The Best of Sex & Violence

Color, 1981, 76m.
Directed by Ken Dixon
Starring John Carradine
Full Moon (US R0 NTSC)


Night of the DemonOne of the best-loved companies from the early '80s was Wizard Video, king of those oversized VHS boxes adorned with lurid cover art for films by everyone ranging from Charles Band to Lucio Fulci to Jess Franco. Founded by Charles Band before he launched Full Moon Pictures, the brand remains a fan favorite for trash cinema fans of a certain age and initiated an entire generation to films that went on to become a cornerstone of the initial DVD market.

Another trend that rose during the '80s was thNight of the Demone trailer compilation, a quick and easy way to put a profitable release together with a host to tie it all together. From Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell to clip-filled cousins like Terror on Tape, these grab bags of bite-sized sleaze made for excellent party tapes and also spawned the DVD compilations we know and love today. Wizard entered the fray in '81 with one of the rarest and best-loved early trailer comps, The Best of Sex & Violence, whose title doesn't come close to applying to all of its contents unless there's some subversive slant to The Doberman Gang that isn't readily apparent. Titles here leap all over the map including familiar trailers for hits like Zombie, The Boogey Man and I Spit on Your Grave and much more rare ones like the Edy Williams skinfest Dr. Minx, the lurid She Devils in Chains, and the unbelievable Tanya's Island featuring naked pop singer Vanity and a horny gorilla. There's a fun triple header of naughty fairy tale spoofs (the X-rated Alice in Wonderland with Kristine DeBell, Fairy Tales with Linnea Quigley, and Cinderella with Rainbeaux Smith), Stephanie Rothman drive-in favorites Terminal Island and Working Girls, Joe D'Amato's Emanuelle Around the World, Filipino madness with The Twilight People and Beyond Atlantis, and the sexy biblical Spanish antics of The Sin of Adam and Eve. If that's not enough, you also get two Rudy Ray Moore classics (Dolemite and The Disco Godfather), The Devil's Wedding Night, the kinky Sweet Sugar, Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, Bury Me an Angel, The Manhandlers, Truck Stop Women, Ebony Ivory & Jade, and two Band productions, Tourist Trap and Tunnel Vision.

TNight of the Demonying all of this together is intermittent commentary on the titles at hand by host John Carradine, who apparently never said no to a paycheck in his life. It's pretty silly, of course, but he's never dull. You also get a surprise cameo near the end, too, so be sure to stick it out. Long out of circulation in any official format since the very early days of mom and pop video stores, this irresistible concoction has been brought back to the market as part of Full Moon's Grindhouse Collection, a specialty line devoted to resurrecting some of their more obscure, problematic titles for which optimal source elements may no longer exist. This one definitely falls into that category as the film elements for the trailers have long scattered to the winds, and this was never really intended to be shown theatrically in the first place. Thus, Full Moon is candid that they had to resort to a VHS tape to source this one, and it's pretty obvious throughout; image quality is soft, dated, and occasionally flecked with a bit of snow or distortion, and it's nowhere near the usual standards of most DVD releases. (At least it's still a bit better than the nightmare that might have resulted if a bootleg outfit like Jef Films had gotten their hands on it.) Some of the trailers are extremely cropped as well, rendering some of the title cards almost unreadable. The DVD comes with the original cover art, featuring a lookalike for Brinke Stevens being attacked by a big biker with a machete, and the back sleeve amusingly reproduces the original video copy which refers to "forty of the most lurid features of the last decade." On the other hand, it also promises "a mini-marathon of teasing tits and asses, stimulation for the masses, kung fu killers and samurai thrillers, jive blacks, maniac attacks, power packed punches, a monster that crunches, car crash and sex bashes, women in chains, bikers without brains, machine gun mamas and death-defying dramas." Whew! Band appears for a new video intro and a grindhouse featurette in which he explains the story behind these dusty gems pulled from the Full Moon vaults, and on a more incongruous note, you also get trailers for much more recent fare like Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt, Evil Bong 3, Killjoy 3, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, and Skull Heads.

UPDATE: Thanks to Marc Edward Heuck for revealing that there are indeed a handful of theatrical prints in existence of this puppy, shockingly enough. It would be nice to see this get a new transfer someday without that darn cropping, but we could be waiting a while.

Reviewed on 11/25/11.