The Film: 4/5
Beginning with 1965’s Swinging London drama The Pleasure Girls (featuring appearances from shockingly young Ian McShane and Klaus Kinski) and concluding with the snowbound disaster flick Avalanche, Drive-In Delirium: ‘60s and ‘70s Savagery presents over 140 vintage trailers – every single one remastered in stunning high-definition - for some of the most beloved and entertaining action, horror, and sci-fi films to play the biggest of theatrical screens around the world during those two decades.
From the cheapest Italian schlock (the immortal Star Crash, a trailer collection mainstay) to the most grandiose Hollywood blockbuster (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, represented here by the classic teaser narrated by Orson Welles), from the goriest exploitation horror (Rabid, Grizzly) to the phantasmagorical arthouse masterpieces (Don’t Look Now), this single-disc collection is a 366-minute tour de force time trip to an era where the cinema’s continuous competition with television pushed the major studios and the smaller independent distributors to adopt more aggressive methods in the marketing of their theatrical releases. This was before home video came along and compelled yet another complete redefining of the paradigm, and a few decades preceding the creation of digital streaming platforms.
Savagery is split into two sections, one for each decade: the one devoted to 1960’s trailers is the slimmest and leans heavily on British horror (including many titles from Hammer), spaghetti westerns, sci-fi spectacles, and pulpy international intrigue. The trailer for Barbarella fits in there somehow. The 1970’s selection of trailers really brings us viewers the goods, as we get everything from killer animals/insects (Frogs, Empire of the Ants) to Italian psycho thrillers (Torso – presented here under its alternate Carnal Violence title, Strip Nude for Your Killer), telekinetic terror (Patrick, Carrie, Psychic Killer) to gritty crime drama (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot), saucy sexploitation (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Salon Kitty) to stylish action melodramas (Assault on Precinct 13, The Warriors), and so many more. There’s also more titles from Hammer (Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell) and some post-apocalyptic mayhem in the contrasting forms of Damnation Alley (Cheeseball City!) and the original Mad Max (represented here by its U.S. release trailer, complete with awkward American dub track).
Many the trailers have been released before on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of their respective films, and more than a few have appeared on previous trailer compilations. So, chances are you won’t find any surprises on this Drive-In Delirium set, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great collection. I was genuinely thrilled to see a trailer for John Landis’ directorial debut, the monster-run-amuck spoof Schlock, under its original title rather than the trailer for the terrible Banana Monster re-release that I first saw on the collection Stephen Romano’s Shock Festival. There were also some trailers I’ve never seen before, like the horror oddity Seizure (Oliver Stone’s directorial debut) and Roger Corman’s violent gangland thriller Bloody Mama.
Umbrella’s Blu-ray release of Drive-In Delirium claims that each trailer on this set was remastered in high-definition, and the results are certainly pleasing to the eye. Since the films themselves were shot in different aspect ratios, the ratios for the trailers often shift from 1.85:1 to 2.35:1 and occasionally to a 1.33:1 full frame. Grain and print damage are present in nearly every trailer, but given the conditions of the film elements used for the HD transfers that was inevitable, and luckily never becomes overwhelmingly problematic for the viewer. The trailers all appear to be complete and the color timing is consistent and vibrant. The English 2.0 Dolby Digital audio track is mostly free of distortion and damage and gives the dialogue and music a healthy bounce in the volume that never requires manual adjustment. There are no subtitles on this disc.
The only supplements are a video poster gallery featuring many of the titles in the collection (6 minutes) and a minute-long trailer for both volumes in the Drive-In Delirium series, the other one called Maximum ‘80s Overdrive.
This might not be the most comprehensive trailer collection, and what we do get isn’t organized in any meaningful fashion, but for lovers of those mini-masterpieces of editing, Drive-In Delirium: ‘60s and ‘70s Savagery is both a six-hour blast of pure celluloid pleasure and an excellent addition to any film buff’s Blu-ray collection. If the trailers weren’t awesome enough, the makers of this collection even threw in some vintage theater ads as bookends to the full feature and as an intermission between decades if you choose to watch them all as one massive viewing experience. That’s classy.