I am a huge fan of movie trailer compilation tapes. When I was a teenager I would whip together my own party mix tapes on VHS to slap together some of the most fun, goriest, funniest bits of horror movies side by side with music I thought was rad at the time and play them in the background at my friends' house parties. Unfortunately for my career as a serial video editor, as soon as the DVD revolution came around my editing skills became moot, however, happily I was replaced by some of the big guns in home video and now I own at least a dozen trailer compilations.
Some companies have been doing it for a very long time. In fact, the very first trailer comp I owned was a 2003 release from the kings of bizarro American underground cinema, Something Weird Video's Something Weird Sampler. Hours of great underseen American sleaze and exploitation trailers made for a fascinating window into a world I didn't know existed.
They were followed up most notably by Synapse films and their series of 42nd Street Forever trailer compilations. Between 2005 and 2012, Synapse released half a dozen trailer compilations of varying quality with varying themes. In 2012 they aggregated some of the most popular trailers along with a bunch of unseen clips and added a great audio commentary for what I believe is the first Blu-ray trailer compilation, 42nd Street Forever: Blu-ray Edition. That disc, at nearly fours hours long, was the big daddy of the trailer comps for a while. The depth and breadth of the material, along with a surprisingly jaunty commentary track made it the gold standard for this time of endeavor.
Well, I think it's time to pass the crown.
Garagehouse Pictures, a tiny upstart distribution label headed up by 35mm film collector and programmer Harry Guerro and some of the folks at Exhumed Films in Philadelphia has released three trailer compilations over the last year, and the third one is astounding. Just released in early 2017, Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horrorthon is seven and a half hours of amazing trailers from the biggest decade horror has ever seen. Not only are their literally hundreds of trailers, they are also organized by year and by alphabet making it easy for the obsessive fan to find exactly what he's looking for.
The included trailers are too numerous to list here, but they cover all the big and small horror releases of the decade. Red band, green band, teaser, full on four minute trailer epics, they have of the bases covered. Of course the A/V quality varies from clip to clip, that is the nature of the beast, but this two disc set is more than enough to keep any film geek party rolling deep into the night.
Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child's Play, Hellraiser, they have all the big shots covered. But if you're looking for deep cuts, you're also in luck because Trailer Trauma 3 has pretty much anything you can think of. It's simply astounding.
If it was "just" seven and a half hours of trailers, I'd be more than satisfied, but Garagehouse Pictures has gone the extra mile and included audio commentaries lasting the entire length of the compilation. Amazing. It would be quite a chore for one group to run for the entire length of this project so they gathered an impressive crew of horror fans and fanatics to regale the listener with trivia, personal anecdotes, and loads of enthusiasm for the entire time.
Among the talents included in the commentaries are, in order of appearance: Harry Guerro, Jesse Nelson, & Dan Fraga (Exhumed Films), Chris Poggiali (Temple of Schlock), Ted Geoghegan (We Are Still Here), Michael Gingold (formerly of Fangoria, currently Rue Morgue, Scream Magazine), Ted Ferrante (Drive-In Madness), Grady Hendrix (Horrorstör, My Best Friend's Exorcism), Stephen Roman (Shock Festival), Dan Buskirk, and James Harris (Doc Terror). That's quite a list.
If I have to pick favorites, I'd have to go with Ted Geoghegan, whose enthusiasm for horror is contagious and whose and encyclopedic knowledge of American horror cinema of the era is beyond impressive, and Grady Hendrix, who is like a cocaine-fueled whirling dervish of trivia, and certainly the most entertaining of the bunch. The rest more than capably fill their airtime with plenty of trivia and personal stories about their own relationships to the films included in the set. Overall, it's a total winner and any horror fan needs this in their collection. A definite recommendation from me!