The second Blu-ray release from Harry Guerro’s new cult movie company, Garagehouse Pictures, is a titillating collection of grindhouse trailers that does not disappoint.
Who doesn’t like trailers? As any fan of offbeat cinema can tell you, sometimes trailers are better than the actual movie. They usually run a swift three minutes or less, highlight some of the more exciting parts of the picture, sometimes contain nudity and violence and other juicy parts (like many of the trailers featured here) and they often carry catchy taglines. Trailers for exploitation movies, especially, have become something of an art form and cause for parody and imitation in recent years, but there ain’t nothing like the original, over-the-top coming attractions. They can’t be matched, and this collection is definite proof of that.
Since the days of VHS, trailer collections have been marketed to the public, usually compiled by theme. Horror, science fiction, and any “Psychotronic” subject matter has proven to be most popular as far as these compilations go, and the DVD age has brought on a great number of them. The problem with numerous trailer comps is the repetition; seeing a lot of the same ones over and over, or trailers that are already available on their official DVD or Blu-ray release. Harry Guerro (he of “Exhumed Films” fame), a film collector extraordinaire (and we’re talking all variations of actual “film” not digital media) has remedied the common rehash factor with this TRAILER TRAUMA Blu-ray, as he has compiled some ultra rare items, some being an alternate or thought-lost preview for a better-known film, and others are so obscure that even the most seasoned film fanatic likely has never seen or heard of them. With all the trailers on here transferred from their original 35mm format, it’s obvious a lot of thought went into the compiling and presentation, so this is by far the best Blu-ray of its type to be released, with the subjects running the gamut of horror, car chasing, sexploitation, wacky westerns, science fiction, forgotten dramas, and much more. There’s well over 60(!) trailers here from the 1960s to the 1980s, so now for a rundown of what’s at hand.
The comp nicely begins with some late 1960s era “Jungle Book type animation: 1. The “Restricted Animated Cat” tag applying the “R” rating (as most of the trailers on here are, of course). 2. DEATHBED is not the bizarre independent film from 1977 of the same name, but a fun teaser trailer (with a red-eyed skeleton rising from a girl’s smoky bed) for the 1985 opus also known as TERMINAL CHOICE. 3. The double bill of THE HEX MASSACRE and LUCIFER’S CURSE is AIP’s packaged retitlings of THE CHOSEN (aka HOLOCAUST 2000) and the superb Spanish horror film WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? which AIP previously had out as ISLAND OF THE DAMNED. The intense combo piece appears to have music lifted from PSYCHO! 4. DAWN OF THE MUMMY is an unrated Egyptian rip-off of DAWN OF THE DEAD and Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE. A blood-soaked trailer that’s better than the rest of the film! 5. DARK SUNDAY is a 1976 vigilante pic starring Earl Owensby (here as a killer reverend), North Carolina’s answer to Orson Welles (well, not really). 6. SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY is a 1973 Canadian-made thriller featuring Ernest Borgnine as a farmer, who along with his family, is terrorized by trio of bank robbers (one of them played by Michael J. Pollard). It was released by Cinerama. 7. DON’T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS (1984) is an extremely sleazy (as is the trailer) killer Santa pic directed by and starring Edmund Purdom and also featuring Caroline Munro, who is highlighted here (she sings on stage!). 8. SAVAGE WEEKEND is another masked-killer-in-the-country slasher epic released years after it was shot. David Gale and William Sanderson star. It was recently released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber and Scorpion Releasing. 9. MEAN FRANK AND CRAZY TONY is a 1973 Italian crime film starring Lee Van Cleef and Tony Lo Bianco as the title characters, and “sultry” Edwige Fenech as Tony’s sexy mistress. It’s got driller-killings, demolished automobiles and music by Riz Ortolani, and it looks to be riot! It was brought to these shores in 1975 by Aquarius Releasing and the trailer is narrated by Adolph Caesar (you’ll hear his sharp, undeniable voice here a few more times). 10. WACKO (1982) is Greydon Clark’s PG-rated horror spoof (it’s about a “Lawnmower Killer”) starring George Kennedy, Stella Stevens, Joe Don Baker, Andrew “Dice” Clay and Julia Duffy before she was on “Newhart”. 11. HYSTERICAL (1983) is another PG-rated horror spoof that also lampoons RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and TAXI DRIVER. It’s a vehicle for the comedy/musical trio of The Hudson Brothers, who had their own variety show in the 1970s. There are a lot of familiar faces here, including Charlie Callas as Dracula.
