Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blu-ray Review: 42ND STREET FOREVER: THE BLU-RAY EDITION (2012)



42nd Street Forever: The Blu-ray Edition [Blu-ray]


Region: All Regions (ABC)
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 225 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD MA English 2.0 Mono
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Various
Cast: Various


Synopsis: Synapse Films’ best-selling 42ND STREET FOREVER DVD series has been a favorite of grindhouse and exploitation fans around the world. Presented here for the first time on Blu-ray, this colossal “best of” collection combines a selection of vintage theatrical trailers from the first two DVD volumes of the series, and mixes them up with some all-new selections! Remastered in true 1080p high definition, this mind-numbing dose of classic original coming attractions will have your Blu-ray player exploding with more than three and a half hours of sex, exploitation, action, horror and science-fiction advertisements from around the world! Can your brain take all this sleaze in one sitting? A collection so huge, we can’t even list them all on the Blu-ray packaging!


The Film: What we have here is a "best of" collection of trailers culled from Synapse Films much beloved 42nd Street Forever trailer compilations. Some of you out there might be thinking what's so great about a compilation of film trailers but let me tell you - it's a pretty fantastic watch. As someone who loves not just a well executed trailer but owns a pretty large collection of mp3 "radio spots" for  grindhouse/horror films this set is pure gold from the get-go with an arsenal of action, blaxploitation, sexploitation, rape-revenge, kung-fu, horror and smut, it's just a terribly good watch.


We get some b-movie cheese sandwiched between slices of fried gold, and even the cheese is so godawful terrible that it's not just bad cinema it's awesome. I'm maybe not the world's biggest connoisseur of blaxploitation but if the trailer for The Guy from Harlem (1977) from the director of the black exorcist film Abby (1974) doesn't make you weep for joy the reel for the crazy weird revenge tale Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975) surely will, especially with that junk cutting scene, ouch. Not doing it for you, how about the mighty Boss Nigger (1975) or the urban voodoo zombie flick Sugar Hill (1974) both of which I haven't seen but if these trailers are to be believed they're must-see trash films.


Now I have seen a lot of obscure cult films but I've only seen maybe 1/3 of the treasures on display here. There's several trailers that left me scratching my head and wondering aloud "Why the fuck have I not seen these!?!". Three that particularly struck me were the William Devane action-revenger Rolling Thunder (1975), Abel Ferrara's rape-revenger Ms. 45 (1981) and They Call Her One Eye (1974) starring Christina Lindberg - Oh My Lord do  these look fucking awesome.


Trashy sexploitation is well represented by the trashy women in prison epic Chained Heat (1983) starring Linda Blair. The film is part of Impulse Pictures Women in Prison Triple Feature, get that shit quick! Sleazy fun with Ginger (1971), The Teacher (1974) and Delinquent Schoolgirls (1975)Need a little sci-fi with your softcore well how about Flesh Gordon (1974),  havent' seen it? Me neither but now I think need to.


Creature features are well represented with the slimy 80's awesomeness of The Deadly Spawn (1983), The Green Slime (1968)  (available on DVD on Demand from the Warner Archive) and the killer mushroom feature Matango (1968) - yeah that's right, killer 'shrooms.


Now if you own the first two DVD volumes of the series don't go trading 'em in just yet for there are over 3 dozen trailers from those set not carried over here, remember this is a best of with some new selections thrown in.


Blu-ray: The nearly four hours of trailers are presented in 1080p and look like what you would expect from a collection of grindhouse trailers. The source material can be mighty suspect at times but the grit and grime are part and parcel of the grindhouse experience. This distinct patina of the non-pristine is much sought after and when you think of recent films like Grindhouse (2007), Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) and Astron-6's Father's Day (2011) this is exactly the atheistic they're trying to capture to varying degrees of success. Likewise the audio is not pristine with pops and audio imperfections but it's all part of the charm and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Special Features:
- Audio commentary with AVManiancs.com's Edwin Samuelson, Fangoria Magazine's Michael Gingold and Temple of Schlock's Chris Poggiali


Verdict: 42nd Street Forever Blu-ray Edition gets a high recommend from me. It's a great night of beer drinking and skipping through to the goodies and enjoying the awesomeness and crappulence of 70's and 80's  grindhouse cinema. I couldn't take it all in one sitting, that would have been brain-melting but every night after work I would  sit on the couch with a Guinness and a plate of bleu cheese curds and delve into the awesomeness for an hour or so  and it was awesome. Much like viewings Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation (2008) and Machete Maiden Unleashed (2010) I sat with pencil ion hand scribbling down names of films that i just needed to see, great stuff. This is definitely a Blu-ray I'll be handing out as gifts this Christmas. Here's hoping a second volume is in the works... 4.5 outta 5 


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