Film trailers are highly crafted pieces of promotion designed to hook an audience into coming to the theater on opening weekend. They communicate the feel of a film, usually in about two minutes, without giving too much away.
The music, choice of scenes, and carefully selected dialogue all mesh with the film’s identity…until a talented unofficial editor takes a movie and reimagines its trailer as a completely different production.
YouTube hosts an entertaining genre of recut movie trailers. Comedies become horrors. Dramas become romantic romps. Scary movies turn into feel-good films. Here are some of the absolute best:
“Mary Poppins” from 1964 is beloved as a whimsical family movie about a magical nanny and her young clients. It’s a delightful Oscar-winning musical that brings in elements of animation and stars Julie Andrews in the lead role. It’s about as far away from a horror movie as you can get. However, YouTube user moviemaker turned “Mary Poppins” on its head with a recut trailer that makes the all-ages film feel like a scary flick you would want to hide your eyes from.
The trailer lasts about a minute, but its use of sound effects, subtitles, and cleverly edited scenes give the movie an ominous feel. This was one of the first re-edited trailers to become a big hit on YouTube and it currently has over 15 million views.
“Jaws” goes Disney
“Jaws” is the movie that made everybody think twice about going for a swim in the ocean. Starring a man-eating shark, the 1975 Steven Spielberg classic spawned several sequels, but the original was always the best. A recut trailer for “Jaws” asks a simple and silly question: “What if ‘Jaws’ was a Disney movie?”
The redone trailer changes the story to make it seem like the beach is closed due to insufficient funding rather than a shark problem. A classic voiceover alters the narrative and makes the big dangerous shark come across as a loveable sea-buddy with an unusual singing voice. You’ll laugh your way through all 90 seconds of the trailer, as the shark serenades beachgoers and becomes the hero of the story.
Fall in love with “The Shining”
Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is based on a Stephen King horror novel and it embraces the scary genre while riding on the strength of star Jack Nicholson’s decidedly creepy leading role. Nicholson plays a writer, isolated with his family in a large hotel in the winter, who seems to be losing his mind. Now imagine what would happen if “The Shining” was crossed with “Sleepless in Seattle” and you’ll see where YouTube user neochosen is heading with a rom-com-style version of the trailer.
The trailer feels like it could slot right into “Love Actually,” as Nicholson steps up as a father figure to young Danny and Peter Gabriel’s upbeat “Solsbury Hill” plays in the background. The narrator brings it all together until you almost believe “The Shining” really is about love, happiness, and finding family.
Monty Python goes modern
British comedy troupe Monty Python’s supremely silly 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is still very funny, but it’s also a relic of its time. It turns Arthurian legend upside-down as knights go questing with the help of squires making horse-hoof noises with coconut shells. It seems hard to imagine what the movie would be like if it came out today, but YouTube user Stéphane Bouley did just that with a modernized trailer for the comedy.
The new trailer takes its cues from current-day action blockbusters. There’s a dramatic soundtrack, slow-motion shots, explosions, and battle scenes mixed with rousing dialogue from King Arthur. You could see this trailer running in theaters before the next big “Avengers” movie.
David Lynch does “Dirty Dancing”
David Lynch is the quirky writer and director who brought us the surreal “Eraserhead” and the original (and this year’s new seasons of) “Twin Peaks.” He has always challenged the conventions of storytelling on film. But what would it look like if he directed the 1987 crowd-pleaser “Dirty Dancing,” starring Patrick Swayze?
It would look weird. Very weird. A clever recut of scenes from “Dirty Dancing” makes it feel like the film about young love could be a “Twin Peaks” episode full of people speaking backward and strange stage performances. Lynch fans will get a kick out of this bizarre reimagining.
“Ghostbusters” gets serious
The original “Ghostbusters” movie from 1984 mixed ghosts and comedy together into a winning formula that spawned a sequel and a 2016 reboot. YouTube user Roth Dog went back to the original for a recut trailer that skips all of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd’s jokes and makes the film feel like an exercise in seriousness.
Ghosts and monsters star in this video along with a soundtrack borrowed from the modern blockbuster “Inception.” Quick cuts and fades-to-black give this edit a taut feeling as if you’re about to step into a world full of dark drama. There are very few hints that the source material is actually a comedy.