Monday, May 16, 2016

TRAILER TRAUMA 2: DRIVE-IN MONSTERAMA - BLU-RAY REVIEW

Blu-ray ad-copy: ‘Think the first one was yummy?  Hope you left room for seconds!’

Following their stupendous TRAILER TRAUMA Blu-ray, released earlier this year, Garagehouse Pictures returns with DRIVE-IN MONSTERAMA, an utterly mammoth 3½-hour compilation of 96 horror-themed trailers, many of which have never been seen anywhere else.  Considering the vast amount of trailer compilations released over the last couple of decades on both VHS and DVD, it’s really quite amazing just how many rarities the team at Garagehouse still manage to uncover.  Instead of listing every trailer on this disc, let’s peruse through some of the highlights.

Compiled by Garagehouse Pictures’ Harry Guerro and DVD Drive-In’s George Reis, DRIVE-IN MONSTERAMA, opens with a couple of info spots about the MPAA’s then-new GMRX rating system (“General”, “Mature”, “Restricted” and the dreaded “X Rating”), as well as “Monsters Do Have Their Place”, an animated piece highlighting the evils of Pay TV.  Right from the get-go, things begin with a rare double feature spot for George Schenck’s SUPERBEAST (1972) and Hollingsworth Morse’s DAUGHTERS OF SATAN (1972), a pair of Filipino-shot horror pictures.  This is immediately followed by Nathan Juran’s rarely-seen The BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF (1973), which, thankfully, will at long last make its bow on Blu-ray this July courtesy of Scream Factory.  Javier Aguirre’s DRACULA’S GREAT LOVE (1972, “The most devastating Dracula in history.”) gets a lengthy, once impossible-to-see trailer featuring the film’s toned-down ‘clothed’ version, while Vernon Sewell’s The BLOOD BEAST TERROR (1968) is marketed with considerable hyperbole under its more garish U.S. title, The VAMPIRE-BEAST CRAVES BLOOD.

Still unavailable as a proper feature release, a preview for Bud Townsend’s The FOLKS AT RED WOLF INN (1972) also shows up, which is soon followed by an excellent trailer for Jerry Warren’s – ahem – not-so-excellent FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND (1980, “Ruthless science finds no limit, no boundary…”).  Then it’s Hammer time, with a pair of hard-to-see previews for Terence Fisher’s FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL (1973) and Brian Clemens’ CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER (1972).  Gialli also get some solid representation, with an alternate trailer for Lucio Fulci’s A LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN (1971) under its U.S. re-title SCHIZOID, while the U.S. trailer for Emilio P. Miraglia’s The NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (1971) also appears, which is then followed by a rarely-seen AIP trailer for Massimo Dallamano’s DORIAN GRAY (1970). 

J. Lee Thompson’s still-unavailable The REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD (1975) also appears via a unique and unforgettable trailer, and although Legend Films neglected to include the trailer on their own DVD, one for Waris Hussein’s The POSSESSION OF JOEL DELANEY (1972) turns up here.  We’re then treated to Alfred Vohrer’s late-entry krimi The GORILLA GANG (1968), starring Uschi Glass, and then it’s off to Canada for Eddy Matalon’s bargain-bin VHS staple, CATHY’S CURSE (1977).  Of course, Jess Franco also gets some love with a very rarely-seen U.S. trailer for The DEMONS (1972) while François Legrand’s (a.k.a. Franz Antel) TOWER OF THE SCREAMING VIRGINS (1968, “Prisoners of sex trapped in a love cage!”) also appears, and is yet another feature which is still unavailable on disc.

Throughout this impressive compilation, some trailers are arranged by their analogous themes or similar titles via “word association”, which leads into numerous “house” films, including Narcisco Ibáñez Serrador’s The HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1970) – still conspicuously absent on a decent domestic DVD or Blu-ray (although it did get released [widescreen, yet] on former format in 2007 as part of Shout! Factory’s ‘Elvira’s Movie Macabre’ line, paired-up with a full-frame print of “Ernst von Theumer”/Mel Welles’ MANEATER OF HYDRA [1966]) – while Robert Hartford-Davis’ The SMASHING BIRD I USED TO KNOW (1969) appears under the much more exploitative title of HELL HOUSE GIRLS (“You can chain-up only so much passion!”).  Despite being a VHS mainstay, William Fruet’s DEATH WEEKEND (1976), a Canadian variation of Wes Craven’s LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972), also appears under its AIP retitling The HOUSE BY THE LAKE, and rather unbelievably, is STILL unavailable on disc, as well.  Venturing onto various “blood”-themed films, James Kelly’s The BEAST IN THE CELLAR (1970) and Piers Haggard’s superlative The BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW (1971), which were both produced by British studio Tigon, also appear among spots for the more customary but still very welcome Filipino Blood Island pictures, including Gerardo De Leon’s and Eddie Romero’s BRIDES OF BLOOD (1968).  Probably the biggest surprise here is Claude Mulot’s excellent The BLOOD ROSE (1970), which, despite getting a high-quality DVD release from Mondo Macabro, neglected to include a theatrical trailer, so it’s nice to finally see the rarely-seen one for Allied Artists’ stateside release. 

The rarities keep right on coming with a pair of Freddie Francis shockers, including The PSYCHOPATH (1966) – which still remains unavailable anywhere on disc – and TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS (1973, “Come face to face with your fears.”), which never showed up on Olive Films’ domestic Blu-ray release of the film itself.  John Hancock’s LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH (1971) is yet another title whose magnificent trailer never showed up on Paramount’s DVD release, while Bert I. Gordon’s NECROMANCY (1972) starring Orson Welles also puts in an appearance here, as does Bernard McEveety’s The BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN (1971), a trailer which also failed to appear on Columbia Tri-Star’s DVD. 

Incredibly, this is only a tiny taster of the vast feast of goodies that awaits viewers within TRAILER TRAUMA 2: DRIVE-IN MONSTERAMA; but to top it all off (bonus!), the disc also comes with an excellent in-depth commentary courtesy of George Reis and Keith Crocker – director of The BLOODY APE (1997) and whom, alongside Reis, was the co-editor of The Exploitation Journal  – which is filled with all sorts of great factoids.  Mastered in 4K, ALL of the trailers look great, despite the age of the “various 35mm prints.”  The interior of the Blu-ray case includes a complete list of all 96 trailers, plus a brief essay by Ian Zapczynski on the allure of trailer compilations.  In addition, the disc includes trailers from Garagehouse Pictures’ first two releases, Paul Kyriazi’s NINJA BUSTERS (1984) and TRAILER TRAUMA.  Order it from Diabolik DVD NOW


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