In Praise of Teasers ~ Showgirls (1995)


I have a serious problem with movie trailers lately.  It seems like nearly every preview that’s released is about 2:30 minutes long and gives away almost every aspect of the movie, acting more like a Cliff Notes version of the movie being advertised rather than something to entice an audience into coming back and seeing the full product.

In this day and age where all aspects of a movie are fairly well known before an inch of footage is seen the subtlety of a well crafted “teaser” trailer is totally gone…and I miss it…I miss it a lot. So I decided to go back to 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 work in their own special way to grab the attention of movie-goers.

Showgirls (1995)

Anyone remember the half hour show Coming Attractions in the early days of the E! Network?  Well I do and I remember seeing this teaser trailer on it and pretty much knew my life would never be the same.  Making some bold promises and ending with a small hint of why the film would be receiving the naughty NC-17 rating, all signs pointed to Showgirls being another adults-only hit for Basic Instinct collaborators director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas.

Though it’s now a certified camp classic, when it was released in September of 1995 (the same weekend as Seven, by the way) Showgirls was critically reviled with many of the key players raked over the coals.  All these years later I especially feel bad for its star Elizabeth Berkley who suffered the worst backlash…but I still find the movie deliriously watchable in all its fully embraced sordid glory.  And hey…Gina Gershon’s performance alone is indicative of how to rise above it all.

Miss the other teasers reviewed this week?

Check out my look at Alien, Misery, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula!