Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horror-Thon Blu-ray Review: The Ultimate Party Mix

Imagine a seven-and-a-half-hour compilation of nothing but horror movie previews from the '80s. Then go one step further.
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Before the days of easily comprised playlists, which can be effortlessly constructed via an MP3 player synced up to something resembling iTunes, we adults had to deal with the complexities of assembling party mixes with using archaic technology such as analog cassette tapes. If you were lucky, you had a dual-cassette boombox with high-speed dubbing capabilities, but that hardly made editing a breeze: you either knew when and where to release the pause on Deck One as you hit the 'record' button on Deck Two or you didn't. And that was just for audio mixes, kids ‒ compiling a video playlist in the analog era was as likely to result in something just south of an unmitigated disaster for all who may behold the end result.

Ultimately, making a party tape could prove even more difficult than organizing a party itself. Fortunately, there was once a plethora of mail-order video distributors selling trailer compilations on VHS back in the '80s and '90s. The less reputable organizations would usually just copy another outfit's collection, whereas the better companies (Something Weird Video, Sinister Cinema, Video Search of Miami, et al) actually put some effort into it all. And since theatrical trailers to famous copyrighted movies are generally considered to be part of the public domain, no one ever had to worry about leasing rights or paying royalties ‒ which was one of the main reasons so many no-name companies sold compilations assembled by the other guys.

As the digital age quickly approached and took over home video, however, the trailer assemblings strangely began to vanish. Though it was now easier to make mixes, websites such as YouTube made the planning and construction of such affairs all but moot. But one only need sit and suffer through a package of previews comprised of fuzzy, second-generation copies of old trailers culled from VHS, uploaded in glorious 240p, and projected onto a big screen before a late night showing of a classic cult flick in High-Definition at your local arthouse cinema in order to see the error of modern technology's ways: the sentiment may be there, but it's pretty darn difficult to discern underneath the noticeable, distracting lack of quality.

It's a clearcut case of "Go big, or go home."

Fortunately, now you can go big at home thanks to Garagehouse Pictures' most ambitious undertaking ever: Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horror-Thon. Spanning the better part of seven and a half hours and spread out over two Blu-ray discs, this amazing, chronological assortment of previews for well-known and obscured fright flicks alike brings us over 250 trailers from movies released between 1980 to 1989. From traditional "green band" offerings to their oft-notorious "red band" variations (the ones where they could get away with showing you the goods, be it freshly unveiled skin or freshly severed flesh and all of the artery sprayings associated with), this is, without a doubt, the ultimate party mix for anyone who loves '80s horror movies.

Incredibly, Disc One is devoted to 1980-1981 alone. And that is because, after the ginormous success of John Carpenter's Halloween, filmmakers both tried and new jumped on the horror movie bandwagon, to wit maniacal slashers and supernatural apparitions alike popped up to taunt and terrorize the country's teenage populace. In fact, 1980 and 1981 alone produced (or at least released) over 60 movies each, before growing controversy from outraged parents and an overall lack of interest from filmgoers due to a heavily oversaturated market (to say nothing of a political administration which felt it wiser to attack fictional horror stories rather than addressing the very real AIDS epidemic) resulted in the genre dialing things back a bit.

With eight years to cover, Disc Two of Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horror-Thon sports perhaps the juiciest assortment (and run time) in the entire set. It is here that you will witness the birth of iconic scarefests such as Wes Craven's dream-shattering A Nightmare on Elm Street series, the waning of Paramount's Friday the 13th franchise ‒ which, and let's be fair here, did get a bit silly as the years went by ‒ and even the tail end of a famous brand which you could claim "jumped the shark" with its hilariously embarrassing 1987 conclusion: Universal's Jaws series. Why, you'll even see a trailer for a trailer compilation on this trailer compilation: 1984's Terror in the Aisles. It's that awesome! A comprehensive list of included previews is as follows:

Disc One
1980: Alligator, Altered States, The Awakening, Blood Beach, The Boogeyman, The Changeling, Death Ship, Don’t Answer the Phone, Don’t Go in the House, Dressed to Kill, Fade to Black, The Fog, Friday the 13th, The Grim Reaper (aka Anthropophagus), He Knows You’re Alone, The Hearse, The Howling, Human Experiments, Humanoids from the Deep, Inferno, The Island, Maniac, Motel Hell, Mother’s Day, New Year’s Evil, Nightmare, Prom Night, Scared to Death, The Shining, Silent Scream, Terror Train, The Unseen, Without Warning.

1981: An American Werewolf in London, The Boogens, The Burning, Dead and Buried, Deadly Blessing, Evilspeak, Fear No Evil, Final Exam, Friday the 13th Part 2, The Funhouse, Ghost Story, Graduation Day, Great White, Halloween II, Happy Birthday to Me, Hell Night, House by the Cemetery, Inseminoid, Just Before Dawn, Mind Warp (aka Galaxy of Terror), Ms. 45, My Bloody Valentine, Night School, The Final Conflict: Omen III, The Prowler, Road Games, Saturday the 14th, Scanners, Student Bodies, Venom, Wolfen.

