In the early 1980s, low-budget filmmaker Charles Band created Wizard Video, a niche home video label that catered to fans of exploitation and horror films. Although they had a few famous features at their disposal (including Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE and the original versions of both I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE), the rest of their catalogue wasn’t what you would call “limitless.” And so, Band and the Wizards in his employ edited together a number of direct-to-video compilation titles, such as 1981’s THE BEST OF SEX AND VIOLENCE.
In the mid 1980s, Wizard began to lose some of its magic, the label started to wane, and many of their films were the first to be what many eBay sellers now refer to as “OOP” (Out Of Print). Now, thirty years after its home video debut, THE BEST OF SEX AND VIOLENCE returns. Band’s Full Moon Features label has dusted off several of their old Wizard Video hits, distributing them via their website (www.fullmoondirect.com) as part of a new series entitled “Full Moon’s Grindhouse Collection.”
THE BEST OF SEX AND VIOLENCE is a delightfully corny offering that assembles trailers for nearly thirty cult class (em) icks (em) from the golden age of drive-in and grindhouse moviemaking. John Carradine hosts this “trailer tape,” which features previews for horror favorites TOURIST TRAP (1979) and 1980’s THE BOOGEY MAN (as well as several Wizard releases), exploitation movies BURY ME AN ANGEL, TERMINAL ISLAND, TRUCK STOP WOMEN, blaxploitation wonders with Rudy Ray Moore like DOLEMITE and DISCO GODFATHER, and T&A sleaze like EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD and Band’s FAIRY TALES (1978).
Carradine is spliced in-between trailers, spouting quips about the films he’s introducing (as well as his own career) that were written by Frank Ray Perilli (who also wrote several of the movies featured here, such as THE DOBERMAN GANG and Band’s 1977 musical comedy for adults, CINDERELLA). One highlight of the host segments has Carradine’s boys, David and Keith (who makes his own quip about the production his father is in).
One look at THE BEST OF SEX AND VIOLENCE and it’s clear that it has been culled from a videocassette. The Full Frame presentation is slightly fuzzy, and occasional video lines (a sign of wear from the master source) pop up from time to time (there‘s even a disclaimer announcing this was taken from VHS). This may well annoy purists out there, especially when they can log on to eBay and pick up an original VHS copy. However, when you stop to consider this and the nine other titles in the Full Moon Grindhouse Collection are only $10 a pop, and that this DVD release includes an introduction to the series by Charles Band (and a promo for the lineup in general), this seems like the better deal. (Adam Becvar)
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