Not too long ago, I went to see “The Witch” at our local indie theater in Akron, The Nightlight. Before the movie, they played some classic trailers, including “The Shining.” This is one of the most memorable trailers I’ve ever seen — frightening and disturbing in its simplicity, completely effective in teasing the movie without giving away any of the plot. Stanley Kubrick elevated trailers to an art form.
If I had to choose my all time favorite trailer, that honor would go to “Alien,” a horrific, noisy experience that is so well suited for the film. Plus, it features one of the best movie taglines in history, “In space no one can hear you scream.” Perfect movie, perfect trailer.
Without a doubt, some of the most fun, sensational trailers I have ever seen are for Herschell Gordon Lewis flicks. “Color Me Blood Red,” the title repeated ad nauseam, layered on top of the trademark gonzo gore, is a favorite. HG Lewis’s trailers exude the drive-in horror schlock charm of the ’60s.
It happens that I have passed my love of trailers on to my 4-year-old daughter, an ardent Toho fan. She always asks to watch the trailers before delving into a Godzilla movie. She likes to stomp around, roar and “breathe fire” while the movie highlights and orchestral score play in the background.
Want to learn more about the origins of movie trailers? Check out this cool history from filmmakerIQ.com.
And if you’re looking for a fun way to kill some time, check out the YouTube channel for Trailers from Hell, where filmmakers offer up commentary on new and old trailers.