42nd Street Forever Vol. 3: Exploitation Explosion (US - DVD R1)
Gabe releases rats and vagrants into his living room to complete the experience...
Quite often the best thing about an exploitation film is its concept and a few choice scenes of sex and violence. There are few things in this world as disappointing as a boring exploitation vehicle. Synapse Films has saved us from this fate by releasing this third volume in their 42nd Street Forever trailer collection, subtitled Exploitation Explosion.
During the golden era of the grindhouse, from the late ‘60s through the early ‘80s, trailers were not afraid of spoiling every good moment in the movie they were advertising, much to the chagrin of the poor saps that paid to see them. This DVD, brimming with more then fifty trailers from several exploitation subgenres, is a pretty solid sampling, considering it’s the studio’s third collection release (fourth if you count the XXX specific release). I’ve only seen five of the films included here, but can guess that the majority I haven’t seen isn’t worth a full ninety minutes of my time.
At one hundred and one minutes the collection is a bit of a patience tester, but the concept’s attention deficit nature allows for on and off viewing. Another nice possibility is watching this disc with a group of your rowdiest friends. The eclectic subgenre selection is both a plus and a minus, though I should note that the categories are divided by type when watched all at once. I’m a bigger fan of horror, spaghetti westerns, kung fu, samurai, and revenge movies then I am of T & A or fratsploitation subgenres. I’d prefer genre specific trailer releases, but can understand why Synapse would want to spread this stuff out.
There has been some effort made to make these trailers discernable (I’m sure that the source material was awful in most cases), but nobody at Synapse is bending over backwards to make them look great. I’m not complaining, obviously, because the gritty, blotchy, artefacty, streaky and generally dirty nature of these trailers is half their fun. Colours are pretty strong throughout, and details are sharp enough to get us by. The presentation is anamorphically enhanced, with several different aspect ratios appropriately displayed, and progressively scanned.
Again, nobody’s looking for perfection here, and Synapse does not disappoint. Every single trailer is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. The sound is flat as a pancake, and fizzles with distortion, but it’s clear enough to discern the wacky music, the cheesy dialogue, and most importantly, the gravely narration. Like the video, the audio quality differs slightly with each trailer, but the overall the disc is pretty consistent.
Our main extra is a fact filled commentary from Fangoria managing editor Michael Gingold, Film Historian Chris Poggiali and AV Maniacs (formally DVDManiacs.net) editor Edwin Samuelson. The commentary works as a piece of entertainment and for its educational merit. Watching fifty two or three minute snippets from fifty different movies is a bit overwhelming, but our trusty commentators are right there with us, guiding us through the facts of the good, bad, and ugly cases. Not only will an attentive listener learn all about the fifty plus films on the collection, but they’ll also learn what the actors, director, and producers did outside of each film, and they’re never too dry or cold with the material.
A small collection of vintage television spots finishes the disc off. Some of these TV spots are for films not otherwise featured on this volume three collection.
The 42nd Street Forever series is aimed at a pretty small audience, but passing fans of exploitation cinema, specifically those that thought the fake trailers were the best part of Grindhouse will likely enjoy volume three for at least a rent. The expert audio commentary is a huge plus as well.
Review by Gabriel Powers
This product has not been rated
Release Date: 29th January 2008
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono English
Extras: Expert Commentary, TV Spots
Easter Egg: No
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime, Horror and Thriller
Length: 101 minutes
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