The Grindhouse Event of the Year is Here
Shock Festival DVD Reviewed Article By The Butcher
This is not going to be a traditional review in the sense that I tell
you what I did and did not like about a film. “Why?” you
ask? Because “Shock Festival” isn’t a film per say,
it’s a grindhouse experience; loaded with old-school trailers,
interviews (new), commentary tracks (new) and vintage radio spots.
There’s a lot of history to this project which I will try and
sum up for you before 2012 hits. There’s this guy who goes by
the name of Steven Romano. He’s a writer, screenwriter and artist.
Some of his writing credits include the Masters of Horror episode "Incident
on and off a Mountain Road” and co-writer for the upcoming Don
Coscarelli film “Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires,”
which is currently in production.
In 2008, Steven’s well reviewed coffee table book “Shock
Festival” was published. The book features information on over
a hundred fictional movies (never made or released), the stories behind
them and the filmmakers involved. The book is also littered with original
artwork from Steven himself, Tim Bradstreet, Michael Broom and David
Eventually, Steven teamed up with Bloody Earth Films (Alternative Cinema)
to bring you the comprehensive 3-disc DVD set titled “Shock Festival,”
which we’re talking about here. The set features three hours of
trailers (from real movies) all hand picked by Steven himself. Some
new trailers based on the fictional movies from “Shock Festival”
(the book) are also included. And just to give you an idea on how much
content this DVD set contains, I went ahead and broke down each disc
for you. See below.
DISC 1: 90 Minute Grindhouse Trailer Reel
Some of the trailers include: Treasure of the Four Crowns, Titillation,
The Late Great Planet Earth, Africa Blood and Guts, Amazon Jail, Black
Samurai, Flesh Gordon, Beyond Atlantis, Venom, Cinderella 2000, Space
Raiders, King Kong Vs. Godzilla and The Female Animal.
DISC 2: 90 Minute Horror Trailer Reel
Some of the trailers include: Grizzly, Invasion of the Bee Girls, Pieces,
Horror Hotel, Saturn 3, Maniac, Schlock, Dead of Night, Carnival of
Blood, Curse of the Headless Horseman, Blood Sucking Freaks, The Toolbox
Murders, Deep Red, Burnt Offerings, The Curse, Autopsy, the Crazies
and Shock Waves.
DISC 3: Over 300 Vintage TV and Radio Spots in MP3 Format
Some of the trailers include: Don’t answer the phone, Bigfoot,
Joshua, Beast of Blood, Black Sunday, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Vanishing
Point, The Night Walker, The Phantom of the Opera, Doctor Death, Black
Shampoo, House of Usher, Frogs, Night of the Cobra Woman, The Twilight
People and Saturday the 14th.
Other Features Include
A slew of mock trailers (new) based on the films featured in Steven
Romano’s book “Shock Festival” (directed by various
industry vets), two commentary tracks from Stephen Romano, two commentary
tracks from Dread Central’s Uncle Creepy, extensive image gallery
and an interview with cult director/producer Sam Sherman.
There are many reasons I like “Shock Festival,” but the
element that stands out to me the most is the amount of content. I literally
spent an entire weekend going through all the grindhouse goodness that
this DVD had to offer. I even have the trailer reel running in the background
while I write this review.
But what is most impressive is the amount of detail that went into
this project. Everything from the DVD menus to the mini-poster included
within the DVD case is top notch. If you’re a collector, and nostalgic
like I am, then you’ll appreciate it even more. Clearly the people
from Bloody Earth films put their blood sweat and tears into this project
and for that, I thank them.
I also thought the commentary tracks by Steven Romano were outstanding.
This guy knows more about these old dirty gems than the fat guy who
says “time to make the donuts” knows about getting up early.
Steven could talk to you for an hour about how “Treasure of the
Four Crowns” (a personal favorite of mine) was made and if the
director liked cream in his coffee or not.
Side Note: In the book “Shock Festival” Steven includes
photos of his living room where the walls are literally plastered with
movie memorabilia. We see everything from a “Bad Lieutenant”
poster to a “Dark Night at the Demon House” one-sheet. His
ceilings are even lost to his madness. I guess that clears up the question
if Steven is married or not.
Within the commentary tracks, Steven discusses the trailers within
the reel of course, but also talks about growing up within the grindhouse
world. He shares funny stories about the film industry, what it was
like working with Don Coscarelli on “Phantasm” and even
dabbles in current topics like the current remake craze. It’s
all very interestingly geeky.
The last element of this bulging DVD set that I want to bring to your
attention are the countless TV and radio spots found on disc three.
See folks, I grew up in 80’s and spent my time watching films
like “Porky’s”, “Gremlins” and “Stand
By Me.” Eventually, I discovered the back room of my local ma-and-pa
video store and that’s when I discovered films like “Grizzly”,
“Motel Hell”, “The Toolbox Murders” and “Hell
Night.” Years later, listening to the radio and television spots
for these films is extremely nostalgic and satisfying.
I would say that there are close to 300 MP3 files and they have all
been re-mastered and encoded with the original theatrical poster. I
should also mention that these files are easily accessible which is
great for transferring to portable devices like an iphone or PSP.
Overall, Shock Festival exceeded my expectations in every way. If you’re
a fan of grindhouse, exploitation and horror films than this is a no
brainer. My only complaint is that the DVD set didn’t come with
a bar of soap because you’re going to need a shower after watching
this sleaze. No, that’s a good thing people! Now if you will excuse
me, the “Amazon Jail” trailer just came on. Gotta run!
MOVIES REVIEWED The Innkeepers, Monster Brawl, Attack the Block,
The Woman, Grave Encounters, Paranormal Activity 3, Red State, A Serbian
Film, More Brains Documentary, The Incredible Melting Man, War of the
Worlds (1953), Ghoulies, Troll Hunter, and more!