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Dissecting Trailers: Horror Movie Malarkey

As promised, friends, I’m back with trailers for upcoming horror movies. The tricky thing about horror trailers is that they tend to look good all the time, even if the movie itself ends up being incredibly stupid. Horror trailer editors need to be given a special award, but that’s neither here nor there.

Let’s get to the trailers, shall we?

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3

Remember when I just said horror trailers tend to look good all the time? Forget all that; This looks like balls. For some reason, people find the “ParaSNOREmal INactivity” movies scary, and they cost, like, $8 to make, so why the hell not keep making them? And it’s a prequel, my favorite. Did you notice? It takes place in 1988 when HD movie cameras were all staticky.

Here’s my main problem with this: Ghosts? Fine. I can buy houses are haunted or even that specific people are in some way more affected by paranormal stuff than others, but Bloody Mary? Are they that bereft of ideas that they have to turn to an old game kids play? Yes. I think the answer is yes.


APOLLO 18

Oh good, another found-footage movie. I love those. (I do not really love those at all) At the very least, though, this one is more inventive than the others. Also, it’s an interesting way to explain why America stopped giving a shit about the moon. I wouldn’t want to go, either, if there were weird little critters up there. Or big critters. This movie was supposed to come out in the Spring and was held back, which I hope doesn’t reflect on its quality, though it’s possible. Even though I’m pretty interested in seeing this, I admit I’ve grown really tired of the gimmick of somebody getting pulled by their feet into darkness. They did it in Jurassic Park, for golly’s sake. Let’s just all agree to stop doing it, okay?

THE THING

Sonofabitch. Twice. This trailer does the pulling into darkness thing twice. Ugh. John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing is one of my favorite movies of all time, so the idea of prequel-remaking it doesn’t sit all that well with me anyway. It does look like they’re trying to at least stay true to the look of Carpenter’s film, which I appreciate, but one of the hallmarks of the earlier film was its amazing use of practical effects. All of The Thing’s many incarnations were made in all their visceral, tentacular glory by Rob Bottin or Stan Winston, and the craftsmanship of those effects were such that you really felt like these things you were seeing were real. This film, as is all too common, just uses CGI. No matter how good CGI looks, it doesn’t look real. Period. Done. End of. But, I’ll probably still go see this movie.

11-11-11

Okay, let’s completely gloss over the fact that this trailer also does the pull-into-darkness thing; This movie looks bonkers. Some kind of gargoyle or demon thing is surrounded by fire. The fuck? Although 11-11-11 is one of the lamest titles ever, especially for a horror movie. Also, did I miss something about the “11 11″ prophecy they talk about? That’s made up, right? That’s not a real thing? I will say, the direction looks good and it’s nice to see Darren Lynn Bousman doing non-Saw stuff.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

Leave it to Guillermo del Toro to remake a 1973 TV movie and turn it into something that looks absolutely terrifying. The sound design alone is enough to give you nightmares, with the whispers and all that. Yikes. While not directed by del Toro, it was produced and written by him so it’s got the style and the creepy fairy tale vibe of his other films. Is moving into an enormous, old, rundown house ever a good idea? No, no it isn’t. And do you know why? Because likely there will be goblins living in the over-sized duct system. Ask anybody in charge of zoning, it’s a lot more common than you think.

FINAL DESTINATION 5

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, how can you have more than one FINAL destination? I will give it to the franchise that they do think of incredibly horrific and elaborate deaths for people, but that’s what I said about the Saw movies, too. It’s the law of diminishing returns. Remember how the last one was just called The Final Destination, implying that it was going to be the last one they did? But that movie did unbelievably well at the box office, so they went “aw, fuck it,” and made yet another one. This is what’s known as the “New Beginning Phenomenon.” In 1984 they made Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, and only one year later there was Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, which then gave birth to six more films. Money will always win out.

So, go get scared at the movies. Next time on Dissecting Trailers, I’m going back to my original, pick-it-apart-by-the-second format and do the trailer that made me call “No Way” faster than any trailer in recent memory: Battleship.

-Kanderson enjoys watching trailers but enjoys even more having you as a TWITTER follower

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15 comments

  • I usually hate it when people bitch about movies they haven’t seen yet but unlike others, I can tell your at least joking about it.

    People think the PA movies are scary because it manages to make them jump. To be honest, who are we to judge what’s scary and whats not. Some people are afraid of snakes while others are of heights. I wouldn’t say their good movies but I watch them because they tend to be a good laugh with friends whenever someone jumps and I like the feeling of being uneasy and waiting for something to come out at me in a movie. If a movie has kept me entertained for the duration of the film, it’s done it’s purpose.

    Apollo 18 was supossed to be direct to video earlier this year I believe but was only pushed back because a studio picked it up much like The Last Exorcism was. The movie looks like an okay rental. I love the tagline though.

    I loved Carpenters the Thing and the makers said they were only going to use a little CGI but you can clearly tell when they guys face is going to split open, It’s going to be full direct to video CGI. I love Mary Elizabeth Winstead though.

    The other films I don’t care about. I might see Final Destination 5 but it looks like it’s shot the same way the last one was which was horrible. Everything was just too bright and full of CGI.

  • @Kyle Anderson

    It isn’t that I cut myself off from differing opinions. I simply know what I like, and I have heard many people crap all over PA and Blair Witch. I personally love both of those films. They show you nothing but give you enough to let your mind conjure the rest. For example, I loved the first half of Jeepers Creepers, but everything after the reveal was dreadful to me.

    So crapping on those types of movies is hardly unique to you, but I was able to ascertain that our tastes were very different and I would probably disagree with most of what you said. Generally, I would have left the page and said nothing. However, I was irked by hearing, I guess, one too many people crap on PA. There will always be Saw and Final Destination movies for those who like blood, gore and to see new and interesting ways to kill somebody, but let me have my little imagination movies.

    P.S. I don’t want you to get me wrong though, that PA3 trailer does look awful.

  • I don’t want to believe that bloody mary was the entity that was harassing them all this time. I think that it’s just the demon playing around with them, but of course they don’t notice it. Plus, they can completely remove this scene from the movie. They’ve done it with other films and their trailers in the past. Enjoyed your article lots though, and I can’t wait until you crucify that “Battleship” trailer.

  • I love horror movies, but I hate horror movies. My imagination gets the best of me. This post was brilliant. I saw the best part of all these movies, and I will be able to sleep tonight! Thank you!

  • Did anyone freeze the “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” trailer at 1:36?

    Not so scary when they’re creepy little fuzzy things…then 2:24 comes around…

    Also I will see the Thing out of loyalty to Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

  • author

    @Beeznitchio

    I think you’ll find that I’m fairly negative about all of these. Paranormal Activity (the first one) had an interesting premise and I applaud that is made so much money given it’s limited budget, but neither it nor its sequel are what I would consider “scary,” merely jump-inducing, which will happen in any movie where it’s quiet for long periods of time followed by a loud noise.

    What’s it like to completely cut yourself off from people with differing opinions?

  • I stopped reading when I realized you were going to be negative about PA series as a whole. I like the series, so we obviously have very different tastes. I am sure there will be more movies that leave little to the imagination and have much bigger budgets to keep you satisfied.

  • … Is it me or does Bloody Mary look like the creepy people the main character sees after putting on the Super Specs in the Are You Afraid of the Dark episode The Tale of the Super Specs?

    (like 20 years later and I’m still trying to keep it spoiler-free.)

  • I was hoping you were going to hit “Grave Encounters” which is a send-up of this goof-tastic show called “Ghost Encounters” only in the horror film we see the himbo-host lose his mind when all hell breaks loose.

    As for Battleship, I look forward to your dissection of the first “nautical disaster” of 2012.

  • My wife likes horror movies, and we go to see them, even if bad. Her philosophy on it is this: horror movies are, at best, scary, and at worst, funny–even more so than most comedies, which tend to be just moronic. So yes, we will see Final Destination 5, if not for the not-so-unintentional comedic value. On another note, I remember seeing Paranormal Activity, and I thought “Hmmm, this whole shakey-cam- in-the-dark-thing, where have I seen this before? Oh yeah, the Blair Witch Project! Duh!”

  • Well, if you look at it right these trailers give an interesting message: PA3 means that the camcorder will always be with us, just like our parents, or our past. Apollo 18 is space travel, which is fancy, and our future. The Thing is the unknown, the being hiding inside our own skin. If you change the dashes in 11-11-11 to 0′s, in binary to text that stands for “Û” which obviously is the “and number to won nine colons” which is what my grandfather used to say about how healthy he was. Don’t be afraid of the dark is about the fear of abandonment, such as when your parents would leave you alone in the dark. Final Destination 5 is about fear of death and how death happens to everyman. So, the final message is “Your past and present will lead to the unknown, but trust in yourself and stay healthy because soon you will be abandoned and die.” I like this article. Two thumbs up!