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Trailers from Hell! Volume Two


It’s like watching 20 movies with all the boring parts cut out!

Rod Lott June 21st, 2011

Movie trailers can be found in the bonus screens of most DVDs. Rare is the case when the clips are the featured attraction, and a feature film is the extra — as in "Trailers from Hell! Volume Two."

trailersfromhellvol2

It's a deliriously entertaining collection of 20 coming attractions from yesteryear, delivered with intro and commentary by B moviemakers who love B movies.

While born from the website created by director Joe Dante ("Gremlins," "Piranha"), these are original to this Shout! Factory disc, so you're not paying for something you can see for free (although I gladly would welcome a complete set from the site).

Dante pokes into a childhood sci-fi favorite, "Donovan's Brain," featuring future first lady Nancy Reagan, whom he characterizes as "a cold actress." Aussie cinema vet Brian Trenchard-Smith looks at Hammer Films' "The Stranglers of Bombay, touted as being shot "in Stranglo-scope!" Guillermo del Toro brushes over Dario Argento's "Deep Red" twice, once in his native Spanish.

In need of a haircut that doesn't make him look like the Buster Brown and/or Dutch Boy icons, Mick Garris offers faint praise for the "Flesh Gordon" porn parody, while Mary Lambert ("Pet Sematary") recalls being terrified by "Godzilla vs. Mothra" growing up.

Screenwriter Josh Olson ("A History of Violence") takes a different tack as others, using the famous "Jaws" teaser as an opportunity to discuss the unique circumstances of how its Oscar-nominated screenplay was fashioned, much of it accidental and on-the-fly.

Some directors talk about spots on their own filmographies. Jack Hill looks into "Pit Stop," a neglected, black-and-white action film set in the world of figure-eight racing. Roger Corman relays how he was forced to make one of his acclaimed Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, "The Premature Burial," without Vincent Price, which he thinks actually turned out for the best; I could listen to this guy all day. The same doesn't hold true for Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman, whose hysterics are best in small doses — like the filthy trailer for his filthy epic "Terror Firmer." Who else was going to discuss the logistics of shooting a fat kid with a small penis running naked through Times Square?

Other commentators include John Landis and Ernest Dickerson. Only producer Michael Peyser put me to sleep, discussing "Seven Days in May." The disc's only other drawback is that I didn't come out of it with as long a list of must-sees (Don Siegel's "The Lineup" and Roman Polanski's "The Tenant") as I did in the equally awesome first volume, which is really worth hunting down.

Like that collection, "Volume Two" comes with an entire movie as a bonus: this time, Corman's legendary "Little Shop of Horrors" comedy from 1960. It's still the same ol' scratchy print, but presented in anamorphic widescreen for the first time ever. I've seen "Little Shop" half a dozen times, and it never fails to win my admiration with its cheap charms. Having it here is another layer of icing on an already-iced cake, and ditto for the inclusion of its original trailer, with commentary from Dante.

"Trailers from Hell!" is — I beg for your apologies in advance — heaven for open-minded addicts of genre film. May Dante shower us with many more volumes to come. —Rod Lott




 
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