First a personal aside, five years ago I got rid of every last one of my VHS tapes except for 10 separate titles which will never make it to DVD in uncut form (or so I thought). Among the strange eclectic specimens to be spared was the UROTSUKIDOJI : LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND complete series, MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER’S ATOMIC MONSTER, BILLY IDOL’S CHARMED LIFE and THE BEST of SEX and VIOLENCE. Imagine my surprise when this last DVD specimen came in for a review two weeks ago. At once, I was elated but then utterly sad as I realize now that I probably shouldn’t have thrown out the uncut version (Brazilian) of DEATH WISH 2 to keep this instead. You see my live-in girlfriend at the time was making me throw out every (VHS) but ten titles and I thought I chose wisely. Little did I know at the time that the relationship soon wouldn’t be worth a Barney VHS to me after this fateful day, (nor would it last much longer than the duration of one).
Anyway, The BEST OF SEX AND VIOLENCE is a compilation tape of trailers from the Golden age of Grindhouse. The fact that you have never seen or heard of most of the films featured is really unimportant as most of them never made it to DVD either so I won’t bother to make a list. The real point of this thing is just to kick back, let it play and marvel at how loud, senseless and pointless 70’s cinema was. It’s a visible cinematic journey from sexy farces and parodies of Adult themed nursery rhymes to Erotic Thrillers, down to senseless sexploitation and a final stop at Blaxploitation this is best watched with a cold beer or ten, the surround sound set to an authentic level so that the dubbed gunshots are louder than their real life counterparts, surrounded by dear friends who won’t judge you by your video collection (nor make you throw 99% of it out like a certain evil bitch). A wordy review cannot really describe the kinetic action of this thing, nor why you should pick it up. Do you remember the Grindhouse joint by Tariantino/Rodriguez with the phony film commercials sandwiched between the films? Did you like them? Well I am guessing you must have as enough of you lobbied studios and had MACHETE and HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN made into actual films. This film is exactly like that collection of trailers, only real, longer and better for being so. Finally am I alone in saying that the fake trailers between those Rodriguez/Tariantino GRINDHOUSE movies were the best part of the entire double feature? At least with the fake trailers you at least know why everything looked like it was it was supposed to look rated R at all times (but I digress).
Yet, not all of this is a sweet as candy, to enjoy this film you MUST have some love for seventies cinema with all of its blown up hairstyles, saggy boobs and fleeting glimpses of big bush. Also the footage itself looks a little stressed, but I happily accept this because much as in the case of antique furniture this is a rare case where a little bit of grain adds to the authenticity of the piece. Moreover, as I remember, those “fake” GRINDHOUSE trailers I keep mentioning were on stressed film stock as well, artificially done to make them look, feel and sound a whole lot like this already does. Finally, you must endure the Narration of John Carradine, a man who I only knew because of his role in THE GRAPES OF WRATH who is none other than the Father of Keith and David Carradine (who both stop by for a minute). I am not exaggerating in the least when I say the Crypt Keeper was a more fluid, lively and youthful looking narrator than Mr Carradine was as he appeared in this film, yet the footage of these trailers is so simple in its savagery that prolonged description only dulls it anyway. So to sum it up, if you want a film that is actually more grindhouse than GRINDHOUSE was, I give this five stars. All others, be sure you know what you are in for. With very little by way of modern special effects, budget, and talent, the underground films of the seventies were mostly shrill, pointless and empty indeed. But seeing exactly how much and why for yourself can be a good time for all! Well worth a ten dollar ticket price.
Extras include the same trailers and exact same soliloquy of Charles Band about the TRUE nature of grindhouse from all previous volumes. “Collect them all”. Heh.