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Top 10 Favorite Movie Trailers

September 9, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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My Top 10 Favorite Movie Trailers

Movie nerds like to complain about movie trailers. Just hop on social media whenever a trailer for a new movie debuts and you will likely see tons of complaints. You will also see tons of people liking and enjoying the trailer for the upcoming movie, although they don’t seem to generate the same kind of noise as the negativity (at least that’s been my experience). And, full disclosure, I’ve complained about movie trailers online (I’d be surprised if there was a movie nerd out there who didn’t at one point or another. It’s just something that we do). And while I thought about doing a “negative” list of some sort about movie trailers (“Top 5 Worst Movie Trailers of All Time”), I decided against it. I figured it would be more interesting to do a list about my favorite movie trailers of all time. And so that’s what I’ve done. I thought about it, went all over YouTube, and figured out what my Top 10 Favorite Movie Trailers are (I didn’t think doing a “Top 5” list was sufficient enough).

And so, what are my Top 10 Favorite Movie Trailers?

My Top 10 Favorite Movie Trailers

10- Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!: I was unaware that this particular trailer existed until I saw it smack in the middle of one of those “All Friday the 13th movie trailers” compilation videos on YouTube. I was initially surprised at how it didn’t feature any moments from the actual movie and was basically just a creepy as hell mood piece. Where’s the hockey mask? Where’s the machete? Where the heck is Jason (the movie being advertised is subtitled Jason Lives!. Shouldn’t we get to see him at some point in the trailer?)? But then that slow moving camera into the cemetery, the stormy weather, the exploding tombstone, and then the casket rising up out of the ground and opening to reveal… nothing? Holy hooey. What the heck is going on here? I’d love to know if this trailer actually generated big time buzz for the movie or if horror audiences just didn’t get it. Just thinking about it now is giving me the willies. Where did Jason go? Was he ever actually in that casket? Jesus.

9- Who’s Harry Crumb?: The trailer for Who’s Harry Crumb? really doesn’t make any sense if you see it before the movie. The various moments of John Candy in action are funny, yes, but you don’t have a full grasp on how funny they are and how funny Candy is in the movie. When you see the movie a few times and then watch the trailer you end up remembering the specific scenes and laughing out loud just like when you watched the movie the first time (the scene where Crumb does a backflip in Eliot Draisen’s office still makes me guffaw. It’s hilarious). And then you start to wonder how this movie bombed at the box office and didn’t generate at least one sequel. The world would be a much better place if we had a Who’s Harry Crumb 2?.

8- Real Men: I had no idea that this trailer existed until I saw it as the lone special feature on the Real Men DVD that came out way back in 2003. When you first see it you immediately wonder what the hell United Artists is actually trying to sell. I mean, yes, we can see that Jim Belushi and John Ritter are apparently in the movie, but what kind of movie are they actually in? Just what kind of comedy is it? Much like the trailer for Who’s Harry Crumb?, the trailer for Real Men makes no sense if you see it before the movie. It’s just two actors “in character” talking to the screen but we have no real context for those characters. When you see the movie first and then the trailer, not only does the trailer start to make sense but it’s also more of Belushi as the arrogant and uber confident Nick Pirandello and John Ritter as the mega milquetoast Bob Wilson (although, in the movie, Wilson isn’t as outwardly goofy as he is in the trailer). And having more of those two things is just terrific. Real Men is a movie that was ahead of its time and is in desperate need of a reevaluation (I bet if Real Men came out today it would be heralded as a comedic masterpiece solely on its weirdness).

7- Revenge of the Ninja: What’s great about this trailer, besides the booming voice of the narrator (that announcer really sounds like the voice of the movie’s bad guy, Braden, played by Arthur Roberts, but I don’t think that’s him), is that it showcases just how much of a badass Sho Kosugi is. We see bits and pieces of various action set pieces from the movie, with Kosugi destroying things and just beating the holy hooha out of every bad guy in his way. It really gets you excited about the movie. It’s also cool how the trailer makes a big deal out of then uber young Kane Kosugi appearing in the movie (Kane Kosugi was a six-time world karate champion at the time? Who the hell knew that?). I wish someone in Hollywood continued to make movies like this one today.

