FESTIVAL OF FRIGHT
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
What's it about
A collection of horror trailers from the 50’s monster movies to the Price/Poe films of the 60’s.
Is it good movie?
File this one under the category of brief overview of the silver age horror. This collection of classic (and sometimes not) B horror trailers acts as a nice little review as to why horror films from the 1950’s and 1960’s have maintained their appeal. It’s a showcase for an age long since past, how things once were in cinema and how effective marketing once was. With the nice round number of 39 trailers, Festival of Fright covers just about everything from the period. While this won’t appeal to everyone, (how many damn times can you watch a two minute clip?) collectors of trailers will no doubt find the thing irresistible. For me, it’s entertaining for the first five or so until the urge to start flipping through emerges. It’s entertaining enough to watch, but after awhile you want to just watch the whole movie. This is the sort of DVD probably looped at Halloween parties. Or perhaps at Rob Zombie’s house.
Of course, the usual suspects make appearances like the obvious Vincent Price/Roger Corman/Edgar Allen Poe team-ups -- nearly a genre in itself -- and other classics like House on Haunted Hill, Dementia 13 and Tarantula. There were some unexpected surprises as well, films I had never had the pleasure: Edward Wood’s The Bride and the Beast, From Hell It Came, Curse of the Faceless Man and Queen of Outer Space. James Cagney in Man of a Thousand Faces might not be camp, but it fits in snuggly, detailing the life of Lon Chaney. One good aspect of watching only trailers is that some of the films might be best viewed as such. Instead of sitting through 90 minutes of garbage, the trailer works sufficiently, giving just enough cheese to showcase.
Probably the most interesting aspect here is the marketing of the movies. Take William Castle, director of 13 Ghosts and The Tingler. He revels in introducing the audience to the horrors that they will endure if they choose to enter into a dark theater and subjects themselves to his brand of ghosts and ghouls. Sure, it’s cheesy as hell and he might have even ripped off Hitchcock’s m.o. (though I’m not sure who did it first), but it still is effective and the most entertaining part of the DVD. So are Castle’s ultra stupid names of how the film will be presented as he “invented” a new method for each of his movies. (Example: “Illusion-O. The new ghost viewer that will be given to you at this theatre!”) Seeing these forgotten trailers makes one yearn for days that these movies were shown on TV with some regularity, for the days of Elvira, or even Joe Bob Briggs. People love this stuff for a reason and Festival of Fright works as an anthology to show the world why.
Video / Audio
Standard. Nothing has been touched or remastered. See and hear B movies in all their fuzzy glory!
None, well, there is the option to listen to an Alternative Music Track, which is bad techno that replaces all audio (including dialogue) from the trailers. Really, if you’re the type who digs this sort of thing, do you need bad music in place of Vincent Price? Maybe the producers were thinking of that great Halloween backdrop.
For nostalgic horror fans that yearn for the days of originality, camp and dismal special effects, this anthology of film trailers is a great coffee table DVD. It’s like a refresher text for what would be one damn cool class.