The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXVI: Our Favorite Horror Trailers (Part II)

Scary DVDs! Woo!
Our guest podcaster, John Foley, wrote the trailer for The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe.
We’re back for more horror movie trailer talk! The discussion about The Scariest Things continues, with the help of trailer writer/producer John Foley.

With so much content to cover in Episode 116, we had to split it into two segments! If you haven’t caught the first half, go back and listen to it to hear John Foley explain the thought process behind trailer creation. In this segment, the Scariest Team each brings our second and third picks for our favorite trailers.

In this segment’s selections, a couple of the movies exemplify the role of a trailer in the overall marketing campaign of a movie. The trailer is just a part of the hype machine, and when working with a good movie poster, and nowadays a good viral media campaign, early word-of-mouth excitement can build. A poorly done trailer or poster could make it an uphill climb for the movie’s box office returns.

Also, we have one of the most innovative horror trailers in history. It has no characters and no real narrative, but it is absolutely memorable. It’s the kind of trailer that can only be made if the director and production team have enough cache from their previous efforts that would allow for an unconventional trailer. You’ll know it when you see it.

So, here are the rest of our picks. To get our takes on these trailers, give our podcast a listen!

John’s Second Pick: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

A perfect example of how to properly pay homage to an original, and yet stake out its own turf. This trailer builds with the transformation of the music. John has some wonderful insights on the creation of this trailer.

Liz’s Second Pick: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Here is a revolutionary trailer, that stretched the shaky-cam authenticity to the maximum. The whole viral campaign brought such a Note: scroll down and see the image for Four Flies on Grey Velvet! A coincidence? I doubt it!

Eric’s Second Pick: Hellraiser (1988)

The power of the testimonial endorsement by Stephen King, and Gothic imagery the likes we had never seen before. Sexy and disturbing, in a way that showed off Clive Barker’s massive imagination at play.

Mike’s Second Pick: The Shining (1980)

For those of you listening to the podcast, you don’t get the scrolling narrative, and the literally splashy imagery, but you do get the full impact of distorted and atonal music from Wendy O Williams that will set your nerves on edge. Only someone like Kubrick could get away with this.

John’s Third Pick: The Woman in Black (2012)

John wrote this trailer, including the rhyme in it. It’s a trailer that runs against the convention of the modern trailer, employing little musical cues, poetry, and suggestive imagery to create an atmosphere, rather than trying to go full exposition with jump scares.

Liz’s Second Pick: Hereditary (2018)

How do you show a lot of powerful imagery and spoil absolutely nothing? You do it like this! It also is a masterpiece of misdirection, setting audiences to expect one thing going into the film, adding to the big surprises that await. The subterfuge is intentional, and perfectly done. You don’t feel cheated, but rewarded as a result of the twisting of expectations.

Eric’s Third Pick: Don’t Breathe (2016)

This is how you reveal the outline of the plot to get you interested without spoiling anything major.  It gives you the fundamental issues.  And it also beautifully captures the hold your breath necessity of this movie (and the trailer!).  This, and Quiet Place, but this did it first.  Stephen Lang is so scary and intimidating, and the trailer feels like a microcosm of the feature.  One minor spoiler (the fate of Money) is I think OK to show, but the BIG moments in the movie are not spoiled. 

Mike’s Third Pick: Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)

Groovy old school Giallo! You have to love the baritone voice over, a staple of the seventies. Lots of screaming. Lots of hyperbolic declarations. This also emphasizes the trademark Argento first person attacker’s eye view. Cudgel smash! Needle jab! Knife drop! How this movie was PG, I have no idea. (Maybe it’s just the trailer that’s PG… ) Also, I can’t help but note the similarity in the shot in this trailer that marries up to Heather Donahue monologue imagery. (Minus the snot)

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