Traumafessions :: Reader Kahotep on Creepy Movie Trailers

Loving the site, folks, though I wish I had proper access during the day to answer some of the questions first…

You got me thinking about some more of the work which scared me as a tot, and something which definitely remains fixed in my mind were some of the T.V. commercials for horror movies in the mid-to-late ’70s. Four stick in my mind especially:

DAWN OF THE DEAD: That rolling scroll warning that no one under seventeen will be permitted into the theatre – with the zombies bursting into the elevator! Could never ride an elevator the same way after that, I always stood at the side of the doors, presumably so they couldn’t get me.

PROPHECY: This image of a deformed bear fetus coming closer into view while an announcer says something about it being “15 feet tall and a gazillion tons in weight” or something – and then some attack scene where a kid in a sleeping bag gets mauled and feathers from the sleeping bag fly everywhere. Or something.

PHANTASM: Random clips of the Silver Sphere flying around, and the Tall Man pulling the kid in through a mirror…

And probably most profoundly, SUSPIRIA: It opens with a view of the back of the head of a woman brushing her blonde hair (and puts a flower into her hair too?), while a little girl sings “Roses are red/Violets are blue/This little flower… will be the end of you!” And the “woman” turns around to reveal a…

Okay, it’s a skeleton in a blonde wig. I know that now. I know it was a cheap little advertisement for a rotten little film.

Damned if it still doesn’t give me a bit of a chill…

Anyway, thought I’d share that and find out if anyone else underwent similar traumas. Keep up the good work!



AUNT JOHN SEZ: Actually Kahotep, you are not alone! Readers Bilgin & FatherOfTears have gone on record about the skeleton from the SUSPIRIA trailer and David has discussed the infamous baby bear in PROPHECY.

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FilmFather (@ezwriter68)
12 years ago

I’m with you Kahotep, especially on the Prophecy and Phantasm trailers. And thanks for calling Suspiria “a rotten little film.” I may catch flak for this, but when it comes to Argento, I just don’t get it.

jprochester (@jprochester)
12 years ago

Phantasm. That trailer came on HBO when I was little and scared me soooo bad. The scene where the Tall Man is looming over the bed as the little demons spring up from either side!? Terror!!!

RATSAWGOD (@ratsawgod)
12 years ago

Yeah, that trailer with the skull brushing it’s hair sent me screaming from the room many a time as a kid. And I’m totally with you and FilmFather about Argento’s work. I’ve given his films many tries, too.

gauch0 (@gauch0)
12 years ago

I’ll join you all in dissing Argento. For years I had “Suspiria” on my list to watch, and I was excited to be scared out of my mind because of all the hype it gets as one of the “scariest movies of all-time.” I watched it with a fellow horror fan and we laughed all the way through. Really lousy film. We still crack up over the soundtrack, though. “Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow. Ow ow ow ow ow-ow ow!”

shoggothkeeper (@shoggothkeeper)
12 years ago

That kid getting killed in his sleeping bag is just the best movie death ever! It’s even more awesome that it’s in the trailer.

FatherOfTears (@fatheroftears)
12 years ago

I am an Argento fan but I do admit that the bulk of his work can be an “acquired taste” for many. When I finally saw “Suspiria” in the late 80’s I was let down………………because “Skull Lady” wasn’t in it! I thought that the Suzy Banyon character would somehow get the skull face. No such luck! She does comb her hair in a scene………only to have maggots fall in it! This came out in the Summer of 1977 and it was my biggest scare in life! I thought this was some surreal shampo commercial and the “woman” would turn around and be some hottie like Jacklyn Smith. Well, I was wrong! “Prophecy” AKA “Manbearpig” came out in 1979 and that was a bit creepy too! However, I submitted an article to this site a few months ago about a 1978 TV trailer:


Well, while I’m at it, here is another “old friend” from the 70’s:

Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula (@dr-acula)
12 years ago

I so loved that trailer for Dawn of the Dead, mainly because I lived right near Monroeville Mall (the shooting location) nearly all my life and knew exactly where that elevator was. It creeped me out every single time I passed by it.

Since no one would take me to see it at age 9, I had to wait until I could rent it in VHS. I have fond memories of that being the first movie I ever rented.

stexe (@stexe)
12 years ago

Word on the Suspiria. I was terrified of that commercial, and distinctively remember having a vivid nightmare from it.

I’m a big Argento fan, and I suppose if you go into Suspiria under the expectation of it being scary, you’re likely to be disappointed. I love his films for their very theatrical, almost operatic tones. Try “Inferno”.

The other two commercials on my 70’s trauma list are “It’s Alive” and “Magic”.

jameslee (@jameslee)
12 years ago

I’m glad someone did a post on T.V. spots that traumatized us as kids. I’ve been searching for the T.V. spots for the original The Shining. I remember when they would air on T.V. I would have to turn the sound down because the music they used over the pic was sooo spooky. If anyone has any of the old original T.V. spots that showed Danny running through the maze and Jack following, please post. But it’s the creepy music score that gets me.

Professor Von Whiskersen
Professor Von Whiskersen (@professor-von-whiskersen)
12 years ago

I’ll just go along with the crowd here.

1. Yes, the trailer for Suspiria is the scariest thing about the movie.
2. Yes, I also gave “Inferno” a try.
3. No, I did not like it either.
4. Yes, the soundtrack by Goblin IS great.
5. Yes, Italians should stick to riding around on scooters while saying “ciao!” (little Eddie Izzard reference for you).
6. Yes, I think Eddie Izzard is a genius. His shtick about British Horror movies is classic.

jameslee (@jameslee)
12 years ago

Thanks for searching Aunt John. I’ve been looking for a long time myself. I was hoping someone might have taped these on vhs back in the day. But the promo you found is amazing. The way they recreated the many characters and sets.

smidget28 (@smidget28)
12 years ago

AH the SUSPIRIA trailer. Thanks for finding it. Could not sleep for days. Now of course I’ve seen the film as an adult and it has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SKELETON…and it is a masterpiece….but the commercial wigged me out as a kid.

ScrewedUpTeen (@screwedupteen)
4 years ago

The trailers that wigged me out around 10-12 were Evil Dead, Scary Movie 5, and The Gallows, the first being a radio ad. Yeah, I know. It’s stupid. But I found the electronic voices in the first and third trailers a bit spooky, and the living doll in the second trailer was just creepy.