With almost every trailer released, we lament the mystery and magic of a well made teaser. In fact, most studios these days are content to release teasers for trailers to build anticipation rather than give us a true tease of the movie to come. But, even in recent years, we have had some excellent teasers that have had us question and theorize about what the movie will be to come. Here is our ranking of the ten best teasers of all time. Some show footage from the film while others are nothing more than expertly constructed shadows and light. If your favorite teaser didn't make the cut, feel free to let us know in the talk backs below.
Back before destruction porn became a common sight on the big screen, INDEPENDENCE DAY gave us the iconic images of a fireball engulfing blocks of New York City streets and the unmistakable sight of an alien ship blowing the White House to smithereens. We have seen destruction like this since ID4, but it was so shocking to see in this brief teaser that we all wanted to know what the hell Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin had coming our way.
A micro-budget horror film that kickstarted the found footage craze of the last couple of decades, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was a word of mouth phenomenon that generated buzz coming out of film festivals before unleashing this mysterious teaser on the general public. No one knew what they were in for, but the promise of such a realistic experience sold countless on seeing this film in theaters.
The phrase "from the director of THE DARK KNIGHT" would have been enough to put asses in seats, but Christopher Nolan had to go and give us a puzzle audiences tried to unlock for the months leading to the release of INCEPTION. What the hell was it going to be about? There are MATRIX-esque fight scenes, slow motion shots of Leonardo DiCaprio emerging from a bathtub, and that trademark "BWAAAAAAAM" sound that became overused in the following years. Few filmmakers can create original properties these days but Christopher Nolan is the master.
This teaser, composed of scenes that show no dinosaurs, managed to sell us on the magic and excitement Steven Spielberg's film would deliver on in spades. The heavy-handed narration used to be a staple of old school teasers and trailers but works to great effect here. John Williams' music plays beautifully over images of a mosquito caught in amber and defines what a teaser should be.
Stanley Kubrick's labyrinthine horror film has countless iconic images that could have been used for a teaser, but by focusing on the slow motion elevator full of blood and some scrolling text, THE SHINING manages to have the most simplistic and frightening teaser ever made. If you had never heard of the novel before seeing this teaser, you likely would have run to the book store to see what the hell this was all about. That is how it is done.
After the tragic events of September 11th, this teaser was pulled from circulation. But, living on in the annals of YouTube, fans can see one of the best teasers ever made. Using no footage from the film itself, this teaser serves more as a short film introduction to the first live action Spider-man film. The action feels more like Michael Bay than Sam Raimi, but it still managed to confuse audiences until the final shot of the webslinger himself.
This teaser is really comprised of three parts: the exposition intro by Tommy Lee Jones of who the Men in Black are, the hilarious clip of Jones and Will Smith facing down a crashing UFO, and the logo reveal. All three work together so seamlessly that you feel like this video lasts more than the mere two minute run time. This teaser also captures the odd couple dynamic of the two characters and teases endless possibilities for what the movie would actually be. Good thing it delivered.
When Ridley Scott's PROMETHEUS debuted a teaser that evoked the one for ALIEN, fans felt the geek credibility behind the effort. Unlike the PROMETHEUS teaser, the one for ALIEN feels like it shows even less footage while still driving home the gothic horror tone of the movie. The brooding and ominous sound effects and fleeting glimpses of scenes from the film coupled with the slow title reveal help make ALIEN one of the best teasers of all time.
J.J. Abrams' films have resulted in some damn fine teasers over the years. From SUPER 8 to STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, Abrams' effort to keep his movies mysterious has touched the marketing which has resulted in teasers in the most literal definition. With CLOVERFIELD, Abrams' Bad Robot productions and director Matt Reeves made a found footage monster movie and yet we were unable to discern exactly what we were in for. From the vague title to the teaser that only betrays what is coming with the final shot of the head of the Statue of Liberty plummeting to the street, CLOVERFIELD's teaser is one of the best of all time.
Seven years after James Cameron's THE TERMINATOR, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned in a slightly different capacity as the killer robot, this time with a heart of gold. But, this teaser was designed to show us that the terror of the T-800 was being rebuilt followed by Arnold's trademark visage and the reveal of the film's title. For just a couple of minutes, TERMINATOR 2 was teased as the most amazing film coming to a theater near you and yet we don't see a single glimpse of actual footage. Nobody has done it better.