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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Scary trailer countdown, Oct. 27: 'Magic,' and more

Yesterday's trailer for 1974's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre may have been the exception that proves the rule: the creepiest trailers show as little as possible of the films they're selling. Three of the movie teasers that terrified me most from the 1970s (unquestionably the Golden Age of Traumatizing Trailers) show little to nothing of their respective movies. For last year's cross-disciplinary 13 Days of Halloween countdown, I proposed 1979's Magic as having the all-time spookiest trailer. I remember practically nothing of actual Anthony Hopkins film about an increasingly deranged ventriloquist, but the 30-second commercials terrorized me in movie theaters and late night television:

On a technical level, the TV spot for 1974's It's Alive has a major flaw: the title of the film obscures the misshapen claw hanging out of the baby carriage. (Or maybe they did it on purpose to conceal a lousy special effect.) It's arguably a rip-off of the baby carriage from Rosemary's Baby (which has a brilliant, dreamy trailer that's not particularly a shocker), but it's still a chiller in the right context, especially if you're an unsuspecting tween:

I know very little about the 1977 Italian horror film Suspiria, which apparently involves a dance school that turns out to be a witches' coven. Are the creepy rhyme and hair-brushing "woman" even in the actual film? That bit seems inspired by one of the big "reveals" from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

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