In recent times, more often than not film studios and marketing teams have forgotten what the main sole purpose of a teaser trailer is and how its main job is to entice the attention of audience members in wanting to find out more about the film and the temptation in spending their hard earned cash to pay the price of an admission ticket. Sure, there are SOME film-makers that like to tease their films to audiences for the first time, unleashing a trailer that reveals little to nothing of the actual plot but these are few and far between.
Below are some of the best examples you could ever lay your eyes on when it came to being teased in the cinema. For this list, I restricted it to Sci-Fi only because these were the kind of films that knew how to sell their teasers to the general movie-going public, and because you know, I absolutely adore the genre…
STAR WARS (1977)
Released in American movie theaters sometime in 1976, while it was still just simply titled Star Wars, shows the film in a completely different light. For starters, this was released while it was still in its very early stages of pre-production, long before work could be finished on all its visual effects. There’s no sign of John William’s famous score to be heard anywhere at all either. I would love to have watched this teaser for the first time in 1976, only to be surprised to see how different the film turned out to be when it finally came out in Summer of ’77. Its not hard to see why Harrison Ford thought this was going to be garbage either. As far as plot details are concerned, the only details that audiences knew at that time was that it was a sprawling space saga about a boy, a girl and the universe. That’s it. That’s all you needed to know and its what makes this one, one of the most perfect teasers ever.
This is probably the most obscure teaser trailer on this list. Its my most favourite Sci-Fi horror film of all time and I couldn’t have asked for a better teaser to brilliantly accompany it. There’s no movie guy voice-over on this one, nor do we get to see any characters, human or non-human. What we get is the main title, the creepiest soundtrack combined with eerie sound effects and the infamous tagline: ‘In space, no one can hear you scream’. Clearly this isn’t going to be about a friendly Alien life-form that has come in peace. As soon as that egg completely hatches, you know nothing good is going to come of it and the best thing you can do is run for your life and blast yourself out of there into orbit. E.T: The Extra Terrestrial this certainly isn’t.
TOTAL RECALL (1990)
Apart from getting the gist of someone stealing Schwarzenegger’s mind and doing anything he can to get it back, absolutely nothing else is known about this absolute mystery gem of a film. Sure, it looks positively Sci-Fi and gives off a really dark and disturbing David Lynch vibe but at the time no one had the faintest idea it would have anything to do with the planet Mars. So much is held back in this teaser which is absolute key in making a really sound teaser trailer. I wish they were all made like this one. Also I still stand by my viewpoint that Total Recall is a better film than Terminator 2. Come at me!
Inception. The first step that critically acclaimed film-maker Christopher Nolan took into the world of proper mind-bending Sci-Fi. It was a film I saw at the cinema five times during the summer of 2010. I did this for two reasons – not only was Inception my number 1 film of that year but it also blew my mind like nothing before or after it. I also had to see this more than once like I do with every Nolan film to properly ‘get’ it. Yes, my brain is a bit slow at catching up sometimes. Bite me! Nolan has always been a master and genius of releasing teaser trailers that reveal absolutely nothing of the plot. Much kudos and applause goes to him as a film director in being able to keep every film project secretly under wraps which is not an always easy thing to do in this internet digital age.
When this teaser blasted onto the internet, I was just intrigued by the only piece of information we were given at the time, a heist movie set within the mind. It was something that was talked about and speculated months before the film came out.
The second film from Nolan, I was more excited for this than I was for Inception. Being his next film after his disappointing final instalment in his Batman franchise, I was expecting to be blown away again. Nolan cleverly only uses a selected few shots from the actual film in this teaser, where the rest are all various images of U.S rocket launches that actually happened in the past amongst other news reports. What really got my attention was that this was a proper space travel film, heavily influenced by the likes of Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It may not top my love that I still have for Inception but I can appreciate how this the most ambitious film Nolan has made to date.