Every Halloween, fear fans schedule their own movie marathons to celebrate the occasion (if you're stuck for ideas, by the way, feel free to check out the HorrorDad's recommendations). But as nice as it sounds to curl up with a line-up of your favorite frights, the sad truth of adult life is that there isn't always time to devote six hours or more - anything less than that can't be properly called a marathon - to watching movies. Often times if you get a chance to crash in front of the TV for just one movie at the end of the night, that's an accomplishment. But while you may not be able to enjoy every movie you'd like to before All Hallow's Eve is over, there's always time to fill up on horror trailers.
Whether you're taking a break from your Halloween horrorthon or you're just looking for a bite-sized, Halloween candy version of one, here's ten of my favorite horror trailers.
10. White Noise (2005)
Any time you put ghostly audio recordings into a trailer, you're gold. The movie itself was a ho-hum affair but I love the spooky In Search Of vibe of this trailer.
9. Of Unknown Origin (1983)
It was a curious decision on the part of Warner Bros.' marketing department to have the brownstone home of Peter Weller filled with an unearthly light at the end of this trailer. The movie is about Weller's character's life or death battle with a rat but all that light leads you to believe that something supernatural or even extraterrestrial is afoot. But I love it when horror trailers mislead the audience for no apparent reason so this one rates as a favorite with me.
8. Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)
If you want to know why I'm so sour on the majority of contemporary monster movies, look no further than this trailer for Larry Cohen's Q: The Winged Serpent. This quirky low budget offering shows more cool monster action in its trailer than most mega-million productions show in their entire film.
7. Nomads (1986)
This is the first movie from Die Hard director John McTiernan and it's one of those movies that I still only know through its trailer. I hear that Nomads isn't so good - one reason why I've never made a point to see it - but every time that I watch this trailer, I think I'm missing out on something great.
6. The House Where Evil Dwells (1982)
I know for a fact that The House Where Evil Dwells is lousy but whenever I see the ghostly samurai in this trailer, I'm tempted to give the movie another shot.
5. The Boogeyman (1980)
I miss the days when a horror trailer would leave me thinking "what the hell was that?" The Boogeyman definitely fits into that category of making the movie look like an incomprehensible hodgepodge of weird shit. Naturally, it terrified me to no end back in the day.
4. Silent Scream (1980)
I recently went looking through my collection to see if I could find my VHS copy of this little-known slasher gem. No dice, so I can't verify whether it holds up after all these years but the trailer is terrific. Overwrought narration has sadly gone out of fashion in trailers but this one has it in spades.
3. Dead & Buried (1981)
Any horror trailer that markets a tale about an idyllic small town hiding an evil secret scores an automatic win. It just happens that this is one movie that lives up to - and even exceeds - the expectations set up by the trailer. Bonus points for the few frames of animation at the end.
2. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Even though I'm not at all religious, I think this trailer is supremely freaky. The brooding tone, the sensationalistic assertions that it's based on a true story (complete with "authentic" audio recordings), and all the glimpses of people with demonic black goo running down their faces, make this trailer a winner to me.
1. The Beast Within (1981)
Horror movies used to be sold with full-on hyperbole and few did it better than this trailer for The Beast Within. You probably will find that you're able to remain seated during the last thirty minutes of the movie, despite the warnings of this trailer, but you won't be able to say that the filmmakers didn't pull out every stop to make this the horror experience of a lifetime.
And if your heart can stand the terror, here's my Trick Or Trailers posts from '09:
The Shining (1980)
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
When A Stranger Calls (1978)
The Manitou (1978)
Motel Hell (1980)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
The Ghost And Mr. Chicken (1966)