42nd Street Forever Volume 5: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (2009)
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing a movie at Austin, Texas’ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, then you know what to expect from the fifth entry in Synapse Films’ 42nd Street Forever compilation series: namely, some of weirdest and wildest trailers and other pre-show miscellany unknown to mankind. After Chuck Heston takes time out from his tennis game to explain the MPAA ratings system, the hour-and-a-half fun gets started, roughly organized into categories like martial arts, sex, sci-fi, action, movies with black people in them and super-shitty children’s films.
Highlights include Lucky Seven, full of kid ninjas with names like Little Fatty and Bumpkin; Birds Do It, Bees Do It, David L. Wolper’s animal-fucking doc with a kangaroo fetus crawling up its mama; Chatterbox, the infamous “talking vagina” comedy; Danish Love Acts, which shows just that; and Caged Virgins, which will make you wonder, “Hey, why is there a bat on her bush?”
Italian actioners and/or James Bond rip-offs abound, as do boobs, especially in Jack Hill’s Sorceress and Stacey!, which established Andy Sidaris’ trademark 60 JPH (jugs per hour) formula. Oddly, some of the strangest trailers are for the few comedies, such as The 3 Supermen in the West (man, I’d kill a hobo for a box set of this slapstick superhero series); a musical number for Putney Swope, Robert Downey Sr.’s race satire in the ad world; and Norman … Is That You?, in which Redd Foxx copes with the realization that his son is gay, and Wayland Flowers and Madame are in it, for some unexplained reason. Probably the gayness.
It’s hard to believe any youngster ever wanted to see The Magic Christmas Tree — “and to add to the fun,” says the narrator, “there’s a happy witch! The runaway lawn mower!” — or Pinocchio’s Birthday Party. But I can imagine they’d go apeshit for the Tarzan knock-off Karzan, Master of the Jungle, not to mention a crispy, piping-hot Flavos Shrimp Roll! Mmm-mmm! —Rod Lott