Trailers are the late-night infomercials of the movie world. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve sat through some two-minute teaser for a film I know will be god-awful, only to be sucked into its gaping maw of sugar-shock spectacle and hype. No one knows this sensation better than the schlock savants at trailersfromhell.com. For the past several years, Gremlins director Joe Dante and his stable of like-mindedly geeky filmmakers have been serving up hilariously insightful commentaries about grade-Z films. As a movie’s titillating trailer unspools, these talking heads share cheeky backstories, clever criticism, and their own personal memories of the first time they saw a flick like 1956’s Fire Maidens of Outer Space.
On the new DVD compilation Trailers From Hell! Volume 2 (2011, Not Rated, 1 hr., 28 mins.), Hellboy helmer Guillermo del Toro gushes over Dario Argento’s twisted and bloody 1975 thriller Deep Red; B-movie maestro Roger Corman (whose 1960 cheapie The Little Shop of Horrors is included in the disc’s extras) explains how he ended up playing a Nazi in 1960’s Ski Troop Attack; and the always-welcome John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) steals the show with his riff on 1961’s Godzilla rip-off Gorgo — a film he unabashedly admits he likes before schooling us on where it fits into the “giant dinosaur on the loose” genre. Like the 20 coming attractions on this disc, these movie-mad merry pranksters make a bunch of mostly forgotten sci-fi and horror curios sound a whole lot better than they really are. Should they ever decide to give up their day jobs, they’d make terrific trailer cutters… or infomercial pitchmen. GRADE: B+