The John Dies at the End anti-piracy trailer is clever, amusing and sends a good message, but it’s still just shy of cracking the top three. In fact, it’s also just short of trumping this brand new poster for the film that uses alternative lettering to spell out the title – a tactic that’s even more effective after you’ve seen the film. But still, John dies at the end and gives way to three more effective pieces of promotion material.
The Best Stuff
1. Monsters University Rose Bowl TV Spot: Monsters University continues to win big with immersive marketing. First the film’s website made Monsters University feel like a real, tangible institution and now it’s got a TV spot to go along with it. My parents are lucky this movie is hitting theaters well after my college years. This place looks far more appealing than a lot of other universities out there.
2. First Six Minutes of Maniac: Beware the little guy! The first six minutes of Franck Khalfoun’s remake of Maniac is riveting and suspenseful to the max, and, in a smart promotional play, the marketing team unveils it early, making you need to see what happens next. We don’t even catch a glimpse of Elijah Wood’s Frank in this snippet of the film, but his presence is wonderfully oppressive and ominous through the narration alone.
3. Evil Dead Red-Band Trailer: Oh, the blood! The grotesque imagery! This new red-band trailer for Evil Dead is every gore lover’s dream. But even beyond the vicious vines, blood-red vomit, and chilling face and tongue mangling this is an exceptionally well-edited piece. The storytelling at a whisper combined with the booming soundtrack’s unnerving beat makes Evil Dead much more than a carnage showcase; it makes it truly scary.
The Worst Stuff
1. The Place Beyond the Pines Poster: Minimalist to the max. Or, better yet, minimalist to a fault. Minus the fact that those little trees clearly represent the pines in The Place Beyond the Pines, this design says absolutely nothing about the film minus a rather pretentious, “You should see this movie because it’s artsy and stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta.”
2. The Last Stand Quad: Wow, what a thoughtless and ugly banner. The Last Stand is having a tough time in the poster department. It’s almost as if the design team can’t think of anything else, but to keep reusing the same images of the cast. Really, look at this design and now look at the ones featured in this edition of Best/Worst promos. Arnie got some reflection in his sunglasses and a new outfit, and the designers gave Johnny Knoxville a quick flip and made his shirt yellow.
3. The Canyons 1930s Trailer: And that’s strike three for Paul Schrader’s The Canyons. I get that the filmmakers are currently in a parody promo phase, but at this point, they’ve dug this film such a deep hole that even the best of marketing material might not be able to make the film appealing. First that oddball teaser trailer then the '50s-themed piece and now something circa the '30s? What exactly are they trying to achieve with these? If the goal of the campaign is to make The Canyons look like one big joke, it’s working.
What are your favorite and least favorite movie promos this week?