Trailer compilations were once something you could only find on the tape trader circuit. However, the rise of home video outfits that specialize in cult fare have helped them become a fixture in the collections of exploitation film fans. Trailer Trauma is the latest example to hit the market, an epic (137-minute) release was created by new outfit Garagehouse Pictures. The results reflect the obsessions of the trailer collection’s tape-trader roots while offering the kind of professional presentation that cult film fans used to blu-rays have come to expect.
Horror and action are the mainstays of Trailer Trauma, with an emphasis on rare and unusual trailers. On the horror tip, winners include an overheated preview for Savage Weekend that’s packed with skin and slash, a creepy spot for the infamous killer kids opus The Children and a trailer for the trashy Satan-sploitation opus The Demon Lover. You also get a unique early ’80s reissue spot for Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and a hilariously low-rent spot for Don’t Open Til Christmas, which features a slasher targeting people who dress up as Santa.
On the action tip, you’ve got an interesting spot that reworks the Scorcese-esque drama Fingers as a grindhouse-friendly revenge flick, a funk-scored spot for the blaxploitation/brawling hybrid Black Fist and a gem of a preview for No Retreat, No Surrender, an amazing kickfighting movie where a misfit teen is tutored by the ghost of Bruce Lee(!) so he can take on the villain, a young Jean-Claude Van Damme!
And then there’s stuff that is unclassifiably eccentric but nonetheless appealing to fans of wild trailers. Highlights in this vein include Sands Of The Kalahari, which starts like a plane-crash disaster flick and ends with Stuart Whitman fighting killer baboons, as well as a bizarre horror satire/campus revolt flick called Dr. Frankenstein On Campus. Other gems in this vein include an eye-popping spot for Ralph Bakshi’s animated shocker Coonskin and The Legend Of Frenchie King, a Western sendup that features Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale having a catfight.
Even when Trailer Trauma is covering familiar ground, it has some new wrinkles to offer up: for instance, the version of the trailer used for Bloodsucking Freaks is presented under its original title The Incredible Torture Show and there’s a longer, more detailed version of a trailer for the revenge opus The Farmer. Elsewhere, well-known spots like the ones for The One-Armed Executioner and Nightmare benefit from the HD upgrade they get here.
Finally, Trailer Trauma benefits from some smart programming of its bill of fare. The best trailer comps have the mindset of a mixtape, finding that delicate balance between thematic organization and inspired free association in their approach to how the trailers are laid out. Trailer Trauma has that feel and switches between those two approaches to its setlist as it delivers one blast of trashy excitement after another until the audience is left slackjawed. The finished product is likely to charm those who carry the spirit of the grindhouse in their heart – and anyone who fits that designation will want to pick this disc up.