Movie trailers are crucial to the success of a movie, they can make a bad movie and even break a good one. Today we’re listing some of our all time favourite movie trailers from iconic industry defining classics to modern masterpieces.
10. The Shining (1980)
A strange wordless trailer (no epic trailer music in sight!), featuring nothing on screen but credits for the first 50 seconds, however the sound design in this trailer makes it stand out. The strange percussive and electric plucks over a building swarming sound building as blood comes gushing from the elevator doors creates a unique sense of tension while giving little about the nature of the film away.
This simple trailer slips in at 10th.
9. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
An action packed trailer for ‘the feel bad movie of Christmas’ featuring Daniel Craig. Cutting on every beat of Trent Reznor’s driving ‘Immigrant Song’, the trailer for the film adaptation of the best selling trilogy creates a nerve rackingly tense atmosphere, keeping us on the edge of our seats.
This intense, driving trailer finds it’s way to number 9.
8. A Serious Man (2009)
Demonstrating a brilliant use of repeated sounds and phrases instead of conventional trailer music, Mark Woollen’s trailer for ‘A Serious Man’ comically tells the story of a man’s life falling apart over the steady beat of his head being hit against a wall.
The trailer’s brilliant sense of rhythm brings it in at 8.
7. Pulp Fiction (1994)
A strange trailer with a strange soundtrack, cutting between some of the film’s hit songs while the action cuts between drugs, humour, sex and violence, pretty much summing up Quentin Tarantino’s unique style and this iconic film.
The trailer for this gritty cult favourite comes in at number 7.
6. Little Children (2006)
A literal trainwreck, this film tells the story of suburban angst and discontent. The trailer contains little dialogue and no trailer music, only the slowly building sound of a train until it shows two toy trains crashing head on over a bridge. The trailer climaxes with a frantic ringing and rushing sound over noiseless clips from the film before cutting to the title.
A simple but effective trailer placing at 6th.
5. Inception (2010)
One of the most mind bending films of this generation leaving many of us scratching our heads. Hanz Zimmer’s genre defining score for the film, based partly on the rhythm of Edith Piaf’s ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’, still influences film composers to this day with it’s dark brass blares and simple string ostinatos. The trailer is just as brilliant, perfectly describing the premise of the film without giving too much away and brilliantly creating a sense of awe at the vast dream worlds with trailer music.
This masterpiece in modern trailer making comes in at 5th.
4. The Exorcist (1973)
Banned in some countries because of it’s intensity, this trailer starts with a short voiceover setting the scene before suddenly transitioning into a sequence of wild flashing on Linda Blair’s face as she becomes the demon the film is based around. This is accompanied by a frantic cacophony of shrieking, sliding and running strings raising the hair on our necks.
This simple but devastatingly effective trailer easily gains 4th.
3. Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens (2015)
One of the most long awaited films of all time, the trailer for the new Star Wars reboot left fans smiling all over the world with John William’s familiar themes over a familiar world featuring the Millennium Falcon, Tie-Fighters and even Han Solo and Chewbacca together again.
This long anticipated trailer easily comes in at 3.
2. Alien (1979)
One of the most iconic horror movies of all time with one of the strangest trailers you’ll ever see. Two minutes of nothing but sound design and strange chaotic camera shots, the trailer creates a huge amount of tension with humanistic siren wails, cat screams and a pulsating bass while giving absolutely nothing away. This frantic build up and climax is followed by silence and the ominous text ‘In space no one can hear you scream.’
The effectiveness of this trailer with so little material earns it our number 2 spot.
1. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
A brilliant film full of unexpected twists and turns, and very little is given away in the trailer. This surprise sequel to Cloverfield (2008) is set almost all in an underground bunker with only three major characters. The trailer starts with Tiffany’s ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ playing on the jukebox as the characters are shown reading, doing jigsaws and making sandwiches almost like a normal family, before a crash and a flicker in the lights. The tune slows down to an eerie pulsating beat as the happy family life degrades into whittled knives, fires and a desperate attempt to escape.
The use of the music and the subtlety of the hints at the plot are what places this as our number 1 favourite trailer.