Nov 12, 2011

DVD Review: Grindhouse Trailer Classics: Volume 3

The Feature

Ah, the 70's; the golden age of exploitation. I was born in the early 80's in the South of England, so I never got to experience drive in's, B Movies and exploitation double bills when I was growing up as a movie fan. If you're in the same boat, or if you simply want to relive the brilliantly seedy atmosphere of the 70's and 80's grindhouse, then this third collection of classic trailers ought to be right up your street.

Over 102 minutes and 55 trailers we get grindhouse in all its forms, from sexploitation films dressed up as travelogues or sincere documents of 'permissive society' (Sweden: Heaven and Hell, The Female Response, The Swappers and more) to Blaxploitation films which now look more than a little racist (The Spook Who Sat By the Door, Black Gunn, Soul Soldiers) and from incredibly sexist looking films about strong women (Superchick, Police Women, The Working Girls et al) to sleazetastic imports from Spain and Italy (Nazi Love Camp 27, Linda, Invasion of the Flesh Hunters). It's all good dirty fun, in a way that I suspect many of the full movies might not be. Another dominant theme here is redneck ripoffs, with versions of Deliverance - by way of The Most Dangerous Game - (Open Season) and the Smokey and the Bandit series (the Claudia Jennings starring Moonshine County Express), and then there are the real oddities like Blue Sunshine and Mother Goose a Go Go.

Of course much of the real fun comes not from watching but from listening to the trailers, the fantastic oversell of the voiceovers is often hilarious (as, sometimes, is the voice itself; Nazi Love Camp 27 has a guy with a very thin, reddy little voice who is completely unsuited to the job), and then there are the times that the voiceover says something so overblown, or so anachronistic, you just have to laugh (perfectly combined in the Police Women trailer "Police Women, fighting for survival with men who want them home and women who want them dead") there's also a great series of actor introductions in the trailer for A Town Called Hell ("Robert Shaw makes this rebel with a cross a man you will not easily forget").

A few of the trailers fall a bit flat - mainly because there is a section of about three in a row with no voiceover, which immediately makes them less fun - but on the whole, if you're a fan of this sort of thing then these 102 minutes will be highly entertaining (I'd also recommend having a notepad with you, as you'll want to make a shopping list as you go along). My only real complaint here is that I suspect the replay value is a bit limited, but for a grindhouse fan this remains an essential watch.

The Disc and Extras
The picture on this DVD is as variable as you would expect, a little of the softness may be addressed as the retail copy will be dual layered, while my screener was compressed to a single layer disc, but what won't change is the large amount of print damage on most of the trailers. That said, there's a charm about them looking a bit rough; it conveys a period verisimilitude (why do you think Tarantino and Rodrgiuez put scratches on their Grindhouse films?), and these trailers are, for the most part, so rare that seeing them at all is quite a treat.

The main extra is a 15 minute to camera piece with Kim Newman (who is pretty much my hero when it comes to horror and exploitation critics) talking about some of his impressions from the various trailers on offer. This is a great extra, and I only wish it were longer, or in the form of a commentary track, because I could listen to Kim talk about these movies forever.

You also get a poster gallery, and trailers for the Nucleus Films catalogue.

I liked Grindhouse Trailer Classics Volume 3 a lot, it reminded me of my youth, staying up late and watching expolitation films and trailers on Channel 4. It has a very defined audience, but if this is the kind of thing you like, then you'll like this.

Grindhouse Trailer Classics Volume 3 is out on DVD on December 5th. Thanks to Nucleus Films for the screener.

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