Horror / Documentary
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Grindhouse Trailer Classics Volume 3 (2011)
4th Dec 11
The third great volume of Nucleus' classic Grindhouse trailers features over 100 minutes of hardcore horror, softcore sleaze, brutal blaxploitation, Swedish swapping and much much more...
Ah, you've just gotta love UK distributor Nucleus. As well as re-releasing some great old classics in recent years (such as Death Ship, Gwendoline and Cannibal Girls), they've also cornered the UK market in trailer compilations. Last year they took a temporary break from their Grindhouse series to produce Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide, in itself a brilliant compilation of all of the trailers from the films that made it on to the UK 'banned' list, but now they're back to the grind(house)stone with Grindhouse Trailer Classics Volume 3 - and what a great selection of party pieces they've put together yet again!
Although a little lacking in straight out-and-out horror trailers this time round, Nucleus have still managed to source some great promos from the land of the weird and wonderful. As ever, there will be some titles here you've heard of, some you'll have already seen, but the real joy in these discs are the films that pop up that have never ever been on your radar but go straight on to your 'must-see' list - for this humble reviewer the three that jumped out for me were Moonshine County Express, Black Gunn and the sexploitation / martial arts movie Superchick ("She's much more than you've ever had before")...
In fact, one of the most consistent genres in this latest compilation seems to be strong-willed 'action-chicks'. As well as the above-mentioned Superchick (1973), we also get trailers for the wonderful Police Women (1974) (read our Zombie Club review here), Act of Vengeance (1974 - aka The Violator aka Rape Squad), Pam Grier and Margaret Markov in Black Mama, White Mama (1973), ass-kicking Eastern swordplay in Deadly China Doll (1973) and The Female Bunch (1971) - a Womanly-Wiled Western also starring Lon Chaney Jr.
Sexploitation also features heavily, with a particular emphasis on Sweden and wife-swapping. As well as the films Sweden Heaven or Hell (1968), a pseudo-documentary on sex in Sweden, which, fact fans, was also the first film to feature the tune "Mah Nà Mah Nà" which went on to become the theme for The Muppets, we're also treated to Swedish Fly Girls (1971) and Swedish Wife Exchange Club (1969). If that's not enough sex / swapping for you, there's also The Swappers (1965), The Working Girls (1974) and The Female Response (1973).
Prefer to mix up your doses of nudity with a bit of horror? Well, in that case, there's still plenty on offer with The Centerfold Girls (1974) - a slasher on a magazine shoot, Linda (1974 aka Lorna The Exorcist) - a very naughty Exorcist rip-off, and, in what must surely be one of the best ever Grindhouse trailers ever made due to it's frequent "Cut" title cards inserted to suggest there's even more gratuitous content in the full film, Nazi Love Camp 27 (1977), a film described perfectly by Kim Newman in the extras as "a Spanish imitation of an Italian Nazi exploitation".
There are plenty of great-sounding blaxploitation flicks too - from Black Gunn (1972) through to Soul Soldier (1970), Terminal Island (1973 aka Knuckle-Men) and the brilliantly-titled The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973). Perfectly balancing the genres, small town white-oriented US caper films are featured heavily too, with Jesse Vint appearing in both Macon County Line (1974) and it's sequel Black Oak Conspiracy (1977) as well as the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin A Small Town in Texas (1976) which had great poster artwork too. But it's Moonshine County Express (1977) that really (moon) shines with a great looking, very Dukes of Hazzard-like approach story of bootlegging in the South with a young John Saxon.
In fact, John Saxon pops up more than three times in this compilation, but it's also great to see other screen legends appear from time to time too. Robert Shaw, Martin Landau and Telly Savallas all show their faces in A Town Called Hell (1971). Peter Fonda and John Phillip Law (aka Pygar and Diabolik) appear in the classic Open Season (1974), Oliver Reed turns up in the awesomely-titled The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (1970) and there's a nice triple-casting whammy of Martin Landau (again), Jack Palance and Cameron Mitchell in It Came Without Warning, (1980) a brilliantly cheesy-looking alien invasion B-movie.
Our top three trailers though go to films we have already seen (and if you haven't already, then you really need to). Sho Kosugi (and son) show the martial arts way in the 1983 film Revenge of the Ninja (read our Zombie Club review here), and from 1980 there's the brilliant Cannibal Apocalypse, starring John Saxon and John Morghen in a US-based, gore-packed Italian exploitation classic (again, read our Zombie Club review here).
But leader of the pack - as it were - is the amazing trailer for the quite frankly jaw-dropping The Doberman Gang (1972). A great, hugely loveable and enjoyable film about a pack of Doberman dogs being trained to rob a bank- it's a film that really deserves to be remembered fondly.
All in all, a great package of well-rounded Grindhouse trailers, lovingly put together as ever by the folks at Nucleus. Quibbles are slight, but it might have been quite nice to have "turn-on / turn-off" introductions for each trailer briefly contextualising each film or trailer choice - or at the least have the poster design for each film before or after each clip - but this is a minor issue really as these things can be researched, and, to be honest, researching most of the 55 films featured here is at least half the fun of a disc like this.
In terms of extras, the original posters for each film are featured on a photo montage gallery (and well worth the look they are too - the last design for The Telephone Book is great!), and there's also a well-informed 15 minute interview with genre legend Kim Newman, who chats enthusiastically about the UK cinema days during the Grindhouse period as well it's recent semi-revival (in London at least) via such clubs as Duke Mitchell, Cigarette Burns and Filmbar70.