For the whole month of October, our own Kevin Stairiker will be watching a horror movie a day and cataloging his findings in a new feature called “31 for 31.”
As good as Netflix has been to horror fans over the years, this Halloween has been somewhat of a disappoint for the streaming giant. Sure, classics like “Hellraiser, “Re-Animator” and “The Fly” are there, but when you’re trying to keep your October movie watching relatively fresh like I’m attempting, the pickings become quite slim. Committing to finding something worthwhile on the ‘flix, I turned to the modern form of internet journalism: some quality “best of Netflix” lists.
A title that I started to see near the bottoms of all these lists was “Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell.” Each entry on the film described how strange and alien it was compared to everything currently on Netflix, so I strapped in and took the movie for a whirl.
Wow. “Wow” is really the best word for “Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell.” Where to begin? The crux of the “movie” (“movie” is a strong word) is old grindhouse horror trailers from the ’60s and ’70s, strung together with an incredibly loose plot revolving around the titular Mad Ron screening said trailers for a theater full of zombies. This is the “WarioWare” of movies, in that trailers fly at you so fast that you’re not sure when one ends and another begins.
The quality of movies previewed runs the entire gamut, from actual classics like “Night of the Living Dead” and “Deep Red” to movies that I frankly had never heard of, such as “The Undertaker and his Friends.”
In it’s own way, “Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell” is a brisk walk through the history of grindhouse cinema. You start to notice the tricks that trailers apply and used to apply to get viewers excited for these ridiculous films. For example, a number of the trailers urged moviegoers with heart conditions to not attend screenings for fear of their own deaths. Another great trailer cliche is that of the booming narrator talking wildly of “chills” and “thrills” and “spills” and “kills.”
The trailers make up a large percentage of the film, but I would be remiss to not talk about Mad Ron and his puppet, “Happy Goldsplatt.” Ron seems like an affable nerd, not too “mad.” Happy, however, is a foul-mouthed cretin whose lines are on par with the Cryptkeeper in terms of the cheese factor. Happy does have a fantastic moment near the end, where he attempts to keep the bored zombies in their seats for the remainder of the trailer-showings.
In summation, if you have a Netflix account, watch this movie. It is far and away the strangest spectacle in the entire streaming library, but if you’re anything like me, it will be hard to keep from smiling for the entire run time.
By the numbers
Total deaths: N/A
Movies featured: 47
Nazisploitation movies featured: 1
Minutes of the film shot on video tape: 19
Times a puppet threatens to expose himself: 1
Total movie death count: 165
Watched via: Netflix
Worth the watch? Yes
Arbitrary rating: 3.75/5 undecided zombie filmgoers
31 for 31 viewing list
- Jeepers Creepers (2001)
- Cube (1997)
- White Zombie (1932)
- Demons (Dèmoni) (1985)
- Phantasm II (1988)
- Kuroneko (1968)
- Creepshow (1982) / Creepshow 2 (1987)
- 30 Days of Night (2007)
- Last Man on Earth (1964)
- What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
- Cat People (1942)
- The Brood (1979)
- The Fog (1980)
- Them! (1954)
- It Follows (2015)
- Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell (1987)