At number 12. is THE INCREDIBLE TORTURE SHOW (1976), the original title for the New York-shot Joel M. Reed sickie better known as BLOODSUCKING FREAKS. This is a “Red Band” trailer for sure, showing off everything you either love or loathe about it, and Caesar again does the narration. 13. MONDO MAGIC (1975) is another explicit (as this trailer surely dictates) Italian-made mondo movie, and it’s also known as AFRICA UNCENSORED. “It will boggle your mind” according to this trailer. It was released here with an “X” rating in 1977 by Peppercorn-Wormser, who also gave us THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM. 14. COONSKIN (1975) is a controversial animated classic from Ralph Bakshi as a follow-up to FRITZ THE CAT and HEAVY TRAFFIC. It was released by Byranston. 15. FINGERS (1978) has Harvey Keitel as a music loving piano virtuoso who is also a debt collector for his mafiosa father (Michael V. Gazzo). The interesting cast also has Jim Brown, Tisa Farrow, Lenny “Luca Brasi” Montana, Tanya Roberts (here in a bikini) and future “The Sopranos” star Tony Sirico. 16. REVENGE OF THE LIVING ZOMBIES (1988) is also known as FLESHEATER and stars and was directed by Bill Hinzman, “The Ghoul from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD”. The cheapness of this epic, as exhibited by this grainy trailer, charmingly makes it appear as if it was shot 20 years earlier. 17. THE CHILDREN is an underrated 1980 horror piece about killer zombie kids (their black-fingernailed hands cause instant death). It stars 1960s singer Gale Garnett. It was released by World Northal, with (again) narration by Caesar. A real gem of a trailer here is 18. DR. FRANKENSTEIN ON CAMPUS (1970), an almost impossible to see Canadian horror film full of Psychedelia. Robin Ward is the title character, and there’s a bunch of other actors you’ve never heard of (their named are called out here). The distributors had the nerve to use the “flashing” image of Karloff’s classic monster (nothing of the sort is seen in the film). 19. DRACULA BLOWS HIS COOL (1979) is a sexy (lotsa naked chicks) German-made vampire spoof with Spaghetti western star Gianni Garko, seen here having fun and brushing his fangs. The copyright date for this American trailer says 1982. 20. THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAKE (1976) is a reputable Bigfoot monster movie directed by Joy N. Houck Jr. and produced and written by Jim McCullough Jr. John David Carson and Dennis Fimple plays the ones searching for the legendary beast, and Dub Taylor and Jack Elam add veteran star value. 21. GOLIATHON is the trailer for the 1980 World Northal release of THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN (1977), the Shaw Brothers’ answer to 1976’s KING KONG. We never get a glimpse of the giant gorilla’s goofy face here, but at least we get to see gorgeous Evelyne Kraft (in an animal-skin bikini) swinging from a vine. This fun Hong Kong monster flick was re-released theatrically in 1999 by Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder Pictures (under its original title).
The martial arts shenanigans of Filipino action star Franco Guerrero (aka Chito Guerrero) arrives at 22. with THE ONE-ARMED EXECUTIONER (1981). Directed by the late Bobby A. Suarez, lots of things blow up and there’s a lot gunfire in this trailer for the revenge flick. 23. NAKED VENGEANCE (1985) is another product of the Philippines, this time directed by Cirio H. Santiago and starring Deborah Tranelli as a widower out for revenge after the murder of her loved ones. The trailer definitely emphasizes the outrageousness of the feature, which was released theatrically by Concorde Pictures but never released on DVD. 24. FOOD OF THE GODS II (1989), also known as GNAW, is a laughable sequel (in name only) to Bert I. Gordon’s 1976 animal-attack epic. 25. FRIGHT (1971) is a chilling Peter Collinson British-made thriller (and borderline horror film) with a superb cast which includes Susan George and Ian Bannen. It was released here in 1972 by Allied Artists and this trailer is far more rare than the British one which appeared on the out-of-print Anchor Bay DVD. 26. JACK THE RIPPER (1976) is the Jess Franco version starring Klaus Kinski as the Whitechapel murderer. This great trailer also has Herbert Fux, Josephine Chaplin and Lina Romay as a showgirl singing a silly tune about “T&A”. Dubbed into English, the American release of this German-made historical exploiter didn’t happen until late 1979. 27. THE ANNIHILATORS (1985) is about Vietnam vets defending their home front from trigger-happy thugs. It’s got Paul Koslo, Christopher Stone, Gerrit Graham and “Welcome Back Carter” star Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. 28. KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! (1971) has BEN-HUR star Stephen Boyd hunting down drug dealers, and the international cast also includes Jean Seberg, James Mason and Curd Jurgens. But Euro horror fans will be happier to spot Victor Israel and Daniel Emilfork (THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE). It wasn’t released here until 1974. 29. SANDS OF KALAHARI (1965) is a more mainstream affair, a pretty good actioner (based on a popular novel) about killer baboons against a stellar cast which includes Stuart Whitman, Stanley Baker (also the producer), Susannah York, Harry Andrews, Nigel Davenport and Theodore Bikel. It was directed by Cy Endfield (ZULU) and released by Paramount. 30. SACRIFICE! (1972) is a trailer for Joseph Brenner’s 1977 U.S. release of the Umberto Lenzi epic best known as THE MAN FROM DEEP RIVER (among numerous other titles). The film, a much more graphic rip-off of A MAN CALLED HORSE (1970), spearheaded the Italian cannibal movie craze of the 1970s and early 1980s.
