One of the more interesting aspects of exploitation movies and of pornographic films more specifically isn't so much what's in the movies or how well they're made so much as how they were marketed. The seventies and eighties were a time when porno movies were really starting to spread their wings before the onslaught of home video inevitably all but killed theatrical play for porno. A few adult theaters still exist in major cities around the country, but these are usually little more than glorified swingers clubs, a place for people to meet for innocuous sexual encounters with strangers. These places stay in business not by exhibiting adult movies to adult audiences but by providing a place for people to 'meet and greet' while whatever video happens to be projected in the background serves not as the reason for attendance but as little more than glorified background music.
Thankfully, there are those who not only remember when pornography played in real theaters through real film projectors but also those dedicated to preserving the films, and more specifically when discussing the DVD that this review is tailored to, the trailers that were used to promote them. Ban 1 started the porno movie trailer trend with their Smut Palace Insanity disc and Synapse followed suit with their 42nd Street Forever XXX release and now Video-X-Pix have dug into their vaults to join in the fun., a fantastic eighty plus minute compilation of the sensual and the stupid, the erotic and the erratic, a sterling example of both the best and the worst porno movie trailers from the golden age of fuck films.
-- sponsored by --
What makes these older trailers isn't their fuck factor - unless brief clips of constant money shots and penetration close ups are all you need to whack off to - but how they market the films. In the golden age of east coast porn, distributors were often times more interested in marketing the performer and her 'celebrity status' more than the sex acts that these movies contained. The cult of personality that sprung up around the likes of Annie Sprinkle, Little Oral Annie, Seka and Jennifer Welles had to have had a lot to do with the way that the films were marketed and how they coerced audiences into coming out to the theater to see the latest 'event' movie starring these sultry headliners. Having a chance to revisit these trailers and see the spin that these trailers put on the movies they advertise is not only entertaining but actually quite fascinating as well. They really don't make'em like they used to.
The complete list of trailers that appears on this compilation, comprised entirely of Video-X-Pix and Distribpix titles, is as follows:
Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle / Inside Seka / Bel Ami / People / Blonde Ambition / Bon Appetite / Blonde Goddess / Blue Jeans / Every Inch A Lady / Expose Me Lovely / Babylon Blue / Slit Skirts / Centerfold Fever / Tigresses / Danish Pastries / Girls Best Friend / Dirty Blonde / Female Athletes / Eaten Alive / Inside Jennifer Welles / Erotic World Of Angel Cash / Joy / Fascination / Little Oral Annie Takes Manhattan / Felicia / Maraschino Cherry / In The Pink
A poster for All About Gloria Leonard is shown on the back of the packaging as is a poster for Sleepy Head but neither one of those trailers appears anywhere on the DVD. Trailers for Blonde Ambition and Fascination appeared on the 42nd Street Forever - XXX-treme Special Edition DVD and the trailer for Joy showed up on Smut Palace Insanity (all in much better shape than they are here as they were taken from film sources) but thankfully a lot of the trailers here haven't appeared on other compilations giving this disc some serious merit for trailer buffs.
Aside from the great 'inside' trailers and the related bits that start off with some fantastic introductions from the female leads themselves, the rest of this material, while more conventional in its format, is still of interest to fans of classic XXX material. Check out the crazy fisting scene (while companies like VCA are cutting the shit out of their classic titles it's nice to see Video-X-Pix releasing stuff uncut and their upcoming remastered series looks fantastic)in Tigresses or dig on the crazy psychedelic visuals that pop up in Gerard Damiano's People. European imports like Bon Appetite and Danish Pastries add some welcome foreign flare to the mix while classic XXX demi-god Radley Metzger gets his due when the spot for Maraschino Cherry pops up on your screen (not Metzger's best effort but a solid entry never the less).
While it might have been nice to see trailers for some of the more obscure offerings in the Video-X-Pix catalogue, this is a solid selection of a-list classic smut trailers. Hopefully the first in a line of ongoing titles that will show off what these guys have got tucked away in their vaults, there's a lot of entertainment value to be gleamed by spending some quality time with this disc, especially if you carry a soft spot for the pornography of yesteryear.
The video quality on this release, for a trailer compilation, is surprisingly good in some spots and rather sad in others. Despite the fact that the title of this compilation is 35mm Grindhouse Trailers none of this material has been taken from 35mm film, and all of it has been taken from various tape sources. Some of the segments have more print damage than the others do while some are pristine while yet others are rather ragged and soft looking. Quality varies throughout, but more often than not we have an okay-looking image with nice clarity and good color reproduction that is on par with a decent VHS tape release.
Much like the video quality, the audio varies from trailer to trailer, though thankfully they all sound consistently clean without an abundance of hiss or audible ugliness in the background. Everything comes at you in Dolby Digital Mono, which is how they were all originally shown anyway. There's nothing here to blow your socks off as far as fidelity goes, but there aren't any problems either and compared to other trailer compilations on the market, this one sounds as good as, if not better, than the rest.
This release features a menu screen that lets you choose which trailer you'd like to watch or to play all of them in succession - that's it. Barebones, kids.
It's a shame (and more than a little deceitful) that none of the material here was actually taken from 35mm film and some extras (hey, you've got a ton of stuff in the vaults, give us a still gallery!) would have been nice, it's cool to have all of these trailers on one disc. Despite the shoddy video quality, there's enough interesting vintage material here that the disc still comes recommended.