Best Trailers for Bad Movies
First impressions are everything, which is why the art of the movie trailer has become the most vital tool in the film industry. A bad trailer can sour you on the best movie, but most of the time it’s the other way around. If Hollywood does anything right, it’s selling us a slow-cooked turd as delicious chocolate.
So here are Dread Central’s picks for great horror movie trailers that overshadowed their lesser films:
The Hills Have Eyes 2
Exciting trailers for bad movies are a dime a dozen, but what about the ones that are shot just for marketing? You won’t find a better example of an ad eclipsing a film than the brilliant teaser for The Hills Have Eyes 2. Completely wordless with only the sounds of dragging bodies and Devendra Banhart’s “Insect Eyes,” the teaser showed more artistry and directorial flare than anything in the actual movie. To this day, I can’t recall a frame of the end product, but this haunting teaser will always stick with me.
Trailer voice-over king Percy Rodriguez gave the kind of iconic narration that could strike fear into a Disney film. The man’s voice could sell you on a movie without ever showing you a frame – and that’s exactly what he did in this minimalist teaser for Jaws 3-D. These 80 seconds contain more dread than all 100 minutes of the actual film, and you can almost hear the excited hush of the audience when this premiered on screens in 1983.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
I’ll never understand why Platinum Dunes’ clichéd remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has fans, but I’ll be damned if the film’s trailer didn’t get me pumped up to see it back in the day. From the creepy production design to the haunting soundtrack and use of the original’s iconic flashbulb sound effect, it made the hairs stand up on even the most hardened purist. Unfortunately the actual film was devoid of any soul and set the tone for the rest of the company’s hollow music video remakes.
Dimension Films loves to acquire properties they have no idea what to do with, and the Hellraiser franchise was one of their earliest and greatest casualties. There’s a good movie buried somewhere in the mess of Hellraiser: Bloodline (and it’s certainly better than the godawful Hellraiser III), but the studio’s notorious meddling more than earned this one its Alan Smithee credit. Slap on Clive Barker’s name and throw a bunch of evocative images together to “Mars, Bringer of War” and you have one epic looking theatrical send-off for the cenobites. The trailer also has two of Pinhead’s all-time best lines – neither of which are in the finished film.
It was a shock to no one when a PG-13 Terminator film directed by McG turned out to be a complete waste of time, but the allure of a future-war movie and an incredibly slick marketing campaign momentarily raised expectations out of the gutter. With broody John Connor voice-over set to Nine Inch Nails’ “The Day the Whole World Went Away,” this trailer could almost convince you that Salvation was a pretty good movie you just happened to sleep through. It’s too bad the leaked audio of Christian Bale’s on-set meltdown proved far more entertaining than the end product.