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42nd Street Forever - Alamo Drafthouse Edition

Review by: 
Suicide Blonde
Release Date: 
2009
Studio: 
Synapse Films
Genre: 
Cult
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
0 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
various
Directed by: 
various
Cast: 
various
Movie: 
4
Extras: 
4
Bottom Line: 
4

The folks at Synapse have done it again with another of their 42nd Street Forever movie trailer compilations, this one created with some help from the folks at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse theater.

Volume 5 showcases trailers culled from the vaults at the Alamo Drafthouse theater, the venue beloved by Quentin Tarantino, Harry Knowles, and others. The result is a wide variety of trailers – some familiar, some obscure, and some just plain odd.  The trailers include:

A Life of Ninja
Sting of the Dragon Masters
The Bodyguard
Mad Monkey Kung Fu
Wonder Women
Lucky Seven
The Shark Hunter
Birds Do It, Bees Do It
Let’s Do It
Chatterbox
Danish Love Acts
Group Marriage
Violated
Caged Virgins
Message From Space
The Terrornauts
Mindwarp
MegaForce
Zebra Force
Blazing Battle
Operation O.N.E.
International Secret Police
Machine Gun McCain
Stacey
Lightning Bold
Mission Thunderbolt
The 3 Supermen in the West
Pretty Maids All in a Row
Putney Swope
Norman, Is That You?
Redneck County
Moonrunners
The Fabulous World of Jules Verne
The Magic Christmas Tree
Pinocchio’s Birthday Party
The Magic of the Kite
The Secret of Magic Island
Karzan, Master of the Jungle
The Norseman
Sorceress
Terror in the Wax Museum
The Manson Massacre
The Devil Within Her
Slaughterhouse Rock

As with the previous 42nd Street Forever compilations there’s a good mix of horror, action, martial arts, comedy, and old-fashioned exploitation. But what makes this collection stand out is the inclusion of kiddie matinee trailers. The inclusion of the respectable-looking Fabulous World of Jules Verne seems a bit of a head-scratcher, but the trailers quickly go off the rails with The Magic Christmas Tree and Pinocchio’s Birthday Party - their low-budget surrealism and vague (OK, not-so-vague) creepiness will induce a bigger “Huh?” than any other films in the collection. Add in some fun ads for truly repulsive-looking concession-stand foodstuffs and you’ve got an evening of fun and hilarity.

As usual, there are plenty of diamonds (OK, cubic zirconias) to be found in the rough here. Of particular interest are Mindwarp/Galaxy of Terror, Caged Virgins (instantly recognizable as a Jean Rollin film), and The Bodyguard (featuring a young and extremely sexy Sonny Chiba). But it’s a frustrating paradox with the 42nd Street Forever compilations that the more obscure and interesting the trailers are, the less likely it is to find these on DVD.

Which leads us to the extras on the disc, in particular the commentary by Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League and programmers Lars Nilsen and Zack Carlson. The always-enjoyable commentary gives insight into how these trailers have survived over the years, how they’re found, and the saddening news that many of these films, despite being relatively recent, are lost and probably will never be seen on video.

 

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