Review: Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell DVD

STUDIO: Virgil | DIRECTOR: Jim Monaco | CAST: Nick Pawlow, Michael Townsend Wright, Anthony Kelly, Ron Roccia, Jordu Schell, Joe Amodei
RELEASE DATE: 9/14/10 | PRICE: DVD $14.99
BONUSES: deleted scenes, bloopers, behind-the-scenes video/poster gallery
SPECS: NR | 82 min. | Horror | widescreen | Dolby Digital 2.0

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Made when the VHS business was booming and genre fans were getting their first glimpses of unedited horror and terror movies at home on their television screens, 1987’s Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell remains one of the great blood and gore trailer collections.

Mad Ron compiles some 47 coming attractions from cult grindhouse and drive-in theater favorites from the late 1960s and 1970s, including everything from genre classics (1968’s Night of the Living Dead, 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) to cult favorites (1972’s Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, 1975’s Ilsa: She Wolf of the S.S.) to generally weird and out-there stuff (1966’s Africa: Blood and Guts, 1972’s Three On a Meathook).

The movie has lots of graphic horror and mayhem. Lots. And it’s all presented in the form of trailers — the breeziest and most palatable of forms — at a time when coming attractions for midnight fare didn’t require MPAA ratings to be projected in theaters.

Although the trailers take center stage, Mad Ron also features a wraparound storyline that provides a backdrop for the mayhem. The “plot” follows a strange ventriloquist (Nick Pawlow) and his creepy dummy “Happy” as they sit in a dilapidated theater and check out the coming attractions being presented by a twisted projectionist known as “Mad Ron” (Ron Roccia). While the grindhouse gore fills the screen, the ventriloquist and his dummy serve up some puns and off-color jokes as a cadre of undead patrons feast on human flesh in other parts of the theater.

The wraparound scenes are enthusiastic if a bit silly, serving best as examples of early F/X makeup work of a young artist who would soon go on to a substantial Hollywood career, Jordu Schell of Avatar and 300 fame.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.