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The Clip Show
by Mike Thomas

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Traditional Trailer

Traditional Trailer

Inevitably, there comes a time in any series that you are obligated to do what is popularly known as a "clip show." I’d like to take a different spin on the theme by showcasing the marketing end of the movie biz, trailers.

Trailers are every one's first impression of most movies. Avid moviegoers read movie news pages and watch shows like "Entertainment Tonight" and read People Magazine. But for the majority of the public, movie trailers is the foot int he door for most of us.

Trailers are designed to sell the movie in ninety seconds or less. Therefore, it is the job of the trailer to tell you enough of the story without telling you the story. Older trailers like the trailer from the 60’s classic, The GRADUATE, introduces you to the main characters and give you a general feel for what the movie is about:

With the introduction of the Internet, "viral" videos advertising movies have come into prominence. YouTube videos such as the infamous line shouted by Samuel L. Jackson created a fervor for
Best SuperHero Movie Never Made

Best SuperHero Movie Never Made
the movie SNAKES on a PLANE. Others, like the example below, took the premise that their movie was so scary that no part of it could be shown in the trailers. In this writer’s opinion, it is the best example of creating a sensation from nothing:

Disney, on the other hand, took the polar opposite route and used their trailers to tell practically the entire story, most likely to let parents know what they are taking their children to see, and also to allay any fears that there would be no surprise scares to traumatize the tiny tots:

Another Samuel L. Jackson movie, BLACK SNAKE MOAN, had such a deceptive trailer, that made the viewer come to the conclusion that a "Blaxploitation" theme was going on: poor white, helpless Christina Ricci held prisoner by the lecherous Jackson, when the storyline was almost to the level of a film that
Believe It or Not This Was a Film

Believe It or Not This Was a Film
might have been considered for Oscar Gold. Why the producers chose to have the audience come to that conclusion is beyond this writer; it might have gotten better audiences:

J.J. Abrams also created a deceptive trailer with his so-called monster movie CLOVERFIELD, where the monster was seen on screen for a total of 45 seconds, using first-person handhed camcorders. If hollywood has any sense, there will not be a CLOVERFIELD 2:

With camcorders and video editing equipment within the budgets of Average Joe, the Fan Film has grown on prominence. George Lucas has actually encouraged STAR WARS fans to film their own shorts for festivals and fan conventions. One that came to my attention was a trailer for a never-made fan film GRAYSON, taking on the premise that Batman was murdered and Robin, despite the efforts of the entire Justice League, goes on a
Best Fake Trailer Made Into a Movie

Best Fake Trailer Made Into a Movie
vendetta to avenge his death:

Lastly, unique among trailers is the fake trailer for a movie that eventually became a movie. The fake trailer for MACHETE was viewed as part of the GRINDHOUSE double feature, along with with exploitation trailers. The response was obviously so great that a story was retro-fitted, and filmed to fit the scenes in the trailer:

What’s YOUR favorite trailer? Everyone has a trailer that enticed you to see a movie, or a trailer that was actually better than the movie? Leave you comments below.

Happy Viewing!


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Jan 21, 2012 2:21 PM
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I loved the Grindhouse trailers, particularly Don't! I'm sure there have been several trailers over the years that didn't live up to the promise for me, but one I especially remember was Tim Burton's Big Fish. It looked like it was going to be this amazingly fun adventure story but it just left me flat.

Good column.
Mike Thomas
Jan 21, 2012 3:14 PM
[X] delete
Thanks, Tim.

Yeah, BIG FISH was okay, but you're right - the trailer told you nothing. The actual story was high concept, in my opinion, better than the trailer.

Thanks for reading my column.

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Science Fiction, Double Feature
Every other Sunday

This column will explore my taste in film. I watch all kinds of movies - all kinds - but likes science fiction/fantasy - action, animated, funny, even stupid. He will speak of his experience and his encounters with science fiction and the way it colors his - and our - everyday life.

Other Columns
Other columns by Mike Thomas:

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

Joker Smackdown

Kids in Peril

Twenty Questions with Michael Bonomo

Twenty Questions with Scott Wheeler

All Columns

Mike Thomas
Mike Thomas was introduced to science fiction when he first watched 2001 - A SPACE ODYSSEY, and was hooked ever since. But he doesn't just watch the gee-whiz, gollee-gee special effects. He watches the costumes quirks, evaluates the musical scores, even identifies favorite actors of directors. He collected comic book, but has moved on to weapons: he currently owns the Mj?llnir - the Hammer of Thor, Electra's Ninja Sai's, Mace Windu's Light Saber, and a couple of Batarangs.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Mike Thomas by clicking here.

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