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10 awesomely bad movie trailers of the ’80s

10 awesomely bad movie trailers of the ’80s

Trailers, back in the day, were largely universally bad. I think we can all admit that. They weren’t the big deal they are now because, quite simply, they didn’t need to be – there wasn’t as hard a fight to get people to see movies back in the ’70s or ’80s as there is today, what with so many other ithings out to snare our iattention. People went to the movies, if they felt like going to the movies. Nobody cared if a trailer sucked like a sharp-toothed prostitute, they’d likely go to see the film anyway – there was never much else out-to-do, outside of a camper van, back then.

Today, a trailer can make or break a movie, but back in the Reagan-era, it made no difference how Frankensteinien or eye-rollingly bad the preview was, people would still likely check out the movie if it had a couple of names in it, a half-interesting storyline, and was littered with the tunes of the times. A trailer wasn’t so much a marketing tool as it was.. something to play before the Candy commercials… and here’s ten bits of proof.

Would anyone go and see these today, based on the trailer?


The Pirate Movie

“Only one movie will have Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins… singing”.


Back to the Future

No time to make a trailer in time for release, so…



“They catch the Ghosts that won’t stay dead”



“Together, they make magic.”


Police Academy

When taste was a luxury.


Revenge of the Nerds

I actually saw this!?


Trading Places

Just spell it out.


Sixteen Candles

Wake up, narrator!


License to Drive

“His reputation is riding on it”



“They murdered his friends” (but wait, that guy in the clip isn’t his friend)

I’m being unfair I guess. Occasionally, there were a few good trailers – with some thought put into them, but they were all too rare – here’s some of the ones I remember :

The main reason trailer makers of the ’80s didn’t put too much effort into their work? No need, movies of the ’80s rocked. Solid stuff all round.

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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole. Loves David Lynch, David Fincher... actually, any filmmaker by the name of David.

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