Grindhouse movie trailers are windows to Judge John Floyd's soul.
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 4 (published December 12th, 2008), and 42nd Street Forever (Blu-ray) (published June 1st, 2012) are also available.
Raise a kung fu fist against Ogami Ito and he'll chop it off!
Get ready for another white-knuckled, bare-breasted, gore-soaked trip into the ugly underground of the celluloid jungle, where nothing is sacred and no one is safe! Get ready for an explosion of exploitation!
Facts of the Case
42nd Street Forever Volume 3: Exploitation Explosion features 101 minutes of vintage grindhouse and drive-in movie trailers, a selection of TV spots, and commentary by Fangoria Editor Michael Gingold, film historian Chris Poggiali, and AVManiacs Editor Edwin Samuelson.
If you don't understand the appeal of these exploitation movie trailer collections, consider the following transcript of Ernie "Ghoulardi" Anderson's narration from the preview for the 1977 Robert Conrad action epic Sudden Death:
"Soldiers of fortune who shoot for loot, slay for pay, and slash for cash! Two masters with a thousand ways to kill, a pair of panthers on a rolling rampage of revenge! Back to back, they face Sudden Death! Molten madness erupting in a vicious vortex of violence! Sudden Death comes screaming out of the skies! The savage struggle for survival? Sudden Death! Unleashed! Unchained! Uncontrollable! Nothing can stop them! Not bombs, bullets, or bulldozers! Automatic executioners, triggering a massacre marathon, each man a devil-driven death machine in a human demolition derby! The damned versus the doomed! From the first burst to the last blast, they're a two-man disaster area! Skin of bronze! Muscles of iron! Fists of steel! The ultimate gladiators, in the final arena! Two fists of fury strike like vipers of vengeance! .38 caliber killers spitting death as they claw their way through Hell! Rapid-fire frenzy erupting in a .45 caliber climax! Sudden Death!"
That, my friends, is 100% pure cinematic cheese, served up with gusto!
Of course, not all of the trailers on Exploitation Explosion can match the electric energy or volcanic vocabulary of the one quoted above. As with the two previous entries in the series, this release is something of a mixed bag. For every testosterone-pumped Lightning Swords of Death or gleefully gory Devil Times Five, there is a ho-hum Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood or a thoroughly unremarkable Tattoo. The first third or so is such a guttural adrenaline rush of unabashed martial arts action and stomach-churning horror that it's virtually impossible to maintain the intensity once the focus shifts to adolescent sex comedies and sleazy thrillers. By the end of the disc, the unbridled fury of Enter the Ninja has given way to the inanity of the hopelessly derivative Jerry Reed and Peter Fonda trucker flick High Ballin' and the absurdity of Charles Bronson's western romantic comedy (!) From Noon Till Three, a collection that had begun with a thunderous bang ending with a disappointing whimper.
Still, there are plenty of campy thrills along the way for the connoisseur of bad films. Here's the complete list:
• Sudden Death
• The One-Armed Executioner
• Jaguar Lives!
• Enter the Ninja
• Lightning Swords of Death
• Five Fingers of Death
• The Stranger & The Gunfighter
• Beyond the Door
• Devil Times Five
• Phase IV
• The Uncanny
• Killer Fish
• Shark's Treasure
• Blood Beach
• Hot T-Shirts
• Cheerleaders' Wild Weekend
• King Frat
• Prison Girls
• 1000 Convicts and a Woman
• Chain Gang Women
• The Penthouse
• The House By The Lake
• Night Call Nurses
• The Young Nurses
• The Life and Times of Xaviera Hollander
• Guyana: Cult of the Damned
• High Ballin'
• From Noon Till Three
The good folks at Synapse Films were also kind enough to provide a couple of nice extras to make up for the stinkers that round out the feature presentation. In addition to a very entertaining and informative commentary track, there are a handful of TV commercials that nearly match the theatrical trailers in the areas of exploitative hyperbole and titillation.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
No matter how much you love sleaze, you will undoubtedly find the trailer for King Frat (and, should you ever be foolish enough to watch it, the film itself) thoroughly abhorrent and repulsive. Watching the trailer for this nauseating Animal House rip-off is kind of like being kicked in the groin while having your eyes gouged out with a rusty fork. Only less entertaining.
This set could also use some blaxploitation, juvenile delinquent, and old-school monster movie trailers to make it more diverse.
This is another solid but uneven compilation of trash-movie trailers, worth a look for any nostalgia buff or movie masochist.
The court is compelled to overlook the lopsided presentation and the evils of King Frat simply because there is too much on this disc worth seeing. Trailers for films currently unavailable in any format, like Danny Steinmann's Savage Streets and Andy Sidaris's "lost" classic Seven, are real treats, and the kung fu, horror, and Roger Corman "Nurse" flicks previewed here are simply fantastic. Not guilty!
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Scales of Justice
• Audio Commentary featuring Michael Gingold, Chris Poggiali, and Edwin Samuelson
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