Friday, September 10, 2010

MAD RON'S PREVUES FROM HELL

Back in the 80s, at the height of the VHS home video revolution, every trip to your local mom & pop video store was like a treasure hunt. Eager to feed the voracious appetites of the new market, video labels unearthed and released a plethora of obscure exploitation films on tape, and before the rental biz went corporate, it wasn't unusual to find stuff like H.G. Lewis bloodfests or Bruce Li kung fu knock-offs on the shelves.

For horror fans, in particular, especially the first Fangoria generation, it was something of a golden age of grue, and MAD RON'S PREVUES FROM HELL, a 1987 VHS compilation of horror flick trailers, was a great guide for both veteran and novice gorehounds.

Hosted by ventriloquist Nick Pawlow and his zombie partner, Happy Goldsplat, this seminal trailer compilation contains the original "Coming Attractions" for 47 blood-splattered grindhouse favorites, including I DRINK YOUR BLOOD/I EAT YOUR SKIN, AFRICA: BLOOD AND GUTS, SILENT NIGHT EVIL NIGHT (BLACK CHRISTMAS), BLOOD AND LACE, BLOODEATERS, BLOODY PIT OF HORROR, HORROR OF THE ZOMBIES, CANNIBAL GIRLS, HOUSE OF EXORCISM, BEYOND THE DOOR, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, SILENT NIGHT BLOODY NIGHT, THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE, DEEP RED, SISTERS, TALES FROM THE CRYPT, VAULT OF HORROR,COLOR ME BLOOD RED, TORSO, DERANGED, LADY FRANKENSTEIN, FLESH FEAST, THE DIABOLICAL DR. Z, I DISMEMBER MAMA/THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, ILSA: THE SHE WOLF OF THE S.S., LOVE ME DEADLY, MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND, NIGHT OF BLOODY HORROR, WILDCAT WOMEN, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, MAN FROM DEEP RIVER, CARNAGE, THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED, THE CORPSE GRINDERS, THE GHASTLY ONES, GOD TOLD ME TO, NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE MUTATIONS, THE MANIACS ARE LOOSE, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS, THE WIZARD OF GORE, THREE ON A MEATHOOK, HORROR ON SNAPE ISLAND and TWO THOUSAND MANIACS.

Shot on primitive 80s video at the historic Landsowne Theater in Pennsylvania, the wrap-around segments feature cheesy banter by Pawlow and his undead puppet as they hang out in the projection booth with "Mad Ron" himself (co-producer Ron Roccia), while a horde of George Romero-styled zombies shamble into the theater to enjoy the show. These segments are fairly amusing, and the zombie make-up is surprisingly good.

Virgil Films has brought MAD RON'S PREVUES FROM HELL to DVD with a direct-from-VHS transfer that's soft and fuzzy. The trailers themselves - as is usually the case - vary in quality from slightly beat-up to very beat-up. There's also some tracking jitter and other defects that derive from the videotape source. The company has included a few interesting supplemental features, including some newly-created promos, behind-the-scenes camcorder footage from the wraparound host scenes, "Deleted Scenes" (two trailers that were not included in the main feature - BLOOD FEAST and THE LEGEND OF THE WOLFWOMAN), and two still galleries. One is composed of production stills and candid shots from the original shoot, the other is a nice selection of exploitation horror film posters.

This was one of the first movie trailer compilations created for horror fans, and this DVD is a big, bloody slice of nostalgia for old school gorehounds. Video quality is not up to 21st century standards, but it does successfully recreate the original VHS experience, if that appeals to you. Recommended.

BUY: Mad Ron's Prevues From Hell