DVD Review: Trailers From Hell! (Volume Two)

Trailers From Hell is a clever cinema site on the internet. Numerous directors, screenwriters and producers introduce and provide commentary over the trailers of films they either made or enjoy. This is perfect for a viewer that doesn’t have the patience to sit through a director’s commentary on a feature film and can handle three minutes of chat. Trailers From Hell! Volume Two collects 20 fresh segments that haven’t appeared on the website plus an essential bonus feature onto one DVD.

Roger Corman (The Trip) gives little tales from his Ski Troop Attack and Premature Burial. The best is how he cast himself as a Nazi ski trooper even though he didn’t ski or speak German. But he did come at the right price. Joe Dante (director of The Howling) pokes fun at Bela Lugosi’s The Invisible Ghost and Nancy Reagan in Donovan’s Brain. Guillermo Del Toro (director of Hellboy) exposes his passion for Dario Argento’s Deep Red and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Larry Karaszewski (writer of Ed Wood) explains his attraction to Last Summer and The Tenant. He points out the strange selling point of The Tenant using Roman Polanski’s reputation.

John Landis demonstrates his love for fun monster movies as he narrates Gorgo. Mick Garris (director of The Stand) scores high for bringing out Flesh Gordon. Brian Trenchard-Smith (director of Leprechaun 4: In Space) expounds on two non-horror Hammer films: Devil Ship Pirates and Stranglers of Bombay. Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman reminds us why Terror Firmer is a gem in his film vault. That’s one of the few X-rated spoofs that works completely. The trailer that was simply amazing was Pit Stop. It features a mix of stock car racing on a figure 8 track that makes it also a demolition derby. Jack went on to do many of the great Pam Grier films. The only one that came off as weak is Mary Lambert’s take on Godzilla vs. Mothra. She didn’t seem too prepared and runs out of gas during the two minute trailer. If you don’t like what they say, you can watch the trailer without the commentary.

The best of these Trailers From Hell will make you hunt down the DVD because not only are the trailers great, but the enthusiasm of the filmmakers is contagious. They will let you know if the trailer is all the best parts of the movie condensed into two minutes.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame even though the trailers vary in their letterboxing. Most of the trailers look good especially the Japanese version of Godzilla Vs. Mothra. The audio is mono. The levels are mixed so you can hear the filmmaker talk during the trailer.

While it’s listed as a bonus feature, the new transfer of Little Shop of Horrors isn’t just a freebie. It’s been nearly 25 years since VHS public domain tapes appeared of the classic film about the people eating plant from Outer Space. The tapes and later dollar DVDs made a murky mess of the image. The version on the Trailers From Hell DVD is finally given a 16:9 anamorphic image. The transfer lets you see detail in the opening credits. This is like watching the movie for the first time. You’ll want to feed Audrey Jr. Joe Dante gives an informative trailer commentary for Little Shop.

Trailers From Hell! Volume Two contains a fine mix of trailers. But if this was merely the trailers, it’d be hard to recommend. The inclusion of a superior transfer of Little of Shop of Horrors make this DVD a must have. It’s no longer the act of watching 20 trailers, but catching a marathon of coming attractions before a remarkable feature film.

Shout! Factory presents Trailers From Hell! Volume Two. Starring: Joe Dante, John Landis, Jack Hill and Roger Corman. Boxset Contents: 20 episodes on 1 DVD. Released on DVD: July 5, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

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