Welcome to Fistful of Features, a celebration of film preservation through physical media and the discussion of cinematic treasures to maintain their relevance in the cultural lexicon. Today we’ll be discussing the final entry in Umbrella Entertainment’s trailer compilation series titled Drive-In Delirium: The Final Conflict. This release includes over seven hours of retro trailers spanning from every genre across the globe in high definition.
This writer has fond memories of working at his local movie theater before the digital takeover destroyed what could only be experienced in such a place. The head projectionist was an avid film aficionado, and, when film prints of weekly new releases weren’t being shown, we would sometimes on special occasions either be treated to a rare gem from his collection or a reel of trailers that were collected over the years.
The nights we’d watch trailer reels were always enthralling and we always exited the auditorium with a mental list of films that we were enticed to revisit or discover for the first time. The reason why these trailer reels worked so well was because they were so non discriminating. There would be a trailer for Titanic one minute and one for Cannibal Holocaust the next. The projectionist’s method was to never stay in one genre and the spontaneity of these reels was infectious and often awe inspiring.
That, unfortunately, is the one detriment amongst the fine vast collection of trailers included in this Blu-ray collection. All of the trailers included seem to be separated by genre or franchise, sometimes even by actor, so predictability sets in rather quick.
Split into two parts in the main menu, there’s “Part 1 The Heretic,” which begins with a fun drive-in theater intro with a tutorial, an ad for the snack bar and an ad for Universal Studios amusement park with Alfred Hitchcock.
These pleasant touches set the mood for the trailers and this half lays heavily on science fiction, fantasy and horror. There’re popular entries like Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian, cult favorites like Godzilla vs. Magalon and Burnt Offerings, and deeper cuts like Scared Stiff and The Killer Nun.
A shuffle feature would have been a welcome addition to break up some of the monotony. Following Raiders of the Lost Ark immediately with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade doesn’t seem like the most inspired choice. It was, however, a noble idea to split this collection up in chapters as fatigue does tend to set in after the first three hours, no matter how entertaining most of them are.
Next is “Part 2 The Quest for Peace” which leans more on the exploitation side of things. First, there’s a group of disaster trailers like Rollercoaster and The Towering Inferno followed by blaxploitation fare like Shaft in Africa and Friday Foster with Pam Grier. To this chapter’s credit, there seems to be more of a free flow to the other choices that follow, since most of them don’t fall into as niche of sub genres. Cruising, Lone Wolf McQuade, and Beverly Hills Cop were all shown back-to-back, and if there’s a connecting theme, it’s not as obvious as the others. There were also some deeper cuts that immediately grabbed the curiosity of this writer, who’s made it his mission to seek out the western The Spikes Gang, which features Lee Marvin alongside Ron Howard and Charlie Morten Smith hot off the success of American Graffiti. The reel winds up with more familiar fare like The Muppet Movie and Ghostbusters, with the occasional oddball tossed in between, like a Charles Band production that appears to involve fairy tales, orgies, and Broadway musical numbers.
This collection would work great at parties as eye candy background to impress your film enthusiast guests.
Lastly, there’s a bonus collection of VHS trailers in standard definition that includes some lesser-known Terence Hill and Bud Spencer comedies, as well as Cannon’s Ninja films, and a fascinating documentary about the Hell’s Angels. Quite a collection indeed. If you’re a fan of these trailer compilations already or are a curious newcomer who would like to be exposed to some choices to use to fill your cinematic gaps, this should be a fun addition to your collection to pull out for social gatherings and create that grindhouse movie theater atmosphere.
Drive-In Delirium: The Final Conflict Special Features:
- THE CURSE OF VHS DELIRIUM – a bonus 2 hour SD trailer compile!
Available on Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment July 4th, 2021.