Occasionally, I’ll revive one of my old “special” columns from my early days. Formerly titled In Praise of Teasers, I’ve rebranded my look at coming attractions The Art of the Tease(rs) and brought it back for a short run over the next few weeks.
Starting in 2013, I used these peeks at past previews to highlight the fun (and short!) creatively mounted campaigns that generated buzz from audiences who caught them in front of movies back in the day. Some of these I remember seeing myself, and some I never had the pleasure of watching. More than anything, it makes me long for studios and advertising agencies to go back to showing less in modern trailers because the amount of spoiler-heavy material shared now is ghastly. Today, where all aspects of a movie are pretty well known before an inch of footage is seen, the subtlety of a well-crafted “teaser” trailer is gone.
Let’s revisit some of the teaser trailers I fondly remember and, in a way, reintroduce them. Whether the actual movie was good or bad is neither here nor there but pay attention to how each of these teasers works uniquely to grab the attention of movie-goers.
As a kid, I had free range of most movies in the musical section of the video store. Nestled next to the kid’s area, titles like The Sound of Music and West Side Story sat nicely next to cartoons, Disney fare, and Faerie Tale Theatre. There was always one movie with a VHS cover that fascinated me, which I was constantly turned down from renting, though. That film was Flashdance, and, I mean, how could you not be intrigued by the striking image of Jennifer Beals in the now iconic off-the-shoulder sweatshirt look? The 1983 Oscar-winning film’s classification as a musical stretches it (it’s a drama, let’s be honest), but the movie’s lasting impact is felt even today. I wasn’t even aware of this teaser before 2023! With Irene Cara (who won an Oscar for the legendary song that plays over the thrilling finale) sadly passing away recently as it approached its 40th Anniversary, I knew it was a sign to showcase it here.
I love it because it does everything I want one of these small bites to do: give nothing of the plot away but feature images that stick in the brain instantly. If I’d seen this in early 1983, my pulse would have quickened just like it did when I watched the clip below for the first time. What a feeling, indeed! Enjoy!
For more teasers, check out my posts on Strange Days, Fire in the Sky, The Fifth Element, The Addams Family, Alien, Misery, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Showgirls, Jurassic Park, Jaws 3D/Jaws: The Revenge, Total Recall, Halloween II: Season of the Witch