6- New York Ninja: I fell in love with this trailer as soon as I saw it. It tells you, very briefly, that New York Ninja was a “lost movie” that was eventually pieced together into a rip-roaring ninja martial arts movie. It also showcases the voice talent that was assembled to give the various actors a voice (Don “The Dragon” Wilson provided the voice for the movie’s star and original director John Liu, for instance) as well as one of the themes created for the movie’s soundtrack by the awesome Voyager. The trailer also projects a real sense of fun, which is what the actual movie is. Fun. So goddamn much fun (check out my full review of New York Ninja here).

5-Day of the Dead (1985): I first saw this trailer on the Anchor Bay Divimax DVD and was immediately perplexed by it. I mean, why the hell is there a zombie in a movie theater, eating popcorn? How did the zombie get into the theater in the first place? Did the zombie buy a ticket? Did the zombie have a friend sneak him in through the emergency exit door? And why are the “regular” people in the audience just now noticing that there’s a zombie in the theater? Wouldn’t they all have smelled the zombie’s zombie rot as soon as they got into their seats? The whole thing made no sense to me. It makes sense to me now. The trailer is incredibly memorable because of that zombie and helps you remember “Hey, there’s a movie out there called Day of the Dead. I might want to see that.” That’s just terrific. On top of that, check out all of the 1985 people assembled for the commercial. Time capsules like that are always cool.

4- Escape from L.A.: The first time I saw this trailer was in the theater, although I don’t remember what movie it played in front of. I knew the sequel was coming out because I saw a teaser poster in the theater lobby months earlier, but that was all I knew. And as soon as I saw it I was immediately a fan and couldn’t wait for return of Snake Plissken. And was I the only one who first saw this and, at the beginning, thought it was the old “Welcome to Loews Theaters” pre-trailers welcoming thing?

3- Terminator 2: Judgment Day teaser trailer: The first time I saw this teaser trailer was on the Total Recall VHS release (I don’t think I ever saw it play in front of a movie in the theater, at least I don’t remember that happening). As soon as it finished I rewound the tape to watch it again. I was mesmerized by the assembly line putting the T-800 together (the robot’s arm is connected to its shoulder by one long bolt, which I found incredibly interesting for some reason). And then that final scene of Ahnold, returning as the Terminator, with glowing red eyes. Glowing red eyes! That’s awesome and terrifying and exciting. I eventually saw Judgment Day three times on the big screen that summer. Time and money very well spent.

2- A Force of One: One of the first things you learn while watching this trailer is that Chuck Norris is not the top billed star. Norris is in the trailer quite a bit and his character is the focus of the story, but Jennifer O’Neill is the actual top billed star (watch how the announcer says that the movie’s story has forced O’Neill into “black belt action” and then we see her chop a dude’s hand). We then find out that the movie is, maybe, about drugs but you’re never quite sure (there’s also a guy wearing a ski mask and killing people, breaking necks and whatnot, so is there a serial killer story going on here, too?). And what’s the deal with the “one city’s police force” thing? Are people really going to get excited about seeing that kind of thing? The trailer certainly thinks you will. And check out that last sequence, where the whole thing builds to a moment where the cops are looking for someone in the audience of the arena. And then there’s the “Chuck Norris figure in sitting position surrounded by a triangle while the announcer goes on about how Chuck Norris can hear the silence, see the darkness, and he’s the only one who can stop the killing” thing, which is just superb (it really sells the movie and makes you think that Norris is the ultimate badass).

1- Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III: Back in the very early 1990’s, when if you wanted to watch a movie on pay-per-view you had to find out when it was playing (no such thing as “on demand” back in the early 1990’s) and then you had to call your cable operator to order it, my local cable provider would often run a series of movie trailers and commercials early in the morning for what was available on pay-per-view at that moment as well as stuff that was “coming soon.” One morning I flipped it over to the pay-per-view channel to see if the channel was on and running trailers and commercials and saw, for the first time, the teaser for Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. I immediately became scared. The whole idea of walking through the woods, coming upon a lake in the middle of nowhere, seeing a huge guy standing there on the edge of the water, and then a gigantic chainsaw coming out of the lake and the huge guy grabbing it, lightning hitting it, the chainsaw starting, and then the huge guy turning around because he was set to kill me disturbed the hell out of me. It still disturbs me. Because, really, what if you came upon that situation in real life? What the hell would you do besides die horribly? And that announcer! Holy crap!

And while Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III is an okay horror movie, am I the only one who wishes the actual movie was a tenth as fun as the teaser trailer?


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