I love Netflix. Though it doesn’t always have everything I want to watch, if you look hard enough, you can find some hidden gems. Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell (1987) popped up as a recommendation on my feed, probably because I watch a lot of horror movies on Netflix and rank most of them pretty high. I was intrigued late one Saturday night after watching something else, so I fired it up. I had no idea what a treat it would be.
If you’ve never heard of this film, I’m not surprised. As many random movies as I’ve seen on late night jaunts with the likes of Elvira and Svengoolie, this one never popped up. The premise is actually really cool. Mad Ron, along with Nick and a zombie puppet named Happy Goldsplatt, take the viewers (and a theatre full of zombies) on a journey through grindhouse and B-movie horror previews from the ’60s and ’70s. The cut scenes with Mad Ron and crew are silly, but they make it so much fun. The zombies in the theatre remind me (and probably deliberately) of Gremlins.
The previews run one after another, with a few interruptions from Mad Ron and the gang, but your eyes are assaulted with visions of blood and gory violence. You’ll see famous films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Black Christmas, but most are more grindhouse fare like I Drink Your Blood. Represented here are directors like Mario Bava and other grindhouse horror directors. All of the previews are shockingly violent and gory, but in the most awesome way.
If you’ve seen Prevues from Hell and didn’t get enough, you’re in luck! In 2012, they brought Happy back from the dead and headed back to the projection room for Celluloid Bloodbath: More Prevues from Hell. More compilation and documentary than what we got with Mad Ron, this film still compiles grindhouse horror and features Happy Goldsplatt, but with a little more organization. As you watch this one, you’ll go through sub-genres like “Carnival Horror”, “Supernatural Horror”, and “Monsters”. Sprinkled in between trailers, you’ll also see anecdotes from people in the industry. Though this one doesn’t have the silly charm of the original, it’s definitely worth checking out as well.
One of the best things about these films is that you not only get to see what horror trailers looked like in the grindhouse days, but you also get to add films to your list of cinematic exploration this Halloween season. And did you know that a lot of these films can be found on YouTube? My “Watch Later” list has grown exponentially since watching these two movies.
So definitely check these two out this Halloween season. Have you seen them already? What did you think? If not, will you check them out? What’s the weirdest hidden gem you’ve discovered on Netflix? Sound off in the comments!