Judge Patrick Bromley doesn't think Peggy Sawyer would approve.
Our reviews of 42nd Street Forever: Volume 1 (published January 12th, 2006), 42nd Street Forever: Volume 2 (published October 31st, 2006), 42nd Street Forever: Volume 3 (published January 29th, 2008), and 42nd Street Forever: Volume 4 (published December 12th, 2008) are also available.
Can your brain take all this sleaze in one sitting?
Exploitation movies are not something you can talk a person into liking. They're like spicy food or professional wrestling: you either respond to them or you don't.
If you are a fan of exploitation films, then Synapse's new 42nd Street Forever (Blu-ray) is like crack—a thick shot of grindhouse glee delivered straight to your brain. With trailers covering every genre from horror to biker movies, rape revenge from blaxploitation, there's something for everyone—and a lot of it. If you're anything like me, the list of movies you now want to track down will grow by about 40 titles after watching this (though the films themselves almost always disappoint; the trailers feature all the best stuff and in a much more digestible, two-and-a-half minute running time).
Here are the 89 trailers found on 42nd Street Forever, in the order in which they are presented…
• Black Samson
If I have a complaint about the disc—and it's a minor one—it's in the way that the trailers are ordered. They've been bunched together by subgenre, so there are a few blaxploitation trailers at the start, which then transitions into rape revenge movies, then into sex comedies, nudist movies, sci-fi and so on. It makes everything feel more repetitive than it should; nearly four hours of trailers can be difficult enough to get through, but breaking up the monotony might have helped matters some. By the time you get about a third of the way through, when every movie is basically just a collection of naked women, everything starts to feel redundant and repetitive. It manages to make nonstop nudity boring.
Still, this hardly matters, because the disc is so much fun. If you've already been collecting the 42nd Street Forever collections on DVD, you won't find anything new here; in fact, quite a few trailers are missing (but when you consider that Synapse has condensed five discs down to one, that's to be expected). The real selling point of the disc is that this is the first time the trailers are collected together in 1080p HD. Now, fans of pristine high def won't find much to like there; all of the trailers are in various states of disrepair, with scratches and pops and noise covering the frame in different amounts. Some trailers look better than others, but all have seen better days—and, as anyone who enjoyed the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez collaboration Grindhouse can tell you, that's part of the charm. So while the trailers haven't undergone any major digital cleanup (which would totally dishonest and not in the spirit of the project), these look about as good as they're going to look and just as they're supposed to. The only audio option is a 2.0 mono, which, again, is very faithful to the source and gets the job done.
A roundtable of exploitation experts and enthusiasts have assembled for a marathon commentary track over the entire feature: Michael Gingold from Fangoria, Temple of Shlock's Chris Poggiali and Edwin Samuelson from AV Maniacs all speak energetically about the films represented on the disc, offering informative tidbits about the titles and providing a good overall appreciation of grindhouse cinema.
If the previous 42nd Street Forever DVDs are already part of your collection, you may not feel the need to upgrade to this Blu-ray, especially because the A/V upgrade isn't really a factor. But if you're new to the exploitation trailer game, you should absolutely pick this up; it will either serve as a fantastic primer to 89 movies you'll want to check out, or will serve as a fun trip down memory lane for a bunch of dirty, violent, awesome movies you've already seen. Either way, that's a win.
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