At 31. is THE GAMES SCHOOLGIRLS PLAY (1972), a typical German sex comedy with lots of nudity and dubbed frolicking, as witnessed in this trailer. It wasn’t released here until 1974. 32. THE COLLEGE GIRL MURDERS (1967) is one of the many German-made Edgar Wallace mysteries with Joachim Fuchsberger, and this one was shot in color (most of them were black & white). A great trailer which is not on Dark Sky Film’s DVD release! 33. BEYOND AND BACK (1978) is another laughable G-rated Sunn Classics documentary, and this one is about individuals who have supposedly had near-death experiences and have survived to tell their tales. 34. BLACK FIST (1974) is also known as BOGARD, and it stars Richard Lawson (SUGAR HILL) as a paid streetfighter dealing with the white racists and mafia types. Dabney Coleman and Philip Michael Thomas also star. 35. PENITENTIARY II stars Leon Isaac Kennedy in the sequel to the prison/boxing cult favorite, and this one became a cable TV favorite. A pre-GHOSTBUSTERS Ernie Hudson also stars, as does a pre-ROCKY III Mr. T. 36. DOG TAGS (1985) is a savage Vietnam war pic from Romano Scavolini, the director of the ultra violent “Video Nasty” NIGHTMARE (1981), which can be found at 37. Released by 21st Century Distribution, NIGHTMARE’s trailer hypes effect man Tom Savini (who was coming off DAWN OF THE DEAD and FRIDAY THE 13TH), and also features narration by Caesar. 38. SUPERSTITION (1982) is a supernatural slasher movie starring Albert Salmi, and this trailer has great narration by Brother Theodore. 39. FRANKENSTEIN IN 3-D looks to be a trailer for the early 1980s re-release of FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN/ANDY WARHOL’S FRANKENSTEIN (1973), and it’s a cool teaser at that. 40. HOMEBODIES (1974) is a memorable black comedy about old folks (including Ian Wolfe and Ruth McDevitt from “Kolchak: The Night Stalker”) who resort to murder when their homes are to be destroyed. It used to show up on late-night TV a lot and was on VHS but never DVD. Avco Embassy released it.
At 41. is THE ALPHA INCIDENT (1978), a cheap but interesting sci-fi pic starring such character greats as Ralph Meeker, George “Buck” Flower and John Alderman, and it was directed by the man who gave us THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION. 42. MUTANT WAR (1988) is a no-budget futuristic action pic from Brett Piper, featuring stop-motion animation and Z-grade movie slummer Cameron Mitchell. 43. ELIMINATORS (1986) is another science fiction adventure with cyborgs and martial arts, from Empire Pictures. The cast includes Andrew Prine, Roy Dotrice and Denise Crosby. 44. 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA (1985) capitalizes on the Ninja craze of the 1980s, and stars Shô Kosugi, who was so popular in these sorts of films at the time. It was released by Crown International. Martial arts are key in 45. STONER (1974), starring one-time 007 George Lazenby in the first of three kung fu movies he did in Hong Kong. It’s about a crime ring centered around a “sex pill” and it also features kung fu queen Angela Mao. It wasn’t released here until the early 1980s, at which time it must have looked incredibly dated. 46. NEXT! (NEXT VICTIM) (1971) is the enticing U.S. preview for Sergio Martino’s popular giallo also known as BLADE OF THE RIPPER and THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH. Edwige Fenech and George Hilton star. 47. THE RAH RAH GIRLS is an anomaly; a re-release of the intense and controversial WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (1972) which makes it look a fluffy sex comedy! 48. PARANOIA (1969) is also from Italy, a thriller directed by Umberto Lenzi and starring Carroll Baker, “giving the outstanding performance of her career”. Commonwealth United Entertainment released this with an early MPAA X rating. 49. SILENT MADNESS (1984) is a lesser known slasher film about an escaped lunatic on the loose, and at one time it was shown in 3-D (the trailer here reflects the regular, non 3-D release). Belinda Montgomery and Viveca Lindfors are in it. 50. TRICK OR TREATS (1982) is another post HALLOWEEN slasher taking place on… you guessed it. It was directed by Gary Graver, with his son Chris playing the prankster son of an escaped maniac (the great Peter Jason). David Carradine makes a guest appearance.
At 51. is THE CREEPER, a retitling of RITUALS, the 1977 Canuck DELIVERANCE knock-off starring Hal Holbrook. 52. TANGO MACABRE is a French trailer for Oliver Stone’s SEIZURE (1974) starring Jonathan Frid and a cast of cult favorites. Seeing the trailer in French almost makes it look it could be the work of Jean Rollin. 53. IRONMASTER (1982) is one of those Italian Barbarian movies (this was set in prehistoric times), starring George Eastman and directed by Umberto Lenzi (this trailer is also in French!). 54. NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER (1986) is another martial arts film, made in the wake of the success of THE KARATE KID, and of course the aspiring kid in it (Kurt McKinney) idolizes and channels Bruce Lee. 1980s action star Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a Russian ring fighter! 55. KNIGHTS OF THE CITY (1986) is about a street gang trying to become rap recording artists. Leon Isaac Kennedy stars and also wrote it, and it features such music industry icons as Smokey Robinson, Kurtis Blow and Harry “Wayne” Casey (of Casey and the Sunshine Band), all playing themselves. 56. THE LEGEND OF FRENCHIE KING (1971) is an international, but primarily French-made western comedy with Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale, both at the height of their beauty and getting into an onscreen catfight! Michael J. Pollard plays the bumbling sheriff. 57. THE FARMER (1977) is a period revenge flick ("He never gets mad...he gets even") starring Gary Conway (I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN) and is in bad need of a DVD/Blu-ray release. Columbia Pictures actually released this theatrically, but it was never issued on home video. 58. SMOKEY AND THE GOOD TIME OUTLAWS (1978) is a rip off of… well you know. Jesse Turner and Dennis Fimple are aspiring country musicians and Slim Pickens is the pursuing redneck trailer. It’s fairly obscure. In the same auto antics vein is 59. SMOKEY AND THE HOTWIRE GANG (1979), directed by the producer of THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS, Anthony Cardoza. James Keach and Stanley Livingston (of “My Three Sons”) star, and Alvy Moore plays the sheriff. 60. THE DEMON LOVER (1977) features a grainy trailer (the film was obviously shot on 16mm and blown up to 35) which really brings out the shoddy charms of this micro-budgeted independent monster flick shot in Michigan. Gunnar Hansen is in it! 61. DIABOLICAL WEDDING/LEGEND OF HORROR is an interesting double feature for classic horror fans, with DIABOLICAL being an expanded version of a short film (Edgar Allan Poe’s ANNABELLE LEE) and LEGEND uses footage from an Argentinean film based on Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” (the other two segments from the Enrique Carreras-directed flick showed up in MASTER OF HORROR, released years earlier). This double feature played around 1974 and was distributed by Ellman Film Enterprises. 62. GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE/GARDEN OF THE DEAD (1972) is another gem of a horror double bill preview, as this duo was produced to be paired together; both were directed by John Hayes. GRAVE star Michael Pataki narrates the trailer! 63. HELL HUNTERS (1986) has Maude Adams as a Nazi hunter and Stewart Granger as a Nazi war criminal. George Lazenby also stars. 64: JUNGLE WOLF II: RETURN FIRE (1988) is the action-packed sequel to 1986’s JUNGLE WOLF and features American martial arts star Ronald L. Marchini as well as Adam “Batman” West. Lastly, at 63. is CAPTAIN APACHE (1971), a Spanish-made western with Lee Van Cleef, Carroll Baker and Stuart Whitman. Kino Lorber recently released this on Blu-ray and DVD but no trailer was included.
The entire contents of the region-free TRAILER TRAUMA Blu-ray runs a whopping 137 minutes, and all the trailers here have been transferred and digitally mastered in 4K from original 35mm prints, and are purported to be in their original aspect ratios (the ratio of a trailer doesn’t always correlate with the aspect ratio of its feature, as is the case with CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAKE). The audio comes on an LPCM mono track, and only a couple of trailers show their age, with most of them sounding perfect. Quality on the trailers vary, but as a whole, everything looks great in terms of the overall presentation with many of the previews retaining their color very well, and if some of them have minor wear and tear, that only adds to the vintage grindhouse appeal. This is a must-have to add to your collection of exploitation/cult Blu-rays, and here’s hoping that more TRAILER TRAUMA volumes will follow. You can order this disc directly from Diabolik DVD HERE. (George R. Reis)
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