I had been looking forward to this dvd set since it was first announced. I loved the Shock Festival book, and when I found out the author would be releasing fake trailers along with a real trailer compilation, I pre-ordered it immediately.
The real problem with this set is the fake trailers. I can't understand how someone who really seemed to have a grasp on what made this concept great missed the mark so badly on the execution of the trailers. There were a couple decent ones, but overall they were pretty lame.
First, what is the point of having the concept of old, beat up grindhouse trailers, if you are going to destroy the illusion by having actors sporting modern clothes, hairstyles, piercings, etc? especially when you overdo the "scratch" and "Splice" effects to make it look old? A major problem was the voiceover sound. Talking in a deep voice on a tinny mic doesn't cut it - It sounded like it was done on a computer, which really killed it for me.
I watched this set with a buddy, and we both had the same thought - did these guys even watch any real trailers beforehand to get an idea of how they should be done? Probably not.
If they were done by different directors, kudos to the crew that made the Devils Sister trailer - that is the level they should all have been done at.
Ironically, there is a "hidden" trailer on disc 1 that is a fake coming attraction reel from the 1940's or so that shows more wit and talent than the entire set of fake trailers made for this disc. Way to show yourself up.
As for the trailer compilations, those were okay, but there were more than a few repeated from the far superior 42nd Street Forever series. I realize that by now, with so many trailer compilations out there, there probably aren't a lot left that haven't been included somewhere else, but seriously - research what's out there before coming up with your own to make your product more unique.
The only features I enjoyed on this set are the image gallery which shows many of the posters from the book, and disc 3 which contains a ton of MP3 radio spots.
Last, the way the plastic dvd case is designed is awful. The disc holder is cheap, and caused both disc 1 and 2 to arrive scratched - even though the discs were on the spindle, the molding of the case has several protruding cuts that the playing surface rests on that caused deep scratches.
Here's a hint for Stephen Romano - what makes these old trailers and movies great is that when they were being made, the actors weren't mugging for the camera and trying to be ironic - they were playing it straight. Your best ideas in the book are the ones that look like they could have been actual movies - not the ones that are trying to be funny. Watch some old trailers before you make a volume 2.