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New boutique exploitation label Garagehouse Films (the brainchild of Exhumed Films programmer Harry Guerro) is back with the third title in their Trailer Trauma catalogue. Following the sort of random exploits of Trailer Trauma and Trailer Trauma II: Drive-In Monsterama, Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon is a more focused, chronological look at an entire decade of horror movie previews. This two-disc limited edition (1500 copies) includes 439-minutes worth of material – that’s 255 total trailers (plus intro/outro), divided into alphabetical order, year by year, from Lewis Teague’s Alligator (1980) to Steve Miner’s Warlock (1989). It’s an intense viewing process, to say the least. With all of the care put into this very extensive collection, I’m hesitant to admit that the previous Trailer Trauma releases had appealed slightly more to me, due to the element of surprise. This is minor criticism is tied to the fact that I’m already very familiar with almost all of the movies featured. I got slightly more joy out of the more arbitrary, genre-spanning collections, especially when I was confronted with a trailer for a movie I’d never heard of. That said, ’80s Horror-thon’s year-by-year approach offers the viewer a chance to observe the genre’s growth throughout the decade, as well as the developing trends in film advertising. At the beginning of the ‘80s, horror films were still being touted as grindhouse/drive-in entertainment, but big studio interests and the emerging video market really changed the structure and feel of previews.

 Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon
This is the part where I’d usually list the collection’s complete slate, but, at 190 titles, it would take up a huge amount of space. Instead, I’ll just mention that I have been inspired to check out Tom McLoughlin’s One Dark Night (1982), Avery Crounse’s Eyes of Fire (1983), Mike Gray’s Wavelength (1983), Robert Collector’s Nightflyers (1987, based on a novella by George R.R. Martin), Terence H. Winkless’ The Nest (1988), and Robert Dyke’s Moontrap (1989). I was aware of them, but had never been particularly interested until I saw them summed-up in trailer form. On the other hand, I had never heard of Harbance Kumar’s Heaven Becomes Hell (1989), but it does not look like it’s worth 99 minutes of my time...

Video


(Note: The A/V quality of this disc is quite similar to the previous Trailer Trauma collection, so I’ve more or less copied my thoughts from my review of the first Trailer Trauma collection making exceptions where needed)

 Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon
Garagehouse has transferred and digitally mastered all of the trailer clips in this collection from various 35mm release prints in 4K (note that some of these are blow-ups, like Boardinghouse, for instance, which was originally shot on video). They are presented in their original aspect ratios (that is, the aspect ratio of the trailer; not necessarily the aspect ratio of the film, itself) in full 1080p HD video. The difference between this super hi-res digital transfer and most movie-specific releases is that the point of this disc is to recreate the look and feel of a grindhouse or drive-in experience. The grit, grain, and extensive print damage are all part of such an experience, so Garagehouse hasn’t cleaned or digitally ‘corrected’ the footage. Viewers can enjoy every impeccably captured scratch, tear, and chemical stain artefact, as well as some awkwardly spliced title cards and skipped frames. And, yet, the image quality is rarely so damaged that it masks the detail or could be mistaken for excessive digital compression. The ‘worst’ cases are just more faded, ‘pulsy,’ and/or imbalanced in terms of gamma/contrast (common effects for aged material). This leads to some washed-out colours or dark and murky hues with heavy blacks.

Audio


In addition to the 4K scan, Garagehouse has remastered the original optical soundtracks of each trailer and that audio is presented in uncompressed, LPCM 2.0 mono. Aside from some pops and cracks that are usually confined to the beginning and end of reels, it’s generally cleaner than the video. In fact, some trailers have such pristine sound that it’s sort of uncanny. There are notable inconsistencies in tone and volume between trailers, but, with exceptions, fuzz and distortion is minimal. There are examples of brief audio drop-out, too, almost exclusively at the beginning and end of reels. The menus and intro also include original, ‘80s-esque synth music composed by Ian Zapczynski, which sounds very nice.

 Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon

Extras


    Commentary track with Exhumed Films/Garagehouse’s Dan Fraga, Harry Guerro & Jesse Nelson (all 1980 trailers), Temple of Schlock’s Chris Poggiali (all 1981 trailers), We Are Still Here director Ted Geoghegan (all 1982 trailers), Fangoria’s Michael Gingold (all 1983 trailers), Drive-In Madness director Tim Ferrante (all 1984 trailers), Horrorstör novelist Grady Hendrix (all 1985 trailers), artist/writer/Shock Festival creator Stephen Romano (all 1986 & 1987 trailers), radio DJ/Fun 2 Know podcast host Dan Buskirk (all 1988 trailers), and DocTerror.com’s James Harris (all 1989 trailers).
  • Trailers for Garagehouse Pictures Blu-ray releases of Paul Kyriazi’s Ninja Busters, Trailer Trauma, Trailer Trauma 2: Drive-In Mosterama, and Zoltan G. Spencer’s The Satanist.


Overall


Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon is another great selection of previews from Garagehouse. The rough and raw footage is perfectly filthy, yet quite sharp due to the 4K scanning, sounds better than expected, and includes an even more in-depth expert commentary track from a bevy of genre experts. P.S.: on the disc two extras menu, the text claims that Trailer Trauma IV: Television Trauma is ‘coming soon.’

 Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon

 Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon

 Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon

 Trailer Trauma III: ‘80s Horror-thon
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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