Synapse // 2009 // 105 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // December 12th, 2008
The most awesome movie trailer collection of all time...continues!
I have to admit, I'm very taken with trailer compilations. They invariably showcase films that were not blockbusters or award winners, or films that have big-name recognition; instead, these are trailers for films that you might have forgotten catching at a drive-in, a matinee, or on late-night TV.
In 42nd Street Forever: Volume 4, we get a very satisfying sampling of trailers from films from the '70s and '80s, along with a dynamite added attraction.
There are trailers for films you might never have heard of or barely remember -- Schizoid, Die Sister, Die, Bonnie's Kids, Combat Cops, and Blackout.
We get trailers for bona fide cult items, including Switchblade Sisters (listed here as The Jezebels), Welcome to Arrow Beach (listed here as Tender Flesh), Simon, King of Witches, The Legend of Boggy Creek, and The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
Then there are those lighthearted, escapist films -- the ones that made the audience want to escape the theater, such as Americathon, Die Laughing, Coach, Can I Do It...'Til I Need Glasses?, and Moving Violations.
And don't forget such misguided prestige releases as Shout at the Devil and March or Die.
New Year's Evil, Mortuary, The Psychic, Humongous, Embryo, Yor: The Hunter from the Future, Silent Scream, and two dozen other titles round out this set.
The trailers, naturally, look pretty bad, with streaks, jumps, and all sorts of damage. That's OK, though; it actually meets our expectations.
The big selling point on this disc -- and it is a very big selling point -- is that in addition to the trailers, we get a commentary track with Fangoria managing editor Michael Gingold, film historian Chris Peggiali, and Edwin Samuelson of AVManiacs.com. These guys are great, providing a synopsis and trivia for each film, no small task when you're looking at 48 trailers for 48 films. Their insights are terrific, and will likely make you want to go out and rent every film here. This track elevates the disc from a fun watch to borderline indispensable.
If I were nitpicking, I might say that the "42nd Street" moniker is getting a bit old. Most of these films played suburban neighborhood theaters and drive-ins. The suggestion that this trash is somehow edgier than run-of-the-mill trash and was relegated to the (at the time) dank recesses of Times Square just isn't honest. By the time most of these films were released (mid-'70s and up), 42nd Street theaters were mainly showing porn or Kung Fu imports. Films like Part 2: Walking Tall and The Klansman were opening in first-run theaters and getting reviewed from major critics.
Nitpick done, this is a very good set with a must-have bonus. Highly recommended.
And, of course, not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Audio Commentary
* Vintage TV spots