Making a good movie trailer is an art and a great trailer is a beautiful thing; some even surpass the film’s they promote in terms of presentation, thrills, and even storytelling. Watching old horror trailers from the 1970s and 1980s makes for a good time, providing hefty shots of nostalgia; but (let’s be real) trailers from the past decades were usually thrown together like afterthoughts and sullied with overdramatic narrations.
There’s an entire YouTube subculture dedicated to re-cutting classic horror trailers for 21st Century aficionados; modern filmmakers who use cutting-edge techniques and technologies to give the movies they’re designed to promote the treatment they deserve. Below are fifteen of my favorites from some truly amazing video editors. Have a watch and let us know what you think in the Comments section. Enjoy!
Alien (1979, Directed by Ridley Scott)
Modern Trailer by Tom F
Official Synopsis: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.
With the release of Alien: Covenant just around the corner, Tom F’s modernized Alien trailer feels especially apropos.
Predator (1987, Directed by John McTiernan)
Modern Trailer by Tom F
Official Synopsis: Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians trapped in Guatemala. But when Dutch and his team, which includes weapons expert Blain (Jesse Ventura) and CIA agent George (Carl Weathers), land in Central America, something is gravely wrong. After finding a string of dead bodies, the crew discovers they are being hunted by a brutal creature with superhuman strength and the ability to disappear into its surroundings.
Tom F also set his considerable talents to 1987’s Predator, another classic horror movie getting a reboot in the form of Shane Black’s The Predator, slated for release in 2018. Despite reports to the contrary, we’re still hopeful Arnold Schwarzenegger will “be back” as Dutch for at least a cameo.
Jaws (1975, Directed by Steven Spielberg)
Modern Trailer by Movieclips Trailers
Official Synopsis: When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engages in an epic battle of man vs. nature.
This one comes courtesy of ticketing service Fandago, which put this modernized trailer together in honor of Jaws’ 40th Anniversary.
Halloween (1978, Directed by John Carpenter)
Modern Trailer by Adam Eyster
Official Synopsis: On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was sentenced and locked away for 15 years. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, a 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes Smith’s Grove. He returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he looks for his next victims.
Just as Adam Eyster has given John Carpenter’s Halloween a modern treatment above, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride are currently rebooting the franchise with a new feature film in the works at Blumhouse. Carpenter is also participating this time, as opposed to sitting out like he did with Rob Zombie’s iterations. Fan anticipation is high, making this new Halloween one of 2018’s most anticipated releases.
Related Article: John Carpenter Announces “Halloween” Reboot is Happening!
Hellraiser (1987, Directed by Clive Barker)
Modern Trailer by Jordan G. Productions
Official Synopsis: Sexual deviant Frank (Sean Chapman) inadvertently opens a portal to hell when he tinkers with a box he bought while abroad. The act unleashes gruesome beings called Cenobites, who tear Frank’s body apart. When Frank’s brother (Andrew Robinson) and his wife, Julia (Clare Higgins), move into Frank’s old house, they accidentally bring what is left of Frank back to life. Frank then convinces Julia, his one-time lover, to lure men back to the house so he can use their blood to reconstruct himself.
The Hellraiser franchise has survived into the 21st Century, but it’s a shell of what it used to me. Even with a new chapter expected sometime in 2017, the Clive Barker fan base is hardly shivering in anticipation. What we really want is for Barker himself to helm a Hellraiser reboot for the 21st Century. Jordan G. Productions’ modernized Hellraiser trailer is a window, perhaps, into what such a project might look like.
Evil Dead (1981, Directed by Sam Raimi)
Modernized Trailer by RipleyVSXeno715
Official Synopsis: Ashley “Ash” Williams (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend and three pals hike into the woods to a cabin for a fun night away. There they find an old book, the Necronomicon, whose text reawakens the dead when it’s read aloud. The friends inadvertently release a flood of evil and must fight for their lives or become one of the evil dead. Ash watches his friends become possessed, and must make a difficult decision before daybreak to save his own life in this, the first of Sam Raimi‘s trilogy.
Nothing beats seeing Bruce Campbell battling demons back in his youth! The Evil Dead franchise endures as a megahit series on Starz, with the 3rd season of Ash vs Evil Dead expected sometime this fall. Hail to the King and his mighty boom-stick!
The Exorcist (1973, Directed by William Friedkin)
Modernized Trailer by frightism
Official Synopsis: One of the most profitable horror movies ever made, this tale of an exorcism is based loosely on actual events. When young Regan (Linda Blair) starts acting odd — levitating, speaking in tongues — her worried mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A local priest (Jason Miller), however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert (Max von Sydow) to help with the difficult job.
Since The Exorcist remains one of the most terrifying movies ever made, standing the test of time even after 4+ decades, it’s a perfect candidate for a modernized trailer. The franchise ventured onto the small screen with The Exorcist TV series on Fox; while the show was a huge hit among horror fans, the network has yet to officially renew (or cancel) the series.
Pet Sematary (1989, Directed by Mary Lambert)
Modernized Trailer by Julien Saindon
Official Synopsis: Doctor Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) moves his family to Maine, where he meets a friendly local named Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). After the Creeds’ cat is accidentally killed, Crandall advises Louis to bury it in the ground near the old pet cemetery. The cat returns to life, its personality changed for the worse. When Louis’ son, Gage (Miko Hughes), dies tragically, Louis decides to bury the boy’s body in the same ground despite the warnings of Crandall and Louis’ visions of a deceased patient.
