Thursday, February 11, 2010

STEPHEN ROMANO PRESENTS SHOCK FESTIVAL

In 2008, author Stephen Romano's book, Shock Festival, was published. Within its pages, Romano exhaustively examined the behind-the-scenes history of a group of low budget exploitation movies from the 70s and 80s, and the various filmmakers who made them. The stories were fascinating, as were the filmmakers. Thing is, he made it all up. It was fiction.

Now, Shock-O-Rama Cinema/Bloody Earth films has released STEPHEN ROMANO PRESENTS SHOCK FESTIVAL, a three-disc movie trailer compilation that features over seven hours worth of grindhouse coming attractions, TV spots and radio ads... including thirteen trailers for the fictional films from his novel.

Disc one includes the Shock Festival trailers, made by currently-working indie horror filmmakers. Not one of them gets the feel or look quite right (nor do any of them have effective voice overs), but they're fun.

The first disc also includes an "Exploitation Trailer Reel," of genuine, vintage coming attractions, with the original theatrical trailers for TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS, VICE SQUAD, CORNBREAD, EARL AND ME, BLACK SAMURAI, GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES, FLESH GORDON, CONQUEST, DELIRIUM, AMAZON JAIL, BEYOND ATLANTIS, SADOMANIA, CHALLENGE TO BE FREE, VENOM, RAW FORCE, GONE WITH THE POPE, BLACK HEAT, STARSTRUCK, LAST DAYS OF MAN ON EARTH, 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS, THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH, AVALANCHE EXPRESS, CINDERELLA 2000, TITILLATION, FLESH AND LACE, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, CIRCLE OF IRON, SMITHEREENS, FANTASTIC PLANET, THE LOVELESS, THE SEXY DOZEN, 2069: A SEX ODYSSEY, RAIDERS OF LETYE GULF, SCUM OF THE EARTH, VENUS IN FURS, THE FEMALE ANIMAL, 7 DWARVES TO THE RESCUE, THE FIGHTING RATS OF TOBRUK, FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE, FAST COMPANY, GRAND SLAM, SPACE RAIDERS, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, CANNONBALL, KILLER FORCE, KING KONG VS. GODZILLA and AFRICA BLOOD AND GUTS.

Disc two contains the "Horror Trailer Marathon" (THE STUFF, PIECES, SNUFF, BEYOND THE GATE, PRANKS, BURNT OFFERINGS, DEAD AND BURIED, BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE, I DISMEMBER MAMA, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, GREAT WHITE, CAT O' NINE TAILS, SATURN 3, GOD TOLD ME TO, THE CRAZIES, TOOLBOX MURDERS, Q, GRIZZLY, DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, HELL NIGHT, SATAN'S BLACK WEDDING, BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA, INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS, MANIAC, BANANA MONSTER, DEAD OF NIGHT, CARNIVAL OF BLOOD, CURSE OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN, MARK OF THE DEVIL, BLOODSUCKING FREAKS, DEEP RED, THE CURSE, AUTOPSY, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS, SHOCK WAVES, THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, THE 5TH CORD, 7 DOORS OF DEATH and BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR), "Sam Sherman's Independent International Trailer Vault" (MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND, BRIDES OF BLOOD, THE BLOOD-O-RAMA SHOCK FESTIVAL, SATAN'S SADISTS, ANGEL'S WILD WOMEN, HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS, GIRLS FOR RENT, NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES, BRAIN OF BLOOD, BLAZING STEWARDESSES and BLOOD DRINKERS), and the "TV Spectacular," which contains television commercials for such classics as CRY OF A PROSTITUTE, THE WRESTLER, DON'T OPEN THE WINDOW, THE PYX, MONDO CANE 1 & 2, THE KILLING MACHINE, DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN, OLD DRACULA, THE LAST SURVIVOR, ANGEL'S WILD WOMEN, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, DOCTOR PHIBES RISES AGAIN, THE CRIMSON CULT/HORROR HOUSE double bill, DOCTOR JECKYL AND SISTER HYDE, THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS, FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET, EYE OF THE CAT, THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, BERSERK, THE DEVIL'S RAIN/THE VIRGIN WITCH double bill, ROLLERBALL, MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH, J.D.'S REVENGE, EVIL IN THE DEEP, RABID, TENTACLES, SUSPIRIA, BEYOND THE DOOR 2, SHOCK WAVES, SLITHIS, THE 5TH FLOOR, THE BROOD, THE CHANGELING and COMIN' AT YA!

Disc 3 is a MP3 compact disc containing over 300 (I didn't count them, myself) radio spots for a variety of exploitation films, and an original tribute musical score by Mars/Deadhouse Music.

As with all vintage trailer compilations, the print quality from preview to preview varies widely, but they're all quite watchable. There are various extra features spread among the discs, including commentaries by Romano, Sam Sherman and somebody named Uncle Creepy, an image gallery of posters created for the fictional Shock Festival films, 'Easter Egg" hidden trailers, and more. The package also includes a 12-page booklet with extensive liner notes, and Shock Festival poster.

I may question the inclusion of a few of the more mainstream studio trailers, but it's an extremely entertaining collection, and well-worth picking up if you're at all interested in how these grindhouse and drive-in movies were originally sold to their eager audiences. The new, tribute trailers are actually somewhat disappointing, but all the rest of this is the real thing - pure exploitation ballyhoo and hardcore hype. It's a real bargain, too. Highly recommended.

BUY: Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival