Since primal man first looked up to the spectrally dark sky and heard the whisper of wings behind him, the world has known terror, and has used it as a mean of education and pleasure. Offering the audience a purging or catharsis of our fears, Horror also allows us to have fun with our anxieties. Terrified of the world around us -- and of the shadows within our own minds -- the genre encourages us to play with our mortality. Cinema, the literature of the masses, was devoted to examining evil and the darkness from its very conception, appearing in the very first film, Thomas Edison's Frankenstein. Since then an almost countless number of devils, demons, monsters, psychos, slashers, spirits, and dead folk have crawled and lumbered across the screen, painting the screen in red and our hearts with shadows. Through all of this, the preview -- that special art form that evokes the very essence of a story with only a few potent images and narration -- has proved an aesthetically enjoyable and commercially effective product for informing and entertaining the movie going public. A celebration of both the genre and the trailer as a specialized art form, Cheezy Horror Trailers, Volumes One and Two, celebrates the craft of fear. Aimed at the horror buff, this compilation emphasizes spectacle and image, mood and exploitation, re-living generations of nightmare and the dark fantastique.
In many cases more enjoyable and intelligent than the films which they represent, these trailers show affection for practically every conceivable symbol of the unknown. From vampire to madman, humanoids to cursed houses, this compilation is a freaky feast of blood, breasts, fangs, and other creatures that lurk, crawl, or fly the night. From the outrageously foolish and loveably cheesy to the more thoughtful and serious, this rich, powerful collection represents several genre symbols, thematic preoccupations, and sub-genres. Various ages are also featured. Such variety and depth is also evident in the types of horror films gathered here. Low grade Z and B pictures are featured alongside serious cinematic contenders, each trailer evoking a shudder or grin. From the shlock-shock factor of such maniacal mavericks as "Curse of the Undead" and gender confused "Doctor Jekyll and Sister Hyde" to the atmospheric "Inn Of The Damned" and Corman produced "Humanoids From The Deep," the good, the bad, and the inept are displayed with startling clarity. Rare is the please where you can see such a turkey as "The Sinful Dead" alongside the tasteful "Horrors of the Black Museum." The diversity of material itself is pleasing, as you can go from the gleeful humor of "The Fearless Vampire Hunters" to the morose and subversive "Eaten Alive" without batting an eye. Heavy weight hitters like Dr. Phibes shares space with "House On Haunted Hill," and grimier exploitation gem "The Children" gives way to such Hammer thrills as "Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell" and "Count Dracula And His Vampire Brides."
A surprising number of lesser known horror heroes are celebrated in the second collection as well, many of which you may be encountering for the first time. Cheezy Horror Trailers (2) alerts fans about under tapped resources, capable of inspiring research and interest in the cinema of other countries. It breathes fresh air in a genre which has become increasingly victimized by the dictates of commercialism and lustreless remakes, harkening us back to the gory glory days of our beloved genre when monster movies were as fun as they were frightening. Here you'll see creature features as well as tales of madness and murder. A dark gift, this impressive compilation of previews is both nostalgic and invigorating, recommended not only for those who grew up on these films but for those who want to see what all the hub-bub was about. While you may be surprised, you certainly won't be bored. If the spots often lie as to the quality of the movies themselves, hey, that's part of the fun! Fang and claw, sin and fins -- all the B-movie tropes are here. Old School icons of fright are represented by "The Return of Dracula," the M. R. James inspired "Curse Of The Demon" -- one of the genre's more convincing and powerful ghost stories -- and many more. Sleek supernatural dramas meant for mainstream consumption explode in their demonic color in "The Exorcist" and "The Legend Of Hell House," while camp fun is abundant in William Castle's "The Tingler," the blacksploitation fave "Sugar Hill," and such so-bad-they're-good clunkers as "The Indestructible Man" and "Axe."
From the gory thrills of slasher fare like "My Bloody Valentine" and "Friday the 13th" to the erotic titillation of "The Velvet Vampire," both volumes of Cheezy Horror Trailers capture the fear and fun of the horror film from various cultural perspectives and generations, leaving no one behind. The one complaint is that both compilations feature a few film spots more than once, which results in various repeats. More careful editing would have made the experience better. More problematic is the shape many of these puppies are in. While all are clear enough to watch, several of the trailers sugger from grain, lines, washed out colors, etc. Similarly, an irritating background noise and buzzing distorts the sound in some spots. While this lessons the quality somewhat, in some cases this roughness duplicates the very feeling of the Drive In, smacking of an enjoyable nostalgia -- a ripping trip down morbid movie lane.
Review by William P. Simmons
|Released by Cheezy Flicks|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|