In the last half-decade or so, there has been a major embrace of the grindhouse film by genre fans in a way that could only be superseded by the popularity from its own heyday. Of course, grindhouse is a broad term that covers a multitude of genres, but with the influence of Tarantino talk and trailer compilation DVD releases like the 42nd Street Forever series, Exploitation films and the aesthetic that era of film represents has been resurrected from a shallow grave. While many would try to capture this feel that came from the past, the only true way to convey the feel of gritty, grimy and downright grotesque cinema of the 70s and 80s is to go back to that time.
Located at the Lansdowne Theater in Lansdowne, PA, Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell focuses on Nick Pawlow and his undead best bud, Happy Goldsplatt, as they sit perched above the theater playing host to a whopping 47 ‘Mad Ron’ provided trailers for an audience full of cinema hungry zombies. These “previews” range from horror and camp cult classics; such as, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Sisters, Deep Red, Night of the Living Dead, I Drink Your Blood, Three on A Meathook and everything in between. Fulfilling the Exploitation need further are a handful of great trailers covering genres like Mondo, Sexploitation, Nazisploitation and Italian Cannibal films, all truly making this one hell of an incredible collection.
Each trailer varies in quality, as many of them look much as they probably did when they were released. Mind you, this is a collection that was released on VHS in 1987, so it’s not as if they were remastered in any way. While some could look at the trailer quality as a hindrance, I find it quite fitting, as seeing these trailers like this gives Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell a true Grindhouse authenticity that can only be earned with age. Their presentation speaks to a specific time in genre film, which is only compounded by the trailers themselves. While I’ve seen most of these trailers over the years, there are a good number that I haven’t seen, and many of them were quite enjoyable for just how odd some of the were, mostly with the marketing techniques that were used to sell the films themselves.
One of the strangest and most entertaining trailers featured is a double billed preview for The Blood Spattered Bride and I Dismember Mama.
Take a look for yourself…
Now honestly, how great/weird is that? They really don’t make them like they used to.
While Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell reeks of a grindhouse theater, this Jim Monaco directed collection of genre trailers also pulls from another important time in a certain cinephiles life, the VHS era. That specifically comes from the low-rent wrap around segments that follow Pawlow and his ventriloquist dummy zombie, Happy, as they provide a hokey but endearing break from the onslaught of trailers. The jokes are cheap, as is the muffled voice of Happy, but it’s all in good fun which is essentially what Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell is all about. If you’re a fan of trailers and cheap 80’s DTV quality entertainment, then Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell is a must.