Tuesday, August 18, 2009

42nd STREET FOREVER VOL. 5: ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMA

Synapse Films continues their indispensable 42ND STREET FOREVER DVD trailer compilations with VOLUME 5: ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE, containing 99 minutes worth of sleazy exploitation film "coming attraction" previews selected by the staff of the famed Austin, Texas theater, running the genre gamut from classic kung fu capers to disturbing horror flicks to bizarre children’s films and insane sci-fi.

Titles included in this volume 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, MIND WARP, ZEBRA FORCE, MEGAFORCE, BLAZING BATTLE, INTERNATIONAL SECRET POLICE, MACHINE GUN MCCAIN, STACEY, LIGHTNING BOLT, MISSION THUNDERBOLT, THE THREE SUPERMEN IN THE WEST, PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW, PUTNEY SWOPE, REDNECK COUNTY, THE FABULOUS WORLD OF JULES VERNE, MAGIC CHRISTMAS TREE, PINNOCHIO’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, THE SECRET OF MAGIC ISLAND, KARZAN: MASTER OF THE JUNGLE, THE NORSEMAN, SORCERESS, THE MANSON MASSACRE and THE DEVIL WITHIN HER.

There are also a handful of vintage concession stand ads, a 30-minute documentary about the Alamo Drafthouse theater, and a commentary track by Alamo owner Tim League and programmers Lars Nilsen and Zack Carlson.

Since these are old, much-run theatrical trailers which were never intended to have a life beyond the films they advertise (never mind be preserved for posterity) picture and sound quality varies widely from preview to preview, with a fair amount of wear and tear evident on most clips. Still, the overall presentation is never less than watchable – all of the trailers are intact – and the scratches and soundtrack hiss just add to the overall grindhouse experience.

For anyone with an interest in such things, the entire 42ND STREET FOREVER series is a treasure trove, and worth checking out. Movie trailer compilations aren’t for everyone, but I enjoy the hell out of them. It can be a kick seeing how distributors and exhibitors have tried over the years to sell their wares, and when the wares in question are sleazy exploitation films, the trailers can often be more entertaining than the movies they promote.

BUY: 42nd Street Forever 5: Alamo Drafthouse Edition