42nd Street Forever: The Blu-ray Edition (2012)
Director: Various
Writers: Various
Starring: Various

The Review: Although I had no experience with the 42nd Street Forever series before taking on this review, I was certainly familiar with the basic framework for these collections. An assortment of trailers that have been placed together in hopes of emitting the atmosphere of what used to play in the infamous “grindhouse” theaters that lined New York’s infamous 42nd Street during the seventies, 42nd Street Forever is a unique experiment that could only work with the technology that we have in today’s modern world. Film geeks who find themselves pining for the days of old, or simply looking for solid recommendations, need look no further than this compilation piece that combines the best of the first two installments in the 42nd Street Forever series. If you’ve come for insane cinema, then you’re here for all of the right reasons.

Featuring new trailers, as well as those which were covered in volumes 1 and 2, this new bluray edition clocks in at nearly 4 hours in length. The picture quality of the trailers have been preserved from their original prints, so although they may look degraded and old, there are enough of them to warrant the bluray packaging. Featuring some better known cult works, including Chained Heat and Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom, the best parts of the compilation are the extremely obscure titles that audiences would likely never hear of if it weren’t for this wild collection. When sitting through the disc, the audience may notice how the compilation sets various tones by compiling the listed trailers in an order that seems to pair them together via their genre. The video kicks off with a variety of blaxploitation trailers, including the epic Fred “The Hammer” Williamson title Boss Nigger, but quickly moves along into some very different waters. We get sexploitation, horror, and even a segment dedicated wholly to mondo movies. With a selection this vast and obscure, it is recommended to bring a pen and paper. Genre fans will find themselves making numerous notes while watching, because even the most experienced viewers are likely to find one or two movies that have completely escaped their radar.

Featuring plenty of wild films from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, 42nd Street Forever is a lesson in cult cinema even for the most well-versed member of its audience. The sexploitation films on display from the 60s were certainly an eye-opener for me, because many appear to be downright insane, and that makes them plenty-worth searching out in my eyes. Titles like Helga and I, A Woman have a sleazy atmosphere to them that holds promise for a great deal of fun. Some other horror-related titles that seem totally random in this collection, such as The Evictors, are movies that will stay in my mind for my future Halloween movie marathons. I was also reminded to check out The Undertaker and his Pals, which has been on my radar forever but the trailer featured on this disc looks bonkers enough that I feel it deserves to be rushed up my queue. Aside from the awesome recommendations and reminders, there are numerous films which I had seen before but had never witnessed their original trailers. Getting to see The Deadly Spawn, Welcome Home Brother Charles, and They Call Her One Eye, all mixed together in such a wild menagerie of cinematic oddities, is a different sort of pleasure than just gathering information on the new and exotic (to me) titles that are packed on this disc.

If you ask anyone who has this disc what the greatest part is, I am sure you are going to get the same answer. Although the disc features only one special feature, the commentary provided by Edwin Samuelson (from AV Maniacs), Michael Gingold (Fangoria), and Chris Paggiali (Temple of Schlock) goes far and beyond the call of duty. Without the faintest bit of hyperbole, this may be one of the best commentary tracks I have ever heard. Take that with a grain of salt, since I rarely have the time to listen to commentary tracks, but the information dispensed by these men brings a new layer to this nearly four hour compilation. The men trade off with each other, each taking turns on different trailers, but the knowledge that they drop throughout the course of the video is enough to blow your mind. If the facts found in this commentary track were to be placed in the liner notes of the DVD package, these men would have dispensed enough to compile a hardbound book. Truly, the commentary track creates an entirely different experience. If you’re looking for fun, throw a party and watch the disc without commentary. If you’re looking for a documentary-esque experience that will teach you a lot about cult cinema, enjoy this amazing special feature.

The Conclusion
Being that this isn’t a movie or documentary, it seems difficult to rate it. Without the experience of having watched the other entries in the 42nd Street Forever catalog, I am not so sure how this sits next to those other entries. Still, for the experience that this bluray provides, I find it hard to give it anything other than my highest rating. Perhaps there are better movies of this sort, but I haven’t seen them myself. 42nd Street Forever: Bluray Edition is perhaps the greatest party-favor that any film geek could ever purchase. It is crass, offensive, at times disturbing, and everything that makes cult cinema the amazing creature that it is. Highly recommended. You can order the Blu-ray for yourself via the Synapse website.

Screen captures borrowed from Rock! Shock! Pop! Check out their article by clicking on this link!