Final Exam: If you’ve ever seen the trailer for Halloween, then you may remember it ends with the line “The night HE came home.” The trailer for Final Exam uses the phrase “HE’s come back!” twice in an attempt to trick movie audiences into thinking the two films are somehow linked. No serious slasher fan is going to mistake Final Exam with Halloween. This trailer is aimed more at the casual horror fan looking for something to watch at the drive-in on a Saturday night. Left out of the trailer is the fact we never find out who ”HE” is or why “HE” is stalking college kids.
Popcorn: The trailer and first commercials for Popcorn try really hard to convince viewers the film is a sequel to an old horror film. “Before the horror of Halloween. Before the fear of Friday the 13th. Before the evil of A Nightmare on Elm Street.” The phrase “HE’s Back” is also mentioned in this trailer. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Popcorn is a sequel to something called The Possessor. Later ads dropped the comparisons to famous slashers and played up the film’s special quirkiness.
The House Where Death Lives (a.k.a. Delusion): This movie is a quiet little slasher influenced more by Psycho than Halloween. But you’d never know that from this trailer. The Amityville Horror phenomina was still big when Delusion was first released so it’s little wonder the trailer makes the movie look like a haunted house flick. We see wine racks crashing, doors slowly opening, and dogs barking at the darkness but we never see the mysterious killer bashing folks to death with a table leg.
Mortuary: Here’s a trailer that’s become legendary because it’s so misleading. Michael Berryman shovels dirt on to a fresh grave while church bells toll in the background. Suddenly, a hand shoots out of the grave and drags Berryman down into the soft earth. Before Berryman is completely dragged under we hear a monstrous roar from some hungry hell beast. Berryman and the growling zombie never appear in Mortuary.
The House on Sorority Row: In this trailer we see bad girls partying, drinking, fooling around in the bedroom, and digging up graves. What we don’t see is a deformed killer stalking and slashing these lovely ladies. The voice over tells us these girls are up for anything as long as it’s fun. After shooting some old granny, the girls bite their lips and look seductively at the camera. Of course, that’s not the way it plays out in the movie, but the trailer would have you believe murdering the elderly gets these girls hot to trot.
Girls Nite Out: This trailer is pretty up front that it’s promoting a slasher. It goes overboard, however, promoting Girls Nite Out as a T & A fest. From what I remember, there’s no nudity in the movie. A young woman wearing nothing but a bed sheet asks the camera “Do you know what really turns me on? I love to be scared.” Cut to scenes of women running and screaming. Sadly, this nubile narrator never appears in Girls Nite Out but she does a good job of making the movie look interesting. She mentions a “kinky maniac at a party” and claims the “weird and kinky things have really got my motor running.” You get the impression Girls Nite Out is a cross between Screwballs and Friday the 13th. The killer bear mascot does make an appearance in the trailer but most of the real footage from the movie is comprised of women freaking out, dancing on tables, and taking bubble baths.
Nightmare: Oh, boy. This has got to be Tom Savini’s all time favorite trailer. “From the man who terrified you in Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th Special Effects Director TOM SAVINI.” Noticeably absent from the trailer is any mention of the director, writer, or actors involved in the making of Nightmare. The only person the viewer knows is connected to the movie is Savini. And he must be pretty important because his name is in all capital letters. Savini claims he only served a brief role as a special effects consultant and sued to have his name removed from the ads.