42nd Street Forever: Volume 1

42nd Street Forever 1 DVD CaseHello everyone. It’s been a while.

Since I last posted on Row Three, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the wild, crazy world of what’s commonly known as “Grindhouse”, or exploitation, cinema (both terms seem a bit overused nowadays, don’t they?). To this end, I purchased a series of DVDs, released by Synapse Films, titled 42nd Street Forever, which are essentially a collection of trailers from the Grindhouse era (starting in the late 60’s on through to the mid 80’s). It’s a terrific series of DVDs, and I really have a lot of fun watching them. So, as a way of kinda slipping back into things here on Row Three, I thought I’d devote some time to covering each volume of the 42nd Street Forever collection.

Volume 1 contains over 2 hours of trailers, covering a wide range of genres and sub-genres. Needless to say, many of these trailers stretch the boundaries of good taste to their absolute limit (there’s plenty of nudity, graphic violence, and a whole lot of what we’d today term “political incorrectness” packed into these trailers). But let’s be honest: that’s what makes them so much fun!

Now, instead of me just droning on about the various trailers in each series, I thought I’d take full advantage of all the internet has to offer by presenting a few of them, just to give you an idea of what you’d be in for if you chose to check Volume 1 out.

That said, I guess I better start off with the following:

Warning: the trailers presented in this post are of an adult nature, and contain violence, nudity, and sexual situations. By clicking READ MORE below, you are confirming that you are of a proper age to view this material, and are not easily offended by blah blah blah blah blah).

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started:

1.The “See it at your own risk” style of trailer

I think it was producer William Castle who first employed the “see this film if you dare” approach to advertising (legend has it that, when opening a new horror film, Castle would hire an actress to play a nurse and station her in the theater lobby, in case anyone got so scared watching his movie that they suffered a heart attack). This same ploy is used in several of the trailers on this disc (one horror double feature actually promises to, and I quote, “pay $2,000 to anyone who dies of fright while viewing these films”). The below trailer also utilizes the ‘warning’ technique, but at least tries to put a humorous spin on it:

2. The Italian Stallion

Poor Sylvester Stallone. He struggles for years to make it in movies, then finally hits the big time in 1976 with Rocky. And what happens? A pathetic little porno film he appeared in years earlier resurfaces, with the new title of “Italian Stallion” (for obvious reasons), to capitalize on his new-found stardom. Well, the key word in exploitation is “exploit”:

3. Panorama Blue

42nd Street Forever Vol. 1 has more than it’s share of “erotic” trailers, featuring tons of nudity and, in some cases, soft-core sex. The trailer for Panorama Blue is far from the raunchiest in this collection, but it is among the strangest:

4. The Green Slime

This one caught my eye because a newly remastered version of this film is coming to DVD (although there’s no official street date as of yet). It’s trailer, full of many varieties of cheese, has definitely piqued my interest:

5. The Crippled Master

This trailer left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, due mostly to the obvious exploitation of the lead actors’ disabilities. That said, the martial arts moves they’re able to perform, disabilities and all, are impressive (and can it really be deemed exploitation if those being exploited are willing participants? Well….yeah, I think it can!).

6. They Call Her One Eye

42nd Street Forever, Vol. 1 contains three trailers for films starring Christina Lindberg. A positively gorgeous woman, Ms. Lindberg often played naive young ladies who were taken advantage of by sadistic, perverted older men. In They Call Her One Eye, she finally gets a chance to fight back. I’ve seen this movie, and while it’s no classic, it is an interesting watch (if, for no other reason, than to see where Quentin Tarantino, an admitted fan of this film, got some of his ideas for the Kill Bill series).

7. Shocking Asia

Okay, I know I put a warning at the beginning that some of the trailers in this piece would be pretty rough. However, none on 42nd Street Forever, Vol. 1 even come close to the kind of “rough” found in the trailers for their two Mondo-style films: Secret Africa and Shocking Asia. Secret Africa is one you’ll have to search out for yourself because, even if I could find it’s trailer, I wouldn’t post it here. It absolutely turned my stomach. In fact, I’m only putting up the trailer for Shocking Asia because this version of it has been edited (to about a third of the running length found on the DVD), cutting out the most disturbing images (like the scenes of an actual sex change being performed, or the visit to the sex museum). But, edits and all, I think you’ll still get an idea of what you’re in for with this movie.

8. Death Drive

Also known As Hitch-Hike, this movie is available on DVD through Blue Underground, and it’s one I’m gonna pick up soon. Aside from the fact that it stars Mr. Django himself, Franco Nero, it looks like a wicked little film. I’m really anxious to see it (NOTE: The trailer below differs slightly from the one on the DVD in that it’s for the Alternate title, Hitch-Hike).

9. The Raiders of Atlantis

This is Schlock to the 10th power, a sort of Road Warrior by the sea, and I really, really want to see it!

10. The Deadly Spawn

Here’s another movie that’s out on DVD. I actually picked it up used a while ago, but haven’t watched it yet. After this trailer, I think I’ll check it out soon.

Again, the above is just a sampling of the many to be found on 42nd Street Forever, Vol. 1. Check back next week when I’ll be taking a look at Volume 2.

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Look forward to checking this out later, but just want to say "Yay Dave is back!"