Back in 2016, we heard rumblings of a Pet Sematary remake in the works, helmed by 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who promised fans his film would be “10 times scarier” than Mary Lambert’s 1989 masterpiece. We haven’t heard anything new for months, perhaps because Fresnadillo realized what an impossible bar he had set for himself. As Julien Saindon’s modernized trailer (above) proves, Pet Sematary is an elite horror experience that will be hard to top.
Child’s Play (1988, Directed by Tom Holland)
Modernized Trailer by Freddy Antonio Iglesias
Official Synopsis: Gunned down by Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), dying murderer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) uses black magic to put his soul inside a doll named Chucky — which Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) then buys for her young son, Andy (Alex Vincent). When Chucky kills Andy’s baby sitter, the boy realizes the doll is alive and tries to warn people, but he’s institutionalized. Now Karen must convince the detective of the murderous doll’s intentions before Andy becomes Chucky’s next victim.
Chucky wants to play in Freddy Antonio Iglesias thrilling modernized trailer of the original Child’s Play, a film that launched a franchise still going strong today. Cult of Chucky, helmed by original Child’s Play scribe Don Mancini, recently wrapped shooting in Vancouver and is slated for a DVD release sometime this October.
The Thing (1982, Directed by John Carpenter)
Modernized Trailer by Retro Hideout
Official Synopsis: In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.
Over 3 and a half decades after its release, John Carpenter’s The Thing stands as a paradigm of Lovecraftian, practical FX driven horror; it’s a film that stands the test of time, thrilling and disgusting new legions of fans every year. Retro Hideout, who recut the modernized trailer above, is a YouTube channel dedicated to giving classic films a 21st Century shine. Check them out!
Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974, Directed by Tobe Hooper)
Modernized Trailer by KillDevilFilms
Official Synopsis: When Sally (Marilyn Burns) hears that her grandfather’s grave may have been vandalized, she and her paraplegic brother, Franklin (Paul A. Partain), set out with their friends to investigate. After a detour to their family’s old farmhouse, they discover a group of crazed, murderous outcasts living next door. As the group is attacked one by one by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), who wears a mask of human skin, the survivors must do everything they can to escape.
4 decades after its release, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre remains a classic, deeply ingrained into our collective psyche. The modernized trailer by KillDevilFilms taps into the primal horror the film elicits and gives it a terrifying 21st Century makeover. As for the franchise, we’ve had remakes and reboots, but we’re currently waiting for a prequel called Leatherface to give us a fresh spin on one of the genre’s greatest icons.
Related Article: Will “Leatherface” Save Horror in 2017?
Friday the 13th (1980, Directed by Sean S. Cunningham)
Modernized Trailer by theSupercasa
Official Synopsis: Crystal Lake’s history of murder doesn’t deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals warn against it, but the fresh-faced young people — Jack (Kevin Bacon), Alice (Adrienne King), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor) and Ned (Mark Nelson) — pay little heed to the old-timers. Then they find themselves stalked by a brutal killer. As they’re slashed, shot and stabbed, the counselors struggle to stay alive against a merciless opponent.
Despite being one of the most beloved horror franchises is history, studios can’t seem to deliver a satisfying 21st Century reboot of Friday the 13th to save their lives. The most recent reboot was abruptly canceled by Paramount last February, mere weeks before the film was set to being filming. theSupercasa’s modernized trailer proves that the classic formula is still incredibly effective! Now if we can only get a reboot that thrills like this.
Related Article: “Friday the 13th” Completely Shut Down; Did Samara Curse Jason?
Psycho (1960, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock)
Modernized Trailer by KillDevilFilms
Official Synopsis: Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm. Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets the polite but highly strung proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother.
The Psycho franchise is currently wrapping up a TV series adaptation, as Bates Motel marches towards its final bow on A&E. More than half a decade later, the themes explored and the suspense created is still considered exemplary, as the modernized trailer above proves in spades.
Related Article: RIP Bates Motel and “Psycho” House: Canadian Set Has Been Demolished
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, Jack Arnold)
Modernized Trailer by JohnsParadise
Official Synopsis: Remnants of a mysterious animal have come to light in a remote jungle, and a group of scientists intends to determine if the find is an anomaly or evidence of an undiscovered beast. To accomplish their goal, the scientists (Antonio Moreno, Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Whit Bissell) must brave the most perilous pieces of land South America has to offer. But the terrain is nothing compared to the danger posed by an otherworldly being that endangers their work and their lives.
The modernized trailer above is apropos since Universal’s classic aquatic horror The Creature from the Black Lagoon is getting a reboot as part of a combined “Monster-verse” featuring other icons of past eras.
April Fool’s Day (1986, Directed by Fred Walton)
Modernized Trailer by theSupercasa
Official Synopsis: When a group of college students decides to spend spring break at the secluded island estate of their wealthy classmate, Muffy St. John (Deborah Foreman), what starts out as a fun, hedonistic weekend turns into something more sinister. Muffy is very fond of practical jokes, and sets up numerous gags throughout her mansion. But, when friends begin going missing and turn up dead, they realize that they’re trapped on the isolated isle with a mysterious and brutal killer.
April Fool’s Day is one of those forgotten gems from the 1980s; sure, it’s a one-trick pony, but it’s one hell of a trick! Check out theSupercasa’s modernized trailer above for a taste of what Fred Walton’s irreverent bloodbath has to offer.