Theatrical Release: Oh, it’s all over the place here…
Blu-Ray Release: May 8th, 2012
Directed by: Too many people to name…
Review by Craig Sorensen
So here we have Synapse’s first 42nd Street Forever collection on Blu-Ray and it’s called 42nd Street Forever: Blu-Ray Edition (naturally). Notice how this isn’t called 42nd Street Forever volume 6? Yeah, that’s because this is basically a combination of the first two DVD volumes of the 42nd Street Forever series combined. The series, if your just getting caught up, is made up of various exploitation trailers from the ‘50s through the ‘80s, though heavily skewed towards the ‘70s (42nd street’s heyday).
So what’s the big deal with 42nd street? Well, it was the main strip in New York lined with strip clubs, peepshows and grindhouse theaters during the glory days of exploitation and pornography. It’s long gone now (fuck you Guiliani) but the films live on in infamy. Sure, you could be molested, eaten by rats, mugged or stabbed but evidently it was worth it to sit in on a beat up Kung Fu double feature. And the 42nd Street Forever collection pays tribute to those halcyon days with the trailers that would try to entice you into the theater with all the boob shots, throat ripping, ass shaking, gun blasting, stomach churning action that audiences crave.
This thing is almost four goddamn hours long so I’m not going to even try to list all the trailers on display here. If you really need to know, well, most of them are on the first two DVD volumes of the series (as mentioned above) so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. There are a few new trailers here for those of you who already have the DVDs. You can look forward to the trailers for Chained Heat (starring Linda Blair and John “Go fuck an iceberg” Vernon), Flesh Gordon (with some nice stop motion effects, also tits), Dark Star (John Carpenter’s first feature), They Came From Beyond Space (by the great Freddie Francis), Eye of the Cat (cat horror which has instantly shot up to the top of my must see list), Mark of the Witch (silly ‘60s witchcraft nonsense) Salo (out on Blu-Ray from Criterion!) and SuperMan Chu (I really hope someone was fooled into seeing this instead of Superman). I’m sure I’m missing a couple in there. Just let them be a surprise I guess.
I think that the main draw to this set over the DVD sets (besides the new trailers) is the commentary by Mike Gingold, Chris Poggiali and Edwin Samuelson. It’s an informative commentary and could probably serve almost as a primer course in exploitation history for your less cool friends. Sometimes it’s a little difficult for the three to keep up with the trailers but that’s a minor complaint. Really, if I had to come up with a complaint for this Blu-Ray, it would be that it’s too damn long. This fucker is almost four hours long. Watching that many trailers all at once can be exhausting. Of course, that long running time makes this a great party disc. Put it on your TV and drink for four hours without worrying about changing discs. Also, it’ll keep the fuckers from hanging out in the kitchen all night.
Picture quality is all over the place with this set. Some trailers look absolutely great while others look like shit. Of course, the prints used for these transfers are coming from all over the place I’m sure, so there’s probably not a whole lot that they could do. No matter how soft the image gets though, the scratches will be sharp as hell. Don’t let the print damage deter you though, it just adds to the sleazy ambiance. Just pick your feet up every once in awhile and pretend there are rats running around.