The History Of The Trailer


Who doesn’t love movies?

I’m always shocked when people say they don’t watch movies since I watch a lot (maybe too many). I even spent a few years of my career as a film editor.

What seems more up for debate are the trailers for films. Personally, I dislike most of them since they are too long and give too much away.  But nobody is interested in my personal feelings about trailers.

What’s more interesting is the history of the trailer.  This video is only about 15 mins long and gives a short history of the film trailer.  It’s interesting to see how it has changed over time and some of the big moments.

USA today gives a top 10 list of best trailers of all time. It includes Alien which is considered to be one of the best of all time and I can’t disagree.

As I thought about trailers, Kung Fu Hustle was the first that came to mind. I didn’t actually see this trailer until after I saw the film so maybe my mindset is a bit skewed. I just love that while watching, you have no idea what is going on. It’s so creative, which is really what makes the movie so fantastically fun in my mind.

Two years ago, a trend appeared on the web with trailer remade by people. They would take a trailer of a funny comedy and turn it into the trailer of an horror movie.

On the contrary, an horror movie like The Shining can be transformed into a funny comedy:

In this one, the Joker becomes The Dark Knight’s good guy:

What is interesting is that you can clearly see that with few modifications (music, editing effects, the selection of scenes), you can keep the same images but tell a whole different story. It is a good way of teaching your kids that context is everything and that the way a story is told has more impact than the story itself.  What applies to a movie trailer also applies to news articles or news videos, so it is important to stand back and look at them with a critical mind.

Do you have some favorite trailers?