Color, 2015, 137m.
Garagehouse Pictures (B lu-ray) (US R0 HD) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)
Just when the thought the trailer compilation had been pushed as far as it could, along comes this treasure trove of coming attractions that should throw dozens of curve balls at even the most seasoned cult film connoisseur. Even if you're familiar with many of the titles in this collection, the vast majority of this material has never been seen in any home format before.
After a cute variation on the "restricted" kitty cat promo we get into ultra-rare territory right away with the unfairly obscure medical shocker Terminal Choice under a more horror-oriented release under the title Deathbed (no relation to a certain other cult favorite), which obviously takes a cue from that beloved U.S. trailer for Suspiria. Then it's an oddball AIP double bill with The Hex Massacre and Lucifer's Curse, a retitling of two Euro horror films that probably shouldn't ever play together, the Kirk Douglas apocalypse Italian shocker The Chosen and the Spanish killer kid favorite Who Can Kill a Child?, both of whose radically changed AIP edits are now very difficult to see. (Even weirder, this one's scored with tracks from The Day the Earth Stood Still and Psycho!) Next up is the Egyptian gorefest Dawn of the Mummy, which is also sort of a zombie film and has many of its splashy highlights showcased here; it's enough to make you wish a decent transfer of this puppy would turn up someday. It's hicksploitation time with the obscure Earl Owensby crime film Dark Sunday (about a marauding vigilante minister!) and the Ernest Borgnine vengeance film Sunday in the Country, after which we swerve wildly to Edmund Purdom's Don't Opens Till Christmas, which hasn't been included on its home video releases and previously only existed in very lo-res quality. It looks great here (the super-long version, by the way), a nod to that unforgettable bit by Caroline Munro. Continuing the slasher theme is a very lengthy, sleazy trailer for wild Savage Weekend, followed by a violent, hyperbolic pitch for the Lee Van Cleef / Tony LoBianco crime film Mean Frank and Crazy Tony.
Things get a bit sillier with two horror spoofs, the slasher parody Wacko and the Hudson Brothers spooker Hysterical, both of which are fairly tricky to see today. One very cool rarity here is The Incredible Torture Show, the original first-run one created for what would become far more notorious later in the hands of Troma as Bloodsucking Freaks. This is also a more stylish, intriguing piece of work than the more familiar trailer we've seen, though it's outdone in the extreme department by what comes next: Mondo Magic, one of the weirdest and wettest real-life world atrocity films with a focus on indigenous practices and local animals. Ralph Bakshi's racially-charged '70s film Coonskin has only recently returned to making the rounds under its original title, and the trailer is an appropriately colorful and outrageous snapshot of its provocative tone. The Harvey Keitel crime classic Fingers is one of the more respectable titles here, though the trailer pushes the gritty crime angle hard enough that it could've played at any urban flea pit without a problem.
The 1988 Bill Hinzman vehicle FleshEater turns up here under the more lurid title of Revenge of the Living Zombies, and the trailer is actually pretty great as it pitches this as one of the greatest bloodcurdling experiences in all of cinema. It isn't really, of course, but the film is a lot of fun and should have played more widely with a promo like this. The cable horror favorite The Children is represented here in all its black fingernail insanity, while classic movie monsters get tweaked a bit with the super-rare comedy Dr. Frankenstein on Campus (complete with psychedelic Boris Karloff flashing effects) and the German sex comedy Dracula Blows His Cool. The '70s vibe continues with the drive-in staple Creature from Black Lake (a Bigfoot outing with a fun turn by Jack Elam), the scarce original U.S. trailer for the lovably nutty Goliathon (a Shaw Brothers production later reissued by Rolling Thunder as Mighty Peking Man), and the Filipino action-packed insanity of The One-Armed Executioner, whose trailer definitely does it justice. (Be sure to check out the film on DVD paired up with Cleopatra Wong.) Chances are you've never seen the trailer for another Filipino actioner, Naked Vengeance, a 1985 Cirio H. Santiago production picked up by Roger Corman. The trailer's very entertaining, and hopefully the film itself will earn a digital release at some point. The cheap and wildly entertaining Food of the Gods II comes next, though VHS buffs probably know it better as Gnaw. Perhaps the earliest babysitter psycho terror film, Fright, comes next with Susan George spending an imperiled evening; the trailer's actually more intense than the actual film, which is fairly restrained. The American trailer for Jess Franco's take on Jack the Ripper is exactly what you'd expect, a collision of lush period detail and lurid sex and violence with Klaus Kinski slashing up prostitutes.
Then it's action time with The Annihilators, one of the many films about Vietnam vets cleaning up their corrupt neighborhoods (with an appropriately firepower-laden trailer to match), and the Euro thriller Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!, which was just released in Europe as Kill! and features a wild cast including James Mason, Stephen Boyd, and Jean Seberg (not to mention a very catchy score by Berto Pisano). As with the majority of Paramount titles, there was no trailer for the baboon-populated survival favorite Sands of the Kalahari for its home video release but you'll find it here -- and it's as excellent and savage as you'd expect. Speaking of which, Sacrifice! is the American trailer for Umberto Lenzi's The Man from Deep River, the starting point for the Italian cannibal craze with all of its shocking content played up here to the hilt. And it's off to Germany for a dose of sex with the typical T&A comedy The Games School Girls Play and violence with The College Girls Murders, the dubbed, Americanized release of the Edgar Wallace krimi The Monk with the Whip, one of the first of the cycle in full color. Of course we had to have some Sunn Classics nonsense with another ridiculous, mystical pseudo-documentary, Beyond and Back (about the experiences of people declared temporarily deceased). The wonderfully disco-rific Black Fist ("His ring was the street!") features blaxploitation vet Richard Lawson on the street fighting scene dealing with threats like a young Dabney Coleman. Then we get little more funk and fighting with Penitentiary II, the Leon Isaac Kennedy starrer with a pre-fame Mr. T and a bald Ernie Hudson wielding a switchblade. Wildly unpredictable director Romano Scavolini pops up next with the violent Vietnam actioner Dogtags, "an untold story of war too incredible to believe," and the most familiar trailer in this set, the controversial 1981 slasher bloodbath Nightmare (in a much-improved transfer with the notorious Tom Savini plug). The more supernatural slasher Superstition also has a very entertaining trailer (with a loopy voice over by Brother Theodore) with lots of screaming and witch mayhem.
Now we hit two of the coolest treats on the entire disc, a very rare and fantastic trailer for Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (or as it's now known as Paul Morrissey's insistence, Flesh for Frankenstein) to promote its 3-D (and unlikely R-rated) theatrical reissue in 1982, and the excellent black comedy/horror gem Homebodies, whose trailer is scored with nutty slapstick music for some reason. This one hasn't hit home video since VHS, which is a major shame. A great narrator is the main draw for The Alpha Incident, a mostly middling sci-fi cheapie with Ralph Meeker, which looks way more fun here than it plays in its entirety, and another reverb-heavy narrator gets excited delivering a pitch for the lat e'80 Brett Piper cheapie Mutant War ("featuring Cameron Mitchell as Reinhardt Rex, master of the mutants!"). You knew Empire Pictures had to turn up here somewhere, and Eliminators is a solid choice with Denise Crosby and Andrew Prine running around among robots and laser attacks. Sho Kosugi was near the end of his big screen ninja cycle when he made the ridiculous 9 Deaths of the Ninja, whose trailer is as fast-paced as you'd expect, and one-shot 007 George Lazenby teams up with Angela Mao for the equally hard-hitting World Northal trailer for the Hong Kong import Stoner (which is worth tracking down on import DVD).
Make sure you're sitting down when you hit the giallo section; it's a doozy. Sergio Martino's beloved The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh is represented under one of its many American titles, Next!, complete with those great glass-shattering flashback scenes. But that's nothing compared to The Rah Rah Girls, which is pitched as a silly T&A schoolgirl sex comedy... but it's actually What Have You Done to Solange?, which must have resulted in audience riots when they got a load of the actual film. Unbelievable, and easily the most astonishing find on the whole disc. Then it's back to normal (relatively speaking) with the trailer for the radically doctored American version of Umberto Lenzi's Paranoia, a Carroll Baker vehicle with an early X rating and an infectious theme song designed to drive our heroine insane. After that we head into slasher terrain again with the sadly obscure 3-D release of the '80s favorite Silent Madness and a pretty crazy one for Trick or Treats, which was missing from its actual DVD release. Everyone's favorite overlooked Canadian backwoods horror film, Rituals, turns up here under its alternate title, The Creeper, which pushes the horror angle much further than its normal ad campaign. To top that it's followed by Oliver Stone's wacko horror debut, Seizure, in a French-language trailer under the title Tango Macabre! Then it's Lenzi time again with the sword-and-sandal VHS staple Ironmaster (also not in English, weirdly, which makes it seem far more arty), followed by one of the first films to cash in on Jean-Claude Van Damme's sudden '80s fame, No Retreat, No Surrender (another film tweaked considerably when it hit the U.S.). A New World title now sadly long M.I.A. since its VHS days, Knights of the City sees another appearance from Leon Isaac Kennedy in an attempt to merge the fads for street crime and early rap films. (Picture Beat Street meets The Warriors.) Definitely an odd one out here is the Euro comic western Legend of the Frenchie King, a pretty innocuous programmer remembered today for the paired of glamour icons Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale. We're still waiting on a DVD of the '70s action gem The Farmer over a decade after its announcement from Code Red, but you can console yourself by watching the trailer in better condition here than ever before. After that it's more hicksploitation fun with trailers for Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws and Smokey and the Hot Wire Gang, both replete with bumbling law enforcement, car chases, and southern-fried turns by actors like Slim Pickens. More famous for the participation of Gunnar "Leatherface" Hansen and its bizarre back story (just Google it to find out), The Demon Lover has an appropriately ragged and oddly charming trailer that should make monster fans happy, while a pair of Edgar Allan Poe short films get anthologized, sort of, in the mid-'70s indie oddity Diabolic Wedding / Legend of Horror. Chances are you've seen the regular trailer for Grave of the Vampire, but here it's given the double bill treatment with Garden of the Dead, another film by the same director, exploitation vet John Hayes; the result is a great sales pitch with lots of warnings about the shocking content and plentiful running and screaming. Great stuff. Finally we close out with an orgy of action rarities courtesy of Hell Hunters (a Nazi-hunting yarn with Lazenby again and Bond girl Maud Adams), the bullet-riddled Ron Marchini vehicle Jungle Wolf II: Return Fire (with Adam West of all people), and another appearance for both Lee Van Cleef and Carroll Baker in the violent Euro western Captain Apache.
As with most comps, the quality here depends on the source material with most in solid to excellent condition; colors range from vibrant and healthy to muted from title to title, but it's safe to say this is about as good as they could look. The LPCM mono audio is very good throughout, and the generous 137-minute running time is given a healthy bit rate to accommodate all the fast motion and film grain. In short, trailer fanatics should find this one essential viewing and one of the best of its kind to ever hit a shiny silver disc.