Jason Coleman’s Top Ten Spoil-Free Teaser Trailers

As a long-time movie geek, one thing I miss are those creative early teaser trailers.  You remember – the quick sneak peeks where there was only a hair of footage and what was put on display most of the time wasn’t even from the film itself.  In today’s day and age of showing every shiny piece of celluloid shot via over-bloated trailers that give away everything, I miss that cinematic air of mystery and lost is the main marketing purpose in the first place – to tease.  So I decided to dig deep into my nostalgic movie childhood to come up with ten tasty examples of teasers that ultimately made me excited to go and seek out the film in question.

The parameters are simple – they had to be trailers I saw in-theater (hence no Psycho or The Birds or The Shining teasers – all before my time!), that contained little to no actual shots or footage from the film itself (hence the spoiler-free article title!) and that were short in duration.  (Plus I had to naturally find the video accompaniment on the web for your viewing pleasure – guess that ‘can’t-find-it’ teaser of The Golden Child with Eddie Murphy riding a donkey in the snow towards camera I fondly remember is out!)  So below may not be what some movie experts call the top teaser trailers of all time, but they’re the personal favorites of mine that fit the bill. Cyborg assembly lines, time travel machines revealed, movie mind trips, characters becoming other characters, questionable men doing naughty things, the return of a homicidal legend (with the help of an original iconic visual kill!), tough guys promising heroics, funny garbage men, the mystery of childhood exploring and The Addams Family – all here to tease and tickle your movie-loving ass with a cinematic film feather.  Check out my loud and proud list that is…

Jason Coleman’s Top Ten Spoil-Free Teaser Trailers!

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

In what is possibly the coolest of all teaser trailers ever made, the late great Stan Winston was given the task of making a savory short promo announcing both the return of The Terminator and star Arnold Schwarzenegger and his creation is utterly on par with the flick itself.  Featuring an assembly line of metal endoskeletons that get all the circuitry and skin bells and whistles and ends in the creation of the T-800 model (aka Arnold!), Winston’s work is deliciously detailed…without giving away the details.

2. Back To The Future (1985)

Keeping ‘keep it simple stupid’ alive and well this teaser picked two cool things and highlighted them only – Michael J. Fox and a time-travel functioning DeLorean.  No need for story synopsis, goofy moments and major plot points via the films’ footage.  Just a car, a boy and a goal – plus a pinch of Huey Lewis and the News music for good measure!

3. Total Recall (1990)

The trippy nature of this teaser matches both the strange sci-fi short story upon which the film is based and the signature savvy style of hot Dutch filmmaker of the moment Paul Verhoeven.  But what ultimately grabs is the flick seems to be about someone stealing the mind of muscle man Schwarzenegger – naturally the big guy wants it back.

4. Face/Off (1997)

Travolta was still on a career high around the time of this teaser and his earnest monologue delivery right to camera is solid acting work.  But then to morph into the layered Nic Cage sporting the same damn voice and also mention John Woo involvement and you got a flick possibly penalty box worthy.

5. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Loved the deke out nature of this teaser that sees Steve Martin and Michael Caine walking very gentlemanly with an almost Merchant/Ivory voice-over touting and promising a moving moral movie – not so much.

6. Psycho II (1983)

What could be cooler than showing in shadow the return of Anthony Perkin’s disturbed Norman Bates back to the motel 22 years later – how about the original shower scene to get you back in the mood?!

7. In The Line Of Fire (1993)

Love the clock ticking quality of this voice-acted teaser (I hear Malkovich!) that ends with a surly Clint Eastwood in angry defiant gun-coking mode saying mayhem ain’t gonna happen – game to see anyway sir.

8. Men At Work (1990)

What do we get from this tasty teaser?  It’s about guys we hate (garbage men!), it’s funny (see flying metal cans at early morning hours!) and stars cocky young brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez – dumpster diving just turned cool.

9. The Addams Family (1991)

What could be sweeter than iconic actors like Raúl Juliá and Angelica Huston portraying members of the famed Addams Family?  How about this very short finger-snapping teaser that gives away nothing?  Kill the cat – keep the curiosity.

10. Explorers (1985)

What exactly are the kids that we can hear building something in their leaf-ridden back yard constructing that they don’t want their mom to find out about?  See the damn film to find out!  (It’s from the director of Gremlins man!)



I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

1 Response to “Jason Coleman’s Top Ten Spoil-Free Teaser Trailers”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I like the Face/Off trailer a lot, but what always bugged me is how Travolta says the only way to catch him is to become him, which is not at all how the film plays.