Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trailers From Hell

When I developed my website Sky High Picture Show back in the late 90s, I was attempting to re-introduce rare z-level cultish movies that were believed to be long lost in the cinematic ether. Hard to believe now, but back then it was a challenge to find even a spec of information about obscure films like VIOLENT NAPLES or SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM.

And now, with the help of Google, you can find at least something about what you may have thought was completely unreachable. Which brings us to TRAILERS FROM HELL, a site for the geekiest film geeks - especially for those pining for a glimpse of movies long thought DOA.

TRAILERS FROM HELL was brilliantly conceived of by filmmaker Joe Dante (THE HOWLING) to showcase trailers from a vast assortment of movies from out of the past, particularly those typically seen at drive-ins or local grindhouses. But the site is more than just a repository of rare movie trailers. Each trailer includes commentary by a stable of "gurus" - filmmakers working today.

The gurus include John Landis (THE BLUES BROTHERS), Guillermo del Toro (PAN'S LABYRINTH), Jack Hill (SWITCHBLADE SISTERS), Eli Roth (HOSTEL), Edgar Wright (SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD), and a score of others.

Talking over trailers may seem quaint but all of these filmmakers infuse their personalities into the proceedings, allowing us to peek into their own creative (if not a little prurient) psyches. John Landis' take on PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW is hilariously creepy yet spot-on informative, focusing on the film's historical context and what wouldn't be acceptable in today's films without espousing some moral caveat.

Eli Roth's take on the EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC makes you want to see this awful film and the trailer actually makes it look great (and check out that uber-cool t-shirt Roth is sporting).

And Stuart Gordon's (RE-ANIMATOR) love for THE THING WITH TWO HEADS is obvious but the movie is absolutely jaw-dropping.

You have to love Gordon's anecdote about how his brother wanted to make a musical based on this crazy flick with actor Rosey Grier singing soul songs while Ray Milland belts out show tunes.

And you know what? That could work!

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