The Trailers From Hell website is valuable twice over for cult movie buffs. For starters, it’s a valuable repository of trailers for cult flicks of all types. Even better, you get the option of expert commentary on said trailers from filmmakers who know and love the films these trailers promote. The clips are consistently entertaining and easy to while away a few hours at the site, making lists of future viewing and seeing what working filmmakers think of your old favorites.
Trailers From Hell has also expanded its work into the home entertainment realm via a DVD release of their work. It did well so they teamed up with Shout Factory to release Trailers From Hell Vol. 2. Like its predecessor, this new disc offers a likeably eclectic set of trailers paired with an equally eclectic set of filmmakers – and the results are both concise and consistently engaging.
As usual, a variety of films are covered – everything from Jaws to Fire Maidens From Outer Space. Everyone tapped for this set has the gift of gab – site co-founder Joe Dante offers well-informed takes on Donovan’s Brain and The Invisible Strangler while Brian Trenchard Smith does the same for a pair of Hammer flicks, Devil Ship Pirates and Stranglers Of Bombay. Some films are highlighted for their “guilty pleasure” value to the contributors, as illustrated by John Landis’ comments on Gorgo and Guillermo Del Toro’s look at the Anthony Quinn version of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.
Variation on the formula pops up periodically as directors get to comment on their own films: Lloyd Kaufman offers a schtick-y take on his own Terror Firmer while Roger Corman offers subdued yet informative takes on Ski Troop Attack and The Premature Burial. There are also a few surprisingly highbrow items in the mix, like Last Summer (ably covered by Larry Karaszewski) and Seven Days In May, which receives a nicely contextualized appreciation from producer Michael Peyser.
All in all, the viewer is treated to an hours’ worth of clips, none of which are on the Trailers From Hell website as of this writing. The intros and trailers are all presented in a full-frame style, with non-anamorphic letterboxing included when necessary for particular trailers. A/V quality is nice and sharp on all the host segments and the trailers mostly look good.
In terms of bonuses, there is one extra but it’s fairly momentous: a new anamorphic transfer of the Roger Corman gem Little Shop Of Horrors. The element it was taken from shows it age in the form of speckling and subtle but persistent vertical hairline scratches but the overall image is sharp and impressive in its handling of detail for the black-and-white photography. You can hear the occasional crackle on the soundtrack but the audio never sounds garbled or distant – audio quality is solid, particularly for a film of this age. A trailer is also included for the film, including optional commentary by Joe Dante.
In short, the combination of fun trailers, quality commentary from filmmakers and a great bonus in Little Shop Of Horrors make this an easy winner for the cult movie set. Trailers From Hell Vol. 2 makes getting your film buff education fun.