Disc Two
1982: Alone in the Dark, Amityville II: The Possession, Basket Case, The Beast Within, Boarding House, Cat People, Creepshow, Death Valley, The Entity, Friday the 13th Part 3-D, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Humongous, The Incubus, Madman, Murder by Phone, National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, One Dark Night, Parasite, Poltergeist, Pranks (aka The Dorm That Dripped Blood), Q the Winged Serpent, The Sender, Silent Rage, The Slayer, The Slumber Party Massacre, Swamp Thing, The Thing, Time Walker, Visiting Hours, Xtro.

1983: 7 Doors of Death (aka The Beyond), Amityville 3-D, Christine, Curtains, The Dead Zone, Deadly Eyes, The Evil Dead, Eyes of Fire, The Final Terror, The Hunger, Jaws 3-D, The Keep, Mortuary, Of Unknown Origin, Psycho II, Sleepaway Camp, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Videodrome, Wavelength.

1984: Boggy Creek II, Children of the Corn, C.H.U.D., The Company of Wolves, The Dungeonmaster, Firestarter, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Mutant, The Mutilator, Night of the Comet, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ninja III: The Domination, Scream for Help, Terror in the Aisles, The Toxic Avenger, Zombie Island Massacre.

1985: The Bride, Creepers (aka Phenomena), Day of the Dead, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Fright Night, Future-Kill, Ghoulies, Igor and the Lunatics, Lifeforce, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, The Oracle, Re-Animator, Return of the Living Dead, Silver Bullet, The Stuff, Transylvania 6-5000.

1986: Aliens, April Fool’s Day, Critters, Deadly Friend, Deadtime Stories, Demons, The Fly, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, From Beyond, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, The Hitcher, House, In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro, Invaders from Mars, Killbots, King Kong Lives, The Ladies Club, Link, Little Shop of Horrors, Manhunter, Maximum Overdrive, Mountaintop Motel Massacre, Night of the Creeps, Nomads, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Psycho III, Raiders of the Living Dead, Rawhead Rex, Slaughter High, Terrorvision, Trick or Treat, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, Vamp, Wraith.

1987: Angel Heart, Anguish, The Believers, Blue Monkey, Creepshow 2, Dolls, Evil Dead 2, Flowers in the Attic, The Gate, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II, Hellraiser, The Hidden, House II: The Second Story, Hunter’s Blood, Jaws: The Revenge, The Kindred, The Lost Boys, The Monster Squad, My Demon Lover, Near Dark, Nightflyers, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Prince of Darkness, Return to Horror High, The Stepfather.

1988: Bad Dreams, The Blob, Child’s Play, Critters II, Dead Heat, Dead Ringers, Destroyer, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Fright Night Part 2, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hero and the Terror, The Kiss, Lair of the White Worm, Monkey Shines, The Nest, Night of the Demons, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Phantasm II, Poltergeist III, Pumpkinhead, Return of the Living Dead Part 2, The Serpent and the Rainbow, The Seventh Sign, Slaughterhouse Rock, They Live, Twice Dead, The Unholy, Vampire’s Kiss, Waxwork.

1989: Deep Star Six, The Fly II, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Halloween 5, Heaven Becomes Hell, Leviathan, Lisa, Moon Trap, Pet Sematary, Phantom of the Mall, Relentless, Shocker, Society, Stepfather II, Stripped to Kill 2, The Terror Within, Warlock.

With sneak peeks for classic horror ditties including cult favorites, unbearable spoofs, shameless cash-ins, the just plain obscure, and several flicks which some may only partway consider to be "horror," Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horror-Thon is by no means an 100% "average" collection. It is also by no means 100% complete: there are several movies from the decade you might expect to see here which are not included. This is most likely due to the fact some of those trailers popped up in the first two Trailer Trauma sets, but one also has to take into consideration the fact Garagehouse Pictures didn't just borrow someone else's material: every trailer here was acquired and scanned specifically for this mind-blowing home video presentation.

Yes, that's right, kids: these trailers come to you from original 35mm materials (although I must confess the trailers for Future-Kill and Stripped to Kill II look like they hailed from non-celluloid sources) ‒ something very few labels would do in this day and age, where it's far too easy and tempting to just rip a video from YouTube. That in itself should tell you how devoted the folks at Garagehouse Pictures are in bringing this must-own offering to horror movie lovers everywhere. What's more, the Limited Edition (1,500 units), Region Free release includes an audio commentary track for each year by a venerable selection of genre historians, enthusiasts, critics, and filmmakers. All that plus a few trailers for other Garagehouse Pictures releases, too!

In short, while there's a pretty good chance most of you missed out on seeing many of these movies when they first hit cinema screens back in the '80s, there's absolutely no reason to miss out on purchasing this dynamic set before it too becomes something of the past. Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horror-Thon is most definitely the ultimate party mix for '80s horror movie aficionados, and comes highly recommended.

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