Released by: Drafthouse Films Released on: December 18, 2012.
The Coming Attractions:
Trailers! You like’m, I like’em, everybody likes trailers. They’re fun. Especially the ones from the seventies and eighties, where it seemed like strange but awesome films were plentiful the world over. Following in the footsteps of the 42nd Street Forever series, Drafthouse Films gets in on the trailer compilation with their first collection of promos for the odd and the awesome… TRAILER WAR!
A few highlights? Sure! Stunt Rock… you’ve probably seen this one before. It’s an amazing trailer, pretty much just three minutes of cult movie bliss featuring wizards and metal and stunts. The movie could never hope to live up to the hype this trailer offered but it’s still pretty rad. The Fantastic Superman is kind of a Diabolik/Santo style superhero movie complete with the requisite goofiness you’d expect, while Inframan is fucking Inframan and therefore it is awesome.
Star Crash… this trailer was on the Shout! Factory DVD/Blu-ray release so maybe you’ve seen it before, if not, it’s got Joe Spinell and Caroline Munroe, the later spilling out of her fetishy outfit and looking fine. Animal Protector was an unexpected surprise and it was pretty great to hit the ‘play all’ button and see this gem pop up. David Carradine and Mats Helge were a pretty fun team and Helge doesn’t get the respect he should in cult circles around these here parts. Maybe the inclusion of the trailer here will go some ways towards changing that. Lots of crazy kung fu here, wacky Chinese film trailers edited in wonderfully haphazard ways that don’t concern themselves with logic, flow or even any sort of legitimate attempt to market the movie in question – but hey, castration!
Blacksploitation trailers are always rad and this is no exception, so watch out for Jim Kelly… but then there’s Amazing Grace? I realize we’re going out of order here but… Amazing Grace? WTF is this? Some crazy movie with a nutty old black lady offering sage advice… who was this marketed to and why? It looks awesome. So does The Mad Adventures Of Rabbi Jacob in which a rabbi appears to have some mad adventures and Partners, an obviously very politically incorrect film about a straight guy teaming up with a very gay guy in the seventies to fight crime. For better or worse, this wouldn’t be made these days, at least not with the same blatant disregard for social mores. Some fun horror movies trailers pop up, a few Crown International titles, a giallo or two and then there’s Amin, The Rise And Fall, which purports to show the truth behind Idi Amin’s rampage and cannibalism. No sensationalism or exploitation here at all… honest!
Things come to a close with some sex film trailers, ranging from H.O.T.S. which covers college age girls doing what we all know they do when we’re not looking to more esoteric fare like Nudes On Tiger Reef, in which girls get nude on or around Tiger Reef. Truth in advertising. Northville Cemetery Massacre is awesome enough to warrant a mention, the trailer doing a good job of giving us an honest idea of what to expect from this underrated feature, while The Women In Cell Block 7 helps close things on a trashy note – but wait… Leon Isaac Kennedy has to fight a toothless guy called Half Dead before things come to a close and then there’s Thunder Cops (a.k.a. Operation Pink Squad II) which features flying heads, Buddhism and random bits of gore and also cops!
The complete list of trailers on the disc is as follows:
Stunt Rock / Argoman, The Fantastic Superman / Inframan / Voyage Of The Rock Aliens / Star Crash / Dungeon Master / Animal Protector / Eunuch Of The Western Palace / The Tongfather / World War Of Kung Fu / The Man From Hong Kong / Con El Odio En El Piel / Black Samurai / Force Four / Force Five / Sister Streetfighter / Golden Needles / Mitchell / Maniac Cop 2 / Mad Adventures Of Rabbi Jacob / Partners / Amuck / Big Guns / Mr. No Legs / Adults Only Snipe / Lola’s Mistake / Nightmare Honeymoon / Don’t Answer The Phone / The Scaremaker / The Mutations / Deranged / Shoot / Dead End Drive In / Who Saw Her Die? / Amin, The Rise And Fall / H.O.T.S / The Beach Girls / Nudes On Tiger Reef / The Boob Tube / Northville Cemetery Massacre / Amazing Grace / The Lawyer / the Electric Chair / The Women In Cell Block 7 / Penitentiary / Thunder Cops
The trailers on the disc are presented in a series of AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfers that look about as good as the source material is going to allow. Expect scratches and print damage throughout but honestly, would you want these to look pristine? No, probably not – it just wouldn’t be the same. The disc shows some minor compression issues here and there but there are no traces of noise reduction or edge enhancement here. These trailers range in quality from fairly beaten up to only marginally beaten up, but you’ll still notice quite a bit more detail and texture here than you would on DVD. Quality varies from one spot to the next but overall, yeah, this stuff looks pretty good on Blu-ray, very film like and appropriately gritty and grainy.
The only audio option on the disc is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. Clarity is all over the place, it varies from one trailer to the next. A few of them are frighteningly shrill and suffer from heavy distortion and hiss but most of them are fine. The narration and dialogue clips used throughout the various spots are generally audible and problem free – but yeah, get ready to turn the volume down once or twice when those shrill spots hit.
Extras kick off with a commentary from Lars Nilsen and Zack Carlson who offer up some decent information about each one of the trailers in the collection. Additionally they provide some insight into what makes each trailer interesting, discuss the filmmakers, cast and crew involved with the features that the trailers promote and more. They occasionally veer off topic but for the most part, this is a pretty interesting collection of mini-commentaries from some guys who are obviously quite passionate about this type of thing.
From there, check out a featurette called The Legendary Joe Dante Talks Trailer Cutting, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – twelve minutes of Joe Dante (famed director and main man over at Trailers From Hell) talking about what it takes to cut a good movie trailer. Behind The Scenes At The American Genre Film Archive is a four and a half minute piece that discusses the efforts that occur within the Drafthouse group to show, preserve and promote obscure drive-in and exploitation movies and what this entails in terms of actually archiving this type of thing and storing remaining elements in good condition in order to make them available to people.
Rounding out the extras are a trailer for Trailer War, trailers for The Ambassador, Bullhead, The FP, Klown, Miami Connection and Wake In Fright as well as a promo spot for the Drafthouse Alliance program. Animated menus and trailer selection are also included.
The Final Word:
Trailer compilations are fun and this one is no exception. While some of what’s here we’ve seen before, there’s enough original content to make this one worthwhile particularly for those with an affinity for foreign oddities and esoteric domestic fare. A few decent extras are also included and while lossless audio would have been nice, this is otherwise a pretty solid presentation.