Trailer Trash Vol. 4! Memories of 42nd Street | {Out of Order} Lighttrain

Welcome back! As before, this is your conductor speaking. Tonight on the show is our fourth volume of the notorious Trailer Trash, where we look back during a funky time in Hollywood history where cheap double features for the price of one ticket were very common. Nowadays, not so much, as studios have millions of dollars at their disposal to invest in projects, but drive-ins have certainly had a resurgence due to the Coronavirus pandemic. With that, let’s jump straight into the outlandish, grotesque, sewage-soaked, and endlessly captivating lineup of b-movie wonderment. Let’s get this show on the road (how comforting it is to write that again after so long…)!

Surf Ninjas (1993)

A strange melding of martial arts and the stereotypical surf culture, the story seems to follow these teenage boys who get tangled up with this cyborg crime boss. Yet what kind of villain is that compared to the likes of Rob Schneider… oh, the horror! But really though, why is this 30 year old man hanging out at the beach with two teenage boys? Really makes you think. I think that this movie encapsulates a lot of family films from the 1990s, many of which tried far too hard to be hip, were full of plot holes, and had a cast of bumbling idiots. Then again, you could go worse. You could be Space Jam. Don’t forget; claim your turf, make sure to moto-surf.

Death Promise (1977)

One of the many reasons I don’t like blockbusters all that much is they always seem to have very one-dimensional villains. So boring, unscrupulous sure, but substance and depth is pretty much nonexistent. Until now! Behold, landlords and bosses, the true scum of the earth. How can I possibly relate to having to stand up against a tyrannical megalomaniac with their own private army? On the contrary, obnoxious superiors are a nuisance for plenty of folks, I feel. Throw in their sidekick Rob Schneider and you finally have action movie antagonists I want to see taken down. You go, Charles Bonet!

The Company of Wolves (1984)

An unnerving retelling of the classic Red Riding Hood fairy tale, this trailer I think offers a pretty decent idea of what sort of horror flick this is going to be. For what it’s worth, The Company of Wolves doesn’t actually look all that terrible. The production design and practical effects still hold up today at the very least. Even though they are trying to frighten us as an audience, I can’t help but smile seeing all those dogs being good boys and running around the set. Truly a heartwarming sight. So the dreamy atmosphere, unique style, and overall moral to never trust anyone with a unibrow definitely make for a good sell.

National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982)

What? Explain yourself, Chevy Chase. You had something to do with this, didn’t you? Due to a decline in popularity of humor magazine National Lampoon after many of their alumni jumped ship to join the television sketch show Saturday Night Live (that I’m sure barely survived a single season), they began pumping out feature films. Their first attempt, Animal House, proved a massive success, so they continued forward. Obviously Class Reunion is attempting to recapture the magic from before, but it was quickly dumped on by critics and left to be forgotten in time. Oh well. You win some and you lose some. Although, this trailer is certainly very odd, cramming confusing chaos into a single minute without actually giving a premise. Unless the movie was just unhinged madness. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were so.

Don’t check out just yet, Lighttrain will return with more trailers after these messages…


INSTAGRAM: @niche_cinema (film) and @g.nowak_art (illustrations)



Now, on with the show!

Modesty Blaise (1966)

Hey, do you mind repeating that title once again; I didn’t catch it the first ten times you said it. A campy espionage comedy that’s base concept is probably “female James Bond” turned into nothing more than a baroque pop art showcase with some people talking now and then. It’s like if a gallery from 60s London was a movie. Part of the problem here is that the director, Joseph Losey, was known more for his serious dramatic works and not for a goofball spy parody like this. Step aside, Modesty, Diabolik and Barbarella will take it from here. Go back to your apartment complex and beat up your evil landlords or something.

Hercules in New York (1970)

As evident from the footage seen above, Hercules in New York is an autobiographical look at the humble beginnings of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who goes from Greek god to professional bodybuilder and finally the governor of California. Not one of the most well-made documentaries out there, but thoroughly investing all the way through. Seeing Arnold grow, adapt his human alias, fall in love with a pretzel cart owner, and cause countless acts of property damage is truly exquisite. I was also quite surprised to hear that a young Schwarz had such a different voice in his youth. Wonder what happened there. Otherwise, bravo.

Black Caesar (1973)

February is coming to a close, and with that the temporary passing of black history month. I genuinely mean without an ounce of sarcasm that it’s stellar to see African-American people getting the acknowledgment and support they deserve after generations of discrimination. Yet back in the 70s, these people were also encouraged on by a rising subgenre of grindhouse cinema: the blaxploitation film. These were your typical action-packed slam fest featuring criminal underbellies and kung fu powerhouses, but instead featuring a wide array of black actors. Of course, this is trailer trash, so these were not usually the best things out there, but there is no denying the positive influence it had on many local communities.

Tommy (1975)

Don’t do drugs, kids. Our final trailer of the evening is the psychedelic rock opera Tommy, featuring a soundtrack by The Who, and guest appearances from the likes of Ann-Margaret, Jack Nicholson, and Elton John. This wild advertisement was simply begging me to look further into the plot of this thing. Apparently, it stars a man who is deaf, dumb, and blind who becomes a master pinball player and gets tangled up in a cult. Normal stuff, no doubt. Having come across robo-Leslie Nielson and unibrow werewolves may have just desensitized me by now.

Thank you for reading and your continued patience! Look forward to more soon. Later.


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