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WRITTEN REVIEW: Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell

It seems that ‘70s style grindhouse cinema is making a comeback as of late. With films like Machete, Black Dynamite and … well, Grindhouse mimicking the over-the-top style of ‘70s classics, it takes us back to a time when movies were just fun (although now they can be viewed in multiplexes rather than dingy back alley theaters in the seediest parts of town). Today when every film seems like a carbon copy of every other film, it’s nice to look back at a time when any madman with a vision could see their film on the big screen. From blaxpoitation to sexploitation, splatter flicks to zombie flicks, rape/revenge movies to Nazispoitation to women-in-prison films, no subject was taboo. With that in mind, we now have a whole collection of trailers to take us back to those halcyon days: MAD RON'S PREVUES FROM HELL!

Ron looks like he could use a rabies shot.

The film is exactly what it says it is: forty-seven trailers for some of the most off-the-wall, shocking, tasteless and frankly, fun horror films of the ‘60s and ‘70s. They have everything from classics like Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Last House on the Left, to more obscure flicks like The Maniacs are Loose and Night of the Bloody Apes. The trailers themselves are all absolutely fantastic; the most grisly fun you can have for 82 minutes. They are also interspersed with little host segments that are … um, less fun but still a little entertaining. These segments mostly feature a guy named Nick (who looks suspiciously like my dad) and his little zombie buddy, Happy. Basically, Nick plays straight man to Happy’s comic antics; acting all grossed out when Happy tricks him into eating maggots or talks about picking up girls at the morgue. They’re kind of amusing, but Cory and I refer to them as “beer breaks” because they’re basically a break in the action when we can replenish our supply of booze. I do appreciate to few times the eponymous Mad Ron makes an appearance. Essentially, he’s just some guy with a severe case of rabies, chained up inside a projectionist’s booth and screening previews to a crowd of enthusiastic zombies. However, the real stars of the show are the previews themselves. Sure, they’re gross, low-brow and full of exploitative violence and nudity, but dammit all, they’re fun! Also, some of them have a very wicked sense of humor. For example, the one that was a fake news report interviewing theater patrons who apparently lost their minds watching the film in question had me rolling. There are also several trailers from gore master Herschell Gordon Lewis and they’re always really funny (2,000 Maniacs for example is hilarious).

Happy & Nick, horror's first odd couple.

I originally watched this in high school off an old VHS that a friend of mine had (by the way if you’re reading, thanks B-Dawg), but now Virgil Films has released this collection of horrors on DVD! The image and sound quality have been lovingly restored and it even has some cool bonus features, like deleted scenes and on-set hijinx. I’d recommend this DVD to any horror or grindhouse fan worth his or her salt. It works great as “background music” at any Halloween or other horror-themed party you’re throwing. It’s fun to watch the conversations stop dead during particularly shocking or graphic scenes and see everyone in the room turn their attention to what’s on the T.V. It’s also great as a wonderful little time capsule for anyone who wants to remember when movies (and even the previews for movies) were so damn entertaining.


★ ★ ★ ½