When our ScreenAnarchy-O-Meter column reached number fifty we did something cool: ten writers gave a list with five of their favorite directors, creating one huge ScreenAnarchy-O-Meter which we lovingly called the MEGA-ToM. However, the next big round number is already upon us: 128, which in binary is 10,000,000.
It’s a 10 megaton MEGA-ToM!
Therefore this whole week will be devoted to a huge multi-article ScreenAnarchy-O-Meter. And this time, the writers will give us their top 1,000 of favorite movies (which, thankfully, is only eight in non-binary...).
Ninth (already) in line is Collin Armstrong, and his contribution is a veritable feast for the eyes because it includes...
...but he'll tell that himself:
In considering my contribution to this grandiose ToM, I thought I'd look at a small but integral component to the film-going experience - trailers. Below are eight of my favorites - they may not be from great films (though several are) but they are great clips on their own. Links included!
0001 - Alien - every fanboy ought to recognize this clip by sound alone – that stomach-churning, oscillating whine over precision flash-cut images of the Nostromo’s crew hunting and being hunted, that iconic alien egg splitting open… all classic. Creepier and more intense than 90% of what passes for horror in multiplexes these days - there's a lot to be learned from Scott and co.'s command of technique on display in this clip. Right here.
0010 - Escape from LA - can’t defend Carpenter on this one per se, but the trailer remains a culture-jamming hoot, fooling auds with what would appear to be a theater-approved warning that quickly spirals into outrageous red-flagging of religious freedom and red meat. I can recall seeing this clip in theaters with a baffled crowd. Delightful stuff that proves even when Carpenter misses, he still swings with the best of 'em. Right here.
0011 - The Exorcist - somber narration, tinged with menace, sets the scene… Father Merrin approaches the fog-encircled house… and then it begins – a whirling chiaroscuro nightmare of little Regan’s possessed mug bleeding in and out of the dark, over and over again, intercut with a visage that is truly the stuff of some genuinely bad, funky dreams. Sends chills down my spine every time I watch it without fail. Right here.
0100 - Final Approach - the odd one out for most of you out there no doubt, but what a great clip… for a middling, confused (and confusing) picture. This finely tuned promise of a cerebral sci-fi head-bonk, featuring the vastly underrated and under-utilized James B. Sikking, was like a geek siren’s song in the early ‘90s for yours truly. Oh well - live and learn. Where have you gone, Vidmark? Right here.
0101 - Strange Days - there’s not a lot of love out there for Kathryn Bigelow’s dystopic millennial sci-fier, but count me as an ardant supporter – especially when it comes to the film’s stand-alone teaser, a clip that features Ralph Fiennes gloriously wheeling and dealing the film’s drug of choice – a sort of virtual reality – to auds. We're told to avoid films with trailers that are all disconnected flash, but every now and then they get it right. Right here.
0110 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - again, great audio work – from the din of chaos on-screen to the “hard news” narration to the aurally iconic whine of the charging flash blub… a small masterpiece. Surprisingly brief for a mid-‘70s promo offering to boot. Re-watching this bit reminds me of how far Tobe Hooper has unfortunately tumbled but screw it - that man once birthed one of the true big screen nightmares of all time. Right here.
0111 - The Thing - perhaps owing a tip of its entrail-strewn hat to the afore-mentioned Alien promo, the trailer for Carpenter’s now-classic creature-feature is another exercise in mixing taut cuts with a driving, abstract soundscape. Short, sweet, and intense, the clip highlights everything that makes the picture itself so great - just what a trailer ought to do. “Man is the warmest place to hide” – sublimely creepy. Right here.
1000 - Twister - at the time the destruction heaped on screen during this stand-alone teaser for Jan De Bont’s quasi-nature-run-amok opus was a bit mind-blowing – over-the-top CGI has come a long way since, but this remains an intense, even frightening piece of filmmaking. More than can be said for the pic advertised, sadly. A textbook case, IMHO, of how to sell a big-budget idea that's way short on story. Right here.