Synapse introduced cult movie lovers to a very nice treat with their DVD series, “42nd Street Forever.” Before New York was cleaned up, the old forty second street used to be an empire built on sleaze. The one bright spot was that movie theaters showed back to back B-movies. Often, a moviegoer could spend the day watching movies and a barrage of strange and trippy trailers. Synapse’s series is strictly devoted to those trailers.
“42nd Street Forever Volume 4: Cooled by Refrigeration” is the best in the series because it provides more accessible movies. Prior discs included the hard to find films, whereas this one provided movies you may have heard of. Here, we get a chance to see big names in forgettable movies and a double dose of Lee Marvin and Michael Biehn.
Due to the economic crisis facing our country, this DVD can even provide a couple of new career goals. You can join Yor and become a hunter from the future, or become king of the witches. It can also help you plan a trip to “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” or Arrow Beach.
The disc also pays homage to the slasher genre by including several great titles including “The Silent Scream,” “Schizoid,” “New Year’s Evil,” “Mortuary” and “Humongous.” These trailers encapsulate a popular genre of the Grindhouse and are a reminder of the fun of renting videos in the ’80s and ’90s.
There is also a large amount of undiscovered horror gems including, “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death,” “It Came Without Warning” and “Rituals.”
Horror is not just a major factor in the United States but we get a good glimpse of what is being produced overseas at that time. “The Psychic,” and “The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman”
Then comes the treat of watching big names in unknown films- John Ritter in “Americathon,” Robby Benson in “Die Laughing”, Gene Hackman in “March or Die”, James Coburn in “Goldengirl”, Peter Sellers in “Undercovers Hero” and a very young Steve Guttenberg, “The Chicken Chronicles.”
Bo Svenson appears in two great little underrated action movies, “Breaking Point” and “Walking Tall Part 2.”
Also on hand is the bizarre Rudy Ray Moore and Yaphet Kotto vehicle, “The Monkey Hustle.” This film has a beginning and an end but forget to put in a middle but manages to teach you what Flim Fam 101 is.
Of course the disc is not without some painful to watch trailers. “Best Friends” is an odd mix of violence and comedy that forgets to place the title anywhere in the trailer. “The Loves and Times of Scaramouche” is a joyless excursion from Italy and “The Boogeyman” is as painful as a trailer as the movie is to watch.
The DVD even provides a commentary from horror film experts, Michael Gingold (Fangoria), Chris Poggiali, and Edwin Samuelson doesn’t provide any new knowledge on the movies. At the beginning, they promise to tell you at the end where the title “Cooled by Refrigeration” came from. Do they believe fans of this genre are that dumb? The term comes from the fact Grindhouse’s advertised during the summer by promising a cool movie theater. Thanks for clearing that up guys.
You’d be better off conducting your own research on the trailers you most enjoyed then listening to them.
Despite the lackluster commentary and a couple of bad trailers, this compilation of trailers has a lot to recommend and is a pleasure to view. A time capsule of films that for a myriad of reasons fell under the radar, “42nd Street Forever: Volume Four: Cooled by Refrigeration” gives these films more recognition than they had otherwise and has the ability to turn even the hardiest of art house fans into B-Movie maniacs.