Synapse Films’ best-selling 42nd Street Forever series has been a favorite of grindhouse and exploitation fans around the world. This colossal best of collection combines a selection of vintage theatrical trailers from the first two volumes of the series and mixes them up with some all-new selections! Remastered in true 1080p high definition, this mind-numbing dose of classic original coming attractions will have your Blu-ray player exploding with more than three and a half hours of sex, exploitation, action, horror and science-fiction advertisements from around the world! Can your brain take all this sleaze in one sitting?
It’s always odd to review a movie about trailers, since there isn’t much of a focal point to hone in on. For clarification “42nd Street Forever: The Blu-ray Edition (2012)” is a blu-ray “best off” release from Synapse’s earlier releases of vol 1 and 2 (the series has, I believe 5 volumes of 2nd Street Forever DVD’s, 6 if you count “XXX-Treme Special”).
The release is of course remastered into a 1080 high definition offering. Though for purists, what that means is that the disc is a 1080 remaster of the original grainy trailers. The films themselves were never filmed in that high definition, so your getting a cleaned up version (and pixel upscale) of the originals. In any case, this is probably the best you’ll see of these old trailers which most likely would be lost forever to old film stock and VHS tapes. The cleanup “does” leave in the original scratches and graininess (which is a good thing). It also sounds like its been revisited with an audio cleanup.
Now on to the content. I’ll borrow a wikipedia sentence for the 42nd Street part, “42nd Street is a major crosstown street on the Island and New York City borough of Manhattan, known for its theaters, especially near the intersection with Broadway at Times Square”. The locale is responsible for what is called the old “grind house” releases which were shown in these old theatre locations. The location itself is almost categorical to the films that played there. Most of what we refer to from those days are the films of the 70’s and early 80’s that fall into the classifications of blaxploitation, exploitation, pimps, hoes, heroes, gangsters, low grade horror, revenge films, lesbo cinematics, and trash cinema. Many films that came out of this circuit were not all that great but still seemed to hold a certain style of appeal to them. Nowadays we associate grind house with a certain retro-styling that has been “much copied” but never “entirely” captured in total essence. This is due to the cheap acting, film style, and low budget constraints of the era that unintentionally married itself to the conditions it was dealt.
This collective brings together alot of old trailers to films you never heard of (well most of us..that is) The release is noted as being over 3 hours long as it plays one trailer after the other. The trailers are long enough in some cases that you really never “need” to see all the films in their entirety. Though on the same note, there are many that I wouldn’t mind seeing due to the outlandish trailers they are presented in.
Movies range in subject matter while still collectively staying within much of the exploitation aspects of that time. What is refreshing are the styles, the lack of political correctness and the general no-holds-bar approach to making up new materiel with very little concern for commercial success. You might even call some of them “experimental” in that sense centering the pieces on sex, violence, revenge and trashy style movie-making. Some of the films can be found in recent retro grind house release sets, so this makes for a great introduction to the titles before hand.
Viewers will vary in favorites based upon your own style of choice. Rich in sexuality you might enjoy a trailer like “Ginger” or if you are purely interested in old school movie mentality you’ll gather a giggle from titles like “Honky” and “Boss Nigger”. You might love the variation of black action heroes that came out of this era like “Samson”. Though my favorites are always those old horror films with their cheap prop productions like “Deadly Spawn”. In any case, your best bet it to skip thru to ones you want to see and seek them out individually. I know there are quite a few titles here that I wouldn’t mind reviewing in the future.
42nd Street Forever: The Blu-ray Edition (2012)