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Synapse Films is back with the fourth instalment of their 42nd Street Forever trailer collection. That means that exploitation fans have fifty-plus more trailers to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes, a perfect way to relive the 42nd Street heyday without all the rats, roaches, vagrants, vomit, and urine stains. Unless, of course, you happen to live in complete squalor with roommates that don’t pay rent, in which case you’ll only be lacking the neon marquee.

42nd Street Forever: Volume Four
Highlights this time around include It Came Without Warning (a precursor to The Predator with a decidedly smaller budget, but the same actor playing the alien hunter), Yor: The Hunter From the Future (which I remember my wonderful mother renting me when I was a little boy), Fulci’s The Psychic (which I reviewed as Seven Notes in Black), Tender Flesh (a strange looking thriller I need to see, aka Welcome to Arrow Beach), Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (one of many unnecessary remakes in development), The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman (which I reviewed as Werewolf Shadow), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (a deep dark slasher that still isn’t available on R1 DVD, I believe), Rituals (a Deliverance inspired thriller I reviewed here), The Jezebels (aka Switchblade Sister), and Moving Violation (a car chase classic staring History of Violence, Shoot ‘Em Up, The Fountain, and Watchman’s Stephen McHattie). Also look for early appearances from Michael Biehn, John Ritter, Dennis Quaid (again), and Mathew Modine.

42nd Street Forever: Volume Four
There’s another long stretch of really awful looking American comedies from the ‘70s and ‘80s on this disc, which aren’t only painful to watch, but don’t make sense to me in the context of the collection, considering they appear to have been mostly released by major studios. It’s a total joy to watch the horror, thriller, and crime trailers, for the most part, but these comedies (mostly sketch based) aren’t even watchable in short form. There’s also a series of bigger budget adventure and war films towards the end of the disc, which are all quite long, and seemingly out of place. Some of the films featured are pretty readily available, and pretty well known within fan circles, but based on the commentary track very few of these films are available in their longer form on DVD, which is quite a drag.

42nd Street Forever: Volume Four

Video


There had, once again, obviously been some cleaning effort put forth here, but overall things are still pretty messy. Of course, I don’t know who’d want this any other way. The colours, details, contrast, and other image qualities vary greatly from trailer to trailer, as does the overall print damage. Some trailers are rife with artefacts, while others are just a bit grainy, though the end of each piece is usually the most overtly damaged. The whole thing is anamorphically enhanced, though the aspect ratio changes throughout.

Audio


And again, there isn’t much to say about this collection’s audio abilities, other than they are accurate, and efficient(?). The mix is plain old mono, but you’ll get no complaints from me on that account. There are plenty of pops and crackles throughout, and other distortion isn’t out of the question, but the overall quality is plenty clear. Not once did I misunderstand an actor’s stiff one liner, an announcer’s guttural growl, or lose the impact of a drippy gore effect.

42nd Street Forever: Volume Four

Features


As is the norm for these collections extras start with a fantastic audio commentary from Fangoria managing editor Michael Gingold, film historian Chris Poggiali, and AV Maniacs (formally DVD Maniacs) editor Edwin Samuelson. Our trio of exploitation experts once again move rapidly through every single trailer, displaying expert knowledge on the history, studio, and cast and crew of almost every film (there actually isn’t a single film they don’t know anything about, but a few they’re a little unclear on). The information overload hits a fever pitch about an hour in when someone (it’s hard to tell them apart, but I think it was Gingold) mentions that scenes from the obscure Roger Corman car chase movie Moving Violations found their way into driving school film strips. Another very impressive showing fellahs.

Our other extra is a collection of TV spots, some for films featured in the trailer collection, but mostly for films featured on other 42nd Street Forever collections.

42nd Street Forever: Volume Four

Overall


Synapse keeps the hits coming. I watched collection four during one of my low-key house parties, and it went over pretty well. If your friends enjoy out of context violence, action, gore, and nudity, all set to a very dated soundtrack, than I advise getting your hands on one of these collections for your next party. My complaints are generally the same that they were last time, the quality varies, and at one hundred and nine minutes it’s hard to maintain interest. I’d still prefer genre specific releases, as the horror trailers entertain me the most, but I understand the mixed genre approach.


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