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42nd Street Forever: Blu-ray Edition


A treasure trove of trailers that titillate.

Rod Lott June 1st, 2012

Since 2005, Synapse Films has helped keep the sticky-floored spirit of grindhouse cinema alive by issuing collections of coming attractions under the 42nd Street Forever banner. Interested parties can catch up on the half-dozen titles thus far on DVD (I have, minus the lone XXX-Treme one) or opt for the new Blu-ray Edition. It's essentially a "greatest hits" piece, culling 80 trailers from all previous volumes.

42ndstreet

That adds up to nearly four hours of absolutely outrageous ads. Trust me: Whether you watch in a single sitting or several, it's a real car-chasing, cycle-revving, bomb-exploding, fist-punching, karate-chopping, foot-kicking, gun-shooting, knife-throwing, laser-blasting, woman-screaming, race-baiting, acid-pouring, eye-gouging, head-chopping, phallus-castrating, breast-squeezing, bed-writhing, succubus-sucking, wrist-tying, drug-injecting, butt-whipping, panty-ripping, bikini-filling, disco-dancing, jail-busting, snake-attacking, robot-battling, voodoo-pinning, slime-invading, dominatrix-singing, space-surfing, bellydancing, banana-peeling, sitar-plucking good time!

Although not clearly labeled as such, the contents are presented in the roughly delineated categories of blaxploitation, revenge, women in prison, sex (the non-pornographic kind), science fiction, horror, sex again (this time the pornographic kind, but in R-rated form here), mondo, thrillers, kung fu, biker flicks and comedy — assuming Skatetown USA can be considered a comedy. With its mix of disco, roller skates, Ruth Buzzi and Scott Baio, I find it absolutely terrifying.

Many quarts of juice await to be squeezed out of taglines and bits of narration that reach creative heights today's trailers don't dare attempt. Tell me you wouldn't love to see an episode of Mad Men tackle the task of mining gems of hype such as these:
• Black Samson: "He's lean and mean and rules the scene!"
Savage!: "See what he does to stick it to the fuzz!"
Act of Vengeance: "The Story of the Rape Squad!"
Savage Sisters: "A three-way combination you can't beat!"
Delinquent Schoolgirls: "It's kinky!"
Teenage Mother: "Teenage Mother means nine months of trouble!"
The Evil: "When you think you're free, you might be dead."
Dr. Butcher M.D.: "He's a departed, sadistic rapist — a bloodthirsty homicidal killer. And he makes house calls."

Amid the trash are a few critically acclaimed — at least by comparison — films, like Rolling Thunder, David Cronenberg's Rabid and Shogun Assassin. But let's get real: Most are merely infamous, such as Fairytales, Flesh Gordon, Starcrash, Dark Star and The Deadly Spawn. Famous faces arrive in The Italian Stallion, Sylvester Stallone's pre-fame porno, and The Dark, a horror effort featuring a deadly serious Casey Kasem.

I love these kinds of compilations — see also the recent Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell, with which this has only a bit of overlap — and none I've encountered are as well put-together as the 42nd Street Forever series. Some of the installments contain commentaries, and this one does, although I found it disappointing. Going back to select trailers for films I wanted to learn more about, I instead witnessed a bunch of IMDb credit-guessing that wasn't always correct.

But that's easy enough to leave switched off, so the only criticism I have is with basic navigation. With such a lengthy running time, it's not likely many will sit through the whole of the disc at once, but no bookmarking utility exists. You'll have to scroll page by page by page to find where you left off. It's the kind of program that cries for a handy insert; yes, each title is listed on the back cover, but it's incomplete and not in the order presented.

Again, a minor quibble. Not even that is enough of a buzzkill to keep 42nd Street Forever: Blu-ray Edition from being the most fun home-video purchase of 2012. It's lean and mean and rules the scene. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
The Deadly Spawn: Millennium Edition Blu-ray review  
Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell DVD review  
Starcrash DVD review  

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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06.02.2012 at 07:30 Reply
Hey Rod. We like to know when we're wrong. If you can correct us, please do so. Otherwise, don't listen to a fraction of a commentary that lasts "nearly four hours" and then accuse us of "IMDb credit-guessing." One of our favorite hobbies happens to be CORRECTING the IMDb, pal. And since you seem like the type of person who appreciates irony, I'll point out that YOU are the one who does the credit-fail thing here, by choosing not to credit the three individuals who recorded the commentary that you admit you didn't listen to. For the record, we are Michael Gingold of Fangoria magazine, Edwin Samuelson of AVManiacs.net, and yours truly, Chris Poggiali of Temple of Schlock. Glad you liked the disc otherwise. Sorry we couldn't answer all of your burning questions regarding COLLEGE GIRLS and SKATETOWN U.S.A. Next time, dig through your own notes and clippings files for the past 35 years of research, hike over to the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts to supplement those notes with more research, and then talk for "nearly four hours" straight about these movies, so we won't have to!

 

06.05.2012 at 08:12

Hi, Chris -- I didn't include your names for two reasons: 1. I didn't wish to make the criticism personal; life's too short make Internet enemies. 2. It's simply infeasible to do so sometimes; to quote your own commentary, "I'm sure someone's call us out for not naming all of these starlets! We're doing the best we can, people!"

My original review went into further details with examples, but I cut it all because it just seemed nitpicky, petty and woefully off-course, not to mention wrong for this audience.

Please don't confuse "disappointing" with "sucks." The gap between the two is far, wide and can be filled with many, many more hours.

Thanks for reading! --Rod

 

06.05.2012 at 01:26

Wow, classy response. Mental note: avoid the work of Michael Gingold, Edwin Samuelson and Chris Poggiali (the latter two should be easy since I've never heard of either of them or whatever nonsense li'l outlets they purport to do anything for). Thanks for flagging yourself as a dick, Chris! You've done yourself, Synapse Films and the public at large a favor.

 

 
 
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