The Sadist, Movie Star American Style or LSD I Hate You, Musical Mutiny, Zabriskie Point, Dolemite, Coonskin, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

As the disc isn't available through regular channels, I include this URL for the Trailer Trash Promo website.


Horror on 42nd Street
Ban 1 Productions
2004
Color
1:37 flat full frame
42nd Street Forever! Vol 1
24.99
Ban 1 Productions

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.

Contents:

Wonder Women, Invitation to Ruin, Fighting Mad (Teaser and Trailer), Salo: 120 Days of Sodom (German), Legend of Boggy Creek, Virgin Witch, Sins of the Daughter, House of Missing Girls, Dixie Dynamite, Hooker's Revenge/Photographer's Model, Women and Bloody Terror/Night of Bloody Horror, Savage Sisters, Josie's Castle, School Girl Bride, Tales of the Bizarre, The Mutations, Black Christmas, Food of the Gods, The Devil's Rain, Chatterbox, I Dismember Mama/Blood Spattered Bride, Carnivorous (aka Jungle Holocaust), Creature with the Blue Hand, Mark of the Witch, Freaks, Crippled Masters, Mark of the Devil 2, Shantytown Honeymoon, Revenge of the Blood Beast, Skiddoo, Welcome Home Brother Charles (aka Soul Vengeance), The Aroused, The Wild Eye, Wild Scene, The Animals, Vigilante Force

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:
Trailers: Very Good
Video: Good
Sound: Good
Supplements: Chucky Lou educational short subject (Chomp, Chomp!)

On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
Horror on 42nd Street rates:
Trailers: Very Good
Video: Very Good
Sound: Good
Supplements: pictures, press materials, lobby cards, promotional gimmicks


Packaging: Separate releases in Keep case
Reviewed: July 23, 2004

Footnote:

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.
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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
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DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2007 Glenn Erickson

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