Before 42nd Street Forever, there was Dusk to Dawn
Before Synapse's 42nd Street Forever series, with high quality trailers and audio commentaries, the best bet for drive-in exploitation trailers was Something Weird Video's Dusk To Dawn series. Some prefer SWV's Twisted Sex collections, but the Dusk to Dawn Drive-In series was always my favorite due to their variety and, quite frankly, the films featured were more the ones that I wanted to see. I have decided this May to re-watch the series (all but Volume Two, which I no longer own).
The first volume offers a glorious time. Nearly two hours of trailers are featured. We get trailers for horror films, women in prison pictures, T&A features, biker flicks, paranormal documentaries, chopsockies, international thrillers, and even kids movies from the 1970's! Here are some of the highlights. We get a shark bringing down a helicopter (Great White), an amateur done up in a Billy Jack costume pretending to fire his gun (it is clearly empty) at more amateurs pretending to be porno filmmakers (The Great Hollywood Rape-Slaughter). We get the Night of the Lepus trailer which tiptoes around the fact that its raging monsters are, in fact, rabbits. We get (poor) actors pretending to be shocked movie patrons in faux man on the street interviews regarding the film Liz. I also must give a shout out to the trailer for Nazi Love Camp 27, which makes a big deal out of being censored due to those in the audience that might object and then proceeds to show some of the nastiest scenes from that movie, even hinting at bestiality (which is a perversion not featured in the actual film).
On a personal note, the intense trailer for The Rape Killer looked so great that I was going to track down the feature film. . . only to realize, after researching it, that I had already saw the film under the title Death Kiss. And, yes, there was a time in my life when I was so innocent that I thought that the man in the suit children's film Matilda had used a real fighting kangaroo.
There were trailers for films that I remember disliking, but the trailer made me want to see the film again. I remember The Girl in Room 2A being a slow film, but the trailer sells it well. Even Andy Milligan's The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here! looked somewhat better than the snoozefest it really is. Of course, many of these trailers are better than the films themselves, but that is the point. These are great pieces of long gone hard sell advertising for a type of movie also long gone. Thanks to Something Weird Video I can take a look back. Unfortunately, SWV no longer sells this series, which is a shame.
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