Rob Rector continues his solo journey through the bowels of the little-known classics, to bring you another installment of “Paracinema.”

 

 

 

I struggled for days to find the perfect horror film to cover for a mid-October “Paracinema” installment. Do we go with an 80s Indonesian supernatural flick? A Japanese giant monster movie featuring Frankenstein’s monster? A 60s-era Russian occult film?

Then, inspiration hit within my very own Netflix Instant Queue. As a product of an 80s horror-loving childhood, a local video store (kids, ask your parents what those were) had on its shelf a copy of Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell, originally released in 1987. I had no prior knowledge of Ron, nor what made him so mad, but I knew from the box art alone that I had to shell out my paper route money for his hell-spawn Prevues.

At the time, I never realized how just one video could be such a Pandora-like opening to my adolescent mind, even if I had to suffer through some rather Borscht-Belt humor in which to get there.

Hosted by ventriloquist Nick Pawlow (who lived just a state away from me) and his rotting cadaver of a puppet Happy Goldsplatt, Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell was an introduction to a trove of as-yet-unseen cult classics that promised a lifetime’s worth of soul-searing bloody bacchanalia.

In just a sliver under 90 minutes, Prevues became a scavenger hunt of savagery for my young mind. In the days prior to YouTube, one had to actually ferret out films through mom-and-pop video stores, friend’s copies-of-a-copy, or within the pages of “Fangoria” or “Starlog” magazine. In 2010, Virgil Films dusted off this old video cassette chestnut and many bemoaned the fact that they did little to polish it. To me, the crappy transfer only further lends to its nostalgic appeal.


And as All Hallow’s Eve quickly approaches, Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell makes for a near-perfect party video, successively serving some trailers of top-tier cult cinema. Here is a list of the films that tempt your horror hunger:

I Drink Your Blood / I Eat Your Skin
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Deranged
Three on a Meathook
The Corpse Grinders
The Undertaker and His Pals
Love Me Deadly
Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
The Maniacs Are Loose (aka The Thrill Killers)
Cannibal Girls
Torso
The Blood Spattered Bride / I Dismember Mama
The Ghastly Ones
The Wizard of Gore
Beyond the Door
Deep Red
Sisters
The Devil’s Nightmare
The House of Exorcism (aka Lisa and the Devil)
Lady Frankenstein
Flesh Feast
Tales From the Crypt
The Vault of Horror
Horror of the Zombies (aka The Ghost Galleon)
Bloodeaters
Revenge of the Living Dead / Curse of the Living Dead / Fangs of the Living Dead
The Diabolical Dr. Z
Africa Blood and Guts (aka Africa Addio)
Night of Bloody Horror
Silent Night, Evil Night (aka Black Christmas)
The Mutations (aka The Freakmaker)
The House That Screamed
Blood and Lace
Two Thousand Maniacs
Night of the Living Dead
God Told Me To
Horror on Snape Island (aka Tower of Evil)
Wildcat Women (aka Black Lolita)
Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS
Man From Deep River
The Last House on the Left
Carnage (aka Twitch of the Death Nerve)
Color Me Blood Red
Mad Doctor of Blood Island
Silent Night, Bloody Night
Bloody Pit of Horror
Night of the Bloody Apes

Almost all of these films have since made their way to a DVD release. Some have become cultural touchstones (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead), others have been thankfully forgotten (sorry, but the real-life animal abuse in Africa Blood and Guts is not my idea of horror and/or exploitation at all, just actual sadism). But there are others that feature trailers that are almost poetic by today’s standards:

“The twilight of a life destined to be spent in shadows and agony … A child’s world robbed of joy by a secret conspiracy of suspicion and fear dwelling like a lodger in the mind,” whispers the narrator from the artfully titled 1972 film Three on a Meathook.

There are an abundance of cult trailer compilations lurking out there, ranging in quality of rotten (Cheezy Horror Trailers) to respectable (42nd Street Forever). But none are so soaked in pure 80s goodness as Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell, which should jettison older horror fans back to a pre-CGI era of gore and grue, and also serve as a to-do list for any younger trepidatious explorer of exploitation.

Review by Rob Rector, Lead Entertainment Writer

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