5 Awesome Trailers for Awful Horror Films
Sometimes great movie have terrible trailers, and you wind up never seeing a movie that eventually wins like every Oscar and have nothing to talk about at dinner parties for half a year. On the other hand, sometimes terrible movies have GREAT trailers, and when all is said and done you wind up wondering why you just wasted 92 minutes of your life. These are those trailers. Consider yourself warned. We present “awesome trailers for bad movies: horror edition.” (Note: Some trailers are NSFW.)
‘Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III’ (1990)
This custom-made teaser trailer would have us believe that we’re getting the origin story of Leatherface and his hardware, an Arthurian mythology complete with the Lady in the Lake delivering the magical weapon to a portly young man. Spoiler: None of that appears in the movie. If only! The movie does feature one treat that’s not in the trailer: a young Viggo Mortensen as the sexiest member of the Sawyer family.
‘Maximum Overdrive’ (1986)
Every movie trailer would be improved if it were introduced by a manic Stephen King. Here the novelist-turned-movie-director quickly denounces other people who’ve adapted his work (that includes Stanley Kubrick, David Cronenberg, Brian DePalma, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter and George Romero!). King’s humble brags are intercut with footage of killer lawnmowers, sentient trucks and a vindictive soda machine. The trailer reaches its dramatic crescendo with a cross-eyed King pointing in your general direction and vowing that he’s going to scare the hell outta you. As the saying goes, cocaine is a helluva drug.
‘Jaws 3-D’ (1983)
Film critics agree that Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ succeeds by not over-showing the shark. Likewise, this teaser works because it doesn’t show the aquatic theme park, the sloppy green-screen sequences or Louis Gossett, Jr.’s outrageously hammy performance. This trailer gets so much right: the moody music, the hair-raising voice-over by Percy Rodriguez and the swelling undertow of dread that comes from the shark fin comin’ right ‘atcha!
‘Werewolves on Wheels’ (1971)
Remember that scene in ‘Ed Wood’ when the film distributor tells Ed that they’ve released a poster and now they need to make the movie? The same thing might’ve happened here. You’ve got such a brilliantly ridiculous high-concept — combining a biker movie with devil worship and lycanthropy — it would be near-impossible to live up to the promise of that one-sheet. During the DVD commentary track the filmmakers admit that they could only afford the make-up artist for three days; so the trailer has about as much werewolf-action as you get in the entire movie.
‘Frenzy of Blood’ Double Feature (1972)
Once again, the custom-made trailer makes for a real stand-out. Rather than just slap a sensational voiceover onto some footage, someone went through the trouble of making a promotional film for the double-bill of ‘I Dismember Mama’ and ‘The Blood Splattered Bride.’ In the course of four minutes we learn little about either movie, but we get some big laughs from the weirdos exiting the theater. This mini-movie is a favorite of Eli Roth, who sang its praises over at Trailers from Hell. (Watch the highly NSFW trailer here.)