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42nd Street Forever (Blu-ray)

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
2012
Studio: 
Synapse Films
Genre: 
Vintage Movie Trailers
Format: 
Blu-ray
Region: 
All
Aspect Ratio: 
1.78:1
Directed by: 
various
Cast: 
various
Movie: 
5
Extras: 
2
Bottom Line: 
4

Long before multi-million dollar Pepsi commercials, local business-sponsored trivia slideshows, and those interminable cellphone PSAs, the best part about going to the movies was getting their early enough to see the trailers. This was especially rewarding during the late 70s/early 80s, as many of the trailers shown before the R-rated films of this period were chock full of nudity, profanity, and ample amounts of gore. These short previews were often better than the actual films they advertised, featuring a rapid fire barrage of the film’s naughtiest bits and snippets of outrageous dialogue accompanied by a laughably inappropriate soundtrack (oftentimes “borrowed” from other films). The only place to see the really good stuff was at the independently owned cinemas; the single screen leftovers from a simpler time, which, in my city, meant The State Cinema. 

Built in 1923, The State was as an old vaudeville house-turned- movie theater that, like the bulk of “downtown “businesses, was all but disowned by mainstream moviegoers in the 1970s due to the proliferation of malls and soulless “McTheater” multiplexes. Despite its elegant red and gold velvet décor and ornately carved wood work, The State had become a full-blown grindhouse cinema by the late 70s, and home to movies deemed too sleazy for suburban cinemas.  I was barely a teenager at the time, but, seeing as how business wasn’t exactly booming, The State’s admission policy was about as formal as one of those “you must be this tall to ride this ride” signs at a gypsy carnival. 

This was the place I got my fix of Kung Fu movies, wacky horror flicks, and exploitation double features, and, of course, the bevy of colorful movie previews that accompanied them. The overwhelming majority of these trailers were for films that never actually ended up playing anywhere within a hundred miles of me, but they made an indelible impression, and, when the VHS boom came around, you better believe I sought them out! More often than not, the actual movies never lived up to the trailer’s promise, and I often wished I could just get myself a collection of the trailers, themselves, and recreate those formative years sitting in the rickety old seats of The State Cinema in the comfort of my own home. 

That wish would come true more than two decades later, when Synapse Films released their fantastic 42nd Street Forever collection on DVD.  The 42nd Street Forever series presented hours upon hours of the best horror, exploitation, comedy, and bizarre film trailers ever amassed. Released over five themed volumes (as well as a special sixth edition consisting of vintage XXX teasers) these DVDs became a part of my regular rotation for years. 

For the series’ Blu-ray debut, Synapse has taken much of the content from volumes 1 & 2 (The Deuce!), remastered them in 1080p, and combined them into one massive offering that features over three hours of pure, unmitigated HD sleaze! There are 89 trailers in all, including;

ACT OF VENGEANCE

BLACK SAMSON

THE BULLET MACHINE

THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS

CHAINED HEAT

CHAPPAQUA

COLLEGE GIRLS

THE CURIOUS FEMALE

THE DARK

DARK STAR

DELINQUENT SCHOOLGIRLS

THE DEADLY SPAWN

DEATH DRIVE

THE DEPRAVED

THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE

DR. BUTCHER M.D.

DR. TARR’S TORTURE DUNGEON

THE EVICTORS

EYE OF THE CAT

FLESH GORDON

THE FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW

THE .44 SPECIALIST

GINGER

THE GRIM REAPER

THE GUY FROM HARLEM

HARD CANDY

HELGA

HELLS ANGELS ON WHEELS

HONKY

I, A WOMAN

I DISMEMBER MAMA/BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE

INVITATION TO RUIN

THE ITALIAN STALLION

MAID IN SWEDEN

MARK OF THE WITCH

MS. 45

PANORAMA BLUE

THE PINK ANGELS

THE POM POM GIRLS

THE RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS

SAVAGE!

SAVAGE SISTERS

SECRET AFRICA

SHOCKING ASIA

SHOGUN ASSASSIN

SPY IN YOUR EYE

STREET GIRLS

SUGAR HILL

SUPER FUZZ

SUPERMANCHU

TABOOS OF THE WORLD

THE TALE OF THE DEAN’S WIFE

THE TEACHER

THEY CALL HER ONE EYE

THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE

THE 3 DIMENSIONS OF GRETA

THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS

WELCOME HOME, BROTHER CHARLES

WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS

WHEN WOMEN HAD TAILS

WICKED WICKED

And more!!!

Presented in a 1.78:1 1080p transfer, 42nd Street Forever looks remarkably clean for such downright dirty stuff, with crisp lines and an overall sharp image. There’s still a welcome amount of cinematic grain as well as the occasional fleck, spots, and hints of damage, but, compared to the DVDs (which looked amazing in their own right), the collection looks downright gorgeous. The accompanying DTS HD 2.0 track is also major upgrade, with a much beefier sounding and fuller mix. 

The collection’s sole extra is a 3 hour commentary track featuring  AVManiacs’ Edwin Samuelson, Fangoria Magazine’s Michael Gingold, and Temple of Schlock’s Chris Poggiali. The trio offer some interesting and funny observations, but, after a couple of hours, you can sense the fatigue settling in. I mean, there’s only so much one can say about boobs and blood over the course of three hours! 

If you’re even remotely a fan of exploitation, action, or horror cinema of the 70s and early 80s, just clear out a space on your shelf for this right now as this must be considered an essential addition to your library. Even if you already own the original DVDs, the improvements made in terms of sight and sound here completely justify a double dip, and, hopefully, will lead to Synapse releasing the rest of the series in kind! Packing over three hours of pure nostalgia bliss,  42nd Street Forever has fast become my favorite Blu-ray release of 2012, so it should come as no surprise to that this release earns my highest possible recommendation.

 
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