Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cooled By Refrigeration

As a follow-up to my review one year ago of 42ND STREET FOREVER, VOLUME 3: EXPLOITATION EXPLOSION, I tackle the latest trailer compilation from Synapse Films, which has the inevitable title 42ND STREET FOREVER, VOLUME 4: COOLED BY REFRIGERATION. Like the earlier DVD, this one opens with the strange Restricted clip featuring the cute kittens that was featured in GRINDHOUSE, before kicking off a string of 48 trailers previewing (mainly) exploitation movies of the 1970s.

  • THE SYNDICATE: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY—I wish Synapse had gotten Volume 4 off to a more explosive start, because this 1969 Italian crime movie looks quite dull. Barbara Bouchet is in it, but is sadly not nude in the trailer. The movie does co-star RHODA’s David Groh, which was the only thing notable about this trailer.
  • COMBAT COPS—“A hard way to live, an easy way to die!” Hard to believe this sleazy crime drama got a PG rating in the U.S. Also known as PANIC CITY, THE ZEBRA KILLER, and THE GET MAN (I’ve seen it as PANIC CITY on an X-rated U.K. print), COMBAT COPS stars Austin Stoker (ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13) as black cop Frank Savage (I love badass movie cops with badass movie cop names) chasing a white serial killer who wears blackface and an Afro wig when he attacks. William Girdler directed. This is the first of many incredible drive-in pictures on this disc that is sadly, sadly unavailable on DVD in the U.S. or perhaps anywhere else.
  • IT CAME WITHOUT WARNING—And here’s another. PREDATOR ripped off this all-star Greydon Clark schlockfest with Jack Palance (“Aliennnnnnnnnnn!”), Martin Landau, Ralph Meeker, Larry Storch, and David Caruso. Strangely, the trailer doesn’t make a big deal out of its name cast. I guess you could argue that Palance and Landau weren’t names then, but it doesn’t seem like Clark would have cast them if they didn’t have some box office clout.
  • NO BLADE OF GRASS—The fine action star and cult director Cornel Wilde made this British end-of-the-world tale that also isn’t on DVD, but has shown letterboxed on Turner Classic Movies. MGM’s trailer makes it look like an action movie. I believe Brad Crandall voices this trailer.
  • YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE—Columbia is losing a lot of money by not releasing this truly berserk sci-fi movie on DVD. With cavemen, a pterodactyl hang-glider, flooding, laser beams, flaming spears, spaceships, and Corinne Clery in a leather bikini, I could watch this trailer forever and not grow tired of it.
  • SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES—I’ve seen this trailer for the Fanfare Corporation’s warlock movie many times. It promises “a totally new kind of movie experience,” but I’m not a fan of SIMON. The trailer sells star Andrew Prine (who is good) like he might be worth something.
  • THE PSYCHIC—“Every ten or fifteen years, a film is produced that is so overwhelming, so forceful in its impact that it becomes deeply embedded in the mind and changes for all time those who see it. We think THE PSYCHIC is such a film.” I doubt it. Beautiful Jennifer O’Neill is the psychic who sees her own murder.
  • SCHIZOID—Surprisingly, no shout-out to the cast is forthcoming for this slash-and-stalk pic with nudity that stars Klaus Kinski, Mariana Hill, Craig Wasson, Donna Wilkes, and Christopher Lloyd, who was on TAXI.
  • TENDER FLESH—Nude Meg Foster is “eighteen, and life is just beginning.” Laurence Harvey’s last film was originally released as WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH. This effective trailer with splashes of blood doesn’t seem to have attracted an audience under any title. I think Harvey, who directed too, was dead by the time this came out. “Makes the killings in SNUFF look like amateur night.”
  • DIE, SISTER, DIE!—I never heard of this Cinema Shares chiller, which looks like a combo of the “old dark house” and “family with a terrible secret” genres. TV vets Jack Ging, Antoinette Bower, Kent Smith, and Edith Atwater star.
  • SILENT SCREAM—The name stars, which include Cameron Mitchell, Barbara Steele, and Yvonne DeCarlo, are never seen nor mentioned in American Cinema’s decent trailer for a slasher film I don’t really like.
  • NEW YEAR’S EVIL—I’ve seen this trailer a million times. TV’s Pinky Tuscadero is a rock singer stalked on New Year’s Eve by a killer wearing a Stan Laurel mask! From Cannon.
  • LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH--Acclaimed Paramount shocker gets a creepy trailer. Zohra Lampert sees a ghost or something at a New England country home. This one actually is on DVD and is apparently quite good.
  • MORTUARY—Excellent teaser trailer with Michael Berryman as a gravedigger who gets pulled into one of his holes by a zombie has nothing at all to do with the movie. Berryman isn’t even in it.
  • HUMONGOUS—Six people stranded on island are hunted by a monster in this Canadian flick. Looks cool, but I’ve never heard anything good about it. The trailer editors love that boat explosion. Star Janet Julian was also in CHOKE CANYON and played Nancy Drew on TV as Janet Louise Johnson.
  • THE WEREWOLF VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMAN—“Warning! Due to the terrifying nature of this film, we strongly urge those of you with faint hards or week stomachs NOT to see this picture.” Paul Naschy stars in this Gothic Spanish horror with gorgeous women.
  • EMBRYO—Very short teaser says nothing, not even who’s in it.
  • THE BOOGEYMAN—Ulli Lommel’s cheap horror movie used to play on HBO constantly, though I never saw it. Looks like it cribs from AMITYVILLE HORROR. Lommel still makes crummy horror flicks. From the Jerry Gross Organization.
  • THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK—“A True Story.” Riiiight. Charles B. Pierce capitalizes on the Bigfoot craze with this mockumentary that’s surprisingly rated G.
  • THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN—Pierce takes a possessory credit on this very creepy serial killer flick set in 1946 with “Academy Award winner Ben Johnson” and Andrew Prine. Poor Dawn Wells is ignored. Another “True Story” from American International Pictures. May have influenced FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART 2.
  • GREYEAGLE—Wha? Charles B. Pierce again? Alex Cord seems miscast as a Native American in a trailer that compares Indians to Roman gladiators and Vikings as great warriors. Also with “Academy Award winner Ben Johnson,” Jack Elam, Iron Eyes Cody, Paul Fix, and Lana Wood in a nod to THE SEARCHERS.
  • SHADOW OF THE HAWK—See Jan-Michael Vincent fight a bear and a wolf! But not at the same time. Also with Marilyn Hassett (“star of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN”) and Chief Dan George.
  • RITUALS—Inappropriate music desperately pushes this unsettling DELIVERANCE riff as a scary campfire tale. Please, please somebody put this out on DVD. It has never received an uncut home video release in the U.S.
  • AMERICATHON—Never seen this terrible-looking comedy with musical numbers. John Ritter is the President of a bankrupt U.S.A. Also with Harvey Korman, Fred Willard, Peter Reigert, Nancy Morgan (Ritter’s wife), Zane Buzby, Richard Schaal, Meat Loaf, Elvis Costello, and Chief Dan George again. Eddy Money (sic) provides some of the songs.
  • CAN I DO IT…’TIL I NEED GLASSES?—Very long trailer for a very lame comedy with old sex jokes. Must be from the original release, because it was later re-released with a trailer selling it as a star vehicle for Robin Williams, who had about five minutes screen time in footage later reinstated to capitalize on his MORK & MINDY fame.
  • DIE LAUGHING—I can’t believe Robby Benson was ever a star, but here he is as a writer, producer, songwriter, and star of an action/comedy/ego trip that casts him as a rock and roll-singing cabbie. Oddly, the female love interest looks exactly like him.
  • IN GOD WE TRUST—Marty Feldman talks to God, and tells him about cast of his new movie. Lots of stunts and slapstick in a trailer that may well be funnier than the film.
  • UNDERCOVERS HERO—Peter Sellers plays six roles, all of them unfunny, including an insulting Japanese stereotype, in this British sex comedy.
  • THE JEZEBELS—Ron Gans voices this classic trailer, which was later re-released as the better known SWITCHBLADE SISTERS. Meet Maggie, Lace, Bunny, and Patch—also called the Smiling Cobra!
  • BREAKING POINT—PORKY’S’ Bob Clark directed this Canadian vigilante movie riding the coattails of star Bo Svenson’s hit turn in PART 2 WALKING TALL. Again, Bo is a regular guy pushed too far. A couple of cool stunts, including a burning man and a house pushed down a hill, in this 20th Century Fox production with Robert Culp and John Colicos.
  • FIGHTING MAD—This one also should be on DVD. It’s Peter Fonda in a Roger Corman production of a 20th Century Fox film about a vigilante going against mean strip miners that kill his brother, Scott Glenn. Ernie Anderson does the voiceover very well.
  • MOVING VIOLATION—Another very good Corman/Fox actioner not on DVD. Stephen McHattie and Kay Lenz (love her) are young people who witness a murder committed by corrupt sheriff Lonny Chapman and go on the run. Lots of cars blow up among the chases and stunts.
  • BONNIE’S KIDS—Again, needs to be on DVD. Star Tiffany Bolling’s recent PLAYBOY layout is touted, and co-star Robin Mattson is show nude, as Ron Gans’ narration mentions she’s playing a 15-year-old. Also with Alex Rocco (off THE GODFATHER) and Tim Brown (off the gridiron). “Thank God she only had two.”
  • PART 2 WALKING TALL—Opens with a statement and a photo of the recently dead Buford Pusser, played here by Bo Svenson. Claims 70 million people (!) saw WALKING TALL. “A True Story.”
  • THE KLANSMAN—Amazingly sleazy, trashy film. Trailer shows the hilarious Richard Burton/Cameron Mitchell kung fu battle. “O.J. Simpson is Garth, matching the Klan bullet by bullet!”
  • THE MONKEY HUSTLE—Fun lighthearted blaxploitation with a good leading man role for Yaphet Kotto.
  • THE SOLDIER—Awesome slo-mo kills and lots of violence, including a memorable ski lift explosion, in James Glickenhaus’ lamebrained fun thriller. “You don’t assign him, you unleash him!”
  • BLACKOUT—“The story of New York’s longest night.” Siege movie stars Jim Mitchum, Robert Carradine, Belinda J. Montgomery, June Allyson, Jean-Pierre Aumont, and Ray Milland.
  • SHOUT AT THE DEVIL—“A monumental motion picture experience.” AIP compares it to KING SOLOMON’S MINES, SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO, and THE AFRICAN QUEEN! “Academy Award winner Lee Marvin”, Roger Moore, and Barbara Parkins star in “the greatest African adventure ever filmed.” VO by Ernie Anderson.
  • MARCH OR DIE—This one really pours on the hyperbole, mentioning GUNGA DIN, ZULU,and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Gene Hackman, Terence Hill, Max von Sydow, Ian Holm, and Catherine Deneuve star in Columbia’s Foreign Legion epic.
  • THE LOVES AND TIMES OF SCARAMOUCHE—Michael Sarrazin has to be miscast in this Enzo G. Castellari comic adventure with lots of people falling down and getting hit in the head.
  • HOG WILD—Canadian biker spoof with SCTV’s Tony Rosato and a blond Michael Biehn.
  • THE HARD HEADS—Never heard of this Southern comedy and no idea what it’s about, but it has many crashing cars and cycles, as well as an amazing biplane stunt that has to have been a real accident caught on film.
  • THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES—Steve Guttenberg got his start in this AMERICAN GRAFFITI ripoff with Phil Silvers.
  • BEST FRIENDS—“They’re hip, high, and happy. Are you like one of them?” Richard Hatch, before joining THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO, and his friends drive around, party, have sex, and sometimes fight Indians.
  • OUR WINNING SEASON—Scott Jacoby is a teen track runner in this AIP movie that doesn’t look very exploitative.
  • COACH—Cathy Lee Crosby is a boys high school basketball coach in a PG Crown International movie that doesn’t look like an exploitation movie, though she falls for player Michael Biehn.
  • GOLDENGIRL—“Introduces” Susan Anton, even though she had already starred in a couple of TV series. The trailer wisely shows off her stunning figure, as she plays a genetically enhanced track star competing in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. With James Coburn as her agent, Leslie Caron, Curt Jurgens, and Robert Culp.

In addition, 42ND STREET FOREVER, VOLUME 4 offers a handful of short TV spots: BLACKOUT (Ernie Anderson), JACKSON COUNTY JAIL (Ernie Anderson), SUPERCHICK, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING, and THE JUNKMAN.

As before, the big extra is the still crowded but still informative commentary track by cult movie experts Edwin Samuelson, Chris Poggiali, and Michael Gingold. I disclose that Chris and I are friendly acquaintances (with a terrific blog), and that I have written for Edwin’s AV Maniacs Web site (Synapse head Don May Jr. is also a regular at Mobius Home Video Forum, where I moderate several message boards). I didn’t learn a lot that I didn’t already know, but the commentary track is a great primer for those new to this type of movie. In general, they’ve done their research and seem like good guys to talk movies with. I’m sure it can be difficult to say everything you’d like about a movie in the space of its 2-minute trailer, but this talk flows quite well. They do a better job of splitting up the talk among them, though I still believe three guys in the booth is one too many.

Synapse’s choice of trailers in Volume 4 is its weakest yet. Many of them would never have played to enthusiastic drive-in audiences, and many of them are downright boring. Perhaps Synapse used up the best material on earlier volumes?


Hal said...

IN GOD WE TRU$T was in 1980. The best use of Andy Kaufman in a feature, and I remember liking it when I was 12. Would like to see it again. After Marty Feldman's untimely death 3 years later it was said that the failure of this film caused him to start drinking excessively; he directed and produced.

On the other hand, I remember hating AMERICATHON when I was 12. Came out maybe a year earlier, if that.

Seems like most of these did come out around 1980, well past the prime of the drive-in. Our local drive-in, Skyview, was nearing the end of the line. It was closed by the winter of 1981/82.

Harvey was indeed dead by the time WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH came out in 1974. I still haven't seen it but would like to. He reportedly edited it via phone from his deathbed.

Anonymous said...

No comment, but my word verification is prick. Some sort of cosmic message?