Terrible Films with Great Trailers

Movie Trailers are the ultimate tease.  How many times have you gone to a film based solely the trailer, only to find that the film is awful?  Well, the technique involved for creating the trailer to that film. In fact, sometimes, the best film trailers in history come from those terrible films. Below are some trailers I cannot stop watching, but the films themselves…well, I am never watching them again. In some cases, the material is irredeemable, so the trailers cannot make them interesting


Nowadays, the film is remembered for the hype that surrounded it and how much of that hype blew up in the creator’s faces.  This trailer is all a part of it.

Now, do I really need to discuss the film? If the cult following has done anything, it has allowed for the film to be examined in the numerous ways it fails (and also the ways it succeeds – I am not going to fully complain about a film in which the female protagonists spends most of the time naked. But I digress). Go read about the daffy sort of dreams that the filmmakers had when making it and then watch for yourself how it fails.

The trailer is something else. First, it was a red ban trailer (something that is still rarely used) and thus reminds everyone that the filmmakers had positively no qualms about what they were making. It also reminds everyone of the seedy nature of Vegas itself, more than the film does. It flashes audiences with sexy images (as do Las Vegas strip joints) hoping you will fork over your money for something more. Of course, there is never any sort escalation in that sort of business. In this case, though, there may have been a pay off. Maybe that is why the film has survived. On its own, the trailer is actually far more efficient than the film in getting the message across. I will say that again. THE TRAILER IS BETTER THAN THE FILM FROM AN ARTISTIC STANDPOINT.

The trailer I am referring to cannot be found on Youtube (therefore I can’t embed it) but can be found here at The Movie List.

Natural Born Killers

This is not, exactly, a terrible film. But I would definitely argue it is one of the worst (besides Alexander, obviously) film that Oliver Stone has ever directed. Plus, the trailer makes it appear far better than it actually is. What the film more or less is the equivalent of a drunken cartoonist placing a giant, metal pail over someone’s head and then hitting it with a golf club. The trailer makes it look like the next great piece of American criticism, something Stone had been the master at (note past tense). The trailer is absolutely heartbreaking in many ways; people are teased not just about how good the film could be, but about how the film actually was not great. And I cannot even fault studio interference; Stone’s directors cut it worse than the theatrical cut.

That’s all well and good, but what does the trailer do? It practically announces the next great vision from the man who is truly teaching people how films can be used to perfect society. First it starts with a reminder of the other things Stone has done (whether you like them or not, believe me, you remember them) and then teasing us with an exemplary cast and enticing images. Watching it again just makes me want to actually watch the film again.

Barb Wire

Barb Wire, the film, was a film that bankrupted a major studio (Gramercy) and was nothing more than a rip off of Casablanca (really) featuring Pamela Anderson doing little more than…well, what Pamela Anderson usually does, really. I know it seems erotic, but the appeal kind of wears off after a while. Plus, the woman cannot act, makes jokes about things no one in the film’s universe should know about (like Batman – not just the character, but Tim Burton’s film). The film is not recommended to anyone but sadomasochists – they can gain a lot of tips.

Barb Wire, the Trailer was a sort of response to the rise in post feminism and the vast increase in quantity of female action stars. Everything about it resembles a sort of film that L7 wrote in between albums. It at least looks fast paced and forgoes any exposure to the plot. Believe me, the less said about the Casablanca rip offs, the better. Funny thing is, the trailer knew this and did not even bother to explain. Again, the trailer works better than the film. People who paid admission (all twenty-five of them) paid to see explosion and Anderson’s body. The trailer gave them both for free.

Hellraiser II: Hellbound

The first film was actually not that bad. This one was a real struggle. Would you know that based on the trailer? Of course not.

The actual film is one of those sequels that “picks up where the first one left off.” This is the sort of trend that should never happen. Another thing filmmakers need to eliminate is the attempts to try to explore terrifying, mysterious characters. In horror films, this is the kiss of death. We as a society are afraid of what we cannot see. I could go over all the ways the film fails, but by trying to bring up the Cenobite’s past, we are less afraid of them.

Not that the trailer let’s you know this is the film’s agenda. It seems to be just a bigger version of the first. Again, when you think about it, this would not work. But the trailer at least presents it very effectively. It also implies all sorts of things; for one, two dead characters are returning (whether or not this is a result of a nightmare world or reality changing is not stated) and, basically, showed what fans of the first one wanted to see.

Judge Dredd

OK, the trailer is not that great. Still better than the film, but not that great.

I have a feeling that, in regards to the actual film, if it had been cut as a parody it would be remembered as one of the great spoofs. The film is so heavy-handed that it reeks of satire. Of course, the creators were serious, and thus the film ends up becoming a B-movie tie in that depended entirely on its star power.  A star who can barely speak, I might add (thus the word “law” suddenly gains a few extra letters). The result is a mess.

The trailer at least offers hope. They prominently feature Plato quotes (sometimes, this is an indication that the creators are offering a joke…how many times did Monty Python make jokes about philosophers) and features Rob Schneider’s name (he claims he is a comedian, but….). Also, enough one liners to fill a dozen action movies. This is almost, almost, billed as an action comedy. If only this had been the case.

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