“The best movie you’ll ever see will never be made. It will exist only in your mind.” (James Cameron)
That fake quote from Cameron makes a relevant point about trailers, and is very appropriate since this is an article about fakes. A great trailer can sometimes promise an unbelievable movie that the actual full film can often fail to be. While there’s no time for characterization, themes, or any of that nonsense, there’s plenty of time for action, laughs, and eye candy. Given the way that we as a civilization are destroying our attention spans with the Internet, perhaps before long movie trailers will be the length of most real movies.
The video game Portal, as you probably know, was the source of that “the cake is a lie!” meme that even its own creators now hate. It also made the highly original gameplay innovation of having a gun that shoots wormholes that allow you to send yourself and whatever thing you want to go flying wherever you want. This was an excellent way to combine clever problem-solving with shooting. But you don’t need to know any of that to enjoy this stylish trailer.
Imagine a combination of Ghostbusters and The Bourne series, and you seem to have what this trailer is implying Pac-Man the Movie would be like. The video’s age prevents it from looking quite slick enough to be convincing, but the cheesy effects add hugely to the fun. Plus that ribbon on the motorcycle helmet makes it all worthwhile.
Read explanation before you watch the video if you don’t know the source material:
I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream is a 1968 short story by science fiction fixture Harlan Ellison that won the Hugo Award, the Oscar for science fiction. It’s about how the Cold War superpowers build a supercomputer called “Allied Mastercomputer,” which is then shortened to “AM.” AM then kills off most of humanity save a handful of persons that he (oh yeah, AM is a male, alright) is torturing for his amusement. AM’s immense power and knowledge enable him to stretch their lives out for infinity. This fake trailer gives a good hint of just what horrors that would entail and puts across much of the surreal imagery the story includes. That’s also Harlan Ellison’s voice playing AM from a videogame adaptation in the trailer.
7. Don’t (NSFW)
The 2007 flop Grindhouse turned off audiences everywhere because the features were either too self-indulgent and slow (Death Proof) or too stupid and immature (Planet Terror.) But many still loved the phony trailers included in the movie, of which the best by general consensus was Edgar Wright’s Don’t. In addition to the hilarious cheesy excess of the imagery and the narration, there’s another subtle in-joke that you might need to have seen some 1970’s British horror trailers to get: there’s no character dialogue because distributors didn’t want to have any accents in it which would give away the movie wasn’t made in the USA!
Click image to watch video:
Here’s a confession: I’ve never played Minesweeper. Yet this video puts across the rules of the game so well that I know the game better than I would have ever expected, and even without much blatant exposition. Be warned: it might be difficult to avoid quoting the “I’m here because I’m BORED!” line ad nauseum.
5. Cleopatra Schwartz (NSFW)
(NSFW, yet still on youtube.com)
This, for the few not in the know, is an excerpt from 1977’s Kentucky Fried Movie, the film which basically made the careers of famed comedy trio Zucker-Abrahms-Zucker (famous for the Naked Gun movies and Airplane!) Not only that, but slightly more famous director John Landis’s career was also effectively launched by this movie.
Here’s a neat behind the scenes note: during the shoot, the actress who plays Cleopatra Schwartz tried to hold out from appearing before cameras unless she was given a signed contract that if a feature length Cleopatra Schwartz movie were made, she’d have to be the star.
4. The Legend of Zelda
Only one of many reasons it makes no sense that there isn’t a Zelda movie/miniseries. At this point, the technology is where it seems a bunch of superfans could make their own passable Zelda movie on the weekends for less than many television episodes.
3. Halo: The Bollywood Movie
You might notice there have been quite a few video game adaptations on this list. But this one is by far the most original, so it’s the videogame note we’re ending on. Even if you’ve never actually seen a Bollywood movie or have seen enough of them to realize they don’t really all have non-sequiter musical sequences anymore, just the sight of the cast of space marines in futuristic armor dancing is enough to make this one the third best.
2. Hamlet (Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger)
If you’ve seen the source movie for this fake trailer, Last Action Hero, there will be just one question in your mind after you see this: why wasn’t THIS the movie that was actually made instead of LAH? Sure, you might argue the humor wouldn’t stretch for feature length. But the thing about that is you would be completely wrong. It must be quite satisfying for Arnold Schwarzenegger to know that after decades of repetitive parodies of his persona, he starred in the best one.
1. Titanic 2
Here’s where we pay off that fake James Cameron quote in style. This is far and away the most committed of all the trailers, and it most rewards repeat views. The sheer absurdity of the thing will get the laughs the first time, but on second viewings, you’ll better be able to appreciate the more throwaway humorously incongruous moments. For example, when the James Woods character says “I’m going to recommend to the president that we militarize this project immediately.” Because we all know there’d be huge military applications to reanimating frozen people.
By Dustin Koski
Did we miss one? Let us know and we’ll add it to our Top 10 YouTube playlist.