Any movie can be great at 2 1/2 minutes!
That’s the credo of Trailers from Hell, and if you’ve ever been burned by a disappointing movie that had a great trailer, you’d be inclined to agree. Shout! Factory, in conjunction with the website, has just released Trailers From Hell! Vol. 2 . The DVD is a twofer of sorts, because not only does it include twenty different trailers for movies both obscure (Stranglers of Bombay) and famous (Jaws), but you can also listen to optional commentary provided by the likes of Joe Dante, Guillermo Del Toro, Roger Corman, and more (some of whom worked on the movie they speak about). It’s actually a pretty neat concept, because it’s like getting a Readers Digest Condensed commentary of each film. There are currently over 200 trailers featured on the website (with more added every week), but these trailers are exclusive to the DVD. The only bad thing about watching this is that you may have a hard time searching for some of these long-lost gems. I also wish there would have been something included (either in a booklet inside the case or as a feature on the DVD itself) that explained who all these people were. I knew most of them, but some were unfamiliar to me. I also feel like I should warn you that, while most of these are safe to show around a general audience (even Flesh Gordon looks quaint now), Lloyd Kaufman’s Terror Firmer does contain nudity and some gore. But what do you expect from a Troma movie?
I said this DVD was a twofer; I guess I should have said it’s a three-fer, because also included is the original Roger Corman classic The Little Shop of Horrors, presented for the first time in anamorphic widescreen. If you’re like me, you probably already own a few copies of this public domain staple. This is a pretty clean copy, but the problem is that this movie wasn’t originally in widescreen. That means that the picture gets cut off on the top and bottom. (It’s sort of the opposite of the fullscreen/widescreen argument, in that if you own a widescreen TV, the picture covers the screen, but that picture is incomplete.) But it is just an extra, so it’s hard to complain.
All in all, this is both a fun collection of trailers and an interesting collection of reminiscences and opinions of these classic (and not-so-classic) films. Also, for a limited time, if you order this DVD directly from Shout! Factory, you’ll also get the first volume of Trailers from Hell for free!