The concept of a trailer is to give us an idea of what to expect a movie will be – in tone, in setting, in emotion – so it only makes sense that if you change that the tiniest bit, you are selling a very different movie.
And that, dear friends, is why we love recut trailers so much: How in the hell did that hilarious comedy you love get so scary all of the sudden? Or that terrifying horror flick become so heart-warming? It’s all in the edit and, especially, the music. This past week, a highly amusing “serious” recut of Starship Troopers hit the ‘net to much ballyhoo, so we thought it was a good time for a Friday Five to revisit this corner of fan creativity:
Starship Troopers as a “serious” movie
The most recent entry into this genre, at first glance it might seem a little reductive. After all, the gallows humor in Paul Verhoeven’s film version of Robert Heinlein’s scifi tome is arguably the #1 thing that makes it so great. (Same humor that made the original Robocop such an original.) Still, this edit by Tim Gonzales is a terrific example of the theory of recutting a trailer; it’s very easy to fundamentally change the way you sell a film through evoking different emotions. (A rah-rah voice-over clip of Ronald Reagan’s “alien threat” UN speech helps.)
The Shining as a family melodrama
One of the first recut trailers to get tons of love on the interwebs, this one is still near the top of the heap for taking the original’s tone and wildly turning it on its ear. Through use of whimsical music and a jolly voice-over, right out of the gate Stanley Kubrick’s terrifying adaptation of Stephen King’s book is now light-hearted. Nicholson’s mugging is even… kinda cute. WTF?! But just wait… it’s when Peter Gabriel’s “Solisbury Hill” kicks in that this suddenly becomes the Cameron Crowe movie you never knew you needed. (YouTube user ‘TheLateGrahamChapman’ made an HD recut-of-a-recut of Robert Ryang’s original, which you see above.)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as a tearjerker
One of the funniest gags in John Hughes’ high school hooky classic is how Matthew Broderick’s eponymous hero convinces the entire school (except his sister) that when he skips, it’s because he’s got a devastating illness. This recut brilliantly takes that premise and runs with it: What is Ferris were actually dying? Five-hanky drama! Winner of six Oscars! (Maybe.) That YT user “Groganation” created and submitted this as their final editing project at Emerson College only makes it cooler; we really, really hope they got an A for this!
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as a horror film
Any kid who grew up with the original film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel as a childhood staple will be the first to tell you: Some of it is scary as hell, yo. That boat ride sequence? Nightmare fuel! Awful fates befalling four (admittedly, bratty-dreadful) kids, too, which is part of why the film is so great. (Fairy tales were meant to be a little scary, that’s how you prepare kids for real life!) YT user “Sabbz22” understood that the only logical conclusion is to make Gene Wilder and Co.’s epic adventure into a full-blown terror fest.
Se7en as a romantic comedy
Not gonna lie, pound for pound this one is my absolute favorite because it’s funny and it nails rom-com trailer beats to a T. Underneath all of the nihilistic doom in David Fincher’s thriller is a perfect buddy-cop relationship between Morgan Freeman’s wise vet and Brad Pitt’s hot-headed rookie, which is why the anguish of that ending is so palpable. It only stands to reason that if you twist that dynamic into improbable-romance terms – and you know, take out all the serial killing – it’s just as effective. Plus the pop-song choices and absolutely perfect edit of dialogue and facial expressions here, man it’s so good. 11/10, would watch this movie twice! Bravo, Neohuman Productions.
What are your favorite trailer recuts besides these?! Tell us on social with the hashtag #LootRecuts!