Some trailers can completely ruin the filmgoing experience. Too much is revealed and you know what’s coming. Others can mislead you to the point where you think you know what’s coming and you are so wrong. There are also those that are so epic it makes you forget the actually movie you came to the multiplex for. Word-of-Mouth is one thing but a trailer can make or break box office results. These are my Top 10 Movie Trailers of all-time. The film itself may be a classic or total horse crap. This is about the visceral experience of being teased of what could potentially be awesome.
10. “Inception” (2010):
Once he was established as a top tier Hollywood director, Christopher Nolan had the ability to walk into the head of a production companie’s office and walk out with a blank check. All he does is make hits. Fresh off the enormous commercial and critical success that was “The Dark Knight”, Nolan decided to make an action movie about dreams. Huh? The filmmaker grabbed an array of A-List stars led by Leonardo DiCaprio. When the trailer dropped and people saw cities that fold and a fight inside of a rotating hallway everyone was hooked even though they had no idea what the movie was about. Walking out of various movies, the talk was more about this trailer.
9. “Pulp Fiction (1994):
What in the hell is this movie supposed to be about? That was the question on everyone’s mind when the trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s break-out hit “Pulp Fiction” dropped. We’ve got multiple stars known for movies that have nothing to do with gangsters. Also, is this exactly a gangster movie? Audiences had no clue what they were going to get with “Pulp Fiction”. All that anybody knew from this trailer was that it was going to be one wild ride.
8. “Psycho” (1960):
The master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock made perhaps his least suspenseful trailer ever. That turned out to be a stroke of genius. Known for making thrillers and mysteries with big stars, Hitch loved messing with movie-goers for over six decades. His most well known obviously being “Psycho”. A complex slasher movie, this trailer told the audience almost nothing. It was just Hitch walking around a hotel room hinting at the idea of horrible things that may or may not happen. Needless to say the audience was stunned when the main character, Janet Leigh, was offed half way in during the classic shower scene. Who would have guessed that was coming from this clip.
7. “Cloverfield” (2008):
I will say this about “Cloverfield”. It is a stupid movie but there are some long takes that were done with skill theatrically. Curiosity surrounding the movie was extraordinary when the trailer dropped. The secretive J.J. Abrams produced project had a teaser that did not even include the name of the film. When the main trailer dropped mystery was still running rampant. People felt like this is a monster movie, at least I think it is? Again, the end product is nonsense, but it takes a great trailer to create a groundswell of buzz for a movie coming out in January.
6. “The Shining” (1980):
The trailer for “The Shining” is the most ominous that I have ever seen. Starting with a voice over with empty hallways at a hotel, the feeling of being plain ‘off’ is palpable. Then it gets more horrific with images such as Jack Nicholson using his axe and builds towards a feeling of absolute dread. Using quick cuts that show every aspect of the movie, but only in half-second type increments, director Stanley Kubrick told the audience what they were in for. Don’t say he didn’t warn you.
5. “Spider-Man 3” (2007):
What a way to completely destroy what was on pace to be a great trilogy. “Spider-Man 3” was an absolute train wreck. From the “EMO” Tobey Maguire dancing in the streets to the absolutely stupid climactic battle, this movie just plain sucks. What does not suck is its trailer. Coming off of the high note that was the first two installments, nerds and movie fans alike were stoked after this trailer dropped. Holy crap, we’re finally going to get Venom on the big screen! And you barely even see him in the trailer. What a tease, which is something a good trailer knows how to do. Perfect example of a trailer being way, I mean way better than the actual movie.
4. “Poltergeist” (1982):
Talk about one creepy mo-fo. “Poltergeist” is a horror classic. A family is haunted by ghosts because they simply bought the wrong house. The trailer had people in 1982 freaked out before even seeing the movie. Starting off as what appears to be a plucky family movie, everything gets turned upside down with two words; “THEY’RE HERE”… From there a barrage of paranormal sequences are blasted at viewers faces. Ghost movies are a dime a dozen, but “Poltergeist” showed in less than three minutes that this picture ain’t messing around.
3. “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003):
This was the ultimate hype-train movie in my lifetime. The original “The Matrix” came out of nowhere to be huge and its trailer is also great. While the sequels themselves suck, the full-on “The Matrix: Reloaded” trailer had the Wachowski Brothers outdoing themselves. You do not have to like the movie, I don’t, but how can you not want to buy a ticket after this trailer? The line outside the theatre was like everyone was going to see the latest “Star Wars” or “Harry Potter”. We start with Trinity jumping out a window followed by Morpheus saying ‘Here We Go’. From there you’ve got our hero Neo fighting hundreds of agent Smiths followed by a car chase involving a motorcycle going the wrong way on a highway. The early techno background music combined with the finishing orchestral songs make this feel like it is going to be an all timer. I just wish the words Laurence Fishburne utters, ‘WHAT IF THE PROPHECY IS TRUE…’ were actually factual with this real life let down.
2. “Se7en” (1995):
The trailer for “Se7en” is a perfect mixture of the way old school ‘Film Noir’ movies were showcased combined with a modern flavor. Still employing the awesome trailer guy voice of the past, the audience is taken into a world full of uncertainty from the start. You get the almost retired detective in Morgan Freeman with the young buck Brad Pitt having to work together. Then, out of nowhere, we have a serial killer offing people in the most sadistic ways possible. Whoa! To quote Freeman’s character; “THIS GUY’S METHODICAL, EXACTING, AND, WORST OF ALL, PATIENT”. Audiences had no idea what they were about to get into, which is the best type of film-going experience.
1. “Alien” (1979):
This one is real easy. How director Ridley Scott convinced the studio to release this trailer is beyond me because you basically know nothing which was not popular at the time or even now. Ok, so we’re in space and there’s some group of astronaut-type people exploring or doing something. The main character is, hell I don’t know. There is a distant planet with a spaceship and a bunch of egg-shaped things that are explored. Suddenly flashes of the crew beginning to fight off something on the ship are shown. Yes, we all know what happens today as the “Alien” franchise is established. But in 1979, hearing the words “IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM” was both baffling as well as terrifying.