Seeing as it’s Halloween and all, we got extra spooky here at On Point to celebrate the creepiest American holiday. Our broadcast this Thursday looked at all the many reasons why we turn to horror again and again in films, books and TV shows. It’s a topic that guests director Wes Craven and authors Elizabeth Massie and Michelle Hodkin knew a good deal about.
Craven, that master of scary cinema, has been serving up big bowls of screams since 1971. “The most frightening monster you present to your audience is yourself,” he told us this Halloween, but we think there’s something to be said for the terrifying previews that a good horror film trailer can deliver. It’s the terror of the unknown, and the promise of a good scare waiting on the other side. We’ve collected some of our favorite trailers from some of Wes Craven’s most iconic films here.
“The Last House On the Left” (1972)
Craven’s first big hit, this psychological chiller has more than a few chills. We particularly like the clever rejoinder in the trailer: ‘To Avoid Fainting, Keep Repeating: It’s Only A Movie. Only A Movie.’
“The Hills Have Eyes” (1977)
This environmental / nature terror turn may be remembered for the squeamish scenes of torture, but we think the yelling, smash-cut filled trailer is a work of fright art in itself.
“A Nightmare On Elm Street” (1984)
The creepy-clawed film that launched a thousand spinoffs, the trailer for the original Elm Street thriller is remarkable for how many of the iconic moments it gives away in its less than two minute duration. Suffice it to say, the actual film is really pretty scary.
“The People Under the Stairs” (1991)
Whether it’s plucky young kids or creepy suburban mothers that gets you screaming [A caller on our Halloween show asked why the sound of children laughing is so creepy], this trailer has it all. Plus, an army of hands and unsettling basement dwellers, too, if you’re curious or anything.
The original “Scream” might be remembered more for its masks than its clever conceit of a horror killer who is deeply familiar with the horror genre [guest Michelle Hodkin pointed out in our conversation on Halloween that modern horror writers have taken that concept on in full force, giving the fictional world a conscious knowledge of the standard horror tropes even as they occur around them], but it’s also ultimately a pretty scary ride.