The Art of the Tease

by • July 19, 2011 • Editorial, NewsComments (2)239

The Art of the Tease: A Look Back at Some Great Trailers

Yesterday the world finally saw the first teaser trailer for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, which is arguably one of the most anticipated films in years. The preview was met with enthusiasm, some jeers and lots of giddy, childlike squealing. In that regard, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES teaser was a resounding success.

For those who haven’t seen it (where have you been?) let’s have a look, shall we?

I love trailers. Despite what some may say, there’s an art to a good trailer or teaser. These days, trailers too often give away large chunks of the story. In fact, more times than not we know the beginning, middle and end of a movie before we even see it. Tsk tsk, that’s a damn shame.

But there are good trailers. Not only good but great. Let’s take a look at some wonderful teasers and trailers and discuss what made them so effective.


The first teaser for SPIDER-MAN is something of a legend now. It’s not because the trailer was bad or audiences didn’t respond well, it was because the footage contained shots of The World Trade Center. After 9/11, Sony smartly decided to can the trailer. However, a few shots of the WTC remain in the final film. The buildings appear as reflections in Spidey’s eyepieces. I like this trailer because it works well as a stand-alone scene.


The trailer for ALIEN is one of my personal favorites. Footage of a trip through space with brief shots of the film spliced in adds some real tension. The slow assemblage of the title also has a great effect. Throw it all together with the famous tagline “In space no one can hear you scream” and you’ve got a classic trailer that doesn’t give much away. The only thing you learn from this preview is that martians suck.


This might be one of the most effective teaser trailers in history. This literally came out of nowhere, surprising unsuspecting audiences that were waiting to see TRANSFORMERS. In fact, upon leaving my theater, more people were talking about this trailer than the movie they just paid to see. The fact that J.J. Abrams and director Matt Reeves decide to forgo the title made this film all the more anticipated. I’m happy to say that CLOVERFIELD ended up being a dynamite movie. Even if it wasn’t, this trailer is one for the ages.


Another alien-centric horror film, THE THING has a creepy campfire vibe to it. The voice over is pitch perfect and even though the plot is laid out in front of us we aren’t given too much. And how about that inhuman scream at the end? Haunting. I’ve seen THE THING a million times but this trailer makes me want to watch the Blu-ray right now.


There’s nothing better than the Super Bowl to advertise a film. The makers of INDEPENDENCE DAY knew that and they threw together some of the tastiest, most explosive footage from their film. We’ve seen these shots of pure destruction countless times now but imagine what it must have been like to see it on TV for the first time. I was ten when INDEPENDENCE DAY came out so I missed the Super Bowl spot. If I had been watching that day, my jaw would have likely been injured by its fall to the floor.


While we’re on the subject of Batman, let’s take a look at the first glimpse of Tim Burton’s dark take on the comic book icon. It’s oddly edited and paced by today’s standards but it must have been a real blast to see it in theaters back in the late 80’s. There was controversy surrounding BATMAN before it came out. Comic fans were outraged when Burton cast Michael Keaton, a comedic actor, as the Caped Crusader. Obviously Burton had the right idea but Batman loyalists needed to be pursuaded. Nothing like a kick ass trailer to fire up the fanbase.

Powered by

Related Posts

  • Professor P

    I remember watching Batman in the theater and thinking we had finally arrived. There was no way movie makers would ever be able to top it. Now the cheesy effects in the preview make me giggle.

  • Shineon23

    What about Superman Returns?
    That was a great teaser for a pretty